Discover San Gil and find out how to go rafting in its waters

people doing rafting in the waters of San Gil

This post is also available in: Español

If you like extreme sports that involve a bit of risk, from Howlanders we recommend you try rafting. And what better place to do it than in San Gil, a pioneering city in adventure sports and with class III waters, perfect for this activity.

So if you’re thinking of travelling to Colombia, you can’t miss this opportunity. Read on to discover San Gil and how to go rafting in its waters.

City of San Gil

San Gil is a small town in the north of Colombia and more specifically located in the Colombian Andes at about 1100 metres above sea level. It is located 96 kilometers from Bucaramanga and 327 kilometres from Bogotá, the capital of Colombia.

It is an important eco-tourism and adventure sports destination in the department of Santander. Considered as a special place for travelers who enjoy contact with nature and river and mountain sports. So if you are one of them, a visit to this city should be in your guide of what to do in Colombia.

In addition, this amazing place has many tributaries which have facilitated its fame for extreme water sports such as rafting. And since 1996, when this activity began to be commercialized, the city of San Gil was a pioneer in integrating these extreme and adventure sports to its tourist activities, being the only place in the country where you can practice this sport.

people doing rafting in San Gil

What is Rafting

Rafting, also known as river rafting, is adventure tourism and sports-recreational activity that consists of descending whitewater rivers in the direction of the current in a non-motorised boat with several people.

Normally the appropriate waters for this activity are rivers with some degree of turbulence, which are classified according to the difficulty of navigating them. And due to the nature of the sport, strict adherence to technique, equipment and good life-saving equipment is required.

The basic equipment to do this sport safely includes a boat (rafts, canoes or kayaks, rigid or inflatable) and special paddles for river rafting, and a guide or professional who knows the place you are going to go.

Finally, you will also need personal equipment with a waistcoat, helmet, suitable clothing and footwear. And, to prevent any accidents, you will need additional collective equipment consisting of rescue ropes, dry bags, food and drink reserves, air bombs, rings and first aid kit.

people doing rafting in San Gil

Rafting in San Gil

San Gil is bathed by rivers of great flow such as Fonce, whose waters are certified or denominated class III or higher, which makes it suitable for rafting. It also has other rivers of lesser flow such as the Cuchicute, Paloblanco, Las Joyas, Chapala, Guayabal and Molina where you can do activities with different levels of difficulty, both for professionals and beginners.

The main rafting area in San Gil where the descents on the Fonce River begin in “La Arenera”. Located approximately 10 km from the landing in the park “El Gallineral”. The journey to the starting point of these activities can be done on foot enjoying the splendor of nature. There are also areas in the river specially prepared for swimming and resting.

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With the passing of time and due to the incredible natural infrastructures of the place, the offer of extreme sports has been extended. And nowadays you can enjoy river descents with activities such as canoeing-rafting, torrenting, rappelling and other adventures such as paragliding among many others.

To practice, these sports the places that offer them are formally authorized and certified. In addition, they have great professionals from guides and instructors duly qualified and regulated equipment for the safety of the adventurers who wish to go into the waters in this way.

people doing rafting in San Gil

Now that you know San Gil and how to go rafting in its waters, you will surely want to try the experience as much as we do.

Have you ever tried this extreme sport and now is the time!


Lily is happy with a backpack on her back. Every year she travels through one country in Latin America and has repeated several times, especially Peru where she says she feels at home (although she says the same about Argentina, Chile and Bolivia).

She loves ceviche, hiking and Sunday picnics with her friends, although whenever you ask her, she's always planning her next destination.

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