Explore Colombia's Colonial Towns | Uncover Colombia Uncover Colombia


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Barichara - Colombia Tour Operator

Uncover the secrets of Colombia’s colonial time!

During this fascinating Colombia tour, you will visit some of the most beautiful and well preserved colonial towns in the Andean region of the country, including Villa de Leyva, Barichara, Guane, Zapatoca and the spectacular Cartagena.

Starting in Bogota and finishing in Cartagena, this great adventure will take you to see beautiful colonial towns and unique natural landscapes. It will be an excellent opportunity for you to meet locals and learn from them the ancient traditions passed from one generation to another.

You will spend time fishing will locals in Cartagena, learning how to cook traditional Colombian pastries in Villa de Leyva and learning how to build a colonial house in Barichara. You will be amazed by the spectacular colonial architecture of Barichara, officially known as the most beautiful town in Colombia, hike along ancient roads and get immersed in the romantic atmosphere of Cartagena.

EXPERIENCE TYPE History, Local Culture, Hands-on Experiences, Hiking and Wellness

Villa de Leyva
Tour Highlights
What to Expect

Detailed Itinerary

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DAY 1 Join tour in Bogota

Arrive at any time. We will pick you up at the airport and drive you to your hotel in Bogota. Depending on the traffic, the drive from the airport takes around 30-45 minutes.

At the hotel, we will check your itinerary again to make sure everything is clear, help you with anything you may need and give you some practical information about Bogota and Colombia. Depending on your arrival time, you may have some time to start exploring the city on your own or just to relax.

Bogotá is located at an altitude of 2,600 metres, so we recommend taking it easy during the first couple of days.

Note: Hotel check-in after 3pm

Overnight: Bogota
Meal Plan: None

DAY 2 City tour in Bogota and coffee tasting

Today, we will visit some of the most iconic places in Bogota's historic centre. We will have the chance to admire the world's largest collection of pre-Hispanic gold at the Gold Museum, and check the artistic work of Fernando Botero, Colombia's most famous painter and sculptor at the Museo Botero. We will glimpse the diversity of architectural styles on display at the historic neighbourhood of La Candelaria and we will capture spectacular panoramic views of the city from the top of Cerro de Monserrate.

Just to have the perfect ending to our historic tour in Bogota, we will go to a local roasting coffee plant to learn how to taste and differentiate the quality and flavours of different coffees, just like an expert coffee taster. 

Note: Gold Museum is closed on Mondays and Botero Museum is closed on Tuesdays.

Overnight: Bogota
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 3 Travel to Villa de Leyva via Zipaquira

Early in the morning, we will start our journey towards Villa de Leyva. Along the way, we will visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira and Raquira. This spectacular Cathedral, built within the tunnels of a salt mine, is located 50km north of Bogota. The Cathedral is situated 180m underground and has three sections representing the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ. The illumination and construction work is a tribute to modern engineering techniques and years of work from the miners to the artists.

After visiting the Cathedral, we will continue our trip towards Raquira, a small, colourful village with brightly painted facades and a jumble of crafts shops. This beautiful village is famous for its pottery and handicrafts made of clay, undoubtedly an exciting spot for shopping. We will have lunch on the way to Raquira. Then, we will continue our journey towards Villa de Leyva. 

Villa de Leyva is a small Spanish-style town founded in 1572. It was home to many influential politicians, artists and wealthy families during the colonial period. This lovely town, built in the classic Spanish colonial style with whitewashed houses, cobbled streets and terracotta roofs, has been remarkably well-preserved.  Its central plaza, the largest in Colombia and one of the largest in South America, is surrounded by magnificent colonial buildings, restaurants and shops.

Overnight: Villa de Leyva
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4 Gastronomic Experience and Santo Ecce Homo Convent

Early in the morning, we will go to a farm located one hour from Villa de Leyva. At the farm, we will have a traditional Colombian breakfast, followed by a cooking experience to learn how to make "almohabana", a traditional Colombian corn pastry. During this experience, you will have the opportunity to interact with the family at the farm and learn from them a bit of history on how the ancient indigenous used to process and cook food made of corn.

