The royal roads were built by the natives to communicate their village and towns. At the time of the conquest, these were modernized, expanding them and turning them into a great network of Spanish engineering.
They received the name of Royal Roads during the colonial times, because the high dignitaries of the crown travelled through them. With the arrival of the Republic, the municipalities began to worry about the construction and maintenance of roads to facilitate their communication with other populations in terms of exchange of agricultural production. Although efforts have been made to conserve these roads, unfortunately many of them have been destroyed or converted to paved roads; others, however, remained anchored in oblivion, between forests of mist, primitive vegetation, and legendary settings.
There are about 18,000 km of Royal Roads in Colombia, and one of the most important was the Bogota – Honda road, which today is only preserved between Albán and Honda. Viceroys and other important characters of the colony were transported along this road on the back of a mule and their precious goods carried by indigenous people on their backs, horses and mules. Important figures of independence such as Simón Bolívar and José Antonio Galán also walked this road.
When walking along a royal road it feels as if you were traveling to the past, during the journey it is inevitable not to imagine how the people who walked these same roads hundreds years ago were. Their steps, one by one, helped to build the Colombian homeland.
We invite our passengers to visit Barichara and take the opportunity to hike the Royal Road from Barichara to Guane, one of the best-preserved.
The Camino Real was built by the Guane Indigenous people and afterwards it was used by the Spaniards. It dates back to 1867, when the German Geo Von Lengerke used the remains of the native road and built it stone by stone. It did not use cement or other artificial glue and it’s even usable in winter times and to facilitate the flow of products between the different regions.
The Barichara to Guane trail is well preserved and marked, therefore a guide is not needed. It takes around 2 hours (5 km approx.) to complete the trek.