Santander is the land of adventure, but it is also a land of picturesque, whitewashed villages whose walls have withstood the test of time.
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Santander – a name of heroes, of the independence wars, is now the name of adventure, adrenalin and excitement. Up above, the hang-gliders swoop like birds; on waterfalls and rockfaces, people move around like ants, hanging from harnesses; and in the caves and rivers, they glide like fish in their canoes.
Santander is part of eastern Colombia, one of its most ravishing regions, with plains, mountains, canyons, rivers and caves. It offers many different climates, most warm to temperate, and in some places strong winds that have molded the rockfaces to their own designs.
The cable-car over the Canyon of Chicamocha is the longest in South America.
One of the greatest attractions of Santander is the Cañón de Chicamocha, which some say is comparable with the Grand Canyon in Colorado. A 6.3km long cable car runs across it – the longest of its kind in South America. It is also a region for adventure, surprises and excitement – the many- colored scenery will literally take your breath away.
Bucaramanga is a city of broad avenues and a bustling business sector, an urban Developer dotted by the intense green of the trees: indeed, it is known as the “City of Parks”. It has an excellent offer of hotels and restaurants to match the needs of every visitor, and first class golf courses. This and the busy commercial and industrial developments make Bucaramanga at superb business destination.
Santander blends the modernity of its capital with the charm of its Spanish-style villages.
Bucaramanga is also well-known as a center of industry and academia life, an example of the persistence of its people, who long ago forged the independence of Colombia with Manuela Beltrán, who proclaimed the break from the Spanish Crown in a village called Socorro.
1,000m (3,300 ft.) above sea level, strong winds blow all year long, excellent for hang-gliding from the surrounding mountains.
In contrast to the modern look of Bucaramanga, Barichara stands there just as it was in the days of the Spanish colonies, beautiful and well-reserved. The houses remind you of Andalucia, with white walls, red tiles and yellow stone floors – unique in the world – proudly demonstrating the patience of the masons who erected this village block by blocks.
The peaceful streets lead to a high point which gives you a view of the scenery of Santander as a painter might see it. Barichara, a National Monument, populated by discreet craft-shops, boutique hotels, churches redolent of history – and people, who tell the story of the great days of the village.
The wild and unpredictable geography of Santander creates the sort of scenario that adventure sports-lovers really enjoy. 200ft high waterfalls, caves with many levels of difficulty, rockfaces for the climbers, rushing and