If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal. - Coelho
You don’t go to San Gil beause it’s a lovely city. You go to San Gil for some real extreme sports action! It’s the outdoor capital capital of Colombia and paradise full of adventure and adrenaline. It definitely lives up to its motto: ‘La Tierra de Aventure’ which means ‘The land of Adventure’.
To get to San Gil from Villa de Leyva we first took a minivan to the Arcabuco Terminal. We left at 10 am, arrived 1,5 hour later and it costed 7.000 Pesos p.p. In Arcabuco we changed buses to San Gil (35.000 Pesos p.p.) where we arrived around 3.45 pm. From the terminal we took a taxi for 4.000 Pesos to our hotel in the centre.
San Gil has some nice restaurants such as a Mexican restaurant called Los Colorines which was close to our hostel (one street above the local bus terminal) where you get big portions for small prices. For a quick snack and/or a good doses of meat, go to the park and eat the skewers. Pretty damn tasteful!
Are you looking for a budget place to stay in San Gil? Hotel Miradores del Fonce is the place to be. There is really nothing extra in the room but it is spacious, can be really clean after you’ve done some extra cleaning yourself and the wifi is actually pretty good. They are close to the centre which is convenient but do ask for a room at the riverside since the street is quite noisy.
** You can find them on booking.com
If you have a little more to spent, Sam’s VIP Hostel is a good option. They can arrange all your tours, speak very good English and even have a rooftop pool.
** You can find them as well on booking.com
As said, San Gil is where you go to for some extreme sports and fun. And we can’t believe how cheap it is! We came here for 1 activity: parapenting. However, after hearing the prices and still having a good feeling about the safety of the activities, we decided to do 4 in 2 days. We booked all of this at the Paravolar office (next to the cathedral at the main square). Really friendly people and even though not everybody speaks English, they really do their best to give you all the information you need and want. We paid 210.000 Pesos for all of the following activities, which is just insanely cheap.
Our first activity was abseiling from a 60 meter high waterfall which is pretty high when looking down and having to flip yourself over the edge. Michiel was first and after some short instructions he easily went down to the first stop where Marije would meet him a couple of minutes later. Great fun and a bit scary to because at some points you have the strong water falling down on you and the rock wall can be slippery. But it’s a great feeling!
You do get wet so bring dry clothes. The transport to this activity wasn’t included so we had to take a bus (nr. 4) from the local terminal for 5.000 Pesos p.p. When going back you can either wait for the bus or try to get a lift from one of the passing cars, which is what we did.
This was the activity we came here for! There are 2 options which have quite a big price difference. They say the more expensive one (Canon del Chicamocha) is the best because it offers the best view. But we just wanted to do it for the experience and didn’t really care about the view so did the Vuelo Curiti. We were up in the air for about 10 minutes and really enjoyed it. When the pilot asked if we wanted to do a spin, of course we answered with a yes. And dear lord, it’s like sitting in a rollercoaster. Really fun! We landed at the same spot we started from and were really impressed with the pilots.
It does get cold during the wait on the mountain and the flight so do bring/wear long pants and a jacket.
Rafting was probably the activity we had most fun doing because you are actively participating yourself. The boat holds up to 7 people including the guide. We did the level 3 which isn’t the most powerful one (that would be the number 5) but it’s still really fun. You get wet of course by the water splashing from he paddles from your teammates, but you can also take a jump into the water and wash down one of the rapids in your life vest. Definitely something we enjoyed doing and recommend.
And last but definitely not least: bungeejumping! This was the most challenging activity, for sure. You jump down towards the river from a 70 meter high meter platform. Standing on that platform, shuffling your feet to the edge while already feeling the weight of the rope pulling you down, is a bit scary. The actual jump however is just frightening but the best feeling ever. And it is so cool to see the other one jump and bouncing up and down above the river, screaming and shouting. Again, great fun!