321km (200 miles) NE of Bogotá; 120km (75 miles) S of Bucaramanga

Barichara, set on a hot, dry plateau, is sometimes called the most beautiful town in Colombia. The colonial town is paved with oversized reddish clay stones, and its clay-roofed houses are supported by whitewashed adobe walls, making it look as if it hasn’t changed in 3 centuries; a reason why so many Colombian films and telenovelas are shot here.

The town, founded in 1741, is a place to come and relax. There isn’t much to do but wander through the bohemian streets, stopping in to shops and cafes. It’s more upscale than Villa de Leyva, though it sees far fewer tourists. Barichara also makes a good base for partaking in adventure sports in nearby San Gil. Cotrasangil (www.cotrasangil.inf.travel; tel. 7/724-2942) has buses every 30 minutes between San Gil and Barichara, a 45-minute ride.