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Tinto Hostel

Tinto Hostel
Carrera 4 #5-39, Barichara, Santander
(037) 726.7725
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hosteltintobarichara.com

Overview: Step back in time to a land of red terra cotta roofs, whitewashed walls, and elaborate green and blue woodwork...enter the magical village of Barichara, just 45 minutes away from Santander tourism capital San Gil. Barichara's Tinto Hostel is hands down the best spot for backpackers, travelers, and tourists in town...it's a beautiful and spacious hostel with elaborately landscaped grounds and gardens, fruit trees, friendly service, a mix of delightful private rooms and dormitories, and above all, a breathtaking view of the panoramic views surrounding the village.

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Neighborhood: This quaint picturesque village of 7,000 is a must see for the sophisticated traveler in Colombia: you won't find bars, clubs, and nightlife in sleepy Barichara, but you will find a wealth of immaculately preserved colonial architecture, friendly locals, artisan shops, and quality hotels, hostels, and restaurants.

Tinto Hostel is just two blocks south of the Parque Principal, where the bus from San Gil will drop you off. Nearby, you have a plethora of tourist attractions, as well as shops and businesses to fill all of your needs.

How to Get There: If you're interested in heading to Barichara, you are almost certainly going to pass through neighboring San Gil. Fortunately there is cheap and fast bus service between the two cities, which is serviced by the Via San Gil Barichara, a picturesque and winding highway. All buses cost just $4.200 and the route takes about 45 minutes.

Buses from San Gil to to Barichara leave every half hour from six in the morning until 8:15 at nightThe buses leave Barichara for San Gil every half hour until 5:30pm, and then there are two additional buses one at 6:15 and one at 6:45.

When you get to the Parque Principal, head south (in other words away from the church down Calle 6, two blocks, until you reach Carrera 4. There turn to the left (west in other words) and half a block down, you'll see Tinto Hostel on your right hand side.

To get to San Gil, you can either head south from Bucaramanga, about two and a half hours, or head north from Bogota, which is about 7 hours. Both Bogota and Bucaramanga have airports where all major national airlines offer flights.

Management/Staff: Hostel owner and manager Javier lives on the grounds, and has been running this spectacular hostel for three years. He's always available to answer your questions about activities and attractions in Barichara and the surrounding areas, and provides all guests with a detailed map that outlines the most important spots in the village. Javier also speaks English, which is a big plus for internation guests visiting Colombia.

Rooms: Tinto Hostel has space for thirty guests, in clean and comfortable dormitories and private rooms. 

Shared Rooms: There are three dorms, two with four beds, and one with six beds. Unlike many dorms you'll find throughout Colombia and Latin America, these dorms, even in the six bed, provide guests with a high degree of personal space and comfort. The hostel has clearly been designed with the needs of guests in mind, and not just a desire to cram as many beds into a space as possible.

Private Rooms: There are three private rooms, all with private baths, and double beds, although one room also has a bunk bed. The rooms are spacious and well-appointed with traditional hardwood furniture and wonderful decorations.

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Amenities: In addition to the great rooms and service, Tinto Hostel provides guests with free, high quality wifi, cable TV in the lounge area, and not just one, but two, fully equipped kitchens. The main kitchen, in particular, is an absolute delight for cooking or dining, and comes equipped with a full set of authentic ceramic place settings. Guests are welcome to use them, provided they are handled with care.

There is also a laundry service...for just $10.000 the hostel will wash and dry a large bag of your clothing.

The best part of the entire hostel may be the gardens and plants: there are mango trees, which produce a large supply of delicious juicy mangos; a gallinero tree (which is where San Gil's Parque Gallineral gets its name) whose starchy, sweet, white fruit you can eat; a bitter orange tree, and even a coca bush! The garden also counts with a large aloe vera plant if you get sunburned, as well as a wide variety of cactus and flowering plants. And best of all, Javier is currently installing grape vines.

There are numerous hammocks for your relaxation, and numerous hangout spots, like the outdoor picnic table on the porch.

The most important activity in Barichara is the Camino Real, which connects Barichara with nearby Guane. It's a delightful walk of 9km on this historic cobble-stoned path which passes through some truly spectacular panoramics of the Santanderean countryside. The Camino Real was constructed under the supervision of Geo Von Lenguerque, a German national, in 1866, after it had fallen into disrepair.

You can also walk from Barichara to the Canon de Chicamocha, in ten hours.

On la Quinta (Carrera 5), you'll find a wide variety of interesting workshops, producing goods such as artisan paper, elaborate stonework, ceramics and pottery, as well as the renowned Formas de Luz, a specialty furniture shop. 

In the city's northeastern corner of Santa Barbara you'll find the most impressive arquitecture in Barichara, all in traditional colonial style, which is mandated by the city's planning department.

And if walking seems like a drag, consider a scenic horseback ride to Guane or Cabrera. Ask Javier about tours with San Marcos, and you'll be galloping off in no time!

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Conclusion: So when you're planning your trip to Santander and Barichara, put Tinto Hostel at the top of your list. It's a haven of peace and tranquility, with spectacular views of the famed Santander countryside, and a staff who will make you feel right at home. You'll sleep like a baby in the comfortable rooms, and wake up refreshed to go off and hike the Camino Real, buy local artesanias, or try comida tipica santandereana in one of Barichara's fine restaurants.

Colombia Backpacking gives Tinto Hostel two thumbs up!

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