For the non-extreme sports people out there, San Gil still has many things to do. After all the heart pounding excitement, we filled the rest of our days there visiting churches, hanging out in the square, eating, hiking, and visiting other colonial towns in the area. Most evenings, we enjoyed getting dinner, sitting in the square, and watching the world go by.
San Gil sits at about 5000 feet elevation and it enjoys nice cool temperatures at night and comfortable temperatures during the day. This was a nice change of pace from the sweltering heat that we had been enduring elsewhere in Colombia.
We stayed at the very nice Hostel Santander Terrace Vista, and despite the road construction going on out front, it was a great stay. They have a beautiful terrace with hammocks and great views to enjoy. Ivan, the owner, was very friendly and helpful with information. Each morning on the terrace, we were warmly greeted by Carmen and a wonderful breakfast with fresh fruit. The hostel and the employees only added to our enjoyment of San Gil.
We took a day trip to the small colonial city of Barichara (yes, it seems like we have been seeing a lot of colonial cities, and I think there are MANY more to come). This was another beautiful old town with the usual: a nice square, churches, cobbled streets, friendly people, and colonial houses. As an added bonus, this town had an unbelievable view of the Cordillera de los Cobardes mountains. We were able to soak the gorgeous vistas and soaring birds without anyone else around.
We were a bit adventurous by indulging in a local delicacy, the Hormiga. This “treat” is a huge flying ant with a large back side. Ironically, this insect was a part our fanciest meal (actual sit down restaurant) that we have had since leaving Colorado. We had a rare (REALLY rare) steak topped with the Hormiga ant sauce. The ants were much larger than we thought they would be and they tasted… crunchy. I’m not going to say this was one of the most amazing meals we have ever had, but in honor of our Amazing Race themed trip in San Gil area, we felt it was necessary to enjoy this local cuisine.
From Barichara, we took a nice one and a half hour hike on a historic trail to small pueblo town of Guane. We arrived and were instantly transported back to The Wild West. We walked in to the square behind a cowboy riding a horse. While he hitched his horse up in front of the church, we sat on a bench and prepared for a gun fight to break out at any time. The horses tied to trees, the old weathered men in cowboy hats, and the spooky old chapel created the perfect scene for a Louis L’amour book.
San Gil was a great place to spend five nights and recharge the batteries. It seemed like there was always something to do and the people were as nice as always. We were sad to go, but we can’t stay forever.
On to Bogota…