Do you want to get off the beaten track and get a feel for authentic Colombian life?
Within reach for a day or weekend trip from Medellin, you will find the small and friendly pueblo San Rafael. This village is surrounded by many rivers, waterfalls and natural pools, making it the ideal spot for both relaxing or outdoor adventures. This blog will tell you what are the best things to do in and around San Rafael, Antioquia.
(1) Learn Spanish!
San Rafael is relatively small and the people are very welcoming. Therefore, it is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Colombian culture and practice your Spanish with locals.At Eco Language Colombia we offer different packages to help you improve your Spanish, get familiar with the local culture and enjoy outdoor adventures! Find out more.
(2) Tomar un café en el parque
While San Rafael might be a pueblo pequeño, there is always a lot going on at the main square. You will see men on horses dragging cows around town, children playing games, older Colombians relaxing in the shade and people doing their daily groceries. Simply sit down between the locals, enjoy a coffee for only 600 pesos and take in the authentic Colombian daily life around you.
(3) Explore the nightlife at Bar Route 66
Are you in San Rafael on a friday night or during the weekends? Then paying a visit to the local bar of San Rafael is must! Have a cheap cocktail or beer while listening to the top charts of Colombia. Locals are always curious where you are from and why you are in San Rafael, so doing shots with your new local mates is inevitable.
(4) Cool down at nearby charcos
It never becomes overwhelmingly hot or unpleasantly cold in San Rafael. However, when the sun comes out you might want to go to a place to cool down. Around San Rafael there are many crystal clear rivers with charcos and waterfalls to be found. La Cristalina and Trocadero Vaqueto are natural swimming pools popular among the locals.
(5) Relax at El Café
El Café is one of those spots with a hipster vibe that you do not expect in a small town like San Rafael. It is a place where many people come to have a real good coffee or fresh juice and socialize. The staff is also really keen to learn English while helping you improve your Spanish a bit.
(6) Eat the most delicious pizza
Did you just say pizza?! Yes, at Pizza Poder you will find some of the best pizzas around Colombia. As recommended by some locals, you should definitely try the Napolitana and Montanera.
(7) Experience the town during ´Crazy Saturday´
On saturday all people from nearby towns and farms come to San Rafael to do their weekly groceries. It is one crazy madness around town, but organized in some ways as well. The campesinos put their groceries in big, white bags with a number on it. Next, all bags are collected at one place and stacked in the chivas. At the end of the afternoon, the people try to fit themselves in or on the busses and they head back to their homes.
(8) Get an adrenaline rush during outdoor adventures
Among the Colombians, the area around San Rafael is known for its tranquility and nature. Especially for bird watchers it is a must visit. However, if you are looking for outdoor adventures there are many canyoning, tubing and hiking opportunities around the area. Take a look at Ecoguias Colombia for more information.
(9) Make a day trip to San Carlos
Want to explore a bit more of the surrounding area? Visit San Carlos and walk la Viejita, a beautiful nature trail which will take you to several waterfalls. At the last waterfall, la cascada, there is even a pool of water at the bottom for swimming. Next, have some lunch in town and stroll around to watch the cool street art. Buses only go twice a day, so make sure to catch the 9.30 am bus at the market square and the bus back at 2.30 pm.
(10) Make a day trip to Guatape
While San Rafael and San Carlos are still undiscovered by most travellers, Guatapé is a bit more touristy. Nevertheless, it is worth a visit as you can climb the Piedra del Peñol with an amazing view of the lake and area. Next, go back in town for some lunch and take a quick stroll through the colorful center before heading back to San Rafael.
We hope you enjoyed our list of what are the best things to do in San Rafael, Antioquia. Got any addtions?