Following the steps of the past: the Camino Real from Honda to Santafé de Bogotá (Colombia)

Authors: Andres Guhl*, Universidad De Los Andes
Topics: Historical Geography, South America, Transportation Geography
Keywords: historic trails, Colombia, historical geography, Latin America
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Since colonial times (17th century), the Camino Real from Honda to Santafé de Bogotá was the most important trail of the viceroyalty of New Granada. This path communicated the capital (Bogotá) with its port on the Magdalena river. As transportation technologies change, many of these old paths are abandoned or converted to roads. The purpose of this presentation is to present the historical geography of this path based on traveler accounts, archival information and my own records as I retraced the steps of this historic trail. Travelers describe this trail as a nightmare, and I will present evidence of how the trip to Bogota took place until the beginning of the 20th century, when this path was replaced by a railway. The results indicate that the trail was never completely paved, that it did not allow for the transit of horse-drawn wagons, and that muleteers were crooked, oftentimes trying to steal from travelers. Only about 30% of the trail remains in its original condition, and documenting this historic path for its preservation.

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