Paragliding, white-water rafting, trekking, visiting old friends, eating traditional food (including fried ants) and enjoying the wonderful region and culture of Satander.
20.02.2016 - 19.03.2016
To get you started, here is a video of my highlight in Santander:
The state of Satander is marvellous!
The capital, Bucaramanga has the highest employment rate in the country and is very well organised, safe and interesting.
I also had a really super, adventurous time high up in the adventure capital, San Gil
Long bus journeys…
I woke up early in at my favourite hostel in Colombia ‘Chocolate y Candela’, Santa Marta…. at a weary 5am.
The night man, promptly organised my taxi and I arrived just in time for my bus to Bucaramanga.
Copertran buses as ace!
They have huge reclining seats, strong wi-fi toilets and have new release films (though overdubbed of course) playing.
It was roughly a 10 hour journey, climbing significant to altitude; from the beach of Santa Marta, to over 2500 metres at Bucaramanga.
Buses in Colombia are perfectly safe, efficient and comfortable though time-saving intercity flights are also very affordable and easy these days through Avianca.
My friend German invited me to join he, his girlfriend and parents to visit a few sites and enjoy some Colombian food!
We went to Ecoparque Cerro del Santisimo with amazing views overlooking the city, and impressive statue of Jesus Christ keeping a watchful eye over the town.
We also went for a traditional Colombian lunch which was seriously a mountain of food!
Bucaramanga is also famous for it's delicious oblea!
...an also famous for hormigas culonas (or fried ants)... I tried some and they were delicious!
I didn’t really check out the nightlife, but my lovely hotel was on the cusp of Zona Rosa with many venues blasting various forms of music.
I’d definitely visit Bucaramanga again.
Some people told me it’s a great place to teach English.
San Gil is a small town surrounded by seriously amazing and jaw dropping terrain, and as such is an adventure sports capital.
You can abseil down through waterfalls, raft level 5 rapid, bungee jump, go paragliding over the amazing Chicamocha, and so on.
The town itself is simply stunning. It has an ‘amamble’ formal and courteous atmosphere with lovely parks, nice restaurants and great accommodation options.
The message I got from most operators here was “tell your friends….”
The manager of the rafting company I went with told me that five years ago they only have 10 customers per week… now they have around 15 per day… and hopefully this rate increases more ….rapidly ;-)
This is a truly awesome experience.
I tried it for the first time in Nepal with awesome views of the Himalayas, and the views and exhilaration of flying over Chicamocha was equally amazing.
We flew high! ....over the canyons, swooping in many directions.
The views and experience was a definite highlight of the trip!!
I’ve tried bungee jumping and skydiving also, and have to say paragliding made me the most nauseus…
The advantage though, is that you can really take in the views… and Chicamocha is an amazing example of mother nature at her most epic!!
Rafting at River Suarez
Having rafted in some pretty gnarly rapids in Borneo in the past, I thought I was prepared for the rapids here… no way!
River Suarez has level 5+ rapids that are seriously... BUSY!
The highest level we traversed we level 5.
My boat worked really well as a team, with very good instruction from our guide, and we managed traverse the rapids unscathed and full of enthusiasm.
In the briefing we learned about safety, positioning within the boat for different situations, plus rescue.
...and we ended up really needing these skills during the tricky parts.
In the quieter, calmer spots, we practiced our safety and rescue routines.
It’s worth noting that the canyon that the river passes through is seriously gorgeous terrain too.
Altogether it was a seriously fun, challenging and adventurous day... one of the best in Colombia!
San Gil is a stunning small town with a tranquil, quiet, yet adventurous and friendly culture.
It is surrounded by stunning, jaw dropping nature. ...
I had a blast; rafting the level 4 rapids of Suarez River and paragliding over astounding Chicamocha.... and had the good fortune of meeting some of the loveliest people encountered this trip.
Villa de Leyva and Zipaquira next...