9 Plans You Cannot Miss in Barichara

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

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:

Panoramic view from the terrace in Casa del Presidente Hotel.
Casa del Presidente Hotel

Barichara Attractions and Activities

1. Participate in workshops

Tapia Pisada

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.

Typical cooking

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.

Luisa Martin

Engineer, world traveler, amateur photographer, traveling blogger, and foody.


Discover the Chicamocha Canyon, the Largest Canyon in Colombia

The Chicamocha Canyon, is perhaps the best known and one of the largest canyons in Colombia, with 227 kilometers. Unique species grow there, such as the Chestnut Bellied Hummingbird (Amazilia castaneiventris), the Colombian Baobab (Cavanillesia chicamochae), and a spiny cactus, with a common name that reflects the care with which it should be explored: they call it Mother-in-law’s cushion (or Turk’s cap cactus) (Melocactus sp.).

Colombian Baobab (Cavanillesia chicamochae)

The Chicamocha Canyon, in northeastern Colombia, attracts tons of tourists wanting to experience adventure and nature combined. Visiting the Chicamocha canyon in the department of Santander will not only leave you amazed by its majestic landscapes but will also leave you breathless for all the adrenaline you will feel practicing adventure sports along with it. 

In this post, you will find all the information you need to know before visiting the Chicamocha Canyon. How to get there, what to do therewhere to stay, the best time to visit and also some recommendations for you to make the most of your trip. 

Discovering the Chicamocha Canyon 

The department of Santander is blessed with the presence of a grand geographical accident turned into a great tourist attraction for locals and foreigners. The Chicamocha Canyon is located between Bucaramanga – the capital city, and San Gil, it specifically passes by the villages of AratocaCepitá, Los Santos, and Jordán. 

With a length of 227 km (141 mi)an area of 108,000 hectares (270,000 acres) and a maximum depth of 2,000 m (6,600 ft)the Chicamocha Canyon is the largest in Colombia and the second-largest in the world. The elevation of the terrain goes from 900 to 1900 MASL (2950 to 6200 ft), with temperatures ranging from 11°C to 32°C. 

Reportedly, it started forming in the Early Oligoceneover 30 million years ago. The vegetation in the canyon is characteristic of tropical dry forests and premontane forests. 

Because of its majesty, Chicamocha was even nominated to be part of the 7 world’s natural wonders in 2009. Additionally, the canyon keeps cultural importance since its lands were inhabited by the Guane indigenous, who left a trace in their rock art. Pictographs can still be found in the region. 

In 2006, Parque Nacional del Chicamocha -PANACHI- was inaugurated and opened to the public. It sits on one of the slopes, on the road from San Gil to Bucaramanga. 

Today, this national park is a favorite destination among Colombians since it allows visitors to enjoy the incredible landscape of the canyon in several fun waysThe activities offered in the park include paragliding over the canyon, riding the zipline that crosses from one side to the other, or canoeing along the river 

How to get to the Chicamocha National Park 

 Your starting point should be Bogotá, Bucaramanga or San Gil. 

From Bogota

Bogotá is around 330 km (205 mi) from Chicamocha National Park, which means a 7-hour drive towards the northeast of the capital along Route 45A. Otherwise, there are direct flights that take about 1 hour offered by Avianca and Viva Air. 

Whether for Bucaramanga or San Gil, you can take a bus from the transport terminals Norte or Salitre, which leave approximately every hour. 

From Bucaramanga

Bucaramanga is 54 km (33 mi) north of the Chicamocha National Park which translates into a 1-hour 20 minutes road trip. If you prefer to get first to Bucaramanga from Bogota, that will be 390 km (240 mi) – an 8.5-hour road trip. 

From San Gil

San Gil is 41 km (26 mi) from the Chicamocha National Park, so it is a shorter trip of about an hour.  But if you opt to arrive in San Gil from Bogota first, the trip duration goes down to 6 hours.

What to do in the Chicamocha National Park 


Chicamocha National Park has a 360° viewpoint on a hill which you can get to by walking or taking the Chiva – a traditional colorful bus used for transport or parties in Colombia. This is the perfect spot to capture amazing pictures to take home as a souvenir. 


