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Published: April 16th 2018
From Minca we took our first night bus to San Gil, the adventure capital of Colombia. The curvy, bumpy roads don't allow for decent sleep so we were a bit too dazed to do anything adventurous the first day. Instead we walked through the botanical gardens and ate ice cream in the lovely central park. San Gil is a medium sized city which has retained its charm while growing as a centre for adventure tourism. Among the many things on offer, Phil aimed to convince Becky to do white water rafting, parasailing and bungee jumping. The rafting and parasailing had to be done in the morning and since we only had a few days, once they were booked there was no deliberating. The rafting was on class 2/3 rapids down the Rio Fonce with a fun group of Colombian guys. Only a few sections had rapids, but we still managed to fall out. We suspect than since the river is pretty calm and has some deep swimable sections right after the rapids, falling out was intended by the guide. The guides were professional but fun and included two guys in kayaks to assist us when we fell out. We planned on
bungeeing in the afternoon but after rafting we shared the biggest burrito known to man and were in no condition to jump anywhere let alone off a ledge.
The next day was parasailing in the Chicamocha Canyon, the premier spot in Colombia due to the deep canyon and strong thermal uplifts which allow for staying in the air as long as you want to. We were both pretty nervous about it, but the pilot strapped to your back has all the control, so we just told ourselves to enjoy the view! As a bonus they allow you to take your own camera. The take off point is from 1200 masl and we got to heights well above 2000 masl over the course of 35 minutes in the air. It's rather strange to look down on vultures flying high above the canyon! And as evidence of our pilots skill (or bravado) we flew close enough to other groups for pilots to talk to each other. When coming down the pilots tilt and circle quickly building up speed and causing wild swings where views of sky and ground alternate too quickly for us to panic and wonder if our empanada
breakfast will stay down. All too quickly we were back on terra firma with shaky legs and beaming smiles.
After a couple doses of adrenalin in succession we decided to take it slower and visit the charming villages of Bariachara and Guane and walk the historic Camino Real linking the two. Bariachara is incredibly cute and lives up to the 1970s government resolution status as "the cutest pueblito in Colombia". Guane is all of four streets surrounding a plaza and a church and unfortunately we only had time for a quick look around and a popsicle before we had to get the bus back to San Gil.
After our hike and one last night in San Gil, we booked a night bus to Medellin. This meant we had most of the day to do the last activity on our to do list - bungee jumping. By the time we got there they were closed for lunch, giving us more time to look up at the 70m platform and question ourselves. However before we knew it the liability paperwork was signed and we paid our $35 NZD each. Since it was her first time, Becky was up
first. Once harnessed in we had to walk over to the edge with the guide saying "closer to the edge, closer, closer, toes over the edge." It's very unnatural to stand on the edge of a platform 70m above a river! Also it's better to not look down, however this isn't possible when you need to know where your feet are in relation to the edge! The guide helped us not over think it by counting down 3,2,1 bungee and we were flying down to the Rio Fonce. Very Exhilarating! After a couple bounces we both started spinning which was a bit dizzying, being upside down and staring at a river. The guy on shore told us to put our arms out, which helped slow the spinning. We were thankful for only having a light lunch! To get back on solid ground, the guy on shore threw us a rope and then pulled us in. It’s a strange but effective retrieval technique, and since we were upside down and backwards we couldn't see where we were going so simply had to trust him. Once back on our feet we had shaky legs and adrenalin highs. We were very glad to
have done it, but also glad that we didn't have to think about it anymore. We still had some time before our bus so we did the swing out over the hill above town. It was a fun but much more tranquil activity to close out our few days in San Gil.
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