Barichara: A Day Trip to the Prettiest Town in Colombia
Barichara is sometimes called the prettiest town in Colombia. The colonial village allures travelers by cobbled streets, picturesque scenery, whitewashed buildings with red-tiled roofs, colorful shutters and laidback vibe. Let's explore streets of Barichara and follow a traditional path to the village of Guane via the old trail El Camino de Real.
Barichara is a small and compact village you can easily explore on your own within few hours.
The village is a popular tourist destination, however, it doesn't feel that way.
Barichara gained its popularity just recently, and the main square can be a bit busy because it serves as an arrival and departure point, but walk only a few steps away, and you will barely meet anyone.
Colonial houses are perfectly preserved, that's why walking the streets, discovering cute little balconies, colorful doors and shutters is the main feature and joy here.
Barichara lies on a dry plateau it means that the afternoon temperatures can be unbearable.
When this happens, that's time to discover shady courtyards with coffee shops to take a break and cool off.
EL CAMINO DE REAL TO GUANE
Before we hit streets of Barichara, we wanted to stretch our legs and decided to hike an easy but spectacular trek to an even smaller village called Guane.
The trail starts near Barichara's viewpoint overlooking the canyon at the north end of Calle 4.
The whole 6 km long trail originally built by Indigenous people is stone-paved and is mostly downhill (that's why this direction is preferred, and most travelers go back from Guane to Barichara by bus).
On the way down, you'll cross twice an empty highway leading to Guane, but more importantly, you'll be enjoying views of canyon and valley filled with cacti.
Closer to Guane, there's a short side trip to a viewpoint (Mirador de la Pierda) which is really worth it, don't be discouraged by the fact that you must walk through someone's house, the family who lives here welcome visitors and you can even purchase cold drinks there.
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The views from the mirador are worth the effort!
Once you reach Guane, wait for the bus to Barichara on the square. It goes irregularly but roughly once in an hour.
We took a jeepney which leaves when full (10 passengers) and paid COP 5 000 each.
Where To Stay In Barichara
For budget travelers like us, it made more sense to arrive at Barichara only for one day trip from San Gil, as the accommodation is more expensive than in the nearby city, but Barichara is for sure very atmospheric, and all hotels looked very nice, clean and well taken care of from the outside.
If you want to take a break from sometimes overwhelming traveling around Colombia, stay in Barichara overnight. We are sure, that after the last one-day visitors leave, you'll have the village almost for yourself.
Budget | Hostal Casa Nacuma - Set in Barichara, this hotel features pretty rooms, garden, terrace, lounge, continental and vegetarian breakfast and the owner can also organize many travel activities for you.
Mid-range | Achiotte Hotel Boutique - A beautiful airy boutique house has an outdoor pool and all rooms are equipped with balcony with garden views. Some of you might appreciate that this hotel is adult only.
Luxury | Hotel Hicasua y Centro de Convenciones - Right in the city center, this upscale colonial style house has perfectly clean and comfortable rooms, outdoor pool, garden and hot tub. Tasty breakfast is a standard.
WHERE TO EAT IN BARICHARA
Restaurants are a bit tacky and way too much touristy than we would've appreciated and expected.
We found only a few restaurants, where was served a daily menu, others did not offer it or cooked Italian pasta and other international dishes which is not exactly what we are looking for when in Colombia.
After few unsuccessful attempts, we found a tucked (and also surprisingly overcrowded) local restaurant El Compa where we paid only COP 10 000 for good lunch.
It is popular among others so you must wait to be seated (it can take up to 20 minutes, and servers sometimes tend to overlook gringos - probably only because they know there will be a language barrier) or pretend you know what are you doing and grab the first chair available.
HOW TO GET TO BARICHARA
From San Gil, take a bus from centrally located Terminalito.
The bus leaves every half an hour approximately from 5 AM to 6:45 PM (to get back, try to leave Barichara around 5 PM to make sure you won't get stuck here).
The drive takes a little bit less than an hour and ticket cost COP 5 000 per person.
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