Las Gachas and Guadalupe, Colombia

Tourism in Columbia is on the rise. What better time to visit this gorgeous and diverse country than now?  But with the increase in tourism, there is also a movement in Guadalupe to welcome tourism while also conserving and protecting the charm of the Las Gachas plunge pools. People throughout the region are welcoming and kind, and have a vested interest in keeping their home and their natural resources intact.

The best time to visit Guadalupe is during the week. It is quieter and you will get more of an authentic local experience. The weekends are much busier, with tourists flocking in. Mid-week is also a good time to get your pick of accommodation.

 

Quebrada Las Gachas Plunge Pools

Probably the most popular attraction is one of the natural resources that is worth preserving. Las Gachas, the rivers of red, often called the Cano Cristales of Santander, lure visitors and locals from far and wide. Red stones underneath the shallow water make for striking photographic opportunities.

Las Gachas and Guadalupe Colombia

The Las Gachas River is a picturesque walk from Guadalupe which will take less than an hour. Take the road going in the direction of Oiba, and you will see signs directing you to “Balneario Las Gaches.” Bring your hiking boots, especially during the rainy season! Also bring a couple of pairs of socks, as they provide traction once you are in the water. A dip in these natural Jacuzzis are the highlight for many during their trip to Guadalupe.

Once there, you will find two very deep holes, however, these are not swimmable. Take a left up the river another two minutes for the pools you want to be in! You will find several sinkholes with which to jump in, slide in and have fun! Or just to relax. This is the main swimming hole in the area and a great way to spend the day and to make new friends.

 

Things to Do In Guadalupe

Guadalupe has retained its rural charm, as it is far enough away from the big cities. Go to Casa de la Cultura, located at the main square in Guadalupe, and visit this exhibition about the town. It is free to visit, and gives information about events coming up while you’re in town. The main square also has free WiFi for those that like to stay connected. The cathedral on the square is a beautiful sight.

Las gachas Santander

Get to know the locals. You will need to brush up on your basic Spanish, but you will find the people to be friendly and relaxed. This is a very small town, where the major pastime is simply to hang out.

 

 

How to Get to Guadalupe

From Medellin. There are several ways to make the roughly 8-hour journey. Your best bet is to either hire a car and drive, which will take a little over 7 hours. Taking a bus is the cheapest way to go, about 30,000 pesos or USD10, but will take about a day to get there. There are a handful of bus operators to choose from, and depending on traffic and road conditions there may be delays. Take the bus to Bucaramanga, then Oiba. From there you can find shared transport to Guadalupe.

Las Gachas Guadalupe

From Bogota. You can take a bus from Bogota to Guadalupe. Head to the Terminal de Transporte de Bogata, where you will need to take the bus to Oiba (be sure to let your bus driver know you will be getting off in Oiba.) Omega busses are clean and comfortable. It is about a six-hour trip and costs about 30,000 pesos. Along the way you will be traveling through scenic and winding roads through the Andes. From Oiba, you can catch the bus to Guadalupe. It is an unpaved and bumpy one-hour drive to Guadalupe, but so worth it when you finally arrive!

 

Where to Stay in Guadalupe

Hotel Colonial Guadalupe

This is a clean and comfortable hotel, with small, neat rooms, high wooden ceilings and private bathrooms. There is also wifi and flat-screen TV’s in the rooms.

Check the current prices on Booking | Agoda

Hotel Santa Barbara

This hotel is good for couples. Rooms have flat screen TV and free wifi, and private parking.

Check the current prices on Booking | Agoda

Casa Hostal Camino Real

This is a nice hostel with a shared lounge and garden. There is a common kitchen and shared bathrooms. Perfect for backpackers and solo travelers. The average nightly rate is 44,000 pesos (USD13.)

Check the current prices on Booking | Agoda

 

Tours / Guides

Jose is the owner of Hostal y Restaurant Bonanza, and your main man in Guadalupe. He is super friendly and happy to be your tour guide and can lead you to all of the best spots including waterfalls, caves and of course, Las Gachas. Or he can simply recommend things to do, and places to stay. He can be reached at +57 311 8351573.

 

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