San Cipriano, a tiny village in west Colombia, has reinvented the wheel, or at least the train track, to boost tourism.
The jungle is a blur. The motorcycle-powered cart shoots along the railway tracks at warp speed. The passengers scream and holler through the tunnels hopped up on the adrenalin from this wacky mode of transport. The cart dashes through the jungle over several rickety bridges until we reach our destination, the small town of San Cipriano which lies between Cali and the Pacific coast.
The cart is a trolley that is similar in size to an old school miner’s pump trolley. Instead of the passengers powering the vehicle, however, a motorbike is strapped on with the front wheel on the trolley and the back wheel on the track. It is a strange but effective union of a motorcycle and a trolley cart.
The carts are called brujitas and have become synonymous with San Cipriano. To get there from Cordoba, you must travel using the brujitas which use the abandoned railway. The journey takes about twenty minutes. Used by locals to go from village to village, and by tourists who come every once in a while to test the clear, calm waters of the local river.
The town itself is very small with only 500 inhabitants. The village is about a kilometer long and consists of two dirt roads, a couple hotels and restaurants, and a large football field. The restaurants serve fresh fish and lie alongside the river.
The most popular activity for visitors is tubing down the river. One can grab an inner tube walk up the river and then float down it towards the town. The dense foliage and beautiful riverside trees provide the scenery for the relaxed float through the Colombia jungle.
The next best activity is a hike to the hard to find waterfall. A guide is essential as the route to the waterfall crosses rivers
and takes small tracks that are very easy to miss. An hour of climbing and wading and slipping later and you are in a glorious swimming spot.
There are a few smaller hikes available too. Ideally San Cipriano is a one night, two day stop.
Once you have enjoyed the tubing and waterfalls the trip is not over, you still have the return journey on the brujitas to come.