Altamira, Huila

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Altamira, Huila
Municipality and town
Flag of Altamira, Huila
Official seal of Altamira, Huila
Location of the municipality and town of Altamira, Huila in the Córdoba Department of Colombia.
Location of the municipality and town of Altamira, Huila in the Córdoba Department of Colombia.
Country  Colombia
Department Huila Department
Founded October 18, 1855
 • Mayor Yecid Rodriguez Tovar
 • Municipality and town 188.18 km2 (72.66 sq mi)
Elevation 1,080 m (3,540 ft)
Population (2015)
 • Municipality and town 4,293
 • Density 188.18/km2 (72.66/sq mi)
 • Urban 2,901
Time zone Colombia Standard Time (UTC-5)

Altamira is a town and municipality in the Huila Department, Colombia.

Coordinates: 2°03′46″N 75°47′14″W / 2.06278°N 75.7872°W / 2.06278; -75.7872

Altamira is a small pueblo in the department Huila, with a population of about two thousand. It is about an 8-hour bus trip south of Bogota. The largest city in Huila and its capital is Neiva, which is 89 miles north, with a population of about 370,000. The highway is two lane and paved. It is located in the Eastern Range of the Andes Mountains at about 3,540 feet elevation. The Central Range of the Andes converges in this part of the country so the mountains of that range can be seen just north of the town. On a very clear day when there are no high altitude clouds obscuring the view, the volcano Nevado de Huila can be seen to the north. At 18,865 feet it is the highest volcano in the country and is permanently snow covered with a glacier and it stands out well on a clear day even though it is about 50 miles north of Altamira.

There are some hotels. A very nice one is the Porta de Altamira at the north end of town on the highway. About US $12 per night. There is a small grocery store as well as a few other shops that sell fresh produce, and grocery items. Many little stands selling food items, as well as a small shoe store.

About a half hour ride north is Garzon, the closest city to Altamira. An hours drive south of town is the larger city of Pitalito(69,000). The highways are paved two lane and very winding and steep in parts. Beautiful scenery meets the eye at every turn. It is also the nearest city to San Agustin where a famous archeological park is located that is known for its pre-Columbian statues and artifacts. A lesser known archeological site with similar artifacts is in the vicinity of the little town of Isnos.

The Rio Magdalina runs through the valley north of town and can be accessed at the little pueblo of Tarqui a short ride west and then north of the highway on a gravel road, or at the pueblo of La Jagua to the north. There is a school including primary and secondary located on the beautiful centro parque, where the church of San Roque is also located. There is a playground with soccer and basketball court at the west end of town with a very nice swimming pool which is open every afternoon throughout the year. The cost is COP $3,000 pesos for swimming. (About US$1.50)

Many tropical fruits are grown locally including mangoes, papuas, oranges, bananas, and pineapples. There are numerous vineyards between Altamira and Garzon and rice is grown north of Garzon. Coffee is extensively grown in the surrounding mountains.

In the mountains and valleys surrounding Altamira there are numerous quaint pueblos and tiny settlements known as veredas that can be reached by gravel roads, some best accessed by four wheel drive or motorcycle only and are often little more than a single lane wide with numerous ruts, rocks and potholes. There is a very beautiful statue of Our Lady of Aranzazu in a small church in the tiny pueblo of Gallardo in the mountains above Suaza which is south of Altamira.