The 10 Most Beautiful Villages in Colombia has the following list, which I am sure you will love exploring.
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As a Seasoned Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider, you may well have passed through a huge number of beautiful villages. But have you ever experienced beautiful Colombian villages?
How about 10 of them and many of the Colombian ecosystems in between each as an added bonus?
What can you expect?
Many of Colombia’s small towns have little to offer besides a cheap feed and a bed for the night. On the other hand, some genuinely delightful rural pueblos and small towns make worthy destinations in their own right.
Barichara, Santander – immensely atmospheric & visually stunning.
Jardin Antioquia – An unassuming gem & perfect for birdwatchers.
Jericho, Antioquia – Picture perfect with its storybook appearance.
Guatape, Antioquia – A truly magnificent hidden secret.
Pijao, Quindio – The uncomplicated and prettiest of them all.
Villa de Leyva, Boyaca – Go back in time to 1572; nothing has changed.
Salamina, Caldas – A truly quaint coffee country pueblo.
Mompox, Bolivar – Once a thriving port now trapped in time.
Mongui, Boyaca – An idyllic highland pueblo sitting on a mountain.
La Playa de Belen, Norte de Santander – A perfectly planned and pristinely maintained squeaky clean village.
All the more reasons to reserve time with the prominent and independent MotoDreamer for you and your motorcycle to taste the freedom that Colombia and the ten most beautiful villages have to offer to both Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider and bike.
Are you planning a Motorcycle Tour in Colombia? Have you considered how many beautiful villages you will discover?
There is no better way to escape the chaos of the cities than saddling up and hitting the highway. Forging onward as the traffic dwindles and then finally disappears. Look forward to empty roads opening up before you, inviting a world of endless possible adventures.
Of course, not all of us can afford to ride without a plan or purpose. You’ll most likely want to map out the majority of your route. Furthermore, don’t forget to include picking out your stopovers, many of which will end up being small towns.
In truth. Many of Colombia’s small towns have little to offer besides a cheap feed and a bed for the night. On the other hand, some genuinely delightful rural pueblos and small towns make worthy destinations in their own right.
The ten villages on this list were picked for their aesthetic appeal and inviting small-town atmosphere. So, start planning your dream ride. And be sure to visit at least a few of Colombia’s 10 Most Beautiful Small Towns.
Numero Uno, or Number 1 of the 10 Most Beautiful Villages in Colombia, has to be BARICHARA, SANTANDER.
Barichara (population 7,063) was an obvious choice for the top spot. Immensely atmospheric and visually stunning.
The laidback charms of Barichara are apparent the second you set foot on its cobblestone streets. Barichara sits atop a plateau overlooking the Suarez River canyon, a compact colonial hillside town.
The steep, narrow streets are lined with whitewashed, terracotta-roofed homes. Furthermore, the further up you climb, the more the views of the surrounding valley intensify. Although Barichara has its share of fancy boutique hotels, it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap.
Not surprisingly, here, life moves at a leisurely pace. The locals are genuinely welcoming, and once the day-trippers are gone, evenings in the plaza are serene and romantic.
Barichara is 20 km from the adventure tourist mecca of San Gil and 118km from the state capital, Bucaramanga.
Numero Dos or Number 2 should be nothing other than JARDIN ANTIOQUIA.
A lovely, unassuming gem couched in the emerald green hills of Antioquia. Jardin (population 14,777) is among the most visually alluring townships in the Zona Cafetera or Coffee Triangle.
With brightly painted buildings, a lively plaza is perfect for people watching. There is also s plenty to see and do in the surrounding countryside. Jardin is slowly attracting a trickle of visitors straying from the gringo trail. The cable car ride to the Alto de las Flores mountain peak culminates in fantastic views of Jardin’s verdant countryside.
133km south of Medellin. Unsurprisingly, Jardin has enough to tempt you into several days’ stay. Providing you with ample opportunities to attend excursions to nearby coffee farms, waterfalls.
Notwithstanding, this location is perfect and prime for birdwatching habitats.
Number 3 of the 10 is the Picture-Perfect JERICÓ, ANTIOQUIA.
Another overlooked town in the Zona Cafetera, Jericó. With a population of 12,100. Visited by domestic pilgrims journeying to the hometown of Colombia’s first saint, Mother Laura Montoya.
Religious significance aside, Jerico is possibly the most picture-perfect pueblo in Antioquia (and maybe all of Colombia.) Its storybook-like appearance materializes out of the misty mountains. Also, this is a village-scape of elaborate old churches and immaculate streets lined with Crayola-coloured houses and flower-draped balconies.
Also, don’t leave without hiking up Cerro Las Nubes for a soul-stirring view of the southern Antioquian mountain ranges.
Numero Cuatro or Number 4 is the Magnificent GUATAPÉ, ANTIOQUIA
Guatapé (population 5,600) is hardly a hidden secret. But as a contender for the most colorful town in Colombia. This curious little village on the shores of a massive artificial lake was bound for backpacker fame.
It’s almost impossible to pinpoint Guatape’s architecture to any particular time period. Surprisingly, there’s a fantasy-like, Legoland quality to the block-shaped houses in meticulous, symmetrical rows.
Furthermore, they are all hand-painted in bold colors and embellished with ornate frescoes (called ‘zocalos.) Each also depicts everything from family professions to forest creatures to favorite pop culture icons
Guatape’s primary attraction is the hike to the top of the nearby La Piedra Peñol, a 2,135m high monolith. Six hundred fifty stairs criss-cross the bizarre-looking rock like a gigantic zipper. Reach the top, and you’ll be rewarded with a rather breathtaking view of the Guatape Reservoir’s meandering waterways and islands.
