Guadalupe and Quebrada Las Gachas

The "pozos" in the Las Gachas RiverFounded over 300 years ago, Guadalupe is a hidden gem of a Santander town surrounded by some of Colombia's most spectacular and unusual rivers and waterfalls. Located just 2 hours from San Gil, and less than 6 from Bogota, this picturesque little town offers a perfect off-the-beaten-track travel experience in Santander.

With its sandstone paved streets, whitewashed walls, and church made of giant stone blocks (not to mention the beautiful warm sunshine - average temperatures are 22°c) Guadalupe is a typical Santander pueblo, not unlike a less touristy version of Barichara. What sets Guadalupe apart are its iconic red rivers, and the friendliness of its inhabitants - the motto of the town is "lindo y cordial" (beautiful and friendly) and Guadalupe certainly lives up to this reputation. 

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Attractions, Visits and Activities
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The central square, known as the Parque, is home to the impressive church Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Moguer, as well as the local "Casa de Cultura," which is free to enter and houses a nice exhibition of local historical artefacts, including a large collection of revolutionary arms. 

Church in Guadalupe Santander

Directly opposite the main church, on the edge of town, is a small hill with a water tower - this is also known as the local 'mirador' or viewpoint. A short 10 minute walk out of town leads to the base of the hill, then it's just a matter of walking up to enjoy panoramic views over the whole town, and over the mountains and valleys of Santander. 

The main attractions around Guadalupe are undoubtedly the various rivers and waterfalls all located within an hour's walk of the town centre. The most beautiful is Quebrada las Gachas, a gorgeous stretch of shallow river that appears red due to the rocks it runs over. Located a 45 minute walk through rolling green countryside away, las Gachas is full of deep round holes or 'jacuzzis' for swimming. With the bright-red river, deep clear 'jacuzzis,' and green mountains of Santander, Las Gachas is a postcard-perfect spot, and easily one of the most surreal off-the-beaten-track natural wonders of Colombia

=> If you don't have the time or the money, Quebrada Las Gachas is a decent alternative to the magnifiscent Caño Cristales.

Near Quebrada Las Gachas, Santander

Another popular local swimming spot is Pozo la Gloria, a deep pool at the foot of a small waterfall just 10 minutes out of town. Nearby is another fantastic red river, Quebrada del Salitre, which is full of deep plunge pools to enjoy a (chilly) dip as well. You can hike for an hour up the creek as the water is so shallow, before turning off and completing a loop back to Pozo la Gloria.

Also just outside of the town are the spectacular Berraca and Perico cave systems and the magnificent 'Llanero' waterfall, all of which can be enjoyed on a simple half-day trip. Local guide Jose charges just 15.000 COP for a tour to the caves and waterfalls. 

...=> Guadalupe and Quebrada Las Gachas Travel Guide Part 2: Accommodation, Hotels, Restaurants, Bars, Nightlife, Getting There

 

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