The adventure capital of Colombia

Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
Trip End Jul 03, 2008

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Where I stayed
Maconda Hostal

Flag of Colombia  ,
Monday, May 5, 2008

I can honestly say I am fed up with Colombian bus journeys, they have to be the worst we have experienced so far. Our 12hour bus journey from Cartegena to San Gil ended up as a 23hour journey thanks to the crash that held us up for 7hours in stand still traffic. Our driver drove like a possessed mad man overtaking on 3 in a row lorries on blind bends, speeding through tiny villages throwing us all over the place. When we finally got to San Gil I went straight to bed after being deprived of a nights sleep and with an attractive black eye forming from where mud had got into my eye from the mud baths and sat on the bus having no way of clearing it, it got a little infected.

San Gil is where the adventure sports take place in Colombia, there are still not many gringos that come here but its very popular with Colombians. Being bank holiday weekend it was swarming with people, so we decided to get away from it all and caught a bus to Barichara only 40mins away. Absolutely beautiful, Barichara is a sleepy town that hasn't changed much over time with its stoned streets and white colonial houses. After a delicious set lunch we set off on the Camino Real a Guane path winding down the Saurez canyon and ending up in the small town of Guane.

With itchy feet ready for some action we signed up for some adrenalin sports. For 35,000pesos each we decided to go Torrentismo (abseiling-rappelling) 60m down the face of Juan Curi 180m waterfall. Both of us absolutely loved it, within 5 mins of us walking up to the waterfall they had us strapped up and ready to go explaining in very rapido spanish what we had to do. Not understanding a word Jamie set off first, which was better because then he didn't have time to worry about the height and I followed on shortly behind, bounding down through the spray of the waterfall. Both of us decided we are definitely doing more abseiling in Bolivia, where its even cheaper and probably more dangerous! In a bit of a rush to get baack to San Gil for our afternoon activity we were slightly annoyed with the combi (local bus) drove straight past us, ignoring our existence. So there we were stood on side the road in the middle of nowhere 45mins from town, desperate measures called and thinking all the Colombians were had met so far have been so friendly, I stuck my thumb out to catch a lift from the next passing vehicle. Luckily George felt sorry for us and pulled over in his truck. We were not let down, a very friendly fellow he was, the director of the local university who could speak some English.
The afternoon sport was a spot of paragliding in the Chicamocha canyon. Half an hour of pleasantly gliding over the canyon admiring the coffee, chocolate and tobacco farming. Condors flying underneath us made it pretty special as well.
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