Barichara and San Gil
Tucked away in the little visited northern reaches of Colombia, a wealth of historic charm, dramatic landscapes and thrilling adventure awaits the more intrepid traveller. From the heritage village of Barichara to the exhilarating activity of Chicamocha Canyon and San Gil, this is a region of diverse wonders set amidst breathtaking scenery in a remote corner of the world.
The sleepy town of Barichara is almost film-set perfect with its red-roofed homes and whitewashed walls draped in vibrant bougainvillea. Declared a National Monument in 1978, the town has been beautifully preserved and strolling along its cobbled streets will transport you back over 300 years. A delight to explore on foot, Barichara spreads along a hillside and its sloping streets offer spellbinding views over the surrounding wooded valleys and rugged hills. Laidback and impossibly quaint, this tiny town is one to discover at leisure, popping into the artisan craft workshops, enjoying a cup of Colombian coffee in a street-side cafe and relaxing before or after the adrenaline-inducing adventure of San Gil and the Chicamocha Canyon.
While San Gil may not be the most picturesque town in Colombia, its charm lies in its proximity to some of the country’s most dramatic landscapes and exhilarating adventures. Jagged peaks tower over deep gorges and fast flowing rivers emerge into thundering waterfalls, creating a dream setting for thrill-seekers to indulge in some of the adrenaline-inducing activities on offer. At the heart of this region lies the majestic Chicamocha Canyon, its steep sides carved out by the powerful waters of the Río Chicamocha making it a focal point for extreme-sports. Get a bird’s-eye view as you paraglide over the canyon’s gaping gorges or get up close to the spectacular geological formations by hiking through its rocky crevices. White-water raft down thundering rivers or mountain bike along dusty hillsides to experience the rugged beauty and vast empty wilderness of this isolated landscape.
From abseiling down waterfalls to white water rafting down the rivers of Rio Fonce and Rio Suarez and hiking or mountain biking through the ruggedly beautiful canyon, this is a terrain designed to challenge and invigorate. After being immersed in the beauty and adventure of San Gil and the Chicamocha Canyon, the cobbled streets and tranquil charm of Barichara are a welcome antidote to their fast pace, and a few days of gentle strolls and long lunches in quaint cafes will revive mind and body for the next Colombian adventure.