After this enjoyable gastronomic activity, we will go to another farm to learn everything about panela production, a product derived from sugar cane. At this farm, you will learn about the sugar cane process from harvesting to the production of panela. 

After lunch, we will go to Convento Santo Ecce Homo, founded by the Dominican fathers in 1620. The convent is a spectacular stone-and-adobe construction with a lovely courtyard and floors paved with stones quarried in the region, containing ammonites and fossils, including petrified corn and flowers. At the end of the visit, we will go back to Villa de Leyva. You will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure for your exploration.

Overnight: Villa de Leyva
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5 Transfer to Barichara

After breakfast, we will start our journey towards Barichara, another colonial town located in the department of Santander.

Splendid colonial architecture, hand-carved stone and wooden balconies are some of the reasons why Barichara has officially named the most beautiful town in Colombia. As Santander is one of the most mountainous regions of Colombia, you will be impressed by its unique natural landscape. The journey from Villa de Leyva to Barichara will take approximately 4 hours. Along the way, we will stop to take pictures of the impressive landscape in this region of Colombia. 

Overnight: Barichara
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 6 Local colonial construction technique workshop

Today, we will go to a local house to learn about building colonial houses. We will learn about the local technique used to construct colonial houses in this area of Colombia. This workshop will also be an excellent opportunity to interact with the local community and learn more about their daily lives.

We will also visit some of the main colonial buildings in the town, including Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción, Casa de la Cultura and other historical constructions. Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción is an impressive construction made of sandstone that dominates the town's architecture. It is the main church in Barichara and is particularly lovely at sunset when the stone turns a rich orange.

You will have time to explore this lovely town with small cafés, boutique craft shops, and photogenic street scenes.

Overnight: Barichara
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 7 Hiking along the Camino Real to Guane

Today, we will be hiking for about 2 hours along The Camino Real, an ancient trail that connects Barichara and the small town of Guane. 

The Camino Real trail was originally built by the Guane indigenous people and then used later by the Spanish. The old paved path was last restored in 1864 by the German George von Lenguerke. The hike is mostly downhill and will take you through a beautiful landscape of the canyon and valley surrounding the town. The trail offers some great views and a peaceful environment.

Guane is an even smaller version of Barichara, although less elaborate. We will have lunch there before coming back to Barichara. In Barichara, we will spend some time visiting the main highlights of the town. You will have the rest of the day at leisure for your exploration.

Overnight: Barichara
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 8 Uncover small towns and transfer to Zapatoca

After breakfast, we will start our journey towards Zapatoca, locate 2.5hrs north of Barichara. On the way to Zapatoca, we will pass through charming little towns like Galán and Fuente that are literally stopped in time. 

Zapatoca was built in the 17th century and is located in the middle of an impressive canyons landscape. As a completely off the beaten track destination, Zapatoca is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of its streets surrounded by the spectacular natural landscape. Upon arrival in Zapatoca, we will do a tour around the town before going to the hotel.

Overnight: Zapatoca
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 9 Relaxing body and mind

Today is to relax and recharge your mind and body. Hotel Sindamanoy, where you are staying, is a Spa focus on wellness. You will be able to take some wellness sessions available to promote self-care, relaxation and overall health and wellbeing. These sessions are already included in the tour.

The hotel is surrounded by a beautiful garden and natural areas for a nice walk. You can also enjoy some time walking around the town, which is very calm and charming.

Overnight: Zapatoca
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 10 Transfer to Bucaramanga. Fly to Cartagena

After breakfast, we will start our journey towards Bucaramanga, the capital city of this region of Colombia.

On the way to Bucaramanga, we will stop at Chicamocha National Park, Colombia’s most extensive canyon and one of the most iconic natural places to see in Santander. After arriving in Bucaramanga, we will go to the airport for a late afternoon flight to Cartagena.

Upon arrival in Cartagena, we will go to the hotel.

