La Isla, whitewater, repelling, aguardiente & TEJO

Trip Start Dec 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 30, 2013

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Where I stayed
La Posada Familiar San Gil
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Rio Chicamocha

Flag of Colombia  , Santander Department,
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Juan picked our new Aussie friend Malinda, Cletus and me up at 6am for our 8 hour road trip from Bogota to San Gil. Once we had stopped for huevos revueltos and tamales at an open-air restaurant, we were on our way. As we ventured down from 2800m Bogota to 1200m San Gil, three things became apparent to me:

  • Colombia is absolutely gorgeous.
  • This degree of change in altitude dramatically changes the vegetation and the temperature! (From 15 degrees in Bogota to high 30s in San Gil).
  • Colombian men (ok, Juan and a couple cab drivers we've had... but it's really tempting to generalize) are not afraid to ask for directions! 

We spent much of the car ride explaining our impressions and expectations of the game of tejo
to Malinda and badgering Juan to find a place to play. So, once we had checked in at the lovely Posada Familiar and wandered around gorgeous little town of Barichara, we found our way to the local tejo arena.  We were told that there was a tournament taking place so we weren't allowed to play, but that didn't stop us from watching, having a few beers (and having a few rounds bought for us by the tejo players!).  Post-tejo, it was time for a meal at the highly recommended 'La Isla' district in San Gil. Turns out that La Isla is a gas station, convenience store and a few restaurants on the outskirts of town.  Nevertheless, we had a great time.

Next morning, we were off on our first San Gil adventure: a day of caving, repelling, hiking and cliff jumping.  With the help of our pan-flute toting guide Luis, we scrambled through caves, had a mud bath, repelled down two waterfalls and jumped off an enormous cliff into a pool of water.  It only took me 10 minutes to psych myself into jumping -- I don't know what I would have done without your moral support Juan.

Post eco-adventuring, and after our first of many meat platter dinners (sobrebarriga anyone??), we were determined to get our chance to play tejo.  A few bottles of aguardiente, several beers and even a few explosions later, we felt completely prepared for the tejo world championships.

The following day, it was time to raft down the class 5 rapids of Rio Suarez. The rafting was great, but the best part was getting to float down the river in our lifejackets.

On our final day, we drove to the nearby Parque Chicamocha where we took a teleferiqo ride across a beautiful canyon and enjoyed some local cuisine, hormiga culona, a large ant that is fried and eaten.  They actually don't taste too bad!

Thanks for a great trip Juan...

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