San Gil, the “adventure capital” of Colombia, is filled with adrenaline-pumping activities to do. Ranging from bungee jumping to extreme caving to level 5 rafting, you will never run out of adventurous things to do in San Gil.
That is why San Gil is a place you should not miss on your Colombia trip.
Located in the Santander region of Colombia, San Gil has many other attractions besides adventure sports.
Our guide will cover what to do in San Gil, Colombia, including the non-risky activities that are suitable for kids and everyone in the family!
San Gil Activities Map
Above is a map of the best things to do in San Gil, Colombia. Notice that not all of them are located in the town of San Gil, so proper planning is required to enjoy all of its attractions.
We recommend staying at least 3 days in San Gil to enjoy the best it has to offer. Even in a 3-day period, chances are, you won’t get to participate in all of its adrenaline-pumping activities. However, it will give you a good glimpse into what the “adventure capital of Colombia” is all about!
If you want to learn more bout the activities, there is a toggle at the upper-left corner of the map that will give you more details!
What to Do in San Gil: 13 Best Things To Do In San Gil, Colombia
1. Level 5 White Water Rafting in Rio Suarez
Rafting in San Gil is the un questionably the town’s most popular activity. San Gil is one of the few places on earth that offers level 5 white-water rafting. Though extremely fun, there is a huge inherent risk with level 5 rafting. Raft through Rio Suarez and you will truly understand the force of nature.
Luckily, if you would like to go rafting ut without the risk, there are level 2 and 3 rafting in Rio Fonce. Rafting in Rio Fonce is an activity that everyone in the family can do. It is much safer so everyone can have some fun without having heart attacks!
2. Take a Day Trip to Barichara, Colombia’s Prettiest Village
Barichara is a beautiful sleepy town located 45 minutes away, making it a wonderful day trip from San Gil. It is one of the few colonial towns that is tourist-friendly, similar to Jardin in Antioquia.
Come to Barichara and walk along the historic cobblestone streets and admire the well-preserved white colonial houses along the way. Enjoy a traditional Colombian meal in the region and visit the main cathedral in the plaza.
When visiting Barichara, make sure you check out Salto del Mico for the best views of the lush scenery of Colombia. Then take a short hike on Camino Real and arrive in another historical colonial town called Guane.
3. Visit the Waterfall Cascada Juan Curi
The lush waterfall of Cascada Juan Curi is considered one of the best places to visit in San Gil. Located 30 minutes away from San Gil, Visitors can take the bus headed towards Charala and asked to be dropped off at the entrance for Juan Curi.
Cascada Juan Curi is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Colombia. Its double waterfall is surrounded by some of the lushest landscapes in Colombia. Similar to Chorro Blanco, it is located in the middle of the forest and visitors will have to take a short hike to it.
Though Juan Curi measures 180-m high, there is a pool at the bottom of it where you can swim safely. So come for a day, enjoy the short hike, then jump in the waterfall to relax!
4. Relax in Natural Pools at Las Gachas
Las Gachas is one of the best hidden attractions in San Gil. That is because it is located quite far from any of the tourist destinations. However, Las Gachas is definitely one of the best places to see in Colombia.
The water in the river contains minerals that naturally created these pools on the riverbed. Any visitor that comes to Las Gachas gets to enjoy his or her own little jacuzzi. It is a perfect place to relax after some adrenaline-pumping activities.
To arrive at Las Gachas, you would either have to take a tour from the tour agencies. However, the owner of the family-owned Trip Monkey Hostel will personally drive you there for a low price if you can find a total of 3 people!
5. Go Paragliding!
Travelers interested in seeing the beauty of Santander should consider paragliding. Though not much of an adrenaline sport besides take-off and landing, paragliding is a great way to get a birds-eye view of the region.
Once you are in the air, many paragliders experience nausea because of the turbulence. I would recommend taking a motion-sickness medicine and packing a travel medicine kit.
6. Extreme Caving At Cueva Del Indio
San Gil is located in the Santander region of Colombia, a region that is filled with caves. Cueva del Indio is one of those caves in Santander. However, it is not just any cave, it is one of the most extreme caves near San Gil.