Overnight: Cartagena
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 11 City tour in Cartagena

After breakfast, we will pick you up at the hotel for a city tour covering the Castillo de San Felipe and the old city surrounded by the impressive walls built during the Spanish rule to protect the city against enemies and looters.

The Castle of San Felipe is the greatest and strongest fortress ever built by the Spaniards in any of their colonies. It was built at the end of the XVI century for the defence of the city. Its construction began on September 8 of 1614, after the attack of the legendary Sir Francis Drake by order of King Philip III. It is the most preserved and complete fortification in South America and one of the best-walled cities in the world. It is a World Cultural Heritage Site and an invaluable treasure that has resisted the attacks of invaders, time and nature.

The old city is the historic heart and soul of Cartagena. We will walk around its cobbled streets, visiting and passing by the main historical sites. 

You will have the afternoon to relax at the hotel or carry on exploring the old city, admire its architecture and immerse yourself in its romantic atmosphere.

Overnight: Cartagena
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 12 La Boquilla Fishing Village

Early in the morning, we will go to La Boquilla, a small fishing village located 7 km north of Cartagena. La Boquilla sits on the northern tip of a narrow peninsula, bordered by the sea on one side and the Ciénaga de Tesca on the other.     

At La Boquilla, we will take a trip in a wooden canoe through the mangrove forest in La Cienga de Tesca. We glided through tunnels of mangroves to see some of the native and migratory birds found in this ecosystem. After exploring the mangroves, we will arrive at more open water to learn how to fish. A local fisherman will teach you how to cast a net and set crab traps. You will have time to do your best to catch your lunch!

After learning to fish in the mangrove forest, we will go back to the town to enjoy a traditional lunch. The lunch will be a delicious meal consisting of seafood, which is popular along Colombia's Caribbean coast. While having lunch, you will learn more about the locals' day-to-day lives and their culture. After lunch, we will go back to the hotel.

Overnight: Cartagena
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13 Explore Cartagena on your own

You have the day to carry on exploring Cartagena on your own. You can wander around the cobbled streets in the historic city, visit some colonial churches or go to Getsemani to see its colourful graffiti's.

Overnight: Cartagena
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 14 End of the tour in Cartagena

The tour ends today. At the time required, we will pick you up at the hotel to transfer you to the airport.

Note: Check out before 12 pm

Overnight: -
Meal Plan: Breakfast

Essential Information

What's Included

  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • 13 nights' accommodation (double occupancy)
  • Domestic flights:
    • Bucaramanga – Cartagena
  • Private ground transport
  • Meals as defined in the itinerary
  • Local English-speaking tour guides 
  • Experiences and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entry tickets to all tourist attractions mentioned in the itinerary 

What's Not Included

  • International flights
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Tips and other discretionary expenses
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Early / late check in on the first / last day of the tour
  • Insurance
Flexible Terms

Flexible Booking Terms

With the current situation around the world changing at an unprecedented pace, we understand that you may feel very anxious and hesitant about your future travel plans. Therefore, we have modified our booking conditions to give you more flexible options. You can now book your next holiday to Colombia, having the tranquillity of changing your dates without any extra cost, and even book a long trip with a small deposit.

We hope these flexible booking conditions give you the option to plan and dream about your next holiday.

Small deposit:

You can book this Colombia trip with only 50 GBP / 60 EUR / 65 USD per person. This deposit is not refundable.

Change departure dates:

Our flexible booking conditions will allow you to change the departure date without any additional fee. You can move the departure date to any time before the end of 2022.

If your initial departure date was to happen during a low holiday season and you wish to move it to departure during a high holiday season, please consider that the price of the tour could be higher due to higher tariffs from hotels and airlines. We will confirm and agree with the change in the price.

Note: High holiday seasons in Colombia are during Easter and from December 15th to January 19th. 

Later payment:

We will require a full payment minimum 20 days before the departure date of the tour.

Cancellation Costs:

If you definitely need to cancel the tour after sending us the full payment (20 days before the departure date), we will refund 80% of the tour's cost.

These terms apply to bookings made from now on until further notice.

Please check the complete description of our terms and conditions.

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