The travel guides call it ‘picture perfect colonial village Barichara’, or the way Hollywood would show an old sleepy town with colonial architecture. But Barichara has also become a bit of a tourist trap, especially during the day. But a beautiful 90-minute walk further is a beautiful alternative: the hamlet of Guane.
It is nothing more than a matrix of a couple of streets, this beautiful village in the hills next to San Gil. But that’s also the charm: in contrast to Popayan, the ‘white village’ with a colonial city center but an urban metropolis around it, this reakky is just a small town.
Everything starts and stops of course at the central park. Including the minivans that leave the Terminalito from nearby San Gil and bring in the daytrippers.
It is inviting to immediately grab a coffee, then walk around the village streets. Have a look at the grand church at the central square. And have another coffee.
Beause there really is not much else to do in Barichara. Unless… unless you decide to walk to another town nearby. And with that you also avoid the endless stream of cars and buses driving into the narrow streets of Barichara. Because the town is slowly becoming a victim of its own success. Really sleepy and nice it only becomes at night, when the daytrip tourists leave.
More than a century old, this cobblestoned (or less) path leads you from the edge of Barichara (where carrera 10 and calle 4 converge) to Guane. It is an easy, 90-120 minute walk where you really can’t go wrong. A low stone wall on both sides of the track keep you on course. And the hike mainly goes down, thus also providing magnificent valley views.
You can of course also always download a map from the Maps.me app. And if you’re up to it… you can also walk the return trip. The final ascent isn’t as hard as you think it is 🙂
Now if you are really talking about a sleepy town, this is the place for you. The minivans that do travel here have to stop at the edge of the town, three blocks fromn the main square. Apart from some local tiendas (shops), there is nothing to do here. It’s even difficult to find a good place for lunch or coffee.
There is a small museum of paleontology (though not anywhere near the size of the one near Villa de Leyva), and there are 1 or 2 restaurants and hotels. A recent very useful addition though is a lunch cafe at the western tip, at the end of a dead end street where the mirador (lookout point) is.