We always think it’s important to start a year as you mean to go on and so in that vein, last weekend Chris and I jumped into a car with our super friends Vivi and Yiyo and set off for San Gil – the adventure sports capital of Colombia.

IMG_1103San Gil is a 4-6 hour drive from Bogotá, depending on Colombia’s infamous traffic which is a form of adventure sport all of its own. We left on Friday afternoon and made it to the brand new Meraki Boutique Hostel by about 7pm. Upon arrival, we were met by the charming owners, Doña Olga and Don Benjamin, who weren’t about to let us check in until we’d enjoyed some freshly pressed mandarine juice, a glass of wine, and some local cheese and salami. A bit different to check-in in the UK or Germany which tends to involve “name?”, handing over of key, “stairs at the end of the corridor, breakfast at 7, next”!

meraki boutique hotel san gil wine and cheesemeraki boutique hostel san gilmeraki boutique hostel san gil bedroomThe following morning, after a great night’s sleep and a breakfast fit for an emperor(ess), we set off for our first activity of the weekend, caving. The cave was home to hundreds of bats, which occasionaly flew above our heads. After joking that they only like blood type O positive, our guide assured us that the bats wouldn’t suddenly start biting us. Phew!

San gil cavesan gil cave batssan gil in the caveThe cave tour took us on a ninety minute underground trek through dark, claustrophobic tunnels and cold murky pools, before ending with a 5m+ leap into a pitch black pool of unspecified depth. Chris led the charge and was first to jump. I walked to the edge, looked down into the pitch darkness below, and decided, at my age, to take the ladder down. Sod that!san gil chris in cavesan gil swimming in cavesan gil wading through cave

After a few hours of caving we were straight off to the next activity, white-water rafting. You can read all about it here, but suffice to say, we ended up a lot wetter than we intended to…

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Practical info:

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

34 Thoughts on “An adventurous weekend in San Gil (Part 1)

  1. Looks like you had a great time. I would love to see those bats I think they are so ugly that they are really cute. However im claustrophobic so wouldn’t like going in the cave, I would have to wait outside lol

    • Tammyonthemove on January 21, 2017 at 5:03 pm said:

      Haha, I feel the same way about bats – I can’t decide if they are ugly or cute. Perhaps both at the same time is possible!

  2. Wow, what an amazing experience! Those caves look like a real adventure. We’re considering a trip to South America and would love to hear any of your recommendations!

    • Tammyonthemove on January 21, 2017 at 5:02 pm said:

      Wow, tough question. We loved the salt flats in Bolivia, Arequipa in Peru, Iguazu Falls in Brazil/Argentina, Quito in Ecuador, star-gazing in Chile, and everything so far about Colombia. But wherever you end up, hope you have a great trip!

  3. There are a lot of hidden gems in Colombia and this looks like another one to add to the list (as long as you don’t mind the traffic out of Bogota!)

    • Tammyonthemove on January 21, 2017 at 4:59 pm said:

      Indeed. The traffic on the way out of Bogotá was pretty epic. Especially as most of the road to San Gil is a windy single lane affair. Our super driver Yiyo pulled off some pretty stunning overtakes!

  4. Carol Colborn on January 22, 2017 at 12:28 pm said:

    Yes, if we were younger! Enjoy adventure while you can!

  5. I had some great caving adventures in Belize. I had no idea you could cave in Colombia!

  6. You are brave, bats and caves both totally freak me out. Although, it looks like an incredible excursion.
    Mama Munchkin recently posted…Valentine’s Day in Temecula 2017My Profile

  7. This looks like an awesome weekend with friends! I love caves so that would be the highlight for me. Bats don’t scare me but they usually stink!

    • Tammyonthemove on January 23, 2017 at 6:54 pm said:

      Very true about the stink. And of course we were very aware that the ‘mud’ all over the cave floor probably wasn’t just mud. Yucky indeed!

  8. Colombia is on my list but to be honest I’m not sure I’d be able to go into that cave with all the bats. I just have this thing with anything flying at me. Otherwise, the caving adventure sounds fun. Definitely a great way to start the year and it looks like you had the perfect crew.
    Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie recently posted…How to Plan a Successful 1 Week Utah National Parks Road Trip ItineraryMy Profile

  9. Sounds like such a fun weekend trip and that hotel sounds fantastic! We’ve been wanting to plan a trip to Colombia lately and I definitely think this area will need to be on our itinerary. Looks like a lot of fun adventure opportunities–would love to try both the caving and rafting!
    Jenna recently posted…Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National ParkMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 24, 2017 at 7:04 pm said:

      It’s a great area for outdoors enthusiasts. Trekking, abseiling, and even paragliding are possible as well – if you have a good head for heights, that is.

  10. Looks like a really fun time. While the bats and caving looks like fun, I would be too afraid to get that close 🙂 I love your welcome to the hostel. I wish more places offered that level of service. Fun experience, looking forward to your rafting post 🙂
    Rosemary recently posted…Best Parks to Make You Love Running In BangkokMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 24, 2017 at 7:07 pm said:

      The reception at the hostel was very unique for a German and Brit. Before we’d even gotten to our room, we already knew all about our hosts’ families, hobbies, and even last holidays. So lovely and so Colombian!

  11. Seems like you had a great adventure and that’s a pretty good way to start the year! I love the colorful chairs and the overall feeling of your boutique hostel. The cave sounds pretty interesting to explore, though the bats are a bit scary for me!
    Sia recently posted…+Tova cafe and working space, Sofia, BulgariaMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm said:

      It really was a beautifully decorated hostel. And literally the opening night too, so we were almost certainly the first guests to ever sit in the colourful chairs. What an honour! 🙂

  12. That was a fun adventure weekend you spent. I loved caving and white-water rafting experience and would love to try that. But yeah, I would have felt claustrophobic in the murky tunnels and pools.

    • Tammyonthemove on January 24, 2017 at 7:11 pm said:

      Yes indeed, the tunnels and murky pools weren’t the most pleasant at times, but great to look back on the experience!

  13. What a fun weekend you had. I love the friendly welcome at the check. Those bats look scary. I am glad they don’t bite!
    Chrysoula recently posted…8 Italian Riviera cities and towns you have to visitMy Profile

  14. Megan Jerrard on January 24, 2017 at 9:44 pm said:

    I can’t wait to get back to South America so we can spend some time exploring Colombia … I love the personal level of hospitality from Meraki Boutique Hostel, sounds like a great place to stay! And caving sounds like my kind of adventure … maybe minus the bats 😀

  15. I have to admit the accommodations look really nice from what I remember hostels looking like… You conquered 2 things I have trouble with. Driving long distances (4-6 hours is long for me…) & swing in closed spaces. Shishhh. Looks like fun but I’m a bit claustrophobic.
    Christopher recently posted…GPSmyCityMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 25, 2017 at 7:32 pm said:

      Ha, that’s exactly what I thought about the use of the word ‘hostel’. Private room and bathroom. Massive comfortable bed in a room with a great view. Huge delicious breakfast included. Wine and cheese on arrival. That’s not what I consider a hostel either 🙂

  16. Thanks for your suggestions guys, think you enjoyed lot there in the cave and the bats there… i would surely add this place in my travel bucket

  17. We love adventure. Just last year we were instructors at a high ropes course in the mountains outside of San Diego. Usually, when I see the phrase – adventurous weekend – I shutter with the anticipation of disappointment. You guys actually went caving and whitewater rafting and this is just part one. Hats off – you guys totally rock.
    Jenn and Ed Coleman recently posted…Exploring The Andaman Sea – Phuket, Phi Phi and RailayMy Profile

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