We love a good road trip at Plan South America. Fortunately this is the best way of visiting Villa de Leyva and Barichara.
A three-hour drive north of Bogota, Villa de Leyva is a pretty colonial town of cobbled streets, whitewashed facades and wooden balconies draped in bougainvillaea. It is set against a backdrop of Andean foothills, dotted with churches and a large open plaza. The town can be covered in a day on foot, but there is plenty to explore nearby for those interested in taking to the hills on horseback to meet local artisans.
Continuing on to the enchanting town of Barichara, through plunging valleys, winding rivers and rich emerald hills. Journeying north, temperatures soar and the scenery grows increasingly impressive. Barichara is a beautiful, sleepy, slow-paced town. Sandstone streets are lined with red roofs. We have our ear to the ground and can show you to the best spots in town to eat and drink. Our favourite place to rest our heads? Casa del Presidente, a private villa tucked away against a backdrop of mountains, is an oasis of peace and style.
The final leg of the journey is arguably the most impressive and takes around 3½ hours, winding down the vertiginous corkscrew road to Bucaramanga, via the breathtaking Chichamocha Canyon. For the most spectacular experience, we recommend paragliding through the canyon. Heli-rides can also be arranged to explore the remotest corners of the Santander province.
Bucaramanga is a bustling business hub with a cosmopolitan feel. Take your pick of places to stay, from a contemporary tower with an impressive rooftop pool, or a charming family-run coffee finca half an hour out of town.
Villa de Leyva, Barichara and Bucaramanga are for anyone looking for rich local culture and a little adventure. We can arrange a hire car for you to drive yourselves, keeping in the mind that local roads and driving standards are imperfect, or we can organise a driver, allowing you to concentrate on the views.
Contact our Colombia experts to start planning your luxury trip to Villa de Leyva and Barichara.