Bucaramanga is a city in Colombia which is capital of the Santander department. Bucaramanga is also known as the city of parks and offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
- Agua park, San Pio park
- Sagrada familia cathedral
- Day trip Chicamocha national park (Panachi)
- Day trip to Girón
- Day trip to Floridablanca
- Modern art museum
- Las Palmas park and nightlife
- Modern shopping malls
I had never heard of Bucaramanga, I saw it on the map and decided it was a good place to stop on the way from the Venezuela border to Medellín. It’s actually a hidden treasure, a great city to visit with lots of good value hotels and plenty of restaurants and bars.
To get around the city, taxis are cheap and metered, regular buses are super cheap but a little complicated to use. There is a bus rapid transit system called Metrolinea, the roads have a separate lane for the Metrolinea and these only stop at stations that you need a ticket to get inside. It’s like a metro/tube but using a bus with a private lane, it’s cheap very easy to use.
One of the best steaks I have had in my life was at Mercagan Parilla, I’ve enjoyed steaks in Argentina and Uruguay so my standards are pretty high, I strongly recommend this restaurant if you are in town. A restaurant I recommend for cheeseburgers is El Corral.
A great place to go for food, a drink and a dance is Parque las palmas. You’ll find a wide variety of good quality restaurants here, several beer bars and a disco.
Chicamocha national park, also know as Panachi is located along the Chicamocha canyon. To get here you must take a cable car from the valley which provides awesome views of the canyon. At the top you’ll find an interesting monument celebrating the culture of Santander. There is also a small zoo, restaurants and a market. You must try the fresh strawberries dipped in delicious melted Colombian chocolate.
To get to Chicamocha national park from Bucaramanga you must take a bus towards San Gil or even Bogota. Berlinas has a service which will drop you off at the cable car. Check before buying your ticket that the bus will stop for you and tell the driver in advance that you want to stop at Chicamocha national park (Panachi). This could be a perfect opportunity to use Maps.me to make sure you don’t end up in San Gil, or further away in Bogota! To return you can flag any bus down going in the opposite direction back to Bucaramanga.
A short bus ride from Bucaramanga is the peaceful village of San Juan de Girón, or simply Girón. Girón was the first town founded by the Spanish in the region. For those of you looking for an authentic Spanish colonial village, there’s no better place to experience it than Girón. There are some great little restaurants around here to be discovered too.
The famous food of Bucaramanga are big bottomed ants, or hormigas culonas. You can buy these in most places, even in the bus station if you need something to eat on the bus!
Overnight bus from Bucaramanga to Medellín, 8 hours, 80,000
I went a day earlier to the Copetran office to buy my ticket to Medellín. I paid 80,000 pesos for my ticket, I later discovered than when buying bus tickets in Colombia, you can ask for a discount. I could have got the ticket for as little as 40,000 pesos. Another way to get this discount is to turn up 10-20 minutes before the bus is leaving and they will be shouting this price in the station whilst looking for passengers.