Explore Colombia's Colonial Towns | Uncover Colombia Uncover Colombia


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Uncover the secrets of Colombia’s colonial time!

During this fascinate Colombia tour, you will visit some of the most beautiful and well preserve 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 not only beautiful colonial towns but also amazing natural landscapes. It will be a great opportunity for you to interact with locals and learn directly from them ancient traditions passed from one generation to another. 

You will be able to 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 immerse in the romantic atmosphere of Cartagena. This tour will be a fulfilling and unforgettable experience. 

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

Colombia Tour Barichara
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 again your itinerary 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 the time of your arrival, 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 to take it easy during the first couple of days.

Overnight: Bogota
Meal Plan: None

DAY 2 Historic 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

We will pick you up from your hotel to start our journey towards Villa de Leyva, in the department of Boyaca. Along the way, we will visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira and Raquira. The Salt Cathedral is located 50km north of Bogota and was built within the tunnels of a salt mine. The cathedral is situated 180m underground and has three sections representing the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ. It is an amazing work of architecture and engineering.

After visiting the cathedral, we will continue our trip towards Raquira, a small a 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. An interesting 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 was home to many important politicians, artists and wealthy families of 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 main plaza, the largest in Colombia and one of the largest in South America, is surrounded by magnificent colonial buildings.

Upon arrival in Villa de Leyva, we will to the hotel.

Overnight: Villa de Leyva
Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4 Local community of Gachantiva

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 also learn from them a bit of history on how the ancient indigenous used to process and cook food made of corn.

After this interesting gastronomic activity, we will go to another farm to learn everything about the production of Panela, a product derived from sugar cane. At this farm, you will learn all about the sugar cane process and the important consumption of Panela in the Colombian gastronomy. Then, we will have lunch.

After lunch, we will go to Convento Santo Ecce Homo, founded by the Dominican fathers in 1620. This 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 own 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.

Sumptuous colonial architecture, hand carved stone and wooden balconies are some of the reasons why Barichara is officially named the most beautiful town in Colombia. Santander is one of the most mountainous regions of Colombia. You will be impressed by its impressive landscape adorned by rugged medley of soaring mountains and deep river gorges. Barichara is also officially named as the most beautiful town in Colombia, its sumptuous colonial architecture, hand carved stone and wooden balconies are some of the reasons for this nomination.

The journey from Villa de Leyva to Barichara will take approximately 4 hours. Along the way, you will have plenty opportunity to admire the landscape, stop to take pictures or even visit some other small towns. 

Overnight: Barichara
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 6 Local colonial construction technique workshop

Today we will go to a local house to learn about the technique use to build the colonial houses in the area. It is a technique used since most of the colonial towns were built. This workshop will be also a great opportunity to interact with the local community and learn more about their day to day live.

After this interesting activity, we will visit some of the main colonial buildings in the town including: Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción, Casa de la Cultura and other historic constructions. Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción, it the main church in Barichara. It is a gorgeous building made of the sandstone that dominates the architecture of the town, it is particularly lovely at sunset when the stone turns a rich orange.

You will have the rest of the day to wander around the streets of the town. Its lovely weather, small cafés, boutique craft shops, and photogenic street scenes will make this trip a very exciting experience.

Overnight: Barichara
Meal Plan: Breakfast

DAY 7 Hiking from Barichara 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. We will also have a tour in Barichara.

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 will be mostly downhill and take you through a beautiful canyon and valley. The trail offers some great views as well as some solitude in the peace and quiet of the countryside.

Guane is an even smaller version of Barichara, although less elaborate. We will have lunch there before coming back to Barichara. You will have the rest of the day for your own 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

Hotel Sindamany where you are stay 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.

The hotel is surrounded by beautiful garden and natural areas for a nice walk. This will be a day just to relax and recharge your mind and body

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, located about 120 km north from Barichara.

On the way to Bucaramanga, we will stop at Chicamocha National Park, Colombia’s biggest 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 on top of the San Lazaro hill and defended the city from many attacks including a British siege in 1741. The old city is the historic heart and soul of Cartagena. We will walk around its cobbled streets, visiting or 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

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. During this trip, you will see some native and migratory birds and learn about the flora and other fauna found in this ecosystem. You will learn local fishing techniques like how to cast a net and set crab traps.

After learning to fish in the mangrove forest, we will enjoy a traditional lunch. This is where you will learn more about the locals’ day-to-day lives, their fishing tools and their culture. The lunch will be a delicious meal consisting of seafood, which is popular along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. We will finish this tour after lunch around 2 pm and drop you back off at your hotel in Cartagena.

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 cobble 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 for a transfer to the airport.

Note: Check out before 12 pm

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


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