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San Gil

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San Gil is a city with a population of 50,000 in the Santander region in Colombia. It is known as Colombia's adventure sport capital.

Get in[edit]

  • The bus terminal to major Colombian cities is located two kilometers west of the city center. A taxi between there and the town center costs 3,000 COP or take one of the frequent busetas (1,500 COP). San Gil is on the road between Bucaramanga and Bogotá, hence there are frequent buses to towns along this axis. For other destinations, you'll most likely have to change buses in Bucaramanga.
* From Bogotá : 35,000 COP / 7 hours
* From Cartagena : 70,000 COP / 15 hours
* From Cúcuta : 40,000 COP / 9-10 hours
* From Medellín : 60,000 COP / 11 hours
* From Santa Marta : 60,000 COP / 12 hours
* From Tunja : 20,000 COP / 4 hours / 200 km
  • Buses to Bucaramanga leave from the corner of carrera 11 with calle 8 on the river front (20,000 COP / 2.5 hours / 90 km). Consider stopping at the Chicamocha Canyon National Park on the way.
  • Local buses to surrounding towns like Barichara, Charalá or Curiti leave from the corner of carrera 11 with calle 15 (Near the bridge).
Rio Fonce in the downtown park El Gallineral

See[edit][add listing]

Juan Curi Waterfall
  • Parque El Gallineral, Malecón at calle 6. Everyday : 8 am to 6 pm / Pool : 9 am to 5 pm. Pleasant park for a stroll. Also has a swimming pool or you can dip in the Rio Fonce. Entrance : 6,000 COP.  edit
  • Cascadas de Juan Curi, 3114893272 - 3168233920 - 3114716121. Beautiful 200 meters high waterfalls outside of town. To get there, get a bus to Charalá from the local terminal and ask to be dropped off at Las Cascadas (4000 COP / 40 min). There are two entrance on the right handside of the road, the second one (blue and yellow sign) offers a more scenic walk along the river and you'll get to see more waterfalls (Entrance : 7000 COP). It's a nice 20 minutes walk to the bottom of the Juan Curi waterfall where you can swim. Your shoes will get wet crossing the water several times and there are ladders and ropes to help you climb. From there take the wooden stairs on the right, follow the track and turn left to go up 60 meters to the middle of the waterfall. Rappelling is possible from there. During rainy weather, consider going early and/or enquire by phone on the flood risk as there may be too much water to walk up the trails to the pools. (6.37229,-73.16518) edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Tour companies generally offer similar activities and are clustered around the entrance of park El Gallineral. If you plan to go rafting or kayaking on rapids of class 3 and over, check that the guides are certified by the International Rafting Federation (IRF).

  • Colombia Rafting Expeditions, Carrera 10 No.7-83, (57 7)724 5800 / 311 283 8647 (), [1]. Organizes all adventure activities as well as being the experts at big rapids and kayaking. Bring cash and passport number.  edit
  • Planeta Azul, (At the parque El Gallineral), 7-724-0000 / 310-771-7586 (, fax: 7-724-7679), [2].  edit
  • Bungee Jumping (San Gil Bungee Jumping), 315 8169215. 55km platform jump located over a river a few kilometers from town. If you time it right you can jump while there are whitewater rafters watching you from below! You can get there by bus for 1,000 COP, taxi for about 5,000, or moto for about 3,000. Cost is 25,000 for the jump, and 15,000 for pictures and a video (October 2015).  edit
  • Play Tejo or Bolo (Comite Municipal de Tejo). Play some games with the locals at the Comite Municipal de Tejo. It is located at the edge of town, just past the bus station. Here you can play Tejo (tossing rock-like disks at an exploding target), or Bolo (similar to bowling, but you throw a small ball at 3 pins). Buy some beers and learn the game from the locals...they are also interested in teaching foreigners!  edit
  • CURITI- Tu Reserva- Alix Joya- CS, calle 8 (12-76), 3118486536, [3]. 5-6. Due to the characteristics of the rapids and the volume of water, this river is one of the strongest in Colombia, for rafting and kayaking in class IV + V rapids especially for people who love the extreme.  edit