Guatapé is a leisurely two-hour, 83 km day trip from Medellin.
Numero Cinco, or Number 5 of the 10 Most Beautiful Villages in Colombia, undoubtedly one of the prettiest named PIJAO QUINDIO.
Coffee tourism has swept through to the Colombian countryside in a big way. But has so far passed right over Pijao (population 10,250.) An impossibly pretty little town where life feels more uncomplicated. Instead, visitors are sure to share a few cups of arabica brew with the irrepressibly welcoming locals.
Despite being relatively unknown to the outside world. Pijao was the first South American town to join the ‘Cittaslow’ or ‘slow city movement. This is also a community-based movement focusing on sustainability and preserving cultural heritage.
Pijao is also well worth a detour for serious coffee enthusiasts. Each will have some of the best plantation tours and finca homestays found in the nearby countryside.
Numero Seis, or Number 6 of the 10 is the enchanting colonial town of VILLA DE LEYVA BOYACÁ.
Largely intact colonial towns are somewhat of a rarity in Colombia. Thus, making Villa de Leyva (population 16,984) all the more enchanting. Founded in 1572, the entire town was declared a national monument in 1954, and it has remained perfectly preserved ever since. With no modern architecture detracting from its beautifully whitewashed Spanish buildings.
The focal point of the town is the Plaza Mayor. Fourteen thousand square meters wide and completely covered in cobblestone. It’s also the largest square in Colombia is a stunning sight, framed by immaculate 16th-century mansions.
Curiously, one of Villa de Leyva’s most visited attractions is not from the colonial period at all. The vaguely Gaudi-inspired Casa Terracotta just outside town is a whimsical, wonky construction made entirely from clay.
160 km from Bogota, Villa de Leyva is a popular weekend escape from the city.
Numero Siete, or Number 7 of the 10 has to be a quaint coffee country town called SALAMINA, CALDAS.
A sleepy, deeply traditional town that also just happens to boast some of the most beautiful heritage architecture of any Colombian pueblo. Salamina (population 18,740) is a quaint coffee country town. For now, it remains unconcerned with catering to the whims of tourists and is just happy to be itself.
In the early days, coffee growers who struck wealth decorated their homes with elaborate woodwork. They also embellished the doorways, balconies, and window frames that give Salamina its distinctive aesthetic.
The prominent landmark is the all-white church, an ivory tower looming large over Salamina’s pastel-hued homes and colorful plaza.
Hot travel tip – the giant wax palms of the Valle del Cocora. Salento’s most famous tourist attraction also grows prolifically in a valley near the village of San Felix.
About 30 km outside of Salamina, you’ll have a good chance of having the company of the trees entirely to yourself.
Numero Ocho, or Number 8 of the 10 Most Beautiful Villages in Colombia, a port town called.
Once a thriving port town plonked on an island in the middle of the mighty Rio Magdalena. When the trading boom ended in the 19th century, Mompox seemed to simply become trapped in time.
Now forgotten by the outside world for generations. Much of Mompox has changed little since the colonial days, and it was granted World Heritage protection in 1995.
Notably, today, Mompox is experiencing a second wave of prosperity. Tourists from Cartagena (136km to the southeast.) Flock to stroll the nostalgia-laden stone streets of a town that resembles a Hollywood period film set. Or Gabriel García Márquez’ magical, make-believe settlement of Macondo.
A few of the riverside merchant mansions have been converted into bars and boutique hotels. In comparison, the silversmith workshops along Calle Real del Medio are also an atmospheric highlight.
Numero Nueve, or Number 9 of the 10 an idyllic highland town named MONGUÍ, BOYACÁ.
Sitting at a breathtaking 2,900m above sea level, Monguí (population 5,000) is an idyllic highland pueblo. Built on the side of a mountain, practically every corner of the town has panoramic views of the valley below.
A 17th-century Franciscan monastery dominates the plaza. Where local farmers in their ruanas (traditional woolen ponchos) also congregate to sell fresh produce.
Look for the 17th century Calicanto Bridge is watercolor-painting-picturesque, constructed from a concoction of clay, lime, and bull’s blood.
The 20km road from Sogamoso ascends steeply through stunning mountain scenery.
Mongui is also an excellent base for exploring the surrounding paramo (Andean tundra landscape.)
Numero Diez or Number 10 of the 10 Most Beautiful Villages in Colombia is LA PLAYA DE BELEN, NORTE DE SANTANDER
La Playa de Belen (population 8,546) is a squeaky clean village, with just a few streets. Many lead to a small plaza dominated by the San Jose church’s two white towers and golden domes.
Everything in the village – the houses, streets, sidewalks, and even the potted wall plants decorating the sides of buildings. All perfectly planned and pristinely maintained.
What makes Playa genuinely remarkable is its otherworldly setting in a valley surrounded by undulating, weathered rock formations.
Just a few minutes outside of town is the incredible Los Estoraques Unique Natural Area; a geological wonder made up of rugged rows of erosion-worn brownstone pedestals and columns.
The 269 km route from Mompox to La Playa through dry canyons and lush river valleys is one of the most spectacular rides in northern Colombia.
So there you have the complete list of 10 Most Beautiful Villages in Colombia.
To be fair, there´s so many more for you to discover when out and about on your motorcycle.
I think it would be fun in the future to compare lists.
Written by: Fiona Davies (extreme pillion rider and adventure travel writer.)
Edited for SEO optimization by Mike Bowley at www.mikedbowley.com
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