My first 3 times in Guatape, I didn’t go to San Rafael. How silly I was!

I’ve to admit that the town isn’t lovely. However, the atmosphere is 100% authentic. There are noises, music, cheap restaurants, drunk cowboys on Sunday. It’s loads of fun. There is a Spanish School there. It’s the right spot for learning a new language. 😉

Rivers are what I like the most when going to San Rafael. The water is cristal-clear, and some of the natural pools like Las Tangas or Trocadera are super close! 

And, if you want to add some adrenaline to your Colombia itinerary, Eco Guias organizes tubing and canyoning excursions. We loved it!

San Rafael is a short 45 min bus drive from Guatape.

San Rafael (1)


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Where to stay in San Rafael

There are only a few accommodation options in San Rafael. You can pick a basic hotel near the main square, but it will be a bit loud at night. We recommend staying in the Spanish School instead. The streets are up and down, but you can ask for a tuk-tuk. There is also a peaceful and beautiful ecolodge outside of San Rafael.

  • Eco Language


    Eco Language

    Spanish School with basic rooms. Quiet place and lovely atmosphere. The staff is super friendly.
    Get the best price
  • C. de Morgan


    C. de Morgan

    15-20 min walk. Lovely guesthouse surrounded by natural pools. Delicious food. Staff.
    Get the best price
  • Ritmo del Rio


    Ritmo del Rio

    25 min Tuktuk drive. There is all you need on the spot. Lovely cabins. Rivers & birds. Great staff.
    Get the best price

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Things to do in San Rafael

San Rafael is surrounded by beautiful crystal-clear rivers accessible by foot or tuk-tuk. It's also an excellent spot for canyoning and tubing!

  • Natural pools


    Natural pools

    Las Tangas and Trocadero are two natural pools near San Rafael. Crowded during the weekend.
    Learn more
  • Canyoning

    Extreme sport


    Eco Guias offers 2 different routes according to your level. High and beautiful waterfalls. Adrenaline.
    Learn more
  • Tubing

    Water Activity


    Go down the river on an inner tube. Depending on the route you pick, it can be raucous. Loads of fun.
    Learn more
  • Eco Language

    Spanish School

    Eco Language

    Eco language offers activities, accommodation, and Spanish lessons. It's a 100% immersion experience.
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  • San Carlos

    Day trip

    San Carlos

    San Carlos is another town surrounded by beautiful rivers and waterfalls. 1h bus ride from San Rafael.
    Learn more

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Eat and Party like an Insider

For us, good restaurants and exciting nightlife are important while traveling. We gathered our favorite picks on an interactive Map. Look for "Colombia Insider - Eat and Party like a local in Colombia" on Mapstr!

Badass Map to EAT and PARTY 

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More things to do in this region

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