Bucaramanga is the capital city of the department of Santander, which is known amongst Colombians as the region of the "brave and strong." Bucaramanga is sometimes called ‘The beautiful city’ or ‘The city of the parks”. Here, the weather is warm, and the smiles are even warmer.
There are several urban parks spread all around the city that you can visit. Families and friends get together in these parks to have fun on any regular day, but especially on the weekends. You can find street vendors selling different varieties of food and sweets. Many fun activities for kids are offered too! They can paint, ride small cars around the square, play, and get entertained. Most Sundays you'll be able to enjoy a good show of street dance, small concerts, and cinema nights, amongst other activities.
The gastronomical options in Bucaramanga are endless. There's a variety of local, national, and international cuisine, and all of them are really good. Two of the most traditional and iconic restaurants are El Tony and El Viejo Chiflas. In both of them, you can find breakfast, lunch, and dinner menús with typical and authentic Satandereana food.
You can also find some beautiful places to visit and activities to do in the surrounding cities that are part of the metropolitan area of Bucaramanga- just a few minutes away from the city.
Floridablanca is known as the "Sweet's City," where a must-do while visiting is to try some 'obleas'. This is a typical sweet treat that consists of two rounded and flat waffles with "arequipe" in the middle. That's the typical and basic one, but of course, on top of it, you can add many other toppings such as cheese, blackberry, strawberry, cream, and chocolate, amongst others.
If you are into nature and hiking, there are two beautiful waterfalls that you can visit. One of them is La Judía. This is a two hours hike up to the Judía hill. Along the way, you can find some people selling "guarapo," which is a typical drink made out of fermented fruits. People usually buy this drink while walking, apparently to get more energetic. On the way up, you get great views of the city. The water is cold and refreshing, and it comes down the hill forming a small waterfall, perfect for a swim after a nice walk. This is a very popular place amongst locals to visit on the weekends and sometimes to even have a potluck cookout.
Another place to hike or drive to is Ecoposada Montefiore. It is an Ecological hotel, which is built in the form of a small castle. It is located on top of the mountain and surrounded by an exuberant tropical forest ecosystem. To get there, you walk eight kilometers from the bottom, which is close to the Andes neighborhood police station. This is a delightful and pleasant hike uphill, with beautiful views of the city and lots of nature around. Once you get to Montefiore, there is a gate to go in, and you have to pay and an entrance fee of a dollar. This is invested in the proper preservation of the area. At the back of the hotel, you will find a small pond and a waterfall- truly a peaceful and beautiful place. Montefiore offers as well a restaurant service and swimming pool for guests staying at the hotel.
Girón is a lovely municipality with colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and white facades in all houses in its center. You can enjoy a stroll around it, visit the chapel and the cathedral with its impressive colonial architecture, or sit on a bench in one of the squares while enjoying some ice cream. By the way, there are lots of ice-cream varieties offered here, like kiwi, cheese, avocado, yuca, passion fruit, etc. If you are up for it, visit a place called "the Cholesterol Palace." It might not sound too healthy, but it is truly tasty. Since you are not going to be eating this every day, I would say it's safe and worth trying it at least once. This is a place similar to a food market with a few stands that sell fritanga, a dish that consists of a mix of meats and potatoes. It has black pudding, chorizo, beef, chicken, and baby potatoes, all fried and chopped in small pieces.
In Bucaramanga and its metropolitan area, you can enjoy fantastic food, combined with nature. It is, without a doubt, the perfect spot to start your adventure while in Santander.
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