Bogotá and Colonial Villages

Boyaca | Santander, Barichara

Highlights

  • Gold Museum in Bogotá – on the path of El Dorado
  • Colonial villages – Villa de Leyva and Barichara
  • Coffee process in a Coffee Hacienda

  • Day 1 Bogotá

    Welcome to Bogotá! It is possible to exchange your currency after arrival. The most convenient would be to withdraw money from the ATM. They are located after the arrival zone in the exit area. Transfer from the airport to the hotel.

    Day 2 Bogotá

    During the walking tour of Bogotá, you will enjoy the contrast of the modern and historical part of the city. You will see the most important buildings from the colonial era in La Candelaria, the old town of Bogotá, as well as the government district around Plaza Bolívar with its Cathedral, Palace of Justice, Parliament and Town Hall. Visit Bogotá’s famous museum of the artist Fernando Botero, with its outstanding collection of contemporaneous art. Experience how the unique emeralds were traded. The Gold Museum is a highlight, with its unique collection of preColumbian gold jewelry. If the weather is nice you will drive to Monserrate where you have a spectacular view of the big city.

    Day 3 Bogotá – Villa de Leyva

    You drive from Bogotá to Zipaquirá, which depending on the traffic can be reached after 1.5 hours. The nice colonial old town of Zipaquirá gathers numerous buildings of the 18th century. Marvel at the imposing underground salt cathedral, a complete church inside a salt mine and learn more about the religious significance of the place and the importance of the salt for the region and its history. The cathedral is an important religious place and the same time a unique architectural work. Afterwards you take the main road to Tunja and stop at the Sisga dam, where you can take a break and enjoy a fresh trout (food not included). If you are interested in history, quickly stop at the Puente de Boyacá, which is the place where in 1819 Simón Bolívar won the last and decisive battle against the Spanish colonial rulers. From there it’s only a short ride to Villa de Leyva, a village which in colonial times used to be a “summer residence” of the bishops from the cooler Tunja and gathers spacious and beautifully preserved churches. Walk through the cobbled streets and end the day at the Plaza Mayor.

    Day 4 Villa de Leyva

    If you like walking, you can start with an easy two-hour hike through the hills of Villa de Leyva, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view over Villa de Leyva and surroundings. Visit the monastery of La Candelaria, an Augustine convent of the 17th century and admire how the abundant fossils have been integrated into the architecture of the buildings of the area. A special highlight is the garden of the monastery. Afterwards you can make a short stop in Ráquira, a small town that lives traditionally by the pottery. Visit the numerous souvenir shops, with all kinds of crafts from all over Colombia and take the chance to buy a souvenir of the region. If you fancy you can learn more about the ceramic items and the handcrafted pottery. On the way back to Villa de Leyva, you have the opportunity to visit a fossil museum in which, among other things an 8-meter-long ichthyosaur found in the region is exposed.

    Day 5 Villa de Leyva – Barichara

    The journey slowly leads from the highlands to warmer region. The road from Villa de Leyva first passes through lush green pastures. From Arcabuco the road winds through a narrow gorge, which opens in the direction of the Río Suárez. On the slopes of Suárez Valley, at an altitude between 1’000 and 1’500 meters above sea level, the way leads from Barbosa to San Gil. Along the way there are numerous opportunities to stop at, for example to look at a traditional sugar mill or to taste the typical Guava mousse. Don’t miss to taste the Cuajada con Melao, a cheese cream with sugar molasses. The Caseteja at Oiba is known for this specialty. From San Gil it’s a half hour drive to Barichara. This perfectly preserved village was declared as the most beautiful village of Colombia. The town, located at an altitude of 1’300 m above sea level offers a pleasant temperature of about 26°C.

    Day 6 Barichara

    Explore the region while an easy downhill hike from Barichara to the quiet village of Guane. Along the way, you’ll pass tobacco fields and cow paddocks, enjoy the view over the Valley of the Río Suárez and the powerful Cordillera de Cobardes. Don’t miss the little museum of fossils and relics of the indigenous Guane tribe in Guane. Drive back to Barichara by car.
    During a leisurely walk, you discover Barichara with its whitewashed houses and cobbled streets. In many small galleries and craft workshops there’s always something interesting to discover. From the small chapel of Santa Barbara, you have a beautiful view over the village and the valley of the Río Suarez. Take your time visiting the artisanal paper mill where you can watch (or do it yourself) how paper is being made of agave and pineapple fibres.

    Day 7 Barichara – Bucaramanga

    This tour takes you from Barichara to Bucaramanga. It leads through the Canyon del Chicamocha, when conditions permitting, you will be able to cross the canyon by cable car and enjoy a fantastic view of the deep gorge.
    On the other side of the canyon, at 1’600 meters above sea, you will visit the coffee farm “El Roble”, a Rainforest Alliance certified farm operated with the principles of sustainability. Trace the path of the coffee bean from seedling into the steaming cup. Taste some of the coffee varieties grown on the hacienda guided by professional coffee technician.
    Then drive to Bucaramanga airport.

    Services included:

  • Transfers in private car from/to the airport
  • Overland transfers in private car according to the program
  • Excursions with English speaking local guides according to the program (incl. entrance fees) (other languages on request)
  • Meals like indicated
  • Accommodation in double room
  • On loan Colombian prepaid phone

  • Services not included:

  • International flight to Colombia
  • Tip and local taxes (e.g. airport or port taxes, none apply as of May 2017)
  • Domestic flights