An adventure-sports hotspot, SAN GIL is one of the biggest backpacker draws in northern Colombia. The compact town is a premier destination for white-water rafting and paragliding, as well as other outdoorsy activities that take place in the surrounding countryside, and also for day-trips to quiet colonial Barichara. For those craving a spot of culinary adventure, fried hormigas culonas, or fat-bottomed ants, a Santander delicacy, can be bought from a few places around town including the market and the street by the river.

San Gil’s main attractions lie outside town, but if you want a quiet moment in between adventures, make your way to the large riverside Parque El Gallineral, its trees atmospherically festooned with tendrils of “old man’s beard” moss. There’s a natural spring-fed swimming pool, and the entrance fee gets you a wristband that means you can go in and out of the park all day. To get here, head to the river and turn left along the Malecón to its end.

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