From Medellin to Bucaramanga
Medellín is the second largest city in Colombia and the capital of Antioquia, with nearly 4 million habitants including the surrounding areas, comprising nine other cities. It is located in the Aburrá Valley, a central region of the Andes. Long a favorite among foreigners, Medellín is a diverse and interesting city.
There are two airports and two main bus terminals, so it is easy to travel to other places in Colombia and internationally.
Rionegro (José María Cordova) – MDE – is the main airport with connections to all over the world, while Olaya Herrera – EOH – is downtown and mostly domestic. One bus terminal is in the north and the other in the south.
Looking for some day tours or private transportation in Medellin? Check it out here!
For the road trip to Bucaramanga, we go to the north terminal. There are 23 buses a day, so plenty of options. It is an 8-hour trip (if all goes well) and 390 km., so I recommend purchasing a premium seat if it is available. Fares are from 60,000 COP/to US$14. Also, try to leave early to get the best of the day. Nothing like a good Colombian coffee and freshly baked pan de Bono (small bread pastry) to start the adventure!
Traveling northeast out of Medellín, there is a gradual climb until reaching the peak of the Andes, by which time one is well out of the city. The river Medellín is to the south of the highway and it is possible to see it in places.
The landscape changes subtly from mountainous to slightly more open areas with plenty of trees. While the highway is good, at times we meander through small pueblos at a snail’s pace. This is the opportunity for vendors to board the bus and offer their products from drinks to munchies to trinkets.
More or less at halfway is Puerto Berrío, where we cross over a fabulous new bridge into Santander. It is spectacular and was opened in 2020. The bus stopped for lunch and found a small typical Colombian restaurant for a delicious meal at a very good price.
Immediately upon crossing the river the terrain changes and it is much warmer. Shortly thereafter we head northeast and Barrancabermeja, 114 km. west of Bucaramanga is on the banks of the Rio Magdalena – which is navigable for almost 1,000 km. This is the oil capital of Colombia and is seriously hot – the average annual temperature is 40 c/104 f.
Places of interest to see here are The Petroleum Christ, a sculpture 26 meters high, on a boardwalk down by the river. Also, the Oil Museum is worth a visit.
*Looking for the best transport services for your stay in Bucaramanga? You can find the full section of Private Transportation right here!
The remainder of the journey will be slower as the road is twisty and mountainous with several tunnels up to 1 km. long.
Bucaramanga itself is the capital of Santander with nearly 1,200,000 people living in the metropolitan area. It has the most amazing number of parks. The average temperature is 25 celsius/77 Fahrenheit with relatively high humidity.
Bucaramanga is a city well worth exploring. It has something for everyone.
Paragliding is popular at Voladero las Aguilas while downtown has charming colonial houses and churches, including San Laureano and the chapel of Delores.
Like adventure when you’re traveling? Don’t stay without visiting the second largest canyon in the world – Click here for more info!
There are a large number of restaurants serving local and international fare. Typical local dishes include a sopa (soup) made with grains and meat and a rice dish with a goat, OR you can find everywhere some arepas and tamales.
If you are really adventurous try Homiga Culona. This specialty of Bucaramanga is only available in May and June. Large ants are high in protein and are now exported to New York, London, and Tokyo as a delicacy.
Visiting Santander and you into learning more about traditions and local food? Don’t miss our food experience in Barichara Click here for more info
To fully enjoy the city, do look at the tours that we have available, which can of course be specifically tailored to your requirements.
Like to create or customize a fantastico package tour of Colombia? Use our Plan My Trip page to start planning your dream Colombian vacation now!