This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in San Gil. To help you make friends with San Gil before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
San Gil is the adventure capital of Colombia! This tiny Andean town in the Colombian mountains is full of exciting and extreme activities for the adrenaline-seeker. It is approximately 300km north of Bogota and 90km from Bucaramanga; it actually lies on the main road between the two, so there are frequent buses. If you are coming from outside of these two places, you’ll have to change buses in one or the other.
There are a few hostels in San Gil. Most of them are right near the centre of town; the bus station is several kilometres away from town, so you will have to take a taxi or a buseta to your hostel. The Spanish word for “hostel” is “hostal,” which is pronounced exactly the same as in English.
San Gil is well-known for its thrill-seeking activities. While white-water rafting is the main thing here - its the founding city for rafting in Colombia - there’s plenty of those things to do, from bungee jumping to paragliding, rappelling, and trekking. Your hostel will be able to help you arrange any of these activities once you arrive. One popular hike takes two to three days and takes you through the canyon and various towns. You don’t need to carry sleeping or cooking gear as you can stay in each village. Take plenty of water and sunscreen, though! The nearby mountains and canyons are also perfect for mountain bikers.
If you need a break from it all, head for the Cascadas de Juan Curi, a series of waterfalls and excellent hiking about forty minutes from town. You will have to take a bus from Charala; ask the driver to let you off at Las Cascadas. There’s several trails through here, some of which lead to small swimming pools. Closer to town, don’t miss the Parque El Gallineral, a beautiful park with swimming holes along the River Fonce.
Written by local enthusiast for San Gil hostelsJakob Lombardi