The colonial heritage bathes Santander Department
From San Gil, you can go very easily to Barichara, Guane, Curi and many beautiful colonial towns in the surroundings, all influenced in their constructions, gastronomy and customs by the influx of Spanish, German, Danish, English, Irish, and Jewish immigrants who came at the end of the 19th century.
In Guane’s dialect, Barichara means ‘place to have rest’. We felt in love with this small town. The nicest one we had seen so far since we started our trip.
No wonder why this town, which rise above stones, is part of the national Colombian patrimony since 1978. Little winkle to our friends from Andalusia, this colonial village has been built following the andalusian way: houses with white walls, wooden doors and windows painted or plain, which let you glimpse beautiful fresh patios with plants, ceramic floors and warm lights.
Barichara has 8000 inhabitants, living with their doors open like one and only big family always with a smile on their face.
We spent a week in Barichara, in the beautiful colonial house of Yhulan, a peaceful woman. Passionate about food and yoga, she gave us daily yoga clases and prepared us some delicious vegetarian meals to make us discover her world. Her house is, like all houses in this town inside but open to the outside. The patio is the living room, bathrooms are completely open sky, birds are flying in the house, the atmosphere is cozy and singular.
Here you can visit the particular cemetery; it is made up of stone carvings exclusively designed with details in reference to the deceased, their tastes, and that makes it unique (dogs, music instruments, characters…)
Also, getting lost on its streets, you can discover several churches, workshops such as ceramics, handmade binding, as well as candles, music, or Guest house with an art gallery in its picturesque courtyards, or a paper workshop. We visited it and a mini workshop of garment paper making. It is an interesting craft process knowing that the paper is made from leaves of pitch, pine, marijuana, coca or other plants.
From Barichara you can reach Guane, an even smaller town, walking on the ‘camino real’. A fantastic and very beautiful 2 hours walk in the middle of nature which displays the work of German settler Geo Von Lengerke. In the 19th century this leader of expeditions determined the birth of engineering and archtecture in this area of the Provincial Department of Santander.
Next to the market, you will find the ‘Terminalito’ where buses leave for those towns. They cost an average of 4500 pesos the trip per person. All villages are at an average of 30 to 45 minutes from San gil.
It is an area conducive to extreme sports of all kinds, and overflows with natural treasures. You can do mountain biking, kayaking, canyoning, zip lines, rappelling in waterfalls, climbing, paragliding, parapenting, jumping off bridges … and this is a never ending list.
The hostels, hotels, and police can point you to the best places to have unique experiences in the area. The prices of these activities in general are a bit expensive, but it is worth making one and having an unforgettable memory of this beautiful area of Colombia.
Travelers interested in cultural activities can visit the paleontological museum in Guane, art galleries, visit master weavers in Guane and many other interesting workshop.