San Gil Backpacking – The Complete Camino Real Trail

El Camino Real

A diamond in the rough trek for those making their way to the San Gil región. Often overlooked by visitors in favor of other outdoor activities, don’t let this one slip through your fingers.

On average, those who complete the entirety of the trail will complete it in 2-3 days. The majority of others will only section hike from Barichara to Guane. An overview of the route is as follows.

Cabrera – Barichara (3 hours)

Barichara – Guane: 6.4Kms (2 hours)

Guane – Villanueva: 8.2 Kms (3 hours)

Villanueva – Jordan: 15 Kms (6 hours)

Jordan – Los Santos: 5.5 Kms (2 hours)

Cabrera – Barichara

I didn’t hike this section as I was informed after I had arrived to Guane but ask locals for its trailhead and relatively easy 3 hour hike.

Welcome to one of the most beautiful Puebla’s of Colombia. Stop & enjoy the scenery of Barichara because it really doesn’t get better than this. Head to the northern section cathedral & follow the signs to the trailhead.

Barichara – Guane 6.4 Kms

For most travelers, the only section of this route that is completed is the Barichara to Guane section. Close to 2 hours at a leisurely pace, this section is almost primarily downhill & provides an abundance of lovely scenery. Old cobbled paths, variety of trees, colorful plants, & canyon views for most of the path. This is an excellent post lunch hike.

Once arriving to Guane, wisen up & grab some homemade ice cream. You deserve it.

Guane – Villanueva 8.2 KMs

After getting your share of another light trekked Puebla, prepare yourself for a mostly uphill section. More farm land, & vistas around every corner. The trail can get a bit tricky in some spots, so have your handy if you’re in a pickle.

Villanueva – Jordan

Villanueva provides another look into small & hardly visited Puebla life in Colombia. Slow, small & tranquil. Friendly locals & enough spots to resupply on water & goods.

The route continues on the outskirts of the city passing through fincas, schools,& a few basketball courts.

It’s a pretty easy section with minor uphill gains until you get closer to the mirador. There’s maybe one or two parts where you might feel a bit confused about where to go but if you have the trail map on Maps.Me you should have no issues.

The toughest part of this section is dealing with the heat. Luckily on my day it wasn’t to bad as I embarked around 12 & had some bits of cloud coverage & thankfully not brutally hot.

Continuing downhill towards the mirador you start to see the trail shaping into something special. You become eye level with most of valley surrounding you & provided with more appealing stimulus. Once you have arrived to the mirador your legs will be reinvigorated with the beauty that lays in front of you.

This is where the beauty starts to unfold even more. Also, this is an extremely steep descent into a CANYON where your elevation change will drop roughly 1,000 meters. ENTONCES, the temperature is not to be misjudged. Bring enough water.

The trail is pretty interesting at this point meandering through ridges, switchbacks, a short taste of dense jungle & eventually down to the outskirts of Jordan. Once on flat ground your walk continues next to the river until you have made it to the hardly populated Puebla of Jordan roughly 20 minutes later.

Jordan – Los Santos

Depending on your timeline & heat, you’re staying or leaving. If leaving…. Find the bridge, cross it & it’s all uphill from here. Yes, that Canyon you just hiked down into has to be hiked out of. Enjoy the 2 hour leg burning hike up.

Note: You’re hiking in a canyon. It can be super hot depending on the time of day.

Once you have punished your legs & arrived to the top, reward yourself with yet another scenic view & a pat on the back. Meander the streets of Los Santos as it’s another little lovely Puebla that receives few visitors & look for your departing bus. Last bus usually leaves around 6:30 if you’re trying to return to San Gil.

The return Bus will be headed to Puedavista & will drop you at Turos. From there flag down a bus heading towards San Gil. Roughly 2 hours from Turos to San Gil.

Have you done the whole hike? Or are you a section hiker ?

Are there any other hikes in this area that I should know about? Let me know.

Where to next? Medellín or Bogotà or perhaps Santa Marta? Use these guides below if Bogota or Medellin

9 FREE Activities for every Medellin Backpacker

Bogota Backpacking: Street Art, Traffic & everything in between

5 thoughts on “San Gil Backpacking – The Complete Camino Real Trail

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