In contrast to high-adrenaline San Gil, Barichara doesn't have a lot of outdoor activities apart from some wonderful hikes in the countryside.

Hiking El Camino Real

Don't miss the spectacular hike to the hamlet of Guane on the historic El Camino Real. This ancient stone-paved road was built by the indigenous Guane people and rebuilt continuously over the centuries. It was declared a national monument in 1988. From Barichara the easy 9km hike takes about two hours to complete. The trail is mostly downhill, occasionally crossing over the modern highway to Guane. You'll begin the hike by climbing down the rim of a canyon and then traversing a valley filled with cacti and trees, occasionally encountering grazing goats or cows but rarely other humans. Notice the many fossils embedded in the stone road.

While most visitors just hike the short leg between Barichara and Guane, it's possible to extend the trek into a multiday adventure by continuing to Villanueva and down into the Cañon de Chicamocha to the tiny town of Jordán at the bottom of the canyon, before climbing up to Mesa de los Santos.

It's possible to hike from Barichara to Villanueva in one day, but some travelers choose to begin in Guane or take a bus direct to Villanueva to launch the trip from there. Either way, it's important to spend the night in Villanueva to get an early start on the hike to Jordán – it gets extremely hot in the bottom of the canyon and there's little shade.

In Jordán there's a simple hospedaje (hotel) where travelers can spend the night before climbing up and out of the canyon in the morning to catch a bus from Los Santos back to San Gil or Barichara.

In Barichara, El Camino Real begins at the northern end of Calle 4, where a sign marks the beginning of the trail. If you plan to hike the full trail, leave your luggage in storage in San Gil or Barichara – you don't want extra weight in the canyon. Bring a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.