"CURITI", beautiful town with beautiful natural places, Welcome to the PESCADERITO Spa, ideal place to rest, to camp, to enjoy alone, with friends or family, (PASEO DE OLLA), Curiticio located 15 minutes from San Gil, 45 minutes Of the Chicamocha Canyon, 50 minutes from Barichara, 6 hours from Bogota. Come to enjoy our culture, history, Natural sites, Our rich Gastronomy. Extreme Sports- "" CURITI ONE OF THE MOST CUTE PEOPLES OF COLOMBIA "". Information: "" Alix Joya - Your WhatsApp Reserve +057 311 848 65 36 "" In our veins runs Indigenous blood ". </ Do> "CURITI", hermoso municipio con bello lugares Naturales, Bienvenidos a el Balneario PESCADERITO, sitio ideal para descansar, acampar, disfrutar solo, con amigos o familia, (PASEO DE OLLA), Curiti esta ubicado a 15 minutos d San Gil, a 45 minutos del Cañón del Chicamocha, a 50 minutos de Barichara , a 6 horas de Bogotá. Ven a disfrutar de nuestra Cultura, historia, sitios Naturales, Nuestra rica Gastronomía. Deportes Extremos- ""CURITI UNO DE LOS PUEBLOS MAS LINDOS DE COLOMBIA"". Información: ""Alix Joya- Tu Reserva Curiti WhatsApp +057 311 848 65 36"" ""En nuestras venas corre sangre Indígena"".</do>

Mountain Bike[edit]

  • Colombian Bike Junkies. Mountain Biking Tours, Calle 12 No 8-35 first floor, 316 327 6101 (), [4]. The mountains and canyons around San Gil make this a great area for mountain biking. You can find bikes for hire in town, but for a guided tour ask at Gringo Mikes. They run full-day tours under the name Colombian Bike Junkies including new full suspension Kona bikes and protective equipment, 4WD transfers, breakfast, lunch and drinks and snacks along the way. You get to see some great scenery, and best of all it's about 95% downhill so you can let gravity do most of the work. You don't need to be a downhill guru, but should be comfortable with riding on dirt roads. 160,000-220,000 COP (depending on group size and time of year).  edit
  • The adventure is here. Bike Multi-Activity Tour, Km 3, Via San Gil-Mogotes, Villa Isabela, 3148229577 (), [5]. Race down steep hills, pave your way through the forest, jump from swindeling heights, swim in the most beautiful natural pools of the area and explore local culture. Super fun full-day Multi-activtiy tour. Includes: Bike, full protection equipment, light refreshment and drinks, lunch, professional guides, pictures, insurance, security car along the way, transport. Price 140,000 COP.  edit

Learn Spanish[edit]

  • Connect 4 Language School, CARRERA 8 No. 12 - 19 LOCAL 201, 7242544 - 7242660 (), [6]. Great little school run by a great teacher called Andres. Offers Spanish classes for travellers. Private tuition for all levels including short conversational Spanish lessons plans so you can learn the basic in just a few hours. They can also organise free language exchange activities with locals. Possible home stays available.  edit


San Gil is the pioneering place for rafting in Colombia :

  • Rio Fonce, This is the river going through San Gil, it offers an 11 km trip lasting 1h15 min on class 2-3 rapids depending on the season. It suits all kind of public. 25,000 COP.
  • Rio Chicamocha, An 1h30 rafting trip with rapids from level 2 to 4. More adrenaline and amazing scenery going through the canyon. Possible to organize expeditions up to 3 days long.
  • Rio Suarez, Considered the best, this is a 2 hour and 20 km rafting experience which includes class 4-5 rapids. Experienced rafters. Total trip takes 4 hours. 125,000 COP, pictures and videos included (October 2015).


