If you are visiting Colombia, Bucamaranga should be at the top of your list.
Bucaramanga has been given the nickname “La Ciudad Bonita de Colombia” (Colombia’s Beautiful City) for a reason. With it’s stunning views and semi – modernized infrastructure you could call it the blueprint for South America. In fact, it has the lowest unemployment rate in Colombia and some of the best colleges in the country.
Minus some rain from time to time, Bucaramanga also has perfect weather. Typically, the temperature ranges between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit almost every day of the year. The sun doesn’t feel too hot and the humidity is more than manageable making for a great afternoon out. There are a plethora of things to do in Bucaramanga and its surrounding area, let’s talk about a few.
San Juan de Girón
San Juan de Girón is a old Colombian colonial town founded in 1631 with cobblestone streets and white-washed buildings. It’s only a 20 minute drive from Bucaramanga. With its beautiful town squares, waterfront promenades, stone bridges and quaint churches, it’s a good place for history, photographs and lunch.
Of note, San Juan de Girón is in a valley so the weather is very different from Bucaramanga. Although it’s only 20 minutes from the city. the temperature in San Juan de Girón is significantly higher. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s hot! I mean really hot, mid 90s some days with heavy sun. So, if you take a day trip to San Juan de Girón make sure to dress light and bring plenty of water.
La Mesa de Los Santos and Parque Nacional de Chicamocha
With lush green landscapes and a picturesque backdrop of the Andes mountains, Parque Nacional de Chicamocha is definitely one of the best places to visit in Colombia. It takes approximately 45 minutes by car from Bucaramanga to reach some of the striking overlooks but you could easily spend a whole day driving through the stunning mountains.
On your way up the mountain stop by cafe Mesa de Los Santos and have a delicious mocha. I’d suggest buying some coffee to take home too, they have several different kinds for sale that are grown right in the immediate surrounding area. When visiting Mesa de Los Santos and Parque Nacional de Chicamocha remember it’s high up in the mountains so prepare for some breathtaking views all day, even during the car ride.
There is also a aerial cable car that operates in the area and goes all the way down the canyon. The views are stunning and the experience is unforgettable. If you have your heart set on riding in the aerial cable car I would call ahead of time to make sure its operating on the day you plan to visit. However, the area is so beautiful and breathtaking I would suggest making this a top destination even if the cable car is out of commission at the time.
Ecoparque Cerro del Santismo
Ecoparque Cerro del Santismo is located in Floridablanca, a neighboring city around 25 minutes by car from Bucaramanga. The ecoparque features a aerial cable car ride up the side of a mountain to a gigantic Jesus statue that overlooks the city. The cable ride itself is stunning but I was blown away when I saw the statue of Jesus standing at a height of 130 feet overlooking the entire valley from a local mountaintop.
The views of the surrounding area from the cable car are impressive. Abundant vegetation, sharp rays of light and thick dark shadows fill the surrounding scenery with a elegance rarely captured.
Bucaramanga and the entire surrounding metropolitan area can be seen clearly from the top of the statue. The status is 11 stories tall and has an elevator to a viewing deck. If you count the base, Cerro del Santismo is one of the top 5 largest statues of Jesus in the world and is a must visit if you’re near Bucaramanga.
There are so many things to do in Bucaramanga it’s impossible to list them all in this article. A few honorable mentions would include parks, shopping and paragliding. Bucaramanga is at the center of the footwear industry and hosts multiple shoe factories and stores. Prices are good and the quality is high. Also, take a moment to visit some local parks. The city has over 150 parks (some are absolutely amazing) and was given the nickname La Ciudad de los Parques (The City of Parks).
Lastly, if your looking for some adventure and a adrenaline rush, the thermal winds near Bucaramanga are perfect for paragliding at an affordable price. Bucaramanga ranks in my top 3 cities to visit in Colombia.