Barichara is a small and picturesque town that appears like having fallen out of time.
In fact, the ensemble of red tiled roofs and whitewashed adobe facades on the canyon edge of the Río Suárez at an altitude of 1280m has often served as the backdrop for dramatic-romantic telenovelas.
Barichara is officially regarded as “Colombia’s most beautiful village” and is a popular weekend destination for Colombians.
Visitors will find peace, tasteful small hotels, good restaurants, galleries and several nice walks/short hikes along paved paths with panoramic views across varied mountain landscapes to remote villages.
One of these villages is Guane, about 9 km away, which is named after the indigenous people of the same name and also maintains a small archaeological museum about their culture.
A second hike leads over a similar distance to Cabrera south of Barichara.
The somewhat misleadingly named Camino Real trail system is not related to colonial times, but to the German engineer, landowner and merchant Geo von Lengerke, who emigrated to Colombia in the middle of the 19th century and became rich with the cultivation of cinchona trees.
To develop this region of Santander, he built a series of paved roads and bridges over rivers.
More recent is the spectacular road from San Gil to Barichara, which winds its way up along the Chicamocha canyon in seemingly endless curves, making the journey to Barichara an experience in itself.