Are you an adventurous traveler planning a trip to Colombia? If yes, this post is ideal for you.
I bet you are trying to create your Colombia itinerary mixing the sightseeing highlights with some excellent adventurous activities. Great idea!
However, I know it is not always that easy to choose what adventurous activities will have space in your trip and which ones you just won’t have the time to do them.
In this post, I will help you out in that selection process by giving you my top 8 adventurous activities in Colombia:
In the last years, San Gil has been named the adventurous capital of extreme sports in Colombia.
This doesn’t come as a surprise as this small city is located in a gorgeous area offering great adventures possibilities.
The surrounding mountains, waterfalls, rivers, and canyons create incredible opportunities for paragliding, caving, canyoning, rappelling and rafting.
Among those adventurous activities, the most popular one is rafting.
There are a couple of good rivers for rafting in the area, offering rapids of almost all categories. Among them, my favorite one is the Suarez River.
Rafting on the Rio Suarez is a breathtaking experience, and a must do for travelers looking for a bit of adventure.
From San Gil town, you can easily take a rafting tour that begins with a pick-up from your hotel and a ride down to the Rio Suarez River.
Once you arrive at the starting point, you will receive your equipment, get some safety recommendation and start your exciting journey downstream where you will experience some thrilling rapids.
The difficulty depends on the rainfall of the moment but is usually around levels 2 and 3. This makes it also feasible for people who have never done rafting before.
The complete tour lasts around 4 hours out of which three full hours will be rafting.
On top the adrenaline rush, this tour allows you to witness the gorgeous surroundings from up-close.
If you are looking for extreme sports in Colombia, you shouldn’t leave San Gil out of your Colombia itinerary.
Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City, is one of the most popular destinations for adventure lovers.
It is the Colombian “Machu Picchu”, located deep in the jungles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Discovered in the 1970s, Ciudad Perdida consists of the remains of an abandoned indigenous village.
To get to this archaeological wonder, you will have to take one of the most exhilarating adventures in Colombia: a 4-day hike through jungleish mountains.
The hike involves tough daily walks of 5-8 hours long, passing through muddy paths, crossing rivers and creeks, taking hanging bridges and climbing steep rocky stairs.
The accommodation is in very basic huts constructed next to rivers. Here you will be able to take some refreshing swims in the crystal-clear waters running these rivers.
To make things even more interesting, throughout the hike you will cross some small indigenous villages. Over there, you can witness how the tribes from this region live, what they wear and how they interact with each other.
Finally, a trip to Ciudad Perdida also allows you to witness the exuberant nature of these jungleish mountains. It is common to spot toucans, monkeys, plenty of insects and even some snakes. However, if you don´t have enough time to include a multiple day hike, we recommend to check our list of best shorter hikes in Colombia.
Having access to both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Colombia has plenty of fantastic locations for diving.
The Caribbean Sea offers impressive places for reef diving with great visibility and calm waters.
The Pacific Ocean offers more adventurous dives where you will be able to spot bigger animals than those living in the reefs.
My favorite place for diving in Colombia is a little island located in the wild Pacific Coast around 35 kilometers from the mainland.
The island, called Gorgona, used to be a prison for the worst criminals until the 1970s when it because a Natural Park. You can still visit the abandoned prison that is now being “eaten” by the jungle.
The island offers excellent walks, nature (lots of snakes) and beaches.
However, the best of this island is its diving spots. Around 20 sites are offering amazing diving opportunities to both advanced and open-water divers.
The diving is harder than in the Caribbean Sea as there are some strong underwater currents and at the surface, the waves are quite wild. This is what makes it one of the better extreme sports in Colombia.
Nevertheless, the efforts are worth it as you will spot plenty of big animals during the dives, such as turtles, manta rays and sharks. There are plenty of dolphins, barracudas, eels and during the right season, you could be lucky to spot humpback whales and whale sharks. If you are interested in adding a Colombian island to your itinerary, we recommend to check this article on our favorite Colombian islands.
Divers should not doubt in including Gorgona Island in your Colombia itinerary
An off-the-beaten-track destination that has received excellent reviews in the last years. The Cerros de Mavecure are three amazing rocky hills popping up in the middle of the northern part of the Amazon Jungle.
Located in the eastern-most part of Colombia, these hills offer the best possible views over the entire jungle and surrounding areas.
The adventure begins in the town of Inirida. From there, you need to take a speedboat for 4 hours.
The ride is really enjoyable as you will pass through the middle of the jungle and have great opportunities to spot birds and river dolphins.
The boat will drop you at the base of the hills where you will meet an indigenous guide who will show you the path to climb one of the hills.
The climbing is a medium-challenging trek through paths created in the back of the hill. It takes around 1.5 hours to get to the top.
Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with the best possible views over the Amazon jungle. It is exceptionally beautiful during sunset.
The way down takes around 45 minutes. You will then spend the night in an indigenous village to learn about their traditions and ways of living.
If you are looking for the perfect mix of adventure, culture, and nature, then you should include Cerros de Mavecure to your Colombia itinerary.
Casa en el Aire is a hostel constructed in a wooden house that hangs out of a rocky cliff.
It was constructed by some guys who were climbing very often in the rocks of Abejorral (around 3 hours from Medellin) and always dreamed of having a hanging house.
They built it for them to live but afterward converted it into a small hostel.
To get there, you need to take a 4×4 jeep for about 1 hour from the town of Abejorral, then hike for another hour, then take a long zip-line and finally cross a hanging bridge.
Sleeping there is a thrilling experience as you are hanging off a cliff. However, the daily activities are also awesome.
Besides ziplining, you can do some bungee jumping from the house’s balcony, spend some time on hammocks hanging out of the cliff, go hiking or go rock climbing. As you can see, a lot of of extreme sports in Colombia, all at one place.
Additionally, the views over the entire canyon and the surrounding mountains are breathtaking.
Nowadays, there are newer cabins at the base of the cliff where you can have more comfortable accommodation.
They don’t give the excitement of sleeping in a hanging house, but still offer great views, and during the day you are allowed to spend time at the hanging house itself.
The Cocora Valley is one of the top attractions of Colombia. It is a green and misty valley surrounded by sharp peaks.
But what makes this valley unique is the presence of the tallest palm trees in the world: The Wax Palms. These palms can grow up to 60 meters tall.
Most people visit this valley on foot. There are different walking trail taking you to the heart to the valley.
However, there is another amazing way of visiting this valley and its huge palm trees: on a mountain biking tour.
There are some circuits in the area, but my favourite one is the one of La Carbonera.
A tour of this place starts by leaving the town of Salento early in the morning. A jeep will take you to the highest point of the track (at 3400 meters above sea level) from where you will start descending on your mountain bike.
Along the way, you will stop for a picnic and to take some photos of the amazing valleys covered in palm trees.
The whole tour lasts around 6 hours, and it’s totally recommended for those looking to do sightseeing mixed with some extreme sports in Colombia.
Colombia is a paradise for trekkers. There are plenty of different types of trekking options across the entire country.
However, my favourite spot for trekking is the Cocuy National Park as it allows you to witness one of the weirdest things on earth: glaciers and snow-capped mountains in a tropical-Caribbean country.
The Cocuy park is located high up in the Andes mountains. Here you will find emerald blue lakes formed by eroding glaciers, alpine tundra, crystal clear creeks, and snowy mountaintops.
Nowadays you are not allowed to do multi-day hikes or camp in the park. Nevertheless, you can stay in the base camp at the entrance of the park and do some astonishing treks to the edge of the glaciers. It is a very ecotourism popular spot. Read here more about ecotourism in Colombia.
Along the way, you will be able to discover some hidden waterfalls and lakes and enjoy the “Paramo”, a gorgeous ecosystem that lives in this area.
The biggest challenge of this adventure is coping with the altitude. The basecamp is located at 4000 meters above sea level and the glaciers start at around 4600.
Acclimatization is essential to have an enjoyable adventure. Plan on spending at least three full days at the base camp, hydrate yourself and don’t push it too much during the hikes.
For more information on tours to the Cocuy National Park, click here.
Generally speaking, one of the most thrilling adventure activities you can do, is skydiving.
Jumping out a plane is not for everyone, but those who dare won’t regret it. Actually, many people end up doing it more than just once. I can admit that it is my personal favorite of all the extreme sports in Colombia.
The best place to do skydiving in Colombia is in the town of Flandes. Located at about 3-hours’ drive from Bogotá, on the way to the Tatacoa Desert.
A tandem jump, in which you are attached to a professional instructor, is the ideal way to do your first jump and see if you like it.
At the base camp, you will receive all necessary training, explanations and safety information before you take off in a small plane.
After around 30 minutes of flying, you will jump from the plane together with your instructor. He will do everything so you can focus on enjoying the moment.
The free fall lasts for around 40 seconds. Afterward, once the parachute is opened, you will have about 25 minutes to relax and enjoy the amazing views.
Upon landing, you can relax in a wonderful swimming pool and recover from the rush of adrenaline and emotions of having done skydiving.
The best company to do skydiving in Colombia is called Xielo. They are extremely professional and take all security measurements very seriously. I totally recommend them.
At Lulo Colombia Travel, we create amazing and tailor-made itineraries to discover Colombia. If you want to visit Colombia and need help creating your itinerary and organizing your trip, you are in the right place. Check out the best activities and sightseeing spots in Colombia here.
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