Colombian colour & magic

Colombia – Barichara
  • mountain views in coffee country mountain views in coffee country
  • bananas, coffee, bamboo, plantain bananas, coffee, bamboo, plantain
  • just look at that hill! just look at that hill!

A Quick Glance

Destination(s) Colombia – Barichara

Duration 3 or 4 days

Traveller(s) Friends

Trip highlight The town itself is gorgeous and the surrounding scenery is just stunning!

Travel Advisor Josie McPaul

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Barichara is full of history and beauty with a stunning location between the desert and the mountains, about 120kms from the up and coming city of Bucaramanga.  The town is a National Monument  - it dates back to Spanish colonisation of the area in 1705.  It is known to be ‘the most beautiful town in the country’ so I was very keen to see such a traditional colonial style village and I was absolutely not disappointed.  The name is a Chibcha word meaning ‘place of rest’ but there is way too much to see and do for you to be completely lazy!

The first thing you notice is the overwhelming riot of colour – the intense blue of the sky, the quaint whitewashed buildings with thick dark wooden doors hiding their inner secrets, the red tiled roofs which are all silhouetted against the backdrop of green mountains, and the yellow stone on all the streets and public buildings.

  To call it photogenic is doing it a disservice!

The stunning Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception sits in pride of place on the main square at the base of a number of really steep little hills… cobblestones are everywhere and houses, shops and hotels are at various levels up the hills so this is not the place for anyone who has trouble walking!  The local saying is that the women of the town have very good legs and very nasty tempers – both of which I attribute to having to go up and down those hills with children, with groceries, and with everything else which is part of normal daily life!   But nothing happens quickly – everyone stops to chat along the way…

I walked and walked, up and down hills and around the little squares, poking my nose into little craft stores to watch people weaving hemp fibre into rugs and hammocks, making paper, carving the glowing local yellow stone into keepsakes and knick knacks…  creating things in the same way that their ancestors had done in previous years.  It was magical.   My hotel was a gorgeous historic building, formerly a private home and now a small guesthouse with about 15 rooms arranged around a number of interconnecting courtyards and gardens… all decorated with a mix of antiques and local handicrafts so very homely and colourful.  Food and drinks at the guesthouse were plentiful, cheap and basic, but there were lots of places to eat and be merry in the town.

And of course, there were the adventure sports opportunities…  Because of the fabulous location on the high mesa and the great weather, Barichara offers lots of sporting activities from mountain biking and hiking the Royal Road to Guane (a 9km path which dates back to the founding of Barichara), to caving and rafting the nearby Fonce River, waterfall rappelling in Socorro and paragliding … all easily available locally, well priced and very professionally guided.  Or you can just stand at The Lookout at the top of the biggest hill in town and watch everyone moving around below! With everything that the tiny town of Barichara has to offer, you can definitely fill a couple of days… whether your time is full of activity or relaxation, your lasting memory will be of full of colour…