When anyone mentions Colombia, two things come to mind; cocaine and coffee. Well, my friends, I am here to tell you that this diverse and notoriously-known-for-narcotics country is leaving its dark past behind and re-emerging as an adventure junkies paradise.
Hidden along the golden Caribbean coastline, in among soaring Andean peaks, ancient cities and virgin jungle, lies a plethora of activities for adrenaline enthusiasts. I have compiled the top four so you can get a large dose of endorphins in Pablo Escobar’s home country.
This traditional and widely played sport is one-of-a-kind and only found in Colombia. Just a like a crazy spin off of darts, you throw the Tejo towards the bullseye, a horse shoe laced with gun powder inside a pit of clay. Number one rule, you have to drink a beer while playing.
– 1 point for landing in the clay and being the closest to the horse shoe
– 3 points for landing in the middle of the horse shoe
– 6 points for setting off an explosion
– 9 points for landing in the horse shoe and setting off an explosion
– The first team to 21 wins. The losing team has to skull the remainder of their beer.
This off-the-beaten-path spirals down ancient roads into Chicamocha Canyon in Colombia’s Santander region. You will pass waterfalls and local farmers attending fertile lands before ending in the rarely-visited lost colonial town of Jordan.
Starting at 2020 metres above sea level, ride around the edge of the canyon along dry red earth tracks and past volcanic rock. Over the course of six hours, test your mental and physical strength with steep sections and sharp turns over towering cliffs edges.
Jordan has been abandoned for many years and now is home to just 57 residents. It is a harsh environment acting as a natural furnace at the bottom of the canyon where shadows of soaring condors dance on hot, crumbling ruins. End the ride here and explore the tiny hamlet before cooling off the nearby natural pool.
The hike and climb to Pubelito is a 2-hour up and 1-hour down trip ending on the shores of the Caribbean where specks of gold glitter the sand. Begin in Cabo San Juan — a secluded beach, only accessible by foot — in Tayrona National Park and walk through plantations and natural caves formed by fallen boulders. Jump from rock to rock and climb up awkward boulder faces until you reach an ancient staircase.
The archaeological ruins of Pubelito at the top of the hike were built by the Tayrona civilisation and a small group of inhabitants still live in the nearby grass-roofed huts. Bring plenty of water and plenty of change for a beer at the end.
Located close to the Ecuadoran border near Popayan, Volcan Purace is part of the North Volcanic Zone of the Andean Volcanic Belt; it is not for the faint hearted. Temperatures drop below freezing, hail pelts down and fog wraps itself around your body. Conditions change fast and the hike can go from sunshine to hail in minutes.
A strenuous yet rewarding hike would usually be celebrated with a beer at the end but this full-day adventure then has you jumping on mountain bikes and cycling the rest of the way home, 54km away. Your legs will feel like lead and the sub zero temperatures will freeze your limbs but the exhilarating bike ride winds past love hotels, rolling emerald hills, locals walking cattle and smiling residents.Last updated on Oct 10, 2019