Parrots and a Great View in San Gil

The “adventure capital” of Colombia
Altitude: 1,114m (3,655ft)
Population: 33,592
Temperature Year-Round: 24 to 32ºC (75-90°F)

San Gil is hot. Well, for me and my pasty white gringa skin anyway. It’s the nearest big town to Mogotes, about an hour drive through beautiful mountain scenery.

We even saw a house made of clay.

Leading into the city, the big business is car repair. Garages are everywhere. Apart from that, it’s restaurants with large slabs of meat smoking on open fires near the road.

The main shopping streets in the town are clutterd with cars, trucks, people, carts, motorcycles, you name it. It’s loud and chaotic.

There’s a large market selling fruit and vegetables of every variety. In a supermarket, I found some Nestea mix and we bought Milo “choco” sandwiches and yogurt to take to the park. I finally found some porridge.

I was expecting a bit of shopping, but mostly it was cheap shoes and clothes, baby gear and knick-knacks. In one shop called La Calle Real, I found a dress I love and bought it. It was COP60000 ($32, £20) The address is Calle 11, No. 10-17 if you’re around. I was excited because I love shopping and it was the first piece of clothing I’ve bought in a month! The back is open and it ties at the neck. It even has pockets.














The heat was getting to me mid-afternoon, so we decided to escape to the beautiful Parque Gallineral. It costs COP6,000 ($3, £2) to get in. The park was the best part of our visit.

It is full of sweeping Ceiba trees which I’ve never seen before, paths for walking, private little sandy beach areas along the Rio Fonce, loads of gorgeous tropical birds and wild parrots, exotic flowers, waterfalls and little areas where you can walk on the rocks.

You can stick your feet in the creek to cool down. If you’re hungry, there’s an outdoor restaurant, but watch out for the evil peacock.

We’re saving this stuff for next time, but you can do some white water rafting here, rappelling in waterfalls, hydrospeeding, kayaking, paragliding and caving. But it’s also a stunning, quiet place to relax and find a patch of shade.

For lunch, we stopped at Restaurante Carne Brava on the main road. Instead of a basket of bread, we were given a cup of fried plantains.

If you’re game, you can order a portion of the region’s specialty Hormigas Culonas (giant fried ants) for COP1,000 ($0.54, £0.33). They’re pretty good actually. They taste like bacon-flavored popcorn with a nice crunch. We ordered smoked steak, some tasty chicken, rice and arepas. There was a cute, prowling cat which got a good chunk of our meal before he went to nap under the table.

Later on, when the sun started to creep behind the mountains that surround this town, we decided on a climb. You can walk up steps and slanted streets for a great view of the town. A bit of an effort after a big meal, but well worth it!

A few Spanish words:
River: Rio
Park: Parque
Sports: Deportes
Tree: Árbol
To walk: Caminar

About Little Observationist

Appreciating life's little luxuries.
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55 Responses to Parrots and a Great View in San Gil

  1. Prices says:

    Cool pics. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    I love to see pictures of places I never thought too much about visiting. It inspires me to get on a plane!

  2. I think you may need an entire post devoted to the “evil peacock.”


    Stunning photos. As I sit here and the snow is falling outside of my office window, the ability to escape into a sunny, beautiful place is much appreciated!

  3. Great photos. Those birds are such great subjects, so colorful.

  4. lycon[MANOJ] says:

    I would like to know you in personal

  5. Stunning photos! Just returned to the US from a year living in Haiti. Your photos somehow make me miss the place.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed. Hang on for the ride!


  6. leadinglight says:

    Great photos of the birds. The park seems worth it for that price.

    I can’t begin to imagine ants tasting like bacon!

  7. enjoibeing says:

    wow looks beautiful, great photographs. the color of those birds are so vibrant! congrats on freshly pressed too!

  8. ron abbass says:

    Exceptional Photos! You have a keen eye for beauty and the unusual. (thumbs up)! 🙂

  9. Debbie says:

    Hi Steph – sounds like you are having a lot of fun there with a lot less drama than London!

  10. Such a beautiful country! And those parrots are so gorgeous. I am so jealous- I have always wanted to go to Colombia!!

  11. atticannie says:

    I loved your photo journal and your commentary. Thanks for sharing. AA

  12. All County Insurance - Brea, California says:

    Looks awesome! I would definitely enjoy the park and maybe check out the caves. I’ll stay away from the river though! Thanks for sharing the adventure!

