iStock/DavidStorm
iStock/DavidStorm

San Gíl: Extreme sports and ecotourism in Colombia’s adventure capital

3 minutes to read

To me, San Gil has a taste, a smell, and a unique vibe: it tastes like tradition, smells like contentment and feels like adrenaline. Its warm weather, cobblestone streets, colonial churches, and classical Spanish style balconies complemented with all the surrounding nature, make it a great place to visit.

© iStock/Oscar Espinosa
© iStock/Oscar Espinosa

San Gíl, Colombia’s adventure capital, is the ideal place for all the adventure sports lovers. It is also perfect for those who enjoy nature and ecotourism. It is located in the region of Santander, three hours away from Bucaramanga and six hours away from Bogotá.

If you are in San Gíl, make sure to visit El Parque Gallineral, an iconic place, located in between the two arms of the Quebrada Curití and the Rio Fonce. It spreads in four hectares, full of nature and with beautiful paths to stroll around, amongst the grey moss-covered trees.

El Gallineral Natural Park
El Gallineral Natural Park
Cra. 11 #21-1, San Gil, Santander, Colombia

And if you’re looking for an adventure, there is a variety of sports that can be practiced in and around the town.  Here are a few recommendations.

Water rafting:

It’s possible to raft the nearby Fonce River, which is considered a level 3 river- which means the rapids are not that wild. The other two options (and a bit more extreme) are the Suarez River and the Chicamocha River. For these last two, the rapids can be as high as level four, ideal for some amazing rafting experiences in a beautiful natural setting.

Kayaking:

This activity doesn't require experience and is good for beginners and suitable for all ages. Perfect for enjoying nature and the river.

Rappelling:

You can rappel in Pinchote, 15 minutes away from San Gíl where you can do two rappels of 80 meters. You can also rappel in Juan Curí 45 minutes away from San Gíl, where you can descend approximately 80 meters of the waterfall's 200 meters.

©  elespectador.com
© elespectador.com

Zip-Lining:

Four kilometers away from San Gíl you find El Peñon Guane a nice restaurant with three zip-line cables running across the surrounding valleys. One of the zip-lines allows you to fly over the canyon while enjoying the view of the waterfall far below.

Bungee jumping:

For the bravest spirits, there is bungee jumping option too! A 70 meters jump from a crane suspended directly over the waters of the Fonce river, guarantees an unforgettable experience!

© Agencia Colombia Bungee Jumping/rcnradio.com
© Agencia Colombia Bungee Jumping/rcnradio.com

Paragliding:

Live one of the humans’ oldest dreams: to fly. Do it over the majestic Chicamocha Canyon; it will, for sure, be a genuinely fantastic experience.

Other activities you can practice are speleology and horse riding. The first one can be practiced, accompanied by a professional guide, in one of these three caves: the Yeso Cave, the Vaca Cave or the Indio Cave

Cueva del Yeso
Cueva del Yeso
Cueva del Indio
Cueva del Indio
Cl. 4 #13942, Páramo, Santander, Colombia
Cueva de La Vaca
Cueva de La Vaca
Cl. 8 #12-76, Curiti, Curití, Santander, Colombia

Horse riding is also a great idea: immerse yourself, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and learn some history while going through some of the old indigenous trails that were restored in recent years. To get some rest and even closer contact with nature you can visit Pozo Azul, a natural pool less than half an hour away from San Gil; it has a beautiful surrounding area and is a perfect spot to chill by the water and even swim if you want.

Pozo Azul
Pozo Azul
Pan-American Highway, San Gil, Santander, Colombia

For food in San Gíl, I highly recommend you to visit Gringo Mike's. It might not be a restaurant with the typical Santandereano menu, but its burgers have a local flavor, and it sure tastes amazing. Please don’t be shy and order a meal preceded by homemade nachos with guacamole and top it up with a giant soft fluffy cookie with ice cream for dessert.

Gringo Mike's Restaurant
Gringo Mike's Restaurant
Cl. 12 ###8-35, San Gil, Santander, Colombia

San Gil is something that you have to experience at least once in your lifetime. This adventure will fill you up with big doses of adrenaline, energy, and calmness. Also, you'll have plenty of great stories to keep within your heart and inspire others!


The author

Michelle Jiménez

Michelle Jiménez

I am Michelle, 28 years old, from Colombia. Passionate about traveling and different cultures, cuisines and languages. Nature and sports lover. I am in love with Colombia and I’ll do my best to make you fall in love too.

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