One of the main things to do in Barichara is to walk the old Camino Real from Barichara to Guane. This old cobbled path used to run throughout the countryside, built by the indigenous Guane people and then used by the Spanish in their conquest of Colombia. Estimations of the distance between Barichara and Guane vary online, but when we set out, we believed it to be about 10km. Usually, people walk in one direction, from Barichara to Guane, and then take the short, regular bus back. Us being us, of course, we decided to run!
We woke up at 6am to beat the heat and left our hotel room into a very light drizzle and not a single other person to be seen in Barichara. To get to the start of the walk, we turned left out of our hotel and walked up the side of the cathedral to Cra. 10. With no real idea of where we should be going, we soon spotted a sign for the start of the Camino Real – easy enough! The path started with a very steep downhill on slippery stones so we walked down rather than run. Mum was still nervous after her fall on the trek to the Ciudad Perdida and I just didn’t want to injure myself right at the end of my holiday.
It turned out that the camino real was not the best route for two nervous trail runners. The majority of the path was loose, uneven paving stones, extra slippery in the light rain. We gave up on trying to run well and instead ran when we could and walked when we felt more comfortable.
We were however quite surprised when we stumbled upon Guane (almost literally) after just 5.2km and only an hour of walking (with a few moments of running!). We had expected the walk to take us much longer.
We walked into the central square, admired the village, and then decided to run along the road on the way back. Guane really is wonderful – a much smaller, quieter, but just as beautiful version of Barichara – and it is well worth a visit.
Then, as we’d only run just over 5km, we decided to run back towards Barichara, but this time on the road so we could actually run! The route back was about 7.8km and it was HARD. The last 4km were solidly uphill as we climbed over 400m, with some sections at 20%+ grades. The drizzle had disappeared and it was getting hot.
We struggled on, a section at a time, promising ourselves walk breaks if we ran one more km, two more kms. It was made harder by not knowing quite how far we had to go, and quite how much of it would be uphill! But eventually we came to the start of the camino real, and just had a steep climb up stone steps to make it back in Barichara.
As we climbed up, we met a few people coming back down – the normal people just starting their hike to Guane!!! We went back to our hotel for a delicious breakfast, pretty pleased with ourself for getting a 13km run / hike in before the day had even really begun.
I’d really recommend this as something to in Barichara – definitely the hike to Guane but you may prefer not to attempt the directly uphill run home! Well, you are on holiday after all.