Just one hour off the main Bogotá–Bucaramanga highway, the sleepy agricultural town of Guadalupe has recently become something of a tourism hot spot, with busloads of Colombian visitors and a steady trickle of backpackers descending on its pretty palm-filled plaza.

The influx is due to Quebrada Las Gachas, also known as the Caño Cristales of Santander, a shallow river running over reddish rocks with dozens of tiny swimming holes. But Guadalupe offers plenty of other attractions for nature lovers, including other less-visited rivers, natural pools and majestic waterfalls.

The town itself is attractive and friendly but very quiet and is unlikely to hold your attention for long once you've seen the surrounding sights.