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'''Bucaramanga''' is a city in the [[Santander (Colombia)|Santander]] region of [[Colombia]].
'''Bucaramanga''' is a city in the [[Santander (Colombia)|Santander]] region of [[Colombia]].
[[Image:Bucaramanga.jpg|frame|Panoramic view of Bucaramanga.]]

Revision as of 15:25, 15 March 2010

Bucaramanga is a city in the Santander region of Colombia.


Bucaramanga is a medium sized city, home to nearly 1 million inhabitants (all of the metropolitan area). It's a major commercial hub in northeastern Colombia, playing a significant role in trade between Colombia and Venezuela. It's not a huge touristy destination like Cartagena or Santa Marta but nonetheless it is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and ancient towns with a lot of history, which overall makes the visit to Bucaramanga worthwhile.

Get in

As always in Colombia, foreigners are NOT advised to travel by car alone. You can go out with your family, your friends or with a guide with no problem. They will take you to their farms, nearby towns and resorts without problems.

By air

Palonegro Airport (BGA) is located about 45 minutes from town near Lebrija. Domestic flights include Bogotá, Medellín, Cúcuta and Yopal, and it recently started its first international flights to Panama City, with renovations underway to further expand its flights.

By bus

The city offers a clean, modern and nice bus station (La Terminal de Transportes de Bucaramanga) from where you can take busses to almost any destination around Colombia; you can even take buses from here that will take you to Venezuela, Perú and Ecuador. There are frequent 10 hour buses from Bogota for prices starting from COP 40 000.

Get around

By bus

There are many public and private transportation companies that offer bus services and cover almost all of the metropolitan area (Bucaramanga, Girón, Floridablanca and Piedecuesta). It's a cheap and a rather safe way (ticket costs around US$ 0.45). However, it will cost more depending on the bus, the route, and the day traveling around Bucaramanga. They offer nice and clean vehicles that you will make you feel comfortable. If loud music is not your preference then this transportation option could be a problem for you. Most of the drivers enjoy their loud music, but this doesn't happen in most cases.

As stated above, foreigners should not take buses if they are traveling alone. Especially to some 'hot' (dangerous because of the conflict) places like Villavicencio and Barrancabermeja, which are advised to use air services instead. The road that links Bogotá with Bucaramanga is safe, and you can freely travel on this road or take buses with no concern. This road also offers some excellent spots worth checking out, like the Chicamocha Canyon, the towns of San Gil, Socorro, Vélez and Barichara, among others.


Opened in December 2009, the new bus system rides by exclusive lanes making many trips faster and more comfortable. It is safe a clean. [2]

By taxi

This is by far the best way to travel around if you don't mind spending a bit more for transportation. The cabs here are very clean, safe and they will take you anywhere you want. However, if you ride a cab, please make sure that you get the plates written down somewhere, and as an advice, it would be better if you call the company and request a cab.


Most of the people in Bucaramanga speak spanish only, and you will probably have a hard time trying to get addresses and other information from people on streets, but if you go to big hangout places like malls, parks or supermarkets, english speaker people will certainly be found around.


There are plenty of things to sight seeing in Bucaramanga, starting from the east side via Cúcuta you can find nice and large balconies and enjoy a panoramic view of the city. The center of Bucaramanga, like any downtown in the world, gets really crowded on weekends and peak hours, however you can enjoy lots of bargains and sales in the shops, nice quality of clothes and shoes of course.

In the south of Bucaramanga you can find different resorts or clubs where you can play golf, futbol, swim, or just chill out with your friends.

Generally the most popular zone in Bucaramanga is Cabecera, this is the most modern area in the city with lots of malls and entertainment like cinemas, restaurants and shops.


  • Visit the colonial town of Girón
  • Visit Panachi (Chicamocha's National Park) [3]
  • Visit la Mesa de Los Santos
  • Practice extreme sports (rappel, kayak, paragliding, etc...)
  • Colombia Paragliding, [1]. Ruitoque is the best place in Colombia for both tandem and paragliding courses. Colombia paragliding is an Internationally qualified company offering the best and most qualified guides.
  • Visit the many shopping centers.



  • Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga (UNAB), [4]
  • Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS), [5]: This is a public university, and it's regarded as one of the top ten universities in Colombia. This place offers a wide range of engineering schools, and a very reputable medical school.
  • Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB), [6]
  • Universidad Santo Tomás (USTA), [7]
  • Universitaria de Santander (UDES), [8]


To buy shoes, there is not a better place than Bucaramanga, due to the many shoe factories the prices are inexpensive. Good leather and excellent manufacturing.

Pineapples are an excellent buy. The best pineapples in the world, with only competition from the Hawaiian pineapples.


Traditional Santanderean dishes include:

  • Cabro : Goat meat.
  • Mute : A thick soup made with beans, corn, garbanzos, potatoes, various meats (including fresh pig feet, pork loin chops, beef spareribs).
  • Fritanga : If you don't mind some grease and fried food, you should try fritanga. It consists of an assortment of different kind of sausages, yuca, potatoes, corn, steak, and others, all deep-fried. You can find a traditional Fritanga market in the town of Girón located about 15 minutes from Bucaramanga.
  • Culonas : Short for Hormigas Culonas which literally translates 'big ass ants', is a traditional dish, found nowhere else in Colombia, and maybe around the world. The Culonas are 'leaf-cutter' ants (big ones!). Their heads, wings and legs are removed and the rest of the body is toasted and salted.
  • Caldo : It's a light soup. It contains water (of course, but sometimes milk is added), potatoes, cilantro (coriander), and tostados (traditional flat round toasted bread). Additionally it may contain rib meat (with bone) or 1 or 2 eggs. It's accompanied with Santanderean Arepa.

Don't forget to try all the fresh fruits you can find at either the traditional markets, or at the supermarkets. Pineapples from Lebrija (Located 35-40 minutes from Bucaramanga) are famous for their size and sweetness. Oranges, tangerines and limes are traditional crops and can be found all year round (like most of the other fruits). Mango, Papaya, Watermelon, Maracuyá (passion fruit), Guava, Curuba, Pitahaya... the list is very extensive.

Some of the most popular places to eat in Bucaramanga are:

  • "Desayunadero Tony"
  • "Desayunadero El Viejo Chiflas"
  • "Restaurante Mercagán"
  • "Restaruante La Puerta del Sol"
  • "Restaruante Shanghai"
  • "Pizzería Caracol"
  • "Zirus Pizza"


  • Masato : fermented beverage prepared from rice and sugar cane.
  • Chicha : fermened beverage prepared from corn and sugar.
  • Aguardiente : a liquor made out of sugar cane and flavored with anise.

Some of the popular places to hang out in Bucaramanga are:

  • "Mr. Babilla"
  • "La Calle"
  • "Babilonia"
  • "Con Arte"
  • "Saxo"
  • "Fortyfour"
  • "Giron Chill Out - Cocktail Bar y Restaurante Italiano"


Bucaramanga Daily Photo


  • Fly Site Hostel (Colombia Paragliding), Km 2 via Mesa Ruitoque, 312 432 6266. Come to our fly-site hostal, right next to Las Aguilas launch in Ruitoque. A rustic cabana, 20 steps from a groomed, grassy launch. Wake up, eat breakfast and fly all day long. Thermal, XC in the morning and ridge soar all afternoon. Pilot’s dream come true! Top land in your house. Hammocks, fire pit, city views, and cafeteria service on weekends. 30.000.
  • Hotel Asturias, Carrera 22, No. 35-01 ([email protected]), 6351914. Nice hotel with a pretty courtyard and clean rooms. Hot water, cable TV, free Wi-Fi. Single occupancy for 45,000. Some rooms have multiple beds, like dorms. Like the rest of Bucaramanga, prices are a bit higher than in neighboring cities, but this is one of the better places in an area with a wide range of hotels.

Get out

The new aerial cable is among the longest in the world. You can board in the neighboring towns of Mesa de los Santos or Panachi across the Chicamocha national park, it covers a fantastic view of a deep canyon [9].

Girón is a small and pretty colonial style town just about 10 km outside Bucaramanga.

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