Barichara is on the list of Network of Colombian Heritage Villages, besides being one of the most beautiful villages nationwide thanks to its bohemian and colorful Andalusian style architecture.
Barichara is an excellent destination for a quiet place with a magical and photogenic atmosphere.
The town grow around the church built in 1751 on account of a supposed apparition of the Virgin. Initially it was called Vare – florence, then Vara-echada and finally Barichara, which means “Place for rest” in Guane dialect which is a derivative of Chibcha.
Barichara is built on stone. Its streets, houses, temples and especially the cemetery, a prominent place for its railings and windows, are built with yellow stone.
The cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in memory of the Virgin of the rock is a unique work, and the historic center of Barichara was declared a national monument on August 3, 1978.
In this guide you will have the necessary information to make the most of your visit in Barichara
Table of Contents
The Diversity of Barichara
Barichara is a town in the northern Andes of Colombia with about 5,000 inhabitants. Approximately 90% of Barichara’s architecture is built by the tapia pisada technique, an ancestral procedure of building with earth, without the support of wooden pieces or any other material.
This town is located on a plateau of around 40,000-50,000 hectares, where historically there was a tropical dry forest, a type of threatened ecosystem that is in danger of disappearing from the Earth. Today, 98% of the forest is destroyed and urgently needs to be restored.
The Aquileo Parra Association – Friends of Barichara, is a non-profit organization that has the purpose of preserving the historical and touristic heritage of Barichara. It also defends the natural resources and the ecological reconstruction of the Tropical Dry Forest in the Bioparque Móncora project.
Temperatures in Barichara range between 19°C (66º F) and 28°C (82º F).
How to get to Barichara
Barichara locates in the department of Santander, 121 km from Bucaramanga capital of the department, and 350 km from Bogota, capital of Colombia.
To get to Barichara by air from the main cities of Colombia (Bogota, Barranquilla, Medellin or Cali) you must take a commercial flight to the city of Bucaramanga. Once in Bucaramanga, you take an approximately 3,5-hours ride to Barichara.
Where to stay in Barichara
Most of the hotels can be found in the historic center of town, where we recommend the following alternatives:
Barichara Attractions and Activities
1. Participate in workshops
In the Villa del Alfarero you can experience the tradition of the typical construction of the village.
You will have a conversation where you will learn about the history and recommendations on the manufacturing process, besides having a tour of the village where you will be able to build a wall of Tapia from the time of preparation of the land to the assembly of the bricks made.
In this workshop you will learn about the millenary indigenous technique of Bahareque, through the oral tradition inherited from the indigenous Guanes tribe, inhabitants of this region.
During the workshop you will be taken on a tour of a real Bahareque construction and be able to touch its walls, caña brava, terrones, tree root ties, Fiquetones.
After having the theoretical knowledge of the technique you can put it into practice by building part of a wall.
At the end of the workshop you will take a bath, since you will be in contact with a lot of mud. So please bring along a pair of clean clothes.
Mud and adobe tile making
In the workshop you will be teach to identify 4 types of soil (Clay, Gredosa, Fine and Sandy) required for the elaboration of the tiles.
You will visit an ancestral oven with a production capacity of 4,000 units during 60 continuous hours of combustion, day and night, where temperatures reach over 1200 degrees Celsius.
You will get an explanation from the instructors of each of the steps in the production process where you can have a contact with the clay in each of the steps until you reach the firing point.
In this workshop you will be able to have a direct contact with the typical gastronomy of Barichara. You will have the opportunity to learn about the production process of the following products and interact with the raw material: Typical Barichara cookies, “Arepas de maíz pelao” (corn), Pan artesanal, Sancocho de Gallina.
2. Visit the church and chapel of Barichara
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Barichara.
You will see this beautiful and unusual 18th century Spanish colonial cathedral built entirely of yellow stone. Despite being a giant cathedral for the population of the town it is a place that will amaze you from the moment you enter and if you wait to see the sunset you will marvel at the beautiful ocher tone it takes at sunset.
This cathedral is a unique work, and it is supported by 10 monolithic columns carved with 5 meters high and 70 cm wide.
Visit the chapel of Santa Barbara
You want to know a beautiful chapel of the XVII century which is the scene of many marriages in the town due to its decoration with golden leaf, with arabesque, Moors and inverted flowers; which makes it a magical atmosphere for beautiful ceremonies. It is located 4 blocks from the main park of the town.
3. Visit the viewpoint of Barichara, the Salto del Mico.
Just 10 minutes walk from downtown you can enjoy a beautiful viewpoint where you will be able to appreciate the Suarez River Canyon, the Serrania de los Yariguies National Natural Park, and the municipalities of Galan, La Fuente and Zapatoca.
4. Visit the cemetery of Barichara
It is not usually one of the favorite plans of many people, but both the cemetery of Mompox and Barichara are considered one of the most beautiful in the country.
As well as all the construction of the town based on stone the cemetery is not the exception, during your tour inside the cemetery you will be able to appreciate beautiful stone carved tombstones and beautiful colonial structures.
5. Hiking Barichara – Cabrera
This tour is done through the road of Via crucis in the middle of a beautiful forest to reach the municipality of Cabrera; its duration is 6 hours with a medium degree of difficulty.
Besides, there you will be able to appreciate different types of butterflies and birds, among them you can have the possibility to see the Nicéforo’s wren (Thryophilus nicefori), an endemic bird species of Santander.
6. Tobacco Tour
It is important to know that the department of Santander is considered the largest producer of tobacco in Colombia with 50% of national production.
In the rural area of Barichara it is possible to find a farm where you can take a tour for 3 hours where you can see the different processes of development of the seedling (harvesting and maturation of tobacco).
7. Trekking in Barichara
You will have the opportunity to make a trekking in the middle of the fossils and the royal stone roads during three days, having as starting point Barichara to Los Yariguíes National Natural Park.
This tour should be done during three days, has a medium degree of difficulty and a total distance covered of approximately 40 km with an average daily walking time of 5 hours.
You can visit the village of Guane until you reach Zapatoca crossing the majestic Saravita river and the Lengerke II road. From Zapatoca you will make the last trip to Los Yariguíes National Natural Park.
8. Rafting Rio Suarez
This fantastic plan has a duration of 5 hours, has 8 fast currents with unique waves in the country; you will be enjoying one of the best rivers to develop this activity. Keep in mind that this activity can only be done by people over 18 years old.
9. Horseback riding
You can make horseback riding tours throughout the day, starting at 5:00 a.m. to appreciate the sunrise or at the last hour at 6:00 p.m.
The cobblestone streets and beautiful landscapes will accompany you on your tours and with the support of the guides you will learn more about this treasure of Colombia.
Thanks to the proximity between San Gil and Barichara of only 32 km you can choose to enjoy a full day of adventure activities that San Gil offers, and then at night return to Barichara.
For more information about the activities and everything you need to know about San Gil visit The Adventure’s and Extreme Sports’ Capital of Colombia: San Gil.
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