I was now feeling more than comfortable in Colombia and was raring to see more of this stunning country. The next stop on our whistlstop tour of Colombia was the town of Barichara, located north of Villa de Levya.
We headed towards the department of Santander, the closest area that we have been that is fairly near to the Venezuelan Border. The distance on a map from Villa de Leyva to Barichara by road did not look that far. But with three branches of the Andes running from the South to the North of the country (the backbone of Colombia) it’s hard to avoid them! Making journey times double, due to long windy roads along cliff edges. It was a good 5 hours to Barichara.
Driving into town, we were greeted by a huge statue of an ant?! We consequently found out that they are a delicacy and locals love eating ‘hormigas culonas’ – a type of fat flying ant.
Needless to say this was added to the list of bland foods in Colombia. We arrived at Hotel Hicasua, situated on one of the many hills in Barichara. The town is small but beautifully preserved. Having a similar architecture style to Villa de Leyva. Adorned with whitewashed houses and cobbled streets. We lunched at Restaurant Filomena it was delicious; serving burgers, fresh salads, sandwiches.
Wandering around this tiny town and it’s squares’ is just a perfect thing to do. Catch a tuk-tuk up the various cobbled hills streets if you get too tired to walk. At night you will barely come across another living soul. There is all of about one bar that stays open, and a few restaurants in the square.
Excursions – Take a Hike!
One of the best things to do whilst visiting the area is to hike to Guane, an even tinier town! The route can be hiked along a route called the ‘Camino Real’. The starting point of the route is found up on the hill where the church is. Along the cliff edge.
The path was originally built for donkeys to transport goods from one town to the other but now is a popular hiking route. About 10km long, but mostly downhill. The route traces the line of a beautiful canyon and into the heart of Santander’s lush green landscapes. Start early in the morning to avoid the midday heat. There is a small hut/house along the way that sells drinks and beer in case you are desperate.
After a lot of sweating, will end up in Guane. A true Colombian style village with the odd person dotted around, staring at you intently. A few days in this town is perfect to relax your mind and experience life at a slower pace.
Things to remember for your hike:
Suitable shoes for cobble terrain
Water and more water
Mosi Repellent if you wish
Sun cream but beware this will wash off you as soon as you start sweating so keep topping it up.
Money for your bus back to Barichara if you do not want to hike back and for that cold well deserved full fat drink!