San Carlos is a town in Antioquia. It is known as one of the most naturally beautiful places in Colombia because of its many waterfalls and rivers. It is a popular destination for domestic tourists, but there is little-to-no foreign tourist traffic in the town. This makes it an ideal destination for true Colombian immersion.
Climate/Temperature range: 18-31 degrees celsius ; 64 - 88 degrees fahrenheit
Medellín is the primary origin for bus rides to San Carlos. From Medellín you can bus directly to San Carlos through Guatapé or through Granada.
Plaza - Located in the heart of San Carlos, the plaza has almost anything you’d need: shops, restaurants, street vendors, nightlife, etc. The plaza is the place to be on a nightly basis.
Memorial Garden - Located in the Plaza. A place to honor and remember victims of domestic violence. Each color signifies a different type of violence.
The reason San Carlos has become such a popular destination for vacations and tourists is because of the natural beauty and because of all the things to do and see. It is highly recommended that for the following activities which take place in the surrounding nature of San Carlos, you acquire the services of a tour guide. Tour guides are extremely affordable, and they are essential to have for their knowledge and for your safety. You can contact tour guides for more information regarding each adventure (cost, time, etc.).
- Piedra del Tabor (Stone of Tabor) - Perhaps the most well known attraction in San Carlos, the Stone of Tabor gives an aerial view of San Carlos and the surrounding area. The only way to access the rock is via a walking trail. Most often, you will take a taxi or motor bike to the School of Tabor (Escuela del Tabor). From the School of Tabor, a normal walking route will take around 2 hours to arrive at the Stone of Tabor. Hiring a guide for this trip is highly recommended. The most economic way to take this tour is with at least 5 people. The entire trip will cost around 40,000 COP (~$13 USD) per person which includes transportation, water, a snack, and most importantly the safety and knowledge of the tour guides.
- Los Patios - The Patios are a place where you can find 3 beautiful waterfalls. It’s important to monitor the weather and time of year when you’re traveling to this area. During the summer months (specifically June and July), there can be periods of 1-2 weeks with no rain. During these times, it’s possible that there won’t be water flowing or that the flow won’t be nearly as strong as usual. Rappelling is available at this location.
- Pasitos (Little Steps) - This natural waterfall received its name due to the appearance of a child’s footsteps in the landscape. From this location there is a spectacular view of the countryside.
- Los Anillos (Rings) - The famous Puddle of the Rings received its name because the water pierced the rock to the point of making a hole in the middle that, in the distance, looks like a ring. At this site, there are various jumps and small waterfalls. Canyoning is available at this location.
- Cielo Escondido (Hidden Sky) - A beautiful area of forest with crystal clear running water and plenty of space for outdoor activities and adventures. The water is very deep, making it a great place for thrill-seekers. Canyoning is available at this location.
- El Chispero (The Bubbles) - A stunning nature reserve with a waterfall and opportunities to jump from above into the water below. There is also a natural waterslide in the rock formations. Canyoning and rappelling are available at this location.
- Cajones (Drawers) - This is a beautiful and secluded space under the forest canopy. The area rarely receives sunlight so the water is especially cold. However, the water is deep and crystal clear, making it great for swimming and jumps from surrounding landscapes. Canyoning is available at this location.
- Chorrera (Jet) - It is the largest and longest waterfall in San Carlos, its height above sea level is from 2000 to 2200 meters approximately. To get to this place you have to go through a bridge and walk through some rough terrain. As always, a guide is recommended. Rappelling is available at this location.
- La Planta - This beach area is relatively quiet during the week, but on any given weekend you’ll find many locals and domestic tourists enjoying the site. Here you can swim in the river, play soccer and volleyball, and enjoy snacks and drinks that are sold in the shelter. This is a great place for families and people of all ages.
Eco guías is a tour company with a great reputation for their fun and knowledgeable guides.
Tel: +57 3147406490
Tel: +57 3128487838
While San Carlos isn’t much of a shopping destination, there are many cool authentic shops in the plaza and surrounding area. There are plenty of stores in the area to buy any necessities and much more.
You won’t have a hard time finding great food in San Carlos. You can find all different types of food ranging from typical Colombian cuisine to pizza and ice cream! Most meals will cost anywhere from $6000 - $15,000 COP ($2-$5 USD). One of the unique local favorites is the Arepa Rellena. This dish can be found at most restaurants and street vendors.
There are many great places to relax and enjoy a local beer or creative cocktail. Most drinks will cost around $3000 - $10,000 COP ($1-$3 USD). You can also buy drinks at any local liquor store or market.
Clubs - There are a couple popular clubs in the plaza area where you can find music and dancing. Ibiza is a large urban club in the plaza with dancing and music, mostly electronic and reggaeton. Bahia is another club just outside the main plaza area. Located on the second floor of a building, this club has dancing and many different types of music. An average drink will cost around 3,000 COP ($1 USD) at these clubs.
There are many different hotels to stay at in town. The average stay will cost between 15,000 - 25,000 COP ($5-$8 USD) per night.
- Spanish Adventure  - This is a Spanish Language/Immersion school located near the Plaza in San Carlos. The school is run by two Colombian locals, who teach daily classes and take students and stayers on daily adventures to see the beautiful scenery around the area. The school is highly rated by its previous guests and the owners have a fantastic reputation in the community. If you're looking for an opportunity to learn the culture, the language, and see all that San Carlos has to offer, Spanish Adventure is an absolute must.
Buses leave every hour from San Carlos from 4AM - 5PM and will travel to the following destinations: Rionegro (MDE Airport), Medellín, Guatapé