From Bucaramanga to Cartagena
The idea to take the bus rather than flying is primarily to get a good view of the landscape and small pueblos along the way, getting the feel of the real Colombia.
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Inter-city buses leave from Terminal de Transportes de Bucaramanga with the journey being 12 ½ hours covering 625 km/388 miles. You have a choice of leaving early in the morning or at night. They are luxury buses with fares from 80,000 COP/US20. Indeed, if you prefer to go in a mini-van or car you can do so.
Bucaramanga is a fabulous city with so much to see and do. With many parks to enjoy, the downtown area has a distinct colonial vibe as do many of the neighboring towns.
*Working out the budget for your travels to Colombia? Then be sure to check out our article on the costs of a package tour to Colombia, and our article on how much money you’ll need while traveling through Colombia.
There are two miradors that provide excellent views of the city. Morrorico, to the east on the way to Cúcuta, which also has the statue of the Sacred Heart, while to the west there is Palonegro, offering splendid views of the city.
Always a good idea to stock up with some drinks and snacks on long journeys, even though vendors board periodically. We leave the terminal heading north on an excellent highway, making good progress once clear of the city. Passing a number of pueblos, Rionegro is more significant, while El Portal Paraíso Natural is a super place to stay and enjoy the natural habitat. So too is El Bambu-Sede Campestre.
Rancho Grande at Cáhira is a good place for lunch. It is a Vivero (garden center) with a typical Colombian restaurant down by the river.
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Now we head west for a while before turning north, the road narrowing so progress is much slower as it is very twisty. Once clear of this section the road opens up and Aguachica is the next major town.
The landscape is now open and very different and much warmer. There are several waterway crossings with modern bridges that illustrate the size and magnitude of the river.
Passing through Santa Cruz de Mompox is slow going, but so interesting. This is an absolute gem of a place in Colombia. The city is surrounded by water and is so beautiful with much to see and do. *Learn more about this unique town Mompox in the Colombian Caribbean
We get a chance to stretch our legs but are not able to appreciate the city itself.
The colonial center of Mompox is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is acknowledged in Colombia as a Pueblo Patrimonio. There are large swathes of water on either side from Momox heading north to Cartagena. Fabulous vista.
El Carmen de Bolívar is a major city 114 kms.south east of Cartagena. There is a distinctly Caribbean feel and this is confirmed by the architecture. This is an important agricultural center, especially for avocados, tobacco, cocoa, and yams.
The final leg of the journey to Cartagena passes San Juan Nepomuceno, San Basilio de Palenque and El Viso. Wide expanses on either side with some small bushes for vegetation. Completely flat as we approach the coast.
Turbaco is the final town before Cartagena, where there is the famous Festivo de Torros (Bull Festival) in January.
Interested in learning more about this community in San Basilio de Palenque while you’re visiting Cartagena? Check our day tour and book now!
Cartagena is a special city with a pronounced Afro Caribbean atmosphere. The old walled town is by the sea, with plazas, cobblestone streets, and colonial buildings. This is a very popular tourist destination with nearby islands like Barú and Islas del Rosario providing the idyllic Caribbean lifestyle. *Visit the Rosario Islands with us! Click here for more info
A long trip but well worthwhile as you get a glimpse of parts of Colombia you would never ordinarily see.
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