Adrenalin-fuelled fun!

San Gil Travel Blog

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The park along the riverfront, San Gil

I only stayed in Bucarramanga to break up my journey and suitably refreshed I continued on towards San Gil the next day ($CP15,000).  The journey up through the Andres is spectacular, beautiful scenery.  It took a little longer than expected, due to...yes, more roadworks! They have a strange way of dealing with them - they have the old fashioned ´stop and go´men, but they seem to have set times, so rather than letting traffic flow steadily either way, they let one way go for, like, half an hour - really frustrating!  I got chatting to Dan & Rachel (Cairns, Aus) on the bus and they had a reservation for Macondo hostel, so jumped in a cab there as it was only $CP3,000 between us.  I checked in and had a little wander round the town which is unremarkable enough.

Plaza Mayor with Nicole
  The main reason for coming here is that it is becoming something of an adventure sports mecca, and I fancied adding to my recent conquests by doing some rafting.  Unfortunately, a group had left that day so I would have to wait a day or two to get a new group together.

While waiting I went out for a day with Kate & Matt (London, UK) to see nearby Barichara.  We caught the bus out there ($CP3,500/GBP1.00), which wound round some lovely mountain scenery.  Barichara is a beautiful little town, untouchec by time with superb whitewashed buildings and narrow little streets.  We decided to do the walk to nearby Guane and went on the old Camino Real, which is a small hike with fantastic views of the mountains.

Drinking 'ron' in the Plaza with a random group of Colombians! (also with Abby, Aaliyah, Andreas, Patrick and Camilla)
  Unfortunately it was a hot, hazy day so the pictures didn´t come out well....damn!  It took about an hour and 20 minutes to get to Guane and rewarded ourselves with a mora (berry) juice when we got there.  There´s a famous restaurant in Guane where you can sample hormiga (ants), a local delicasy...its only open on weekends though, so our appetite would have to be filled another way!  The buses back to Barichara/San Gil are infrequent, so we made sure we were on the 3pm.  We had some food in Barichara before heading back to San Gil - all in all a nice little day trip!

Finally we had a group for rafting on Friday, but the previous night there had been a big storm and Shawn (owner of Macondo) doubted whether we´d be able to go because the river might be too high.

The beautiful streets of Baricharaa with the hills in the background
...after some impatient waiting, we did get the all clear to leave at 11.00am and soon Nicole, Adrian (London), Andreas (Sweden) and I were on our way out to the Suarez river with William, Nestor and Jason, our guides from Colombia Rafting (cost $CP120,000/GBP40).  It took about an hour to get out there in the Landcruiser and we then had quite a thorough safety briefing as rafting can be really dangerous.  I volunteered myself to be the guinea pig for the demonstration and was prompty pushed over the side of the raft and the others attempted to rescue me...which we just about managed in the calm waters where we started....hmmm!

It was just a brilliant experience, the rapids were high and we got to go down both grades 4 & 5, which was cool!  I managed to keep myself in the raft (more by luck than judgement me thinks), but Adrian did find himself dunked outside when we hit a whirlpool on one of the grade 5´s...although he blamed Andreas for elbowing him out!!  I think I am now a convert and I cannot wait to do some more rafting.  We had a great group, great guides and the 3 hours or so went so fast, we all wanted to carry on and do it again.  We celebrated with a night out in San Gil...once again my salsa wasn´t up to stratch, although the copious amounts of ron may have contributed to that!

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The park along the riverfront, San…
The park along the riverfront, Sa…
Plaza Mayor with Nicole
Plaza Mayor with Nicole
Drinking ron in the Plaza with a…
Drinking 'ron' in the Plaza with …
The beautiful streets of Barichara…
The beautiful streets of Barichar…
plaza in the centre of Guane
plaza in the centre of Guane
Bit of salsa going down in Masai-M…
Bit of salsa going down in Masai-…
Ride it cowboy!!
Ride it cowboy!!
Random buffalo!
Random buffalo!
The ant restaurant! (which was clo…
The ant restaurant! (which was cl…
San Gil
photo by: Sads79