Many travelers in Colombia think that because of safety, it is better to visit only the highlights of Colombia. As a result, much in Colombia is still virtually undiscovered by tourists. The true gems in this beautiful country. One such a place is the white town of Guaduas. Here you will not only find picturesque white streets, delicious food and beautiful views, but Guaduas is also full of history. Ideal to add to your itinerary through Colombia. | In this article I talk about Guaduas, what to do there, practical tips and how you can easily add it to your Colombia itinerary.
Guaduas | White history in Cundinamarca
Guaduas one of the white villages and towns in Colombia and since 1959 its historic center has been a national monument. The town was founded in 1572 and is located on the edge of the department of Cundinamarca, 117 kilometers from Bogotá. Due to its low altitude of about 1,000 meters, Guaduas has quite a warm climate. Around 40,000 people live in Guaduas.
Fun fact: in 2016, actor Daniel Radcliff was in Guaduas for filming of the movie Jungle.
Guaduas is named after the guadua, an American species of bamboo common in the Colombian Andes, among others.
What to do in Guaduas?
There is plenty to do and see in Guaduas. Including this:
Catedral de San Miguel Arcángel
On the parque principal, or central square, you will find this beautiful white cathedral that towers above everything else. The cathedral was designed by Spanish architect Domingo de Petrés. Construction began in the year 1809.
Sitting on a terrace in the central square
There are few places in Colombia where you can sit on a terrace. Therefore, of course, I had to take a picture of this. Look how cozy!
Walk a bit on the camino real
The famous camino real that runs from Bogotá to Honda passes through Guaduas. This camino real is one of the most important in the country and was constructed during the time of colonization. This historic route starts in Bogotá and goes through Facatativá, Albán, Villeta and Guaduas to Honda. Among other things, the road was used to bring resources to central Colombia for construction. Although the camino real is no longer used, a group of locals from the respective villages is working to make it a tourist route. A great initiative where tourists can get a wonderful glimpse into Colombian history. The intention is to make the entire route passable with adequate facilities along the way. It would take 16 days to walk the camino real from Bogotá to Honda.
Drinks with a view from Manipura
From the cathedral, walk up the camino real calle 4 up the mountain until you reach Centro Cultural Manipura. A beautiful center where you can sit with a drink and enjoy the view of Guaduas. Highly recommended!
In the historic center you will find several museums and old houses with courtyards. One is Casa Real, a house from the 18th century. Aguardiente and later soft drinks used to be produced here. Today, it is a restaurant and museum where you find the history of Guaduas. Not only fun to walk through, but also a place to eat. Lovely sitting in the courtyard garden with birds and a drink.
Casa de Los Virreyes
Want to see another historic building inside? Then have dinner at Salomé, facing the cathedral. Great food and a beautiful place to sit.
Go to the market
Right in the center is a lively fruit and vegetable market. Nice to have a look!
Casa Patio del Moro
This house is one of the first two-story houses built in Guaduas. Today it is a museum and cultural venue for dance, music, theater and poetry. In the house you will find several rooms and the old balcony.
Explore the white streets
Also fun: exploring Guaduas on foot. Simply stroll through the historic streets and enjoy the vibrancy and Colombian life around you.
In the Guaduas area, there is plenty to do. I myself have visited Honda before, for the rest I haven’t had time yet. If you do have that time, consider visiting these destinations:
Ecoparque Loma Aventura | For activities such as survival, mountain biking, horseback riding and more.
Salto de Versalles | A waterfall you can visit during a hike.
Mirador Piedra Capira | A stone from which you have a beautiful view of the surrounding area, including the famous Magdalena river.
Honda | Just 50 minutes away you will find one of the most beautiful colored towns in this region. Also called little Cartagena, Honda is a true gem off the beaten path.
Staying in Guaduas | El Portón de Enriqueta
You will find a number of hotels in Guaduas, some of which are in the historic center. I stayed in a cute little hotel on the central square. A beautiful place in a historic white building with beautiful furnishings that perfectly match that history. A hot shower, a very nice bed, a nice view from the balconies, very sweet and helpful owners, close to the sights and a delicious breakfast. Do bring earplugs, as its location in the middle of downtown means it can be a bit noisy early in the morning and late at night.
How to get to Guaduas?
Guaduas is northeast of Bogotá and is nearly a 3-hour drive from the capital, depending on traffic and what time you leave on what day. Buses depart from the La Terminal Salitre bus station in Bogotá and pass through Guaduas.
From Honda, Guaduas is only a 50-minute drive away.
Although Guaduas is only 3 hours from Bogotá, its low altitude makes it quite warmer. So bring clothes for warm weather and don’t forget your sunscreen and something against mosquitoes.
How much time do you need?
One full day is enough to see most of what is in Guaduas. Would you also like to see the surrounding area? Then add an extra day.
Guaduas is a very safe place, but as in all larger towns, there are often neighborhoods best avoided. Also in Guaduas, there are some places to be more careful, namely outside the historic center as you cross the small river. You have nothing to do there so better stay away.
The Camino Real is best walked in daylight. If you want to go in the evening, take a cab.
Add Guaduas to your Colombia travel itinerary
You can also visit Guaduas just fine on a 1 or 2 day trip from Bogotá.
Guaduas: discover Colombia off the beaten path!
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