Walking the Royal Road to Guane

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.

El Camino Real in Barichara, Colombia

El Camino Real in Barichara, Colombia

A shrine at the start of El Camino Real, Barichara, Colombia

A shrine at the start of El Camino Real, Barichara, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

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.

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

El Camino Real between Barichara and Guane, Colombia

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.

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

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.

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombi

Guane, Colombia

Guane, Colombia

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?

Extolling the virtues of goats milk, Guane, Colombia

Extolling the virtues of goats milk, Guane, Colombia

Extolling the virtues of goats milk, Guane, Colombia

Extolling the virtues of goats milk, Guane, Colombia

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.