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“Excellent guide”

Yacimientos de la Sierra de Atapuerca
Ranked #1 of 6 Tours in Burgos
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: Yes
Granollers, Spain
Level Contributor
56 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Excellent guide”
Reviewed 2 May 2014

The guide, Raquel, made our visit. Her easygoing demeanor and captivating way of explaining things made the site come to life. There were only two children in the group, but we adults made up for it by acting just like kids jumping to answer Raquel's questions and participate whenever she asked for a volunteer.

If you're planning on going, you need to book your tour in advance (I did it over the phone), and you can pay for it right before starting. The price per person is 11€. This includes guided tours of the Atapuerca dig site and the Archeological Park. In my opinion, it's not a bad price considering the importance of the place and the fact that it's a guided tour. I recommend visiting the Museo de la Evolución Humana along with this (we visited the museum the day before).

The route: get to the first visitor center just outside Ibeas de Juarros (that's the first meeting point). You can drive there yourself (we did because after Atapuerca we were leaving to another city) or catch the shuttle in Burgos. Once there, a bus comes to pick you up and take you to the archeological site (just a five-minute drive). The visit lasts for about and hour. Catch the bus back to the visitor centre and SURPRISE! You have to go to the archeological park all by yourself! "Meet you there in an hour," the guide told us. We were a bit flustered, but they gave us a good map before leaving. It's about a ten-minute drive from one place to another, but be careful because we ended up at the wrong visitor center (typical--see below). The archeological park is fun because there are several interactive stops, plus the guide was great (as usual). You can craft tools, throw spears and shoot arrows, and then the guide demonstrates different ways of making fire. After that, the visit comes to a close.

Overall, we spent a nice morning and left satisfied. It takes you about three hours, though one hour is actually dead time between visits. NOTE: the entire tour was in SPANISH. Strangely, I don't believe there are any tours in English. At least, I never saw that option (it wasn't on their website or anywhere else during the visit).

Even though our general impression was good, there are several reasons why I don't give Atapuerca five stars:

1) Getting there is a nightmare. The indications on the website are ridiculous. The instructions on the booking confirmation are laughable. There aren't any signs on the roads. Our guide told us that they've complained several times to whatever government body is in charge of the area, requesting to have signs put up so visitors can find the site, but no one pays them any attention. Shameful keeping in mind the importance of the site. We had to stop and ask for directions several times, only to end up at the wrong place (some other Atapuerca visitor center), and have the woman in there give us directions all over again. The website says the meeting point is in the town Ibeas de Juarros--NO! It's not! The meeting point is about 2 kilometers outside the town! There's a completely DIFFERENT Atapuerca information building in the town, so don't make this mistake or you'll miss your tour! Driving along the empty road you'll see a massive eyesore of a building with an empty parking lot--that's the place.

2) The visitor center buildings are a disgrace. Huge ultra-modern blocks sitting there in the middle of nowhere just looking ugly. That wouldn't be so bad if they at least had SOMETHING of interest inside! The first visitor center building had nothing more than the ticket office, bathrooms and a tiny exhibit on the mining company that used to operate in the area. We're in the all-important Atapuerca, about to see the dig sites--why the heck can't you give me something interesting (and relevant) to look at while I wait for the bus?

3) As expected, there isn't much to see in the actual site except for some trenches and scaffolding. That's a bit of a letdown, but the guide Raquel really made up for it with her explanations and demonstrations. Kudos to her. The only silly part, in my opinion, was when we went into a small cave for a 3D video show. It really wasn't necessary. I got the feeling it was another useless splurge of money just to show how "hip and with the times" we are here in Spain...

Visited April 2014
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7 Thank Nadine D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
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English first
Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
132 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Very interesting”
Reviewed 9 March 2014 via mobile

A very interesting tour of the site and also the museum at the site. The ticket we bought didn't include entrance to the museum in Burgos.

It was all in Spanish, although there were a few boards with a few sentences in English, but did not make up for the guide.

Was good fun going on the bus to the site and having to wear a hard hat during the visit!

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1 Thank Gillibobily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Madrid
Level Contributor
550 reviews
195 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 241 helpful votes
“very fascinating”
Reviewed 25 September 2013

Even if the archeological findings and their meaning are perfectly clear from the explanations in the museum in Burgos, it´s wonderful to see with one´s own eyes where the archeologists worked (and are still working). The guide on the tour is very knowledgeable.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank onzils
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Worthwhile and educational, visit together with museum and book 1 or 2 days prior”
Reviewed 4 July 2013

Visiting Atapuerca was fantastic, especially because we had first visited the Museo de la Evolucion Humana, where everything is didactically and beautifully set up to explain what can be somewhat obscure and difficult to understand material. Our guide Diego was great, especially with the children. Note that the pieces found are not actually at the site but at the museum, so the site visit is mostly explanatory. Using your imagination and info obtained at the museum will be necessary.

BOOKING AHEAD (1 or 2 days in advance) is absolutely necessary; you can do so by calling: 947 42 1000 and 902 024 246 (Monday thru Saturday from 9-2 and 4-7), http://www.atapuerca.org. Not sure if reservation/tour is available in English, as we did our reservation in Spanish and the entire tour was also in Spanish. They will send you an email with all the information needed.

Our tour departed from the museum at 11:30 AM for the trip to Atapuerca and the archeological park (latter especially fun for children) and we were back at around 5:30 PM. Comfortable/hiking shoes are needed. Note there is about 1 hour and 30 min for lunch, which is in line with the no-rush type of lunch you can find here in Spain but may seem a bit strange for a half-day tour. You can take your own lunch or eat at your choice of a couple of restaurants - nice to feel you're not being forced to eat at a particular place, as is the case with tours in other places of the world.

The 3-D film shown at the actual site was the only thing that seemed to be out of place, not worthwhile.

Visited June 2013
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Thank SusieLatitude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
57 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Informative visit ... when you are Spanish”
Reviewed 18 June 2012

My visit to the caves were very informative, however Spanish is a must. Besides that the caves were covered in steel constructions, taking away the magical moment. It definately is a jewel for pre-historic fans. The museum if definately interesting in both languages. There are free Spanish explanations for thos interested.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Robcampenhout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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