Departure to Barichara, located 25km from San Gil. This town was declared a National Architectural Monument in 1975 for the well preserved urban structure and colonial Spanish-style architecture.
The houses are expansive and encompass a cloister style design around internal gardens, intricate stonework and clay tiles on the rooftops. The cobblestone streets speak volumes for the culture and the population of this Santanderean town that is known for its cuisine, stonemasonry, weaving, obacco growing and gathering “hormigas culonas”, large ants (fried up and eaten and considered an aphrodisiac).
The tour starts on foot in the town centre in the Plaza Principal which is elegantly ringed by tall palm trees and leafy foliage. On the western edge of the park is the Alcaldia, a truly colonial edifice with large balconies, internal stone columns and the monument to the Hormiga Culona in its central patio. The churches of note are La Inmaculada Concepción and San Lorenzo Mártie which have altars bathed in gold. At the top of the town is the Capilla de Santa Barbara built at the end of the XVIII century and on one side is a huge ceiba tree. This tree was scared to the indigenous Guane people that inhabited these lands prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The Parque para Las Artes Jorge Delgado Sierra is littered with interesting stone sculptures contributed by both local artists and international ones.
The Casa Natal de Aquileo Parra, the 11th President of Colombia, is today a small museum and also an elderly peoples’ recreation centre where they can work on handicrafts. There are outstanding viewpoints from which one can enjoy views of the Suarez river valley as well as the town’s streets and architectural offerings. Afterwards, visit the Casa de Arte de Oficios, where local artists display their works such as cotton and fique weavings.
The trip continues on the Guane, a small town located on a tiny plateau beside the hills and alongside the majestic Suarez River. This journey can be made on foot along the old Camino Real which extends 5km connecting the Guane with the town of Barichara. This ancient pathway was paved in stones by the pre-Columbian Guane people.
During this walk one can appreciate beautiful landscapes, valleys and fossils all the while treading in the footsteps of a past culture.
Guane is a perfectly preserved colonial village, with a pre-Columbian past, dating to the XVII century is at an altitude of 1100m. Visit the Arqueopaleontológico Museum and the Plaza Central.