Amazing Race Part Two

We took a “pit stop” from our Amazing Race to walk around the town’s botanical garden. These gardens were a bit more organized and corporate than the one in Mompos. By this we mean it had sign, entrance, and actually pathways.

San Gil Botanical Garden

The twisting trails and bridges led us through different gardens with a huge variety of trees, flowers, and bushes. Most of the trees were covered with amazing “Old Man’s Beard.” Seeing it all made Joe a little self conscious about his own beard, but we spent a good amount of time sitting under an amazing old tree watching the Old Man’s Beard sway in the wind.

Old Mans Beard

Beautiful Flowers (Be proud Dad... I knew these were Heliconias)

With all the adrenaline inducing activities available in San Gil, we couldn’t rest for long. We decided to try out caving with a trip to “Cueva de la Vaca.” We have been through caves before in Puerto Rico and in Slovenia, but this looked a little more complicated than just simply walking through. We knew from the pictures that we’d get wet and muddy, but we had no idea the kinds of crazy tasks we would be undertaking in the next hour and a half.

We took a bus to the cave, suited up (put on clothes we wouldn’t mind trashing), got fitted with head lamps (which looked like they have been repaired a hundred times) and put on helmets (scraped up with many war wounds). We headed out with our guide, Luis, from the town, through a cow pasture (hence the name), and in to a small crack in the earth.

Cave Entrance

Now we knew we probably would be getting wet, but we should have realized we’d be soaked when we saw our guide was carrying a dry bag.

The tour began in Spanish as expected: climb over this, duck under that, don’t slip on that, and watch out for the bats. As the cave got smaller and smaller, we found ourselves army crawling through mud and water in order to negotiate the tight spaces.

Things got a bit more hairy when suddenly we were in chest deep water heading towards a solid wall. No way to go but under. This turned out to be one of those time we wished we spoke a little more Spanish.

Time to dive and swim

Our guide explained in slow “Gringo Spanish” what was about to happen. So what we thought we understood was: hold this rope, take a big breath, dive under the water, pull the rope, count to three, and come up on the other side. Seems simple enough, but Joe had to question the guide one more time, as he felt this was not a time to simply nod and say, “Si.”

Once we were safely on the other side, we continued on our cave trip seeing amazing stalagmites, stalactites, crystal ceilings, cool rock formations and Kristen’s favorite… bats!!!

At one point he had us turn off all our lights and he led us by the hand for about 50 feet in absolute darkness. It was strange to know that it was impossible to see anything, no matter how hard you tried.

It was also at this point that he mentioned we were 80 meters underground. We tried not to think about that too much as we continued.

Rose bud of BATS

Enjoying the view

At the end we reached a nice little massaging waterfall and then headed back out the same way we came in. This time, swimming beneath the rock wall was well understood and somewhat less daunting. We enjoyed our time in the cave, but emerging back out into the sun definitely felt good.

Only head room

After our two heart-pumping adventures, we decided to take it easy for the remainder of our time in San Gil.

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About shoefry

Taking off for a year to see what the world has to offer.
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8 Responses to Amazing Race Part Two

  1. Wow, you guys are brave — I would have run the other way if I saw a bat! Loving the adventure posts, though!

  2. Dee says:

    That last picture kinda sums it up – you guys look like deer in the headlights. Congrats – not too many people can do what you just did, especially swimming underneath a ledge and trusting there’s air on the other side.

    And way to go with the heliconia, Kris! That’s way more exciting than some puny cave!

    • shoefry says:

      Yeah, it was a bit overwhelming at times! We are proud that we did it (but we didn’t really have a choice once we got there).

      Not sure about the heliconia being better than the cave, but I have been loving all the flowers and plants around Colombia.

  3. Teresa Schuberg says:

    I’m jealous– that looks like fun. And whew does that water look clean!

    By the way, many bats carry rabies. Have fun getting shots in your stomach!

  4. Pingback: Torotoro Part Two- So there were dinosaurs here once… | shoefry

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