Where to stay in San Gil and Barichara

Where to stay in San Gil and Barichara in Colombia? These two diverse destinations bear little resemblance, but are often visited at the same time due to their location. While San Gil is known for its adventure activities, Barichara is one of the most scenic villages in Colombia. Both places can count on a good flow of visitors and therefore have plenty of nice accommodations to spend the night. In this blog we help you make a choice. What are the best places to stay in Barichara and San Gil? And what are the best hostels and hotels?

Where are San Gil and Barichara in Colombia?

San Gil and Barichara are in the Santander region, so the area north of the capital Bogotá.

The nearest airport can be found in Bucaramanga. There are regular national flights from Bogotá and other Colombian airports to Bucaramanga. San Gil is the larger destination of the two and therefore the most easily accessible. You can only travel to Barichara via San Gil, because buses to Barichara only depart from San Gil. The bus ride is about 45 minutes. Barichara is often only visited as a day trip from San Gil, but that won’t do this lovely town enough justice. We also stayed in Barichara for two days and can absolutely recommend doing the same.

Another well-known destination in this region is the charming white village Villa de Leyva about 165 kilometers north of Bogotá. Most travelers first visit Villa de Leyva and then travel on to San Gil and Barichara. From Villa de Leyva it is also about 165 kilometers to San Gil, although you have to make a stopover in the town of Tunya to change buses.

San Gil Colombia

Why San Gil and Barichara are worth a visit

In our opinion, San Gil and Barichara are absolutely worth a visit because of the interesting combination of the adventure capital of Colombia and the most beautiful colonial village in the country.

Although San Gil itself is a gritty and gray town with no sights or interesting architecture, it attracts visitors with its many adventure & outdoor activities. It is the ultimate destination for horseback riding, rafting with the national Olympic team or paragliding in the mountains. We recommend that you spend at least two days and opt for one or more outdoor activities. We ourselves booked excursions in San Gil for adventurous rafting and paragliding, which eventually became highlights of our trip through Colombia.

The busy, bland town is a stark contrast to the nearby picturesque Barichara. The charming colonial town was declared a cultural heritage in 1978. Wandering through the pretty streets of Barichara is the best way to discover the city’s charm. Every street is equally photogenic with its white houses with orange tiled roofs one storey high. From Barichara you can also easily visit the idyllic village of Gauné by hiking the beautiful two-hour Camino Real trail.

Guane Camino Real Colombia

Choosing between San Gil and Barichara

Whether you should book a hotel in San Gil or Barichara is not a difficult choice in our opinion. We would choose Barichara.

We were charmed by picturesque Barichara and its beautiful accommodations in colonial buildings or in its beautiful surroundings. If you like charming hotels and beautiful boutique hotels, you should definitely stay in Barichara. Of course, this also comes with a price tag, although the hotels in Barichara are not particularly expensive by Western standards. San Gil is a great base for outdoor activities, but has little to offer other than that. You will find cozy, cheap hostels in San Gil though.

In short: choose Barichara if you like charm and beauty combined with great places to stay, but choose San Gil if you have a very limited travel budget.


Where to stay in San Gil

San Gil offers great budget-friendly hostels and hotels. Although the city itself is not very special, it is a great base for many fun and adventurous activities in the area. These outdoor activities attract many visitors to San Gil, so the city has many hostels and hotels to accommodate them. We recommend finding a place to stay in the center of town, where you will find most of the restaurants and nightlife, although there are some great hotels just outside of town as well.

#1 Macondo Hostel for the most popular hostel in San Gil, where we also had a great time. This cheap place to stay has both private and dormitory rooms. Macondo has a great central location in downtown San Gil and offers convenient activity booking assistance.

#2 Traveler Hostel for a cozy hostel with a central location. The lovely terrace with a plunge pool, large hammock and relaxation areas is a great place to relax after adventurous activities.

#3 Hotel Castillo Resort for a resort hotel across the river that runs through San Gil. The city center is a 5-minute walk away. The hotel has a special architecture with elements of a fairytale castle. There is a child-friendly outdoor pool with slides.

#4 Hotel Monchuelo Spa for one of San Gil’s nicer hotels, located just outside of town in a quiet area. The hotel offers a restaurant, several outdoor pools and a spa.

Where to stay in Barichara

The charming town of Barichara is only a 45 minute bus ride from San Gil but offers a much different experience. Although you can easily go to Barichara on a day trip from San Gil, we stayed for a few cays and we recommend that you do the same. That way you have enough time to discover the colonial architecture, photogenic streets, beautiful hike to Guané and great restaurants. Barichara is also known for its beautiful beautiful boutique hotels to beautifully situated fincas.

#5 Tinto Hostel for a beautiful place to sleep in the heart of the village. The hostel is located in one of the colonial buildings and offers a lush garden, terrace and swimming pool. Each room overlooks the gardens and has high vaulted ceilings and tiled floors. Our enormous room had a beautiful beamed ceiling and a bathroom with outdoor shower to fall in love with.

#6 Casa Barichara Boutique for a fantastic boutique hotel with a central location. The small-scale hotel has a lush garden, a library and a beautiful swimming pool. The rave reviews praise the tranquility, the friendly staff and the beautiful outdoor areas.

#7 La Juanita Hostel for the most popular hostel in Barichara. The hostel features a garden, a terrace and a bar. Hotel guests give it unanimously favorable reviews and high review ratings. They mention the homely atmosphere, good value for money and central location.

#8 Hotel Boutique Venturi for a beautiful boutique hotel in a green location 3 kilometers from Barichara. Venturi features a restaurant, a bar, a bicycle rental service and an outdoor swimming pool with sunbeds. Most rooms have mountain or garden views.

#9 Posada Finca San Vicente for a quaint finca outside Barichara, run by Dutch owners. The hostess and host provide a warm welcome and a homely atmosphere. The quiet location, the beautiful view and the authentic finca ensure an unforgettable time.

#10 Serrania del Viento for a special overnight stay just outside Barichara. Guests sleep in picturesque domes, beautiful bungalows and authentic rooms. There are outdoor showers, a beautiful swimming pool and a phenomenal view, with which Serrania del Viento scores exceptionally high review marks.

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