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Villa de Leyva, San Gil, Barichara

sunny 26 °C

Villa de Leyva is a quiet little town, surrounded by hills, about four hours north of Bogotá. It has one of South America's biggest market squares, a lot of charming colonial houses and picturesque cobblestone streets.

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There are quite some attractions around Ville de Leyva, a (very small) botanical garden, a kronosaurus fossil, pozos azules (very blue little lakes), an old astronomic observatory made of phallic stones and a nice monastery called Ecce Homo. So we rent (crappy) bicycles for the day and went out exploring.

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Next station was San Gil, the outdoor adventure capital of Colombia. San Gil has an attractive central square, where local youths like to party on Friday and Saturday nights, a botanical garden and some nice hostals but it is definetely not the nicest city in Colombia.
Here's a picture of the 'barbas de viejo' in the botanical garden.

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San Gil's attraction, however, lies in the outdoor activities organised nearby. There is caving, rafting, rappeling, trekking and paragliding.
One day, when we had planned to visit the Chicamocha canon, which appeared to be closed that day, we decided to go paragliding. The company didn't look very professional. After an hour drive from San Gil we arrived in a finca-like kind of place where there was a big open area for launching and before we knew it, we were up in the air for twenty minutes. It was a really nice experience, though, and the funny thing is that we landed at the same spot as where we took off. Thermal winds would take us up a few hundred meters in no time, just amazing.

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Another very nice daytrip from San Gil is Barichara, a picturesque little village about one hour from San Gil.

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From Barichara you can take the nine kilometer walk over an ancient stone paved path to a little village called Guane. Do not make our mistake and take the asphalt road to Guane which starts from calle 4 (the path starts from carrera 4). After about two hours of walking, we thought the asphalt road crossed the ancient path so we took the path and got lost in the forest... As dark was coming in, we were preparing to spend the night in a deserted farm but we found the way back just before dark. Of course, we missed the last bus back to San Gil and had to take a very expensive, crappy taxi.

Posted by Gitan Jean 11:43 Archived in Colombia

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