The Air Hole, Santander

AUTHOR: Andrés Felipe Barrios Navarro

Colombia always surprises us with unique natural wonders, which harbor the greatest mysteries. One of these wonders unknown and unexplored by many is The Air Hole in the department of Santander.

Lying on the great rock of The Air Hole


To arrive it is necessary to go to the municipality of La Paz, in the province of Vélez. The journey from Bogotá takes about 6 hours and there are two possible routes, one through Tunja and the other through Chiquinquirá.

By any road you will reach the municipality of Barbosa, and there you will know that you arrived at Santander’s golden gate when you see the imposing Suarez River, the boundary between the Santanderean and Boyacá lands.

Road to La Paz Santander

From Barbosa you reach Vélez in a journey of approximately 30 minutes, this town in the distance you can see over the mountain range.

Municipality of La Paz, Santander

Vélez is the folkloric capital of Colombia and the cradle of the famous velleño sandwich. Something really fantastic is to feel during the tour the smell of jelly that leaves the snack factories that are on either side of the road.

Streets of Velez Santander

In Vélez everything revolves around the guava and not only for the production of sandwiches, also to inspire coplas, guabinas, whirlwinds and even for the design of the church of the National Park of Folclor, which serves as the epicenter of the National Festival of the guabina and the tiple.

Church of Vélez Santander
Main square of Vélez

After a short tour of the streets of Vélez, half a block from the main park, take the transport to the towns of Chipatá and La Paz.

The trip to La Paz lasts 2 hours, everything depends on the state of the road, because although there are paved sections some are completely uncovered by the geological faults that have affected the progress of the works.

Vélez folklore national park
Vélez folklore national park

During the tour you can see a fence that welcomes you to the municipality of Chipatá, in this place known as loma Agatá is the monument of faith, a large stone cross that symbolizes and recalls the site where they tell the first was officiated Mass of the Andes in the year of 1537.

Vereda La Mata

Once in the municipality of La Paz, the route to reach the Hoyo del Aire can be started from the entrance to the path El Tigre, which is on the main road or from the sector known as La Loma.

Vereda El Tigre

I started my journey from La Loma taking a path, the walk lasts about an hour, fortunately no guide is needed as this road leads directly to the Hoyo del Aire.

On the way to The Air Hole

You can also ask any peasant in the area, they kindly give the necessary instructions to arrive.

On the way to The Air Hole

In the middle of crops of sugarcane, trapiches and guayabos you can see a green landscape with a special aroma that would describe as “field smell”.

Cow in front

On the way it is possible to find a small shop where you can rest a moment before continuing the journey.

Rainbow on the road


When arriving at the entrance of the air hole there is a rustic warning that says “Welcome to The Air Hole”.

From there to go down to the site closest to the Hoyo del Aire, you must walk on the top but due to the large amount of bushes, trees and brush you will not be able to clearly see the hole, however, if you look in the middle of the bushes can appreciate the large stone wall.

Signboard Welcome to the Air Hole
The Air Hole Santander

The descent begins by a small road that has been adapted by peasants for the people who visit the place, at least 5 minutes and when arriving at the edge of the Hoyo del Aire, on the big rock it is impossible not to be stupefied by the greatness of this natural wonder.

View from The Air Hole

It is a colossal hole in both size and depth, it is about 150 meters in diameter, 180 meters deep in its lowest part and 200 meters deep in its highest part.

Lean out from the big rock is definitely for someone who does not suffer from vertigo or have fear of heights, because the vacuum that produces look at the bottom is immense.

View seen from afar
Peering into the abyss of the Air Hole

To see the bottom it is necessary to lie face down, to look out at the void, at first timidly because of the fear it produces, but then simply to admire that its bottom is covered with lush vegetation.


You can also see parakeets flying and the buzzards or pimps that make nests in the walls of the hole safe for their chicks.

You can continue down one more meter to a small space that allows you to see much better the immensity of the hole, next to a small hut that I had seen from the top. This is abandoned, although it was built in order to install a kind of elevator with two baskets to go down to the bottom of the Air Hole.

Descent to the Air Hole

The elevator only worked once and it was not used again because of the rudimentary and the danger of climbing in one of its baskets that are literally hanging over the void, you only hear the grinding of the rusty.

Hole of the Air

The silence next to the Air Hole is total, so after collecting some stones I throw them into the void, I can say that it is really deep because it takes a few seconds between the moment the stone is thrown and when it falls, because when it falls, it is heard an immense echo throughout the hole.

Inside the Air Hole

Much curiosity has awakened me this natural wonder, which has not yet been taken advantage of or suitable for the visit of travelers. Making some inquiries on YouTube are videos of athletes who have descended rappelling and some interesting data, as the first person who descended was a priest in the year 1851.

Hole of the Air

This hole is the second deepest in the world of its kind (the first is in Mexico), compared to its formation there are different versions like a meteorite that collided and formed a large crater. The most valid version is that the hole is the vestige of some underwater cave when the sea still covered the territory of what is now Santander.

Sunset in Santander

This natural wonder is a place worth knowing and admiring, it makes a great impression but at the same time a huge fascination for the rarity of its formation and even more to know that there is in the background.

What the people who have descended have said is that the entrance to a large cave, inhabited by guacharos (birds) and runs a stream or stream that until now is not known where it ends, it has not yet been made thorough exploration.

This is the Hoyo del Aire, majestic, imposing and fascinating.


Boyacá: Monguí, Tenza Valley and Cocuy

Casanare: Trinidad, Pore, Paz de Ariporo y Maní

Cundinamarca: Guaduas, Parque Verde y Agua and Anolaima

Santander: La Cresta del Gallo, El Páramo de Santurbán and Guane

Andrés Felipe Barrios Navarro

Andrés Felipe Barrios Navarro

Soy profesional en Gobierno y Gerencia Publica, de Bogotá, me gustan los cielos azules, los paisajes verdes y el olor del mar.

No viajo sin saber antes la historia del lugar al cual voy, por eso con mis fotos y pasos quiero contar historias. En mi corazón siempre están Monguí, Guaduas y Honda, amo el río Magdalena y Cartagena de Indias, sin el río y sin las murallas otra historia se hubiera escrito.

Instagram @andres.f.navarro

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