San Gil in Colombia is a small town located in the Santander department and is known as the adventure sports capital of Colombia. It is centrally located just south of Bucaramanga the largest regional city. The town itself is small, with a walkable downtown core set among the Colombian hillsides. By itself, San Gil is not particularly charming or a colonial town. But to explore the surroundings it has a great location. From here there are many adventure sports that can be done, you can visit Barrichara and also the Canyon of Chicamocha. Barrichara in itself is a beautiful town and has enough accommodation, but from here you won’t be able to do the adventure sports, it is better to visit this as a day trip.
Visit Barrichara: A beautiful colonial town, easy to get to, with cobblestone streets, quiet and peaceful. Everything moves slowly here.
Camino Real: North of Barrichara town is the start of the ‘Camino real’ to Guanes. The ‘Camino real’ connects a series of small historic villages between Girón, near Bucaramanga, to Barrancabermeja on the banks of the Río Magdalena. The ~ 35kms cobbled pathway connects villages that are part network of the ‘Heritage Villages of Colombia’.
It was originally built by the Guane indigenous people, later used by the Spanish, and restored by the German George von Lenguerke in 1864. It was declared a national monument in 1988.
The most popular part of the ‘Camino Real’ is a 6 km hike (about 1 ½ hours) from Barrichara to Guane. If you start in Barrichara the trail is mainly downhill, which makes it an easy hike. You don’t need a pre-booked tour or guide for this hike.
Trekking Pinchote: The name should actually be Adventure park Pinchote. It is about a 10-minute drive, from here the guides explain the circuit and safety instructions. There are 2 zip-lines, a rappel down a waterfall/rock dropping 70 meters and there is a circuit of ropes and ladders. It is a super fun activity with the right amount of adrenaline and comfort. It is not too scary and it is good for families with kids as of age 8. The whole excursion takes about 2 ½ to 3 hours.
Rafting Fonce River – class 2 and 3: Really fun and challenging river. Minimum age is 10 years and children need to be good swimmers. The scenery is amazing and the river beautiful.