When you're thinking of Barichara, some of the first things that probably come to mind are the Colonial times, tranquility and peace, and a beautiful nature colorfully interacting with civilization. This charming Colombian town might not be too big in size, but it sure has a lot to offer. Only walking on its cobblestone roads while exploring the beautiful streets, is enough to entertain yourself here; each alley and each house has a story to tell and a beauty to show.
Before colonial times, Barichara was inhabited by the Guanes, one of the many native groups that lived in Colombia. Its name actually comes from the Guane word "barachalá," which means “place of rest.” Besides, the Guanes had an interesting snack back then; "big-butt ants"! Up to this day, Colombians still eat them in the region of Santander as an exotic and unusual delicacy. They’re eaten fried and salted and can be found particularly in Barichara. This is a critical tradition you might want to participate in, if you dare, of course. Nowadays, Barichara is known as the most beautiful town in Colombia. It has been named a National Monument, and it is also part of Colombia's Network of Heritage Towns, as well as Unesco’s heritage.
The shortest way of getting to Barichara is by car or bus from Bucaramanga; you can fly to the local airport and then take a bus (or car) which will take you about 3 hours to San Gil and from there about 30 minutes to Barichara.
A must visit place is the Bioparc Moncora, which is located upon a hill on the east side of Barichara. It covers 7 hectares of different species of trees, plants, cacti, flowers and of course birds and butterflies. You can walk around appreciating all this nature, and there are also some benches where you can sit to rest and soak in all this beauty. As if this was not enough, the views from this place are just amazing. But this is not the only place with excellent views; on the other side of Barichara, you can find a couple of beautiful lookouts, from where you can see the mountains, more nature and some of the neighboring towns. These lookouts are a perfect spot for sunset watching.
There is a good selection of cafes and restaurants in Barichara, one of which is Don Juan, located just across the main square. There you can find typical food from the region like goat meat, yuca, and pepitoria. There are also restaurants such as Shambalá, with vegetarian options. Also, places, such as "Pizzeria 7 Tigres", "Shanti" and "Filomena", offer delicious pizza and paninis perfectly paired with wine.
One of the main highlights of Barichara is its beautiful and fascinating colonial architecture that can be seen not only in the houses but also in the churches and chapels. Many Colombians and even some foreigners, go to Barichara to have their wedding ceremony, as it is truly a gorgeous place for such occasions.
This is an ideal destination for solo travelers, but it is also great to travel here with friends or family. If you are thinking about a romantic getaway, Barichara got you covered as well. There are different types of accommodation- you can rent fully equipped holiday houses with a swimming pool, and there are also camping sites, beautiful glamping places, backpacker’s hostels, boutique hostels, and hotels.
It is almost impossible to put into words all of this town’s magic; I really hope you get the opportunity to visit it so you can see and feel it yourself.
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