Santander is a department that lies in northeastern Colombia. It is a department well known for its historical importance as well as for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities, especially extreme sports. Today, we want to give you some recommendations of things to do in Santander during a tour of 4-5 days. Bucaramanga (1 day) No matter how you are traveling to Santander, chances are, you will visit the departmental capital city of Bucaramanga. Bucaramanga is famous for being where the shoe industry first took off in Colombia. Nowadays, though, there are many things to see and explore here. You will want to spend at least one day here checking out the Catedral de la Sagrada Familia (an impressive 19th century cathedral), Museo Casa de Bolívar (a museum set up in the house where Simón Bolívar stayed for two months that houses both historical items related to Bolívar as well as artefacts dating back to the Guané tribe that inhabited the area in pre-colonization times), and the central market where you can find decent priced local and traditional foods to please any taste bud.
Girón (half-day) Less than an hour outside of Bucaramanga lays the beautiful colonial town of Girón. Full of traditional houses and architecture, Girón is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon walking the streets and taking in the scenery after exploring Bucaramanga. Chicamocha Canyon (1 day) In between Bucaramanga and the popular town of San Gil is the impressive Chicamocha Canyon. A contender on the list of seven natural wonders of the world, the Chicamocha Canyon has an notable altitude of 1,450 metres above sea-level and gives you some of the best views you can find in Colombia. Perhaps the best way to explore the canyon is by entering Chicamocha National Park where you can take advantage of zip lines, cable cars, canoeing, paragliding, helicopter rides, and on foot treks to fully take in and appreciate the majestic beauty of this area.
San Gil (2 days) Laying a little over an hour away from Chicamocha National Park is the small town of San Gil. San Gil has made a name for itself in the last 5-10 years as the place to visit for extreme sports enjoyment in Colombia. In San Gil, you can take part in white water rafting, canoeing, paragliding, caving, and rappelling through waterfalls. You should also take time to explore the quaint centre of the town as well as the Gallineral Park, a botanical park exhibiting the most typical and prominent flora and fauna of the area. Barichara (1 day) To end your time in Santander, take a day to explore a national monument that has been deemed “the prettiest town in all Colombia”—the town of Barichara. About half an hour outside San Gil, Barichara looks like something off a postcard. It is filled with charming red-stone streets that are lined with white washed colonial houses. In addition to roaming the streets and taking in the town’s charm, make sure you walk up the Chapel of Jesús to experience an unforgettable sunset and appreciate perhaps the best view of the surround area.
The Uncover Colombia Team