You can choose to ride one of the 3 ziplines in the park. The first zipline is 450 meters long and crosses the Chicamocha canyon and river, offering stunning views. The second one (Vuelo mirador) is shorter but more extreme – you will feel more vertigo. The last one is specially designed for children 

Paragliding, one of the most popular activities in Chicamocha

You can do it in nearby villages or over the park. This, of course, will affect the price, along with the duration of the flight (usually 20-30 minutes). It is up to you.

Paragliding over adjacent villages allows you to overlook tobacco and coffee plantations in differently colored parcels of land, seeing the gorge far awayOn the other hand, paragliding over the Chicamocha canyon is an unrivaled experience, from the flight height to the views – you can even see the Nevado de Cocuy. The adrenaline shot in both cases is great. 


Another way to enjoy the landscapes of Chicamocha is by riding the cable car, which travels 6.3 km across the canyon. The tour takes between 20 to 30 minutes and each cabin has a capacity for 8 people. The journey through the canyon is one of the major attractions of tourism in Santander. 


Riding on a 15-meter swing, swinging over the immense Chicamocha canyon is one of the attractions of the park with the most adrenaline. 


The Chicamocha National Aquapark is an aquatic complex full of pools, slides, and sun. It has a capacity of up to 4,000 people. 


You can experience a kilometer of excitement by riding a track full of ups and downs in off-road carts for one or two people.  


On the 360° viewpoint, you can descend by rope a 40-meter high waterfall, but you have the option to do rappel. Everyone – from children, young and adults, can enjoy this experience that requires agility and motivation. 

Chicamocha Canyon Race

There is a trail running competition every year since 2013 held in the canyon and the surrounding villages. The Chicamocha Canyon Race is a 4-day/2-night/52-hour nonstop competition where over 800 runners of 29 nationalities participate. It starts in San Gil and passes by other 7 municipalities. 

The race consists of walking or running through the mountains, along royal paths, secondary roads, crossing streams, old bridges, etc., with technical ascents and descents. Each runner decides where to walk, run and rest, but following an established route. 

There are different distance categories (from half marathon to 100 miles). This is definitely an extreme experience only for the most daring – and fit, travelers. 

As if that weren’t enough, Chicamocha has an ice-skating rink, 4D cinema, virtual reality, ostrich, and goat farms, where you can be with the animals and feed them. 

How much it costs? 

  • Only the entrance fee to the park is 25,000 COP for adults and 18,000 for children. 
  • Park entrance fee and the cable car is 50,000 COP for adults and 32,000 COP for children. 
  • The entrance fee to the park and the aquapark is 38,000 COP for adults and 32,000 COP for children. 
  • All the attractions in the park + cable car + aquapark is 58,000 COP for adults and 43,000 COP for children. 
  • *Children under 2 years old and adults over 60 years old don’t pay. The child fee applies up to 1.40 meters tall. 

Where to stay in Chicamocha National Park 

There is no accommodation in the Chicamocha park, so you need to look for hotels in Bucaramanga or San Gil. There is one for every taste and budget. 

Best time to travel to the Chicamocha National Park 

A general recommendation is to plan your Colombian trips avoiding the high seasons, which usually go from June to early August and from November to February, also during Holy Week and long weekends. This way the park will not be as packed and the prices will be more reasonable. 

What you should consider when visiting the Chicamocha National Park 

  • The park opens Wednesday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and weekends and holidays from 9 am to 7 pm *in the low season.
  • The cable car operates in specific hours until 1 hour before the park closes. 
  • Wear light clothes and sneakers so you are comfortable. Also, always use sunscreen and a cap/hat. 
  • Bring enough water for the day. Anyway, there are restaurants and small shops to buy snacks and drinks. 
  • Bring your swimsuit and a change of clothes if you plan to enter the aquapark. 
  • Follow strictly the safety recommendations of the adventure sports operators to avoid any injuries or incidents. 
  • Support local agencies, hotels, and tour operators. This way you contribute to sustainable development in the communities. 

This was the essential information for visiting the Chicamocha canyon in Colombia. We hope this was useful and encouraged you to visit this beautiful country! 

About the authors

Ana María Parra

Current content writer for Sula. Modern Languages professional with an emphasis on business translation. Interested in the cultural adaptation of written and audiovisual content.  Passionate about knowing new cultures and languages, tourism, and sustainable living.