Neiva is the Capital of the Department of Huila. It is located in the valley of the Magdalena River in south central Colombia with a population of about 378,857 inhabitants. It is one of the most important cities in Southern Colombia, mainly because of its strategic geographical location.
Neiva was first founded in 1539 by Juan de Cabrera in an area now belonging to the municipality of Campoalegre. In 1550, Juan de Alonso y Arias relocated the city to the place that is now the municipality ofVillavieja. At this location, the city was destroyed by indigenous tribes in 1560. The city was founded, at its actual location, for the third and final time in 1612 by Diego de Ospina y Medinilla.
Neiva became important during the colonial times because of its strategic location. It was located in the trade route that communicated the Viceroyalty of Peru with Bogotá and Caracas. The city was declared as the capital of the Province of Neiva, made up of the Neiva, La Plata, Timaná, Purificación cabildos. In 1905 the city became the capital of the newly created Huila Department, which had been severed from the Tolima Department by the national government.
Throughout the city a tourist might enjoy the scattered city monuments, especially around the edges of the Magdalena River, where the local government has been maintaining the recently built sanctuary meant to safeguard the Magdalena from any pollutants and human produced contamination. Around this sanctuary there are parks and gardens usually crowded by locals and tourists who came to the growing city. The city can be reached by road travel, or by all major national airlines, coming to the Benito Salas Airport.