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For so many reasons! Colombia is a hotspot for diversity, culture, incredible topography and amazing biodiversity. Straddled by all three Andean Cordillera branches (eastern, middle, and western) it offers an adrenaline-filled playground perfect for gravity sports. Throw in warm waters, tropical weather and stunning landscapes, and you´ll agree with us… there´s no place like Colombia!
IS IT SAFE?
Because of its controversial past, modern day Colombia is infused with positive energy and a desire to welcome tourism with open arms to a safe environment. Search anywhere on the web, and you´ll find Colombia cited as an up-and-coming top travel destination in prestigious publications around the world. National Geographic posted northern Colombia as a top destination for 2012. The Guardian wrote that Tayrona beach on the Caribbean cost is one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Readers of the Lonely Planet guide, Wanderlust Travel magazine and the New York Times have each nominated Colombia as one of their favorite countries to travel to. Experience Colombia for yourself, and join the thousands of visitors who attest to its beauty and colorful energy every day of the year! As they say in Colombia, “the only risk is wanting to stay”.
Located in northwestern South America, Colombia is bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the northwest by Panama; and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. With a population of over 48 million, Colombia has the 29th largest population in the world and the second largest in South America, after Brazil. The cities of Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena receive hundreds of direct flights from North America and Europe daily.
Before Spanish colonization, what is now Colombia was home to hundreds of indigenous groups. Many of these were absorbed into the mestizo population, but a few remained, representing over fifteen distinct cultures. The first and most substantial wave of modern immigration to Colombia consisted of Spanish colonists. The Spanish influence is clearly seen in the colonial architecture found in the patrimonial pueblos and colonial centers of main cities around Colombia.
The Colombian music scene is vibrant, passionate and colorful. With indigenous, Spanish and African influences, you´ll find many types of music and dance, including Salsa, Cumbia, Vallenato, Porro and many more. Colombia is a fantastic place learn some dance moves. Fiestas and rumbas (parties) are easy to find and often run all day and late into the night. Local ferias (festivals) playing traditional music and dance are abundant. If you travel to large cities, you´ll find a cosmopolitan Colombia. Bogota, Medellin and Cali have great nightlife spots with high-end restaurants and dance clubs.
THE PEOPLE OF COLOMBIA
Colombians are famous for their openness and friendliness. People smile at you on the streets, making it almost impossible to avoid conversation with locals eager to listen to your story. Language barrier or not, they are excited and proud to help you discover their beautiful country. Colombians have a strong sense of family and community, always prioritizing social time with friends and extended family.
Colombia’s cuisine has been heavily influenced by Spanish and Indigenous populations. There are plenty of amazing dishes to try, not to mention fruits, rum, and the world-renowned Colombian coffee. Try their Arepas, a traditional corn patty that takes on delicious variations with each region you visit. The fruits in Colombia are dizzying in their range and availability. Other notable dishes include the Changua soups of the Andes, coconut rice dishes from the coast, tamales from Tolima, Bb-Q’d meats, deep fried empanadas, and the Bandeja Paisa from Medellin, a breakfast type platter of gigantic proportions. Visit San Gil for the local delicacy: roasted ants!
COLOMBIA’S TOPOGRAPHY AND WILDLIFE
The geography of Colombia is characterized by five main natural regions, each with their own unique ecosystems. This gives Colombia a rich tapestry for adventure with different climates and huge ranges of topography and wildlife. There are three massive Andean mountain ranges with spectacular views of snowcapped volcanos and deep canyons. Colombia has access to the coast on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with beautiful, exotic beaches. The stretching plains (Llanos) shared with Venezuela, and the hot and exotic Amazon Rainforest bordering Brazil make this a biodiversity delight. Landscapes are a patchwork of mangroves, snow-capped peaks, grasslands, deserts, wetlands, rainforests, dry forests, cloud forests, and other habitats.
This variation in topography lends itself to incredible wildlife. Colombia is world-renowned for having the highest species of bird species in the world, as well as an extraordinary diversity of orchids, butterflies, amphibians and mammals.
San Gil has some world class whitewater rafting from a calming level 2 on the River Fonce to an adrenaline pumping level 5 on the River Suárez. The rivers prove a main attraction for visitors to San Gil. Well respected, professional and safe tour companies are available. Feel the rush of the ride! This activity can be combined with our downhill Jordan ride.
Go rock climbing in the nearby Mesa de Los Santos. Scale the ancient rock faces with trained guides to ensure you have a safe and exciting climb.
Get shooting! Have fun playing paintball with your friends at this new paintball location based just outside of San Gil.
Whether you are a beginner wishing to learn or a skilled kayaker looking for more challenging tours you can find it in San Gil. With 3 day learning courses for starters and multi day tours for the more experienced this is a great place to enjoy kayaking.
Discover the lands by horseback. Local farms offer horseback rides around various areas including the colonial town of Barichara and the beautiful Santa Barbara Hacienda.
There is a huge network of caves around San Gil and many companies that will guide you through some of the best. Go sliding between underground walls, through water, past bats, down natural slides and see the stalactites and stalagmites. This activity can be combined with a half day of downhill mountain biking.
Ever wanted to fly like a bird? Well in San Gil you can do just that. Paraglide in the Chicamocha Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world, flying high above the mountain peaks with the vultures! In and around San Gil you can experience day tandem flights or take full multi day courses where you can learn to fly solo.
Around San Gil rappelling is the term given to going abseiling down waterfalls. Lean backwards over cliff edges and make your way down with white water cascading past you, what a rush! This activity can be combined with our Juan Curi day ride.
There are a dizzying number of routes around San Gil, whether you want to trek for hours or days. Explore the mountains and pueblos by foot, stopping at local tiendas (shops) for refreshments and staying in small hospedajes (hostels/hotels) along the way.