  • Gringo Mike's, Calle 12, 8 - 35, ground floor of the Casa Lopez, (), [7]. Everyday 5pm to 10pm. A new sandwich place opened by an awesome guy from Seattle. Serves up delicious sandwiches, burritos, salads, and burgers. Also offers big breakfast burritos in the mornings. Try the roast beef sandwich with cinnamon pear and cream cheese!</eat> *El Mana, Calle 10 at Carrera 9. lunch and dinner. El Maná has amazing set lunches and dinners which include soup,fruit, meat, rice, beans, juice and dessert for 16,000 COP.  edit *Las Esteras. Famous for their goat dishes!  edit *Steakhouse, Calle 12 # 8-69. 11:30am to 10 pm. SAMS PUB, CLL 12 # 8 - 69. 11:30 am - 10 pm. The best place to have a REAL STEAK, you can add mushroom, pepper or ANTS SAUCE and best Lunches with fruit, soup, main course, fruit juice and dessert for just 4.50 US. 4.50 us to 12 us 4.50 us to 12 us.  edit *7 Tigres, Calle 12 8-40. 16:30 - 23:00. Excellent food from a Colombian mother/daughter team. A combination of, and hybrid of, Colombian and North American dishes. Many Vegetarian options - ask for the delicious and big (by Colombian standards) vegetarian salad (it's not on the menu but if you ask they'll make it). They have Pizza, Pasta, Calzone, fresh fruit juice, and a variety of Colombian dishes. They have a book exchange as well. 3000 - 25000 COP.  edit ==Drink== *Any Store Near Parque Principal. Grab a cold beer at any of the stores around the central square park and sip it on a bench or stairs for great people watching and the feeling of being a local.  edit *Bar Con Versano, Calle 12 near Carrera 7. One of the only cool bars in town with art deco themes and contemporary art prints in a colorful setting. Try any of their awesome cocktails or beer selection.  edit ==Sleep== Prices in most San Gil hotels double on long weekends and places are heavily booked. Book in advance for Easter, Christmas and all long weekends. * Hotel Alcantuz, Carrera 11 No 10-15, (, fax: (097) 7243159), [8]. Friendly local hotel with nice, clean rooms starting at 25,000 COP per night. Cable TV, Wi-Fi, large windows.  edit * Hotel Capri, Calle 10 No 9-31, 724-3767 (). Very nice spotless hotel with a range of rooms and prices. Rooms with balconies are recommended. Cable TV, hot water, Wi-Fi.  edit * Hostel La Mansion, Calle 12 # 8- '71, 7-724-6044. checkin: 1500; checkout: 1100. Best prices for low season, singles from 30000 to 70000, doubles from 40000 to 90000, all rooms ave private bathroom, fan, some rooms with balcony, free Wi Fi, Restaurant PUB, Local owner 100% english speaker, staying here you can use all facilities at Sam´S VIP Hostel just one block from it, We are located at the corner of the main square on the "CALLE REAL", Cheaper that any hostel in Town with even better services  edit * Hotel El Viajero, Carrera 11 No 11-07, 7-724-1956. A room with private bathroom costs 25,000 COP. If you want to pay ahead for a fortnight a double room can be had for just 15,000 a night. They offer free coffee and hot water for tea from 6AM to 7PM.  edit * Moncora Hostel, Carrera 8 #14-32, (). Now at a new location. Backpackers hostel run by a Local Backpacker . Includes kitchen use, big kitchen, hot water, book exchange. Laundry service, drinks & internet available. Tours can be booked through the hostel. Free high speed wi-fi. The owner/manager is particularly friendly and organizes cheap tours. Dorm : 16,000 COP/ Privates 45.000/90.000 with bath..  edit * Macondo Hostel (Macondo Guesthouse), Carrera 8 #12-35, 7724 801 - 311 8282 95 (). Now at a new location. Backpackers hostel run by an Australian. Includes kitchen use, big kitchen, hot water, BBQ, book exchange and hammocks. Laundry service, drinks & internet available. Tours can be booked through the hostel. Free high speed wi-fi. The owner/manager is particularly friendly and organizes cheap tours. Dorm : 30,000 COP/ Privates 55.000/90.000 with bath..  edit *'''Sam's VIP Hostel''', cr 10 N- 12-33 (second floor in the BBVA Bank Building on the Main Square), 7242746 - 3102497400 (), [9]. Run by a local backpacker, this place has a relaxed atmosphere, a bar with good views, swimming pool, sauna, modern guest kitchens (2), clean bathrooms, free internet & Wi-FI and LCD 3D TV.Poker tournaments, book exchange, free safety lockers, Hot water , you can organize all the activities at the hostel. Clean sheets. COP 25000(June 2015).  edit *El Dorado International Hostel (San gil), Calle 12 # 8-55 (20 meters from main square), 57-7-7237588, [10]. checkin: 12:00 am; checkout: 10:00 am. A great hostel close to the main square. great facilities such as hot water, semi double beds, guests kitchen, English speaking staff, extreme sports advice and booking services, but most importantly a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Breakfast not included. 20.000(June 2015).  edit *Hostel Santander Aleman, Calle 12 No 7 63 ([email protected]), 7242535, [11]. checkin: noon; checkout: noon. A colonial house with a family atmosphere near main park La Libertad and El Gallineral park. Private rooms and bedroom, lockers, breakfast, hot showers outdoors and covered 24 hours, a common area with a cozy atmosphere, hammocks, mesade Ping Pong and other games, easy for cooking and refrigeration, laundry and TV LCD. 30.000(June 2015).  edit *Hostal Le Papillon San Gil, Calle 7 #8-28 (San Gil), 723 63 50. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. 15000 COP in dormitorie 35000 double room with shared bathroom,includes kitchen use and hammocks in a nice garden, purified water free. Tours can be booked through the hostel. Free high speed wi-fi. 15000.  edit *Hotel Puerto Bahia, Calle 6 No. 9-112 ((2 blocks from main Avenue and Parque El Gallineral)), 318 716 43 68, [12]. checkin: 3:00; checkout: 12:00. 42 bedrooms and 1 Suite. Restaurant, Parking, Elevator, Wi-Fi, Hot water,friendly staff. Prices starting at $35,000.  edit *La Pacha Hostel, Km 7 Via San Gil - Barichara (Bus to Barichara or Villanueva, look for the sign after 15 mins), 3102211515, [13]. checkin: 1pm; checkout: 12pm. An eco-hostel and campsite run by an Anglo-Colombian family who have spent a year building the site from scratch with volunteers, it offers accommodation in the form of geodesic domes and a yurt ($50,000 COP), as well as regular dorm beds($20,000COP) and tents ($15,000COP or $10,000 own tent). Facilities include: shared kitchen, converted bus with TV, campsite shop and cafe, campfires, ping pong table, organic toilet and showers, decent wifi, parking spaces for cars, bikes and also camper vans with access to electricity. Things to do: Explore the farm and forest trails, birdwatching with our own app, hiking to nearby villages like Barichara, horse riding, rafting, canyoning, paragliding, caving. Offers vegetarian breakfasts and dinners and all-day snacks and drinks.  edit *Open House Hostel, Carrera 8 No 11-78, 7245208, [14]. checkin: 13:30; checkout: 12:30. The hostel offer both dormitories and privates accommodation. the hostel has a backyard, kitchen, restrooms with hot water in the shower, two hammocks, laundry service, free internet service and wifi and free colombian coffee all mornings. the bed prices: Mixed and female dorm: 18000 private double beds: 50000 private bunk bed: 44000  edit *Villa Isabela, Kilómetro 3, Via Mogotes (Bus to Mogotes, get out after 10 minutes at KM3 sign. Finca on the right), 3148229577. checkin: 1pm; checkout: 11am. Small Bed and Breakfast finca run by a Colombian and a Brit. Two double rooms(50,000 COP/35,000 COP) dorm with four single beds (20,000), space for tents(10,000 COP). Volunteers also welcome. Access to kitchen. Outdoor stove available. Parking space for cars and campers. Access to activities including canyoning, hiking, paragliding, rafting.  edit ==Get out== * The little colonial village of Barichara makes a good day trip. There are buses going every hour and leave from the corner of Carrera 11 and Calle 15. From Barichara it is a lovely 2 hour walk along an historic Spanish road to Guane. Buses return to Barichara several times a day. It is recommended to walk Barichara to Guane and not the other direction, since that would be entirely uphill. * <do name="Chicamocha National Park" alt="Panachi" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="Park entrance : 15,000 COP / Teleférico : 40,000 COP one way, 40,000 return">Opened in december 2006, the park offers great views of the canyon and a 6.3 km length cable car system among the longest of the world that crosses the canyon.  edit

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!