Bucaramanga, Colombia – City Guide for Nomads and Expats

Updated in 2022.

Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia

The eighth largest city in Colombia and capital of the Santander department..

It is nicknamed “The City of Parks,” boasting just under 200 of them. It is a main trading hub between Venezuela and Colombia, due to its location in the northeast of the country. Bucaramanga is about 200km from the Colombian border city of Cúcuta, but totally different in vibe. The city is like the more chill answer to Medellin. Bucaramanga is a beautiful and safe city. Definitely worth a visit.

POPULATION: 550,000


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CULTURE IN BUCARAMANGA

Bucaramanga has always been a culturally important city in Colombia. Historically, the city made major contributions to Colombian literature, and they city produced a number of famous Colombian writers. The city is a 9 hour drive from Bogota, so this region developed it’s own culture and identity.  The city is also home to many museums, the most famous of which are the Museo Casa de Bolívar and Centro Cultural del Oriente.

Bucaramanga is also home to a some must-try local foods. Typical dishes from Bucaramanga include mute santandereano, a soup made with grain and meat.

 

THINGS TO DO IN BUCARAMANGA

One of the best things to do in Bucaramanga is go for a hike to one of the various miradores and waterfalls.

The best miradores and hikes in Bucaramanga include…

Alto de los Padres: A well known mirador in the backroads behind Mirador Ciudad Bonita.

Mirador Ciudad Bonita: Along a main road so you can drive/Uber to it.

Mirador Turístico San Fermín Parrilla: Simple mirador near the airport, popular with motorcyclists. 

Cerro el Santisimo: Cool hill with the statue of a saint up top.

Cascada los Venados: A well known waterfall about 20 mins out of town.

 

LEARNING SPANISH IN BUCARAMANGA

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RENT AN APARTMENT IN BUCARAMANGA

$300.00, but it’ll take some doing. Check local newspapers or get to know some students for good deals. If you are lazy, you could easily end up paying $600.00 to rent an apartment or house in Bucaramanga.

 

IS BUCARAMANGA SAFE?

Bucaramanga is probably one of the safer cities in Colombia. But, like in anywhere unfamiliar, exercise caution at night and while walking alone in secluded areas. If you make your world small and only stay in and around Cabecera del Llano, you’ll have very little to worry about.

 

 COST OF LIVING IN BUCARAMANGA

The following data is from Expatistan, a crowdsourced database of prices and cost of living around the world. In our experience, the data tends to underestimate cost of living, so take the following as the minimum you might need to live here.

*Figures are listed in USD

You’ll need at least $690 USD/month to live in Bucaramanga, Colombia

cost-of-living-bucaramanga

BEST BARS & NIGHTLIFE IN BUCARAMANGA

7/10 

Pretty standard stuff for a medium-sized city. It’s no Bogota, but nightlife is decent. As far as I can gather, virtually all the bars and clubs in Bucaramanga are in the district of Cabecera del Llano. If you’re looking to party, you should definitely stay in or near this neighborhood. There are a few hostels and lots of Airbnbs/apartments nearby. The bars are close to one another, so hopping between them won’t be a problem.

My Latin Life recommends:

Vintrash Bar: Definitely one of the coolest places in Bucaramanga, and a great spot to meet people.

Le Clandes Bar: Well-designed bar with cheap drinks, a DJ, and a dancefloor.

Clásicos Forever: Well known bar/restaurant with music.

Cabecera del Llano, Bucaramanga
Cabecera del Llano, Bucaramanga

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Great for an extended stay of a month or more, but I don’t recommend it if you have less than five days. It takes time to build relationships here. If you stay a month or longer, you can get a great deal on an Airbnb. The people are great, and the city is comfortable, safe and well-planned (by Colombian standards). This is a great city for digital nomads looking to spend a month working, going hiking, and taking in the sites. 


OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10


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