Explore the darkness of the cave with only your headlamps, see bats in their natural habitat, and finish your caving experience with a 5.4m jump into the water in complete darkness! If you are afraid, there will be a ladder on the side where you can use to descend.
Cueva del Indio is located in Paramo and you can easily find a bus at the main bus station of San Gil that goes there!
Make sure you have travel insurance when doing all these adventurous activities!
7. Easy Caving At Cueva De La Vaca
If the thought of jumping into the abyss in Cueva del Indio terrifies you, visit Cueva de la Vaca instead. Cueva de la Vaca is the junior-league of caves, a cave that everyone in the family can enjoy.
Come to Cueva de la Vaca to enjoy a 90 minute guided tour where you will learn about the geological formations inside the caves through stalagmites and stalactites. Keep in mind that even though this is an easy cave, spaces are quite tight. If you are claustrophobic, I would not recommend you to go.
8. Canyoning/Rappelling Off Cascada Juan Curi
If seeing Cascada Juan Curi was not enough for you, know that you can rappel down the waterfall. Canyoning and rappelling are popular activities in San Gil.
Feel the wrath of the cascading water as you try to make your way to the bottom. It is harder than it looks. The power of the water can be so strong that you feel like you don’t have control of your limbs anymore. Highly recommended for people that enjoy getting slapped constantly for 15 minutes straight.
9. Hike to the Viewpoint at Cerro La Cruz
Every city has a viewpoint that allows you to see the city in its entirety. In Bogota, it was Cerro de Monserrate. In Medellin, it was Communa 13. And in San Gil, it is Cerro de la Cruz.
Cerro de la Cruz in San Gil is the only vantage point where you can see all of the city. Located on the other side of Rio Fonce, it is only a short hike to reach Cerro de la Cruz!
10. Take A Stroll In Parque Gallineral
Parque Gallineral, or Gallineral Park, is a huge park along Rio Fonce in San Gil. It is the best place to visit in San Gil if you want to go on a short stroll, watch the sunset, or even go for a swim in the pool.
The admission is 6,000 COP and having access to the swimming pool would cost an extra 4,000 COP.
This tranquil park is home to much unique wildlife of the region, including squirrels, iguanas, and much more. The bearded trees inside the park are some of the coolest trees I have ever seen.
11. Relax in the Natural Baths at Balneario Pescaderito
Another top attraction in San Gil is the nearby pools at Balneario Pescaderito. Technically, Balneraio Pescaderito is a river but with the formation of the rocks, many natural pools are formed. The best thing about these pools is that they are totally free to enter and easily accessible.
Take the bus from the main bus station of San Gil to Curiti (30 minutes). Once you get off, you have the choice to walk for 45 minutes to Pescaderito or take a tuk-tuk.
12. Mountain Biking At Chicamocha Canyon
The Chicamocha Canyon located in San Gil is the perfect place for mountain biking. Passing through beautiful views and traditional villages, mountain biking is not just for adrenaline junkies. It is also for nature lovers that would love to learn about local culture.
Tours for mountain biking can be easily found throughout the town of San Gil.
13. Bungee Jumping In Rio Fonce
Want more adventurous activities in San Gil? None of the activities is exciting enough? Try bungee jumping!
Bunge jumping is the epitome of adventure sports. However, doing bungee jumping in a country like Colombia may raise concerns about safety. Don’t worry, the equipment and team are very knowledgeable and make sure you are safe and enjoying your time!
Where To Stay in San Gil
Best Hostel in San Gil – Hostel Trip Monkey
The best value-for-money family-owned hostel in San Gil. Featuring a bar, free breakfast, and hot showers, Trip Monkey is one of the best places to stay in San Gil. The owner will also take you to Las Gachas for a low price!
Best Airbnb in San Gil – 1-Bedroom Apartment Next To Main Square
(Images Courtesy of Airbnb)
If you are looking for a cozy accommodation in San Gil, consider one of San Gil’s best Airbnbs.
This 1-bedroom apartment features a fully-equipped kitchen and a spacious living/dining area, allowing a maximum of 3 guests to stay comfortably.
This San Gil Airbnb is located one block away from the main square of San Gil, so visitors can within walking distance to some of the best things San Gil has to offer.
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Those are the 11 top things to do in San Gil, Colombia. Have you done any of them? Let us know in the comments!
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