If the sights and sounds of peaceful Barichara are all a bit too much for you, don’t despair. A glorious 10km hike along the historic El Camino Real, or Royal Road, brings you to the picture-perfect and pocket-sized hamlet of Guane – a quintessential colonial village where you really can leave the world behind.
The hike itself is spectacular. It starts on the edge of the escarpment where Barichara ends, drops down the escarpment into the valley floor and undulates through beautiful countryside, offering fabulous views down the length of the valley, before finally arriving in tranquil Guane. The route is predominantly downwards and even on a hottish day is very enjoyable. You also have the knowledge that you’re passing along an historic route used for hundreds of years.
Except for a lot of birds and butterflies, the only animals you’re likely to see in this farming country are cows and goats, but the peace and quiet of the route make it all worth while. We passed only three or four other people along the whole route.
Arriving in Guane is like time-travelling back into history. The day we arrived there weren’t any vehicles, a young boy was driving cows down a cobbled street and a few people hung around the main square chatting. That’s pretty much it as far as sights are concerned, but the village is absolutely beautiful – more cobbled streets, whitewashed houses with red tiled roofs and a lovely plaza sporting a colonial-era church.
We sat in the plaza and had a drink while watching nothing-much happen. There is a bus service between Barichara and Guane and we’d arrived with just enough time to rest our weary legs and have a cold beer before hopping on the bus for the short journey back to Barichara – which suddenly seemed cosmopolitan by comparison.
However, just as we were about to get on the bus we noticed a small shop on one corner of the village square. The shop wasn’t open so I couldn’t investigate the validity of their advertising claims, but I thought people might have some insight into them?
Whether goat’s milk is the new, natural viagra or not I can’t tell you, plus I’m unlikely to ever find out – I hate goat’s milk.
6 thoughts on “Walking the Royal Road to Guane”
Hi there, I really admire you’re travel blog! Great job. Recently I drafted a post about Camino Real (Royal Road) which will appear next week. I was hoping you would allow me to use 4 photos that you took. Obviously I will acknowledge their source. Our camera was stolen soon after we got back to San Gil.
Hi, please do use the photos. Sorry to hear your camera was stolen, but at least your message jogged a few good memories of walking the Camino Real (and Colombia in general). All the best.
Thank you very much. That is very kind of you. Camino Real is one of my favourite places in Colombia. It should be a pilgrimage of sorts.
Oh yes, much more interesting to me than beaches and palm trees ! 🙂
As for goats milk, for years I milked my own goats, love the milk. The flavour of the milk of course, is influenced by the herbage the animals have been eating. It’s much easier to digest than cow’s milk and goats have many endearing qualities 🙂
I think I was put off most things goat when I was training for a marathon. I was 18 miles into a training run and had to pass through a field with a herd of goats, the smell knocked me sideways. Haven’t been able to get over it. That said, I’ve eaten some really good goat cheese in Bolivia that didn’t smell like goat.
Oh, the males can certainly smell when they are in season – only for a small part of the year really. You can get used to it 🙂 Try making friends with a gentle doe, and you’ll find her sweet smelling – they are actually much cleaner than cows. I had a pet neutered male, and he’d ride in the car with the dog, and yes, I’d get surprised looks from other drivers!