Sitting on a plateau alongside the Rio Suarez deep in the Santander province, Barichara is an utterly charming town where traditional highland life ticks along slowly.

Pretty whitewashed houses with mint green shutters line the cobbled streets and a sprinkling of plazas and churches give this town plenty of character. The Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción sits at the heart of Barichara, its towers and dome an iconic part of the landscape. The Santa Bárbara Church and San Antonio Chapel are also well worth visiting.

The rolling green hills of Santandar provide a beautiful backdrop, and from El Mirador you can look out over the vast Suarez River Canyon. Make the most of your surroundings with a hike along the old Camino Real to the pretty town of Guane, or enjoy some horseback riding.

The Santander department is the country’s adventure capital, with canoeing, rafting, hiking, caving and rapelling just some of the adrenaline-inducing activities on offer. Close to Barichara is the Chichamocha Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. See it in all its glory as you paraglide over its deep chasms or take it easy in the cable car.

What to do

  • Stroll around the peaceful streets, taking in the well-preserved architecture and churches a local guide
  • Learn all about the paper making process at the Fundacion San Lorenzo De Barichara - a wonderful hands-on workshop and craft shop
  • Enjoy some extreme adventure pursuits from San Gil (rapelling, caving, hiking, rafting, canoeing)
  • Hike the old Camino Reale to Guane or go horseback riding in the hills