Declared a National Monument in 1975, Barichara is often described as one of the “prettiest towns in Colombia”, and this sleepy, mountain town certainly lives up to the hype.
The cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings, brightly painted doors and red tiled rooves combine to make it the most picturesque colonial town we have ever seen.
Perched amongst the rolling hills of Santander, Northern Colombia, and somewhat Tuscan in appearance, Barichara is only a short, scenic bus ride from San Gil.
Kicking back in Barichara
After several people told us we absolutely had to visit, we decided to spend three days in Barichara and checked into the beautiful ‘Tinto Hostel’, which felt more like a hotel than a hostel.
We decided to treat ourselves to a private room, having spent the last month in dorms across Colombia, and five days later we were still there, busy brainstorming how we could earn a living in Colombia so that we could move to this beautiful country.
Planning our next move, to this sleepy little town!
I would frequently daydream about which of the houses I would like to live in, decorated beautifully and embellished with brightly coloured flowers, while we wandered up and down the picturesque stone-cobbled streets.
For the first few days we were there the streets seemed sleepy and deserted as we wondered about. We soon realised, however, this was because we kept venturing out at ‘siesta time’ in the heat of the mid-day sun. The town came to life in the early morning when locals were going about their daily lives and especially the evening, when the towns residents would stand idly outside of business and shops chatting in the streets, often having a beer in one of the many local grocery shops – but in a very ‘tranquil’ manner.
However, the town completely transformed on Halloween, when we were astonished to see so many people milling about town and in the main square after arriving back from a day hike to Guane along the beautiful Camino Real. Children and adults alike were dressed up in fancy dress as a mixture of skeletons and witches, Marvel and superhero characters, Disney princesses and even one little boy as a chicken! They filled the square and the atmosphere was abuzz with excitement and the town bustled with activity.
Exploring the town
What I particularly loved about Barichara was all the little shops and stores. Best of all was the tiny, dedicated fruit and veg shops showcasing all sorts that we hadn’t even seen before, and they had the most gigantic avocadoes ever!
However, most spectacular of all was the beautiful sandstone Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción. The Catedral sits atop the North-Western edge of the square, towering above all the surrounding buildings. Walking up the aisle inside the church we were mesmerised by its architecture, wooden beams, stained glass windows and decorative tiles.
And, if all that wasn’t enough, just a 5km walk away is the stunning, sleepier little town of Guane. You can visit Guane on a day hike from Barichara following a historic pathway known as the Camino Real, which you can read more about in Goats photo blog of our trip.
For us, Barichara is, without doubt, the prettiest town in Colombia we have seen so far and is an unmissable destination if you ever find yourself lucky enough to visit this beautiful part of the world.