Barichara means “place to rest” in the local Colombian dialect Guane. With a name like this, expect nothing less than complete relaxation when visiting this charming 16th-century small town. Keep reading to discover why Barichara is a traveler’s favorite.
Dubbed “the most beautiful town in Colombia”, northeastern Barichara was founded in 1537. Today, the town’s architecture remains virtually untouched, with cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, and red-tiled roofs.
This colonial atmosphere makes it one of the best places to visit in Colombia if you are looking for a peaceful stop on your vacation.
You can also find many old churches scattered throughout the town. The main one is the Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, built around 1838. During sunset, its sandstone walls turn a gorgeous shade of orange.
Inside, you can still see the gold-covered main altar. Stop by the 18th-century Capilla de Santa Bárbara to watch how the town’s lines of tile roofs seem to flow towards the mountains.
Conclude your colonial route through Barichara by walking the Royal Road. Known as “Camino Real” in Spanish, this path was paved in stone by the indigenous Guane people.
It stretches for about six miles, mostly downhill. Stroll down this century-old road and connect with nature, while enjoying incredible views of the Suárez River Canyon.
Barichara offers some of the most magnificent views in the department of Santander, as it is located on top of a hill overlooking the Suárez River Canyon. Be sure not to miss the spectacular sunsets from the town’s western viewpoint of El Mirador. Another popular site for breathtaking landscapes is Salto del Mico.
Barichara is a well-known artist and artisan town. It is home to many galleries and workshops. You can watch the artists’ process of creation, as well as dive into some learning of your own. Pottery, felting, and weaving lessons are usually available throughout town.
Another location for indulging in the arts is the Parque de las Artes. Its scenery of carved statues and water features makes it an outstanding place for sketching and photography.
The Fundación San Lorenzo also makes for an interesting artsy stop. The women running the place have been making paper by hand, from the fique plant, since 2001.
While there, you can take a tour and attend a workshop to explore the process of making artisanal paper.
Art makes for great souvenirs! Due to its art scene, Barichara is a phenomenal place to buy crafts straight from the maker. Local craft stores are filled with embroidery, jewelry, paintings, pottery, furniture, stationery, and more!
The Santander department has a lot of local delicacies to discover. While in Barichara, indulge in traditional dishes like carne oreada (marinated, dried beef), goat, or mute (the most substantial of Colombian soups).
For dessert, make sure you try local favorites, such as torta de almojábana (a cheesy, sweet cake) and dulce de grosellas (caramelized wild berries).
Finally, give eating roasted ants a go! Hormigas culonas, or big-butt ants. They are perhaps the most infamous food from Santander. Discovered by the local indigenous tribes of old, they are believed to have anesthetic as well as aphrodisiac effects.
They are roasted with salt to be eaten as a snack. Believe it or not, businesses have exported this quite unusual snack to places like the United States, Canada and Germany.
Even after over 480 years, this beautiful town remains one of the best places to visit in Colombia. Dare to fall in love with its quaint spirit!
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