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 crazy 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!
What to Do in San Gil
Level 5 White Water Rafting in Rio Suarez
Rafting in San Gil is the top thing to do. 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!
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.
Visit the Waterfall Cascada Juan Curi
Cascada Juan Curi, or Juan Curi Waterfall, is 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 I have seen 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 at 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!
Relax in Natural Pools at Las Gachas
Las Gachas is one of the hidden attractions of Colombia. 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!
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.
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. However, it is not just any caves, it is one of the most extreme caves you can explore.
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!
Easy Caving at Cueva de La Vaca
If the thought of jumping into darkness in Cueva del Indio terrifies you, come to 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.
Canyoning/Rappeling 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 is a popular activity you can do 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.
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!
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 in San Gil to go for 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.
Relax in the Natural Baths at Balneario Pescaderito
Another top place to relax 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 at 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.
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.
Bungee Jumping in Rio Fonce
Want more adventure 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 Hotel in San Gil – Hotel Castillo Resort
Though not super high-budget, Hotel Castillo is the best hotel in San Gil. The facilities are amazing, the decor is beautiful, and it is super family-friendly. There is an outdoor pool, a bar, and a shared lounge for all guests.
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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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