Outdoor paradise San Gil in Colombia

If you’re an adrenaline junkie you have to go to San Gil in Colombia. And even if you’re a bit of a coward you can enjoy this amazing place. You can discover the beautiful nature in so many different ways!

The city itself is not that special, but the surroundings are fantastic. You can go rafting, canyoning, paragliding, mountain biking, swimming, caving, hiking, abseiling waterfalls: it’s all possible if you go to San Gil.

If you’re only a couple of days in San Gil you have to make choices, because it’s impossible to do all these things.

So what did I do while I was in San Gil in Colombia?

1. Caving in San Gil in Colombia

I blink my eyes, but it remains black. Everything around me is vanished into the dark. We are now in the ‘lung of the cave’, as our guide calls it. My first outdoor activity in San Gil is caving, literally exploring caves. We all have turned the lights on our helmets off and I shiver. I see… well, nothing. So my imagination starts working.

Hopefully the bats don’t have rabies and fly against me.

Oh wait, I have a vaccination for rabies. If I’m bitten we still have some time to get out of this cave.

Don’t bats have those sensors that allow them to evade me?


The lights are turned on and I see a black thing flying in front of me.


My crazy thoughts about bats are making me nervous. I see at least hundred bats in the corner. Some of them look at us with those glassy eyes. You know that feeling when you’re attracted to something, but you also want to stay away really bad? I had that exact feeling in this cave, Cueva del Indio.

The Colombian version of the Loch Ness monster?

We’re approaching a small lake in the cave. The guide says in Spanish that we should let him know if we get bitten. “Animales aqui?”, I ask kind of terrified. There’s not a chance I’m going into the water if there’s a Colombian version of the Loch Ness monster in there! The boy laughs uncomfortably. Nobody really appreciated his joke. To make things even worse, a Colombian woman begins to hyperventilate. She left her heels at home, but she couldn’t leave her jewelry and beautiful clothes. I mean, she has to look nice for the pictures in the cave, right? I’m thinking again: what the hell are we doing here in this cave?

But after a while I start to relax. I even start to like it! We jump from cliffs into the water, we swim and walk for at least two hours through the cave. Although I couldn’t understand everything the Spanish speaking guide was saying I really enjoyed it. Caving was a good choice!


2. Paragliding in San Gil in Colombia

The next day I throw myself in a whole new adventure.

What the hell am I doing? Who the heck invented paragliding? Running off a cliff, with only some parachute to keep you in the air? The chair I’m sitting in looks like a giant diaper. My pilot Alex is sitting behind me and starts speaking to me. Half in Spanish, half in English, so I try to concentrate.

While I’m trying to get myself together, Alex suddenly yells ‘VAMOS!’ and we run off the cliff. The ground disappears and there’s now a giant gaping hole beneath me. I look down. The view on the Chicamocha canyon is breathtaking. Three big birds are circling above us. I relax and enjoy floating through the air. Like a bird. Another thing completed of the bucket list!

Alex asks me a few times if I like the views and with my best Spanish we chat a bit. After 25 minutes moving through the air like a whirlwind I start to get nauseous. That’s enough for today. Go. To. The. Ground. Once I feel the ground beneath my feet I throw up and leave my breakfast next to the runway. A bad ending, but I incredibly enjoyed it the first 25 minutes! Paragliding in the Chicamocha Canyon is literally my highlight during my stay in San Gil.


3. Waterfalls and abseiling in San Gil in Colombia

I love water and waterfalls, so a visit to the Cascadas de Juan Curi was a must for me. The weather wasn’t that good when I arrived, so I couldn’t swim here. But it was still amazing for dipping my feet into the water and taking some pictures. It’s also possible to abseil in the waterfall, how cool is that?


4. Hiking to / in Barichara in Colombia

There are a lot of hiking trails around San Gil. I wanted to go to the idyllic village of Barichara. However, I was exhausted and it was incredibly hot, so I decided to take the bus instead of walking. The brown-orange streets, the white houses, the blue sky and the green hills make Barichara a great place to visit. There’s not much to do in the village, so you should not need more than 2 hours.


Are you excited to go to San Gil in Colombia?

San Gil is on the way from the capital Bogotá to Bucaramanga. From Bogotá it’s about 8 hours by bus, to Bucaramanga it’s around 2,5 hours more. I stayed at La Pacha, a place a few kilometers outside of San Gil. I loved the back to basics atmosphere and the hosts Andrea and Justin are one of the nicest owners I’ve ever met. They make you feel at home immediately. Most of the food is grown by themselves and there is a little van that they decorated as a mini-cinema. You can book all your outdoor activities over there for a really fair price!

Did you enjoyed my adventures in San Gil? Would you go to this place or is Colombia still not on your bucket list? Or maybe you have more tips about what to see and do in San Gil for other travellers. Let us know in the comments below!

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