Also called the Meta River Tourist Route, the Ruta del Amanecer Llanero, or Llanero Dawn Route, is one of the four special destinations the Meta department has to offer to its visitors.
Here I will tell you everything you can do in the Amanecer Llanero Route in Meta, just a 20-minute flight from Bogotá.
Llanero Dawn Route (Amanecer Llanero)
If you want to know the path that leads to the Sun, this will be your route! You will see the Sun reflected on the waters of the Meta River, which sustains the fishermen, or warming up the sandy beaches of Cabuyaro, and finally you will see it set from the Manacacías River boardwalk.
And of course, you will see the Sun rising: before six o’clock in the morning you will witness an orange and red disc inflaming the sky. You will then know that you are on the Llanero Dawn route (Amanecer Llanero Route).
The Amanecer Llanero route includes the municipalities of Cabuyaro, Puerto López and Puerto Gaitán in the department of Meta, in the Llanos Orientales (eastern plains) of Colombia.
On this route, you will find an equatorial climate. It is usually (very) hot, humid and rainy all year round. The average annual temperature is 19°C, reaching maximums of up to 35°C depending on the season.
On the other hand, the average annual rainfall is 1216 mm, and it is also very humid, with an average relative humidity of 83%.
What to do in the Llanero Dawn Route
The route begins in Villavicencio, in the piedmont plains, on the road that leads to the municipality of Puerto López. Before crossing the bridge over the Ocoa River and leaving the urban area, it is recommended to stop at the Chorillano sector and enjoy the famous chorizos, empanadas, and fast food that have made the city famous.
Tiuma park is a theme park and hotel located in Villavicencio at Km 15 via Puerto López. It is focused on a nature and adventure theme and has spectacular scenery.
There you can do activities such as canopy at 120 feet, horseback riding, attend shows of Vaqueria and the culture of the plains, rappelling, herding cattle and Llanero work, and ecological walks, all under the supervision of trained personnel.
Additionally, this place offers glamping type accommodation, being one of the pioneers in offering Glamping in Villavicencio. These accommodations have air conditioning, Jacuzzi and a private bathroom. They also have a view of the lake, where you can observe animals of the region, the Llanero sunset and sunrise, and the unique landscape of the savannah plains.
Puerto López – Obelisk
86 km after leaving Villavicencio you will arrive at the municipality of Puerto López located on the banks of the Meta River. In Puerto López, you can visit the Monument to the Canoero, which honors the fishermen of the region.
The Obelisk is known as the belly button of Colombia for being the point that demarcates the geographical center of the Colombian territory. When arriving in Puerto López, you can see Alto de Menegua, where the obelisk stands. The obelisk is 30 meters tall, and there you can observe the sun in all its splendor at noon.
There you will find the Mirador Matapalo Tower, 50 meters high, from where you will have the most spectacular view of the Llanos Orientales of Colombia, just in the geographic center of the country.
Cabuyaro is a town with fabulous landscapes and whose main attraction is the majestic Meta River. Throughout the town, you can find beautiful Morichales typical of the savannah landscape surrounded by great beauty. The “morichales” constitute a very common and representative ecosystem of the Orinoco region, and are mainly formed by individuals of the moriche palm (Mauritia flexuosa).
In Cabuyaro, the natives have designed a peculiar way to travel the Meta River in boats and canoes, and they also offer fishing instruction.
Likewise, this territory has a great variety of festivities that make it one of the best vacation destinations. There are, for example, the Regional Harp Festival and the Plains Sunset Beauty Contest, held in November; and the Beach and River Festival, in February.
Ostrich Park (Parque Avestruz)
Parque Avestruz is located 1.5 km from the Obelisk and only 4 minutes away, on the road to Puerto Gaitán in the Colombian plains.
There you will have a guided tour to interact with the ostriches and learn from them. You will be able to touch and feed the ostriches. Also, you will be able to take pictures and videos of these exotic birds that can reach up to 3 meters high.
The park offers exotic ostrich meat in hamburgers and grilled, as well as dishes prepared with ostrich eggs. You can also find products such as ostrich skin for the manufacture of luxury items including cowboy boots, handbags, wallets, briefcases, belts, clothing, furniture, and car accessories. Ostrich oil, which is supposed to have countless health and skincare benefits.
You will also find ostrich feathers, crafts, leather goods, and ostrich eggshells formerly used as cooking bowls or canteens.
Hotel & Bioreserva Lagos de Menegua
Lagos de Menegua is located 17 kilometers ahead of Puerto López, department of Meta, on the road to Puerto Gaitán.
Lagos de Menegua is a natural reserve to enjoy the beauty of the rolling savannas of the eastern plains. It is an ideal place to enjoy a safari with your family. There you will be able to do bird, reptile, fish, and primate watching. Its main attractions are the Macaw Lake, the sunsets that can be seen from the El Morichal viewpoint, and also the sunrises.
There is no excuse to stay only at the pool because you can go on bike or horse rides, kayak trips, or walks through the preserved forest. There are also the ponds where thousands of mojarras and cachamas are farmed, as well as the Lake of Silence, where you can fish for pavon fish and yamu fish, among others.
Finca Hotel Mururito Nature Reserve
Mururito is a 2000-hectare nature reserve in the Orinoco, with a high-quality hotel farm at its heart and several guided activities and safaris. To get to the farm you need 4×4 transport. However, you can also arrive by charter flight, or enter via the Manacacías River.
There you can take daytime and nighttime walks in the forest or in the savannah. You can go out by bike or on horseback to discover the farthest places in the reserve, its pastures, its marshes and its lagoons. You can also learn the work of a cowboy, and participate in the activities of the farm.
On the other hand, you can take a bath in the waters of Caño Tigre or in the Manacacías River. Also, in the lagoons or in the river you can fish piranhas and other fish.
Mururito is also considered one of the hotspots for bird watching in the department of Meta. Birds from the Amazon and the Orinoco region have been recorded there.
Leaving the Obelisk in Alto de Menegua you continue the route 112 km through the plain leading to the municipality of Puerto Gaitán. The beaches of the rivers Manacacías, Yucao, and Meta are an alternative for rest and recreation. In the mouths of the Manacacías river, you can appreciate the Pink Dolphins, here known as “Toninas” (Inia geoffrensis).
This project will allow you to participate in the life of the local indigenous people, learn about the customs of the Piapoco community, and integrate yourself into the ancestral ritual of the Dance of the Anaconda. Likewise, you can be guided by the community through ecological trails in their reserve.
Where to Stay when you Visit the Llanero Dawn Route
The easiest place to visit is Lagos de Menegua because the entrance is on the main road that leads to Puerto Gaitán. On the other hand, to get to Mururito you need to go into the plain on an unmarked and uncovered road. You can only get to Mururito by direct indication, but not on your own.
If you want to know more about Lagos de Menegua and Mururito, visit our entry Complete Guide to the Best Eco lodges in Colombia. Also, if you are looking for the best safaris in Colombia please visit our entry Booking a Safari in Colombia? Find here the Best Options!
If you want to know more about Colombian nature tours, or want to visit the Llanero Dawn Route (Ruta del Amanecer Llanero) in Meta, follow us, write us comments, or just contact us.
- Turismo Meta Website
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About the author
Current director of Sula. Doctor in Biological Sciences. Her main interests are to explore and understand the organism – environment interactions, taking advantage of emerging knowledge for the management and conservation of species and ecosystem services. She is currently working as a consultant in functional ecology, ecosystem services and conservation projects in Colombia related to ecotourism and birdwatching.