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The night before I had been lying awake having serious doubts whether this was an ideal tourist destination, torn between conflicting reports of a fascinating wilderness that is beginning to welcome tourists, and dark tales of cocaine labs and guerrilla camps. The attraction of Guaviare is the start of the Amazon jungle. So the possibilities are endless. The problem is its turbulent history.
But Colombia is changing and areas where a few years ago only the most intrepid travellers would visit are becoming mainstream. Before setting off, I do background checks on the Internet. The only person I can find who has actually been there, arrived by Blackhawk. This turns out to be the case. Granada, a farming settlement south of Villavicencio, is the last large town on the map.
Villages are few and further between, as are roadside restaurants some of which were closed and boarded up. Geographically we are still in the Llanos, the eastern plains of rolling grassland, small outcrops of low forest that line the gullies and rivers, and open skies with grey rainstorms marching angrily across the horizon.
At a checkpoint outside town, cars and buses are searched by the police. He enters our details in a computer and asks us to wait for the Tourist Police who come from the town on a motorbike and give us a free guide book, a map of tourist sites listing local tourism companies. There is a heavy army presence, and large cars driving around with the flags of the UN or International Red Cross. A man stops his motorbike and greets us, he says he is a school teacher in a distant village and wants to know all about us.
He is very friendly but I get the distinct impression he his checking us out. These hills are formed of late Pre-Cambrian rock that is over a billion-years-old and part of the huge outcrop of crystalline basement rock that extends across Venezuela, Brazil and the Guayanas, known as the Guayana Shield. As with the previous site, there is no-one but us.