  13. lillsister says:

    I am not sure where this is… but it looks nice!

  14. James Lee says:

    Oh, very nice pictures! I just got a new camera and am learning to use it with the help of a photography 101 kind of textbook. Either you’ve used the same textbook or you have a knack for taking pictures. Very nice!

  15. Stephanie, thanks for taking us along for the trip! I felt like I had a vacation and I did not even have to pack my suitcase.



  16. vustudents says:

    great view nice pic i like it

  17. Stunning pics indeed! Makes me miss home a bit…

  18. Very nice jobs, great photos

  19. Stunning photo’s! Wow! Im speechless. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  20. Elena says:

    I loved your pictures! San Gil is a beautiful place!

  21. Zach says:

    lol… great post, can’t wait for the next one.


  22. sergio says:

    it’s wonderful….really awsome you have visited my country And i have found you another person who loves colombia.
    My parents borned near to san gil in the next town called zapatoca .
    i am colombian people, and work abroad . the last two months i was traveling on colombia, but i must to share the great pictures on the web such as flickr.
    hey stephanie congratulations.
    i like your observationist style.
    i would like to know about you and your photography .

  23. Wow! San Gil sounds like a place worth exploring!

  24. Rachael says:

    I like the contrast between the busy city and empty hills in your first two pictures.

  25. bevysthots says:

    Beautiful water pix. 🙂 I love creeks!

  26. mblundo says:

    Great pictures! I am an independent travel agent who is new to the blogging world and is looking for followers. My blog name is Dream Come True Travel. Thanks for the support!

  27. sketchjay says:

    So beautiful… a place I will try to visit, great pics!

  28. Fried plantains- yes please! Not so sure about the giant fried ants though…
    Fun post, thanks for sharing.

  29. saltybi11 says:

    I like the bird pics… cool!

  30. says:

    Stunning photo’s! Wow! Im speechless. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

  31. kimdixonfoto says:

    I heart Milo and peacocks 🙂

  32. custompaperpoint says:

    WOW! impressive pictures and really outstanding post.

    Thanks for sharing

  33. Great photos very colourful, especially love the birds and parrots, but then I am biased 🙂


  34. iriske0502 says:

    Article is very interesting,thanks for your sharing.
    Welcome to

  35. bandsmoke says:

    Fabulous pics and an interesting post – congrats on FP 🙂

  36. Nice one(s)! Thanks for the post! 😀

  37. Great photos, especially the ones of the colorful parrots.

  38. whatsaysyou says:

    Those pictures look cool and wow 🙂 My favourite picture of all is the one with the parrots.

  39. flatland57 says:

    This looks like so much fun. Wish I was there. The photos are wonderful. The bird with the descending feather looks beautiful. I’ve never seen that. Birds of paradise have those trailing tails, but this guy has a whole new feather. Do you know the species? Really enjoying your blog. Thanks

  40. Sajeevs blog says:

    very interesting pictures of San Gil!

  41. Muchos gracias for the info on giant ants! I’m currently in San Gil and trying to locate their whereabouts. Nice photos too!

    Make sure you do come back for the rafting. The adrenaline ride down Suarez has you floating on a high for hours after.

  42. Mr.FuzzyBear says:

    I really like the first picture overlooking the city also I thought the other pictures of the parrots looked really nice.

    Good job

  43. awesome photos. very jealous of your adventure. i particularly love the rooftop lined streets. cheers!

  44. Geoff says:

    Very nice images. I love the stream pictures.

  45. rico says:

    Good shot, really beautiful scenery..congrats on being freshly pressed.

  46. wow looks beautiful, great photographs. the color of those birds are so vibrant! congrats on freshly pressed too!

  47. Pingback: Exploring Colonial Towns Barichara and Guane | Little Colombia Observationist

  48. tech says:

    nice one post ireally like i t

  49. This looks like so much fun. Wish I was there. The photos are wonderful. The bird with the descending feather looks beautiful. I’ve never seen that. Birds of paradise have those trailing tails, but this guy has a whole new feather. Do you know the species? Really enjoying your blog. Thanks

  50. Pingback: » Exploring Colonial Towns Barichara and Guane

  51. Thanks for sharing this great little spot! I have never heard of it and will be returning to Colombia very soon and definitely want to visit San Gil now….awesome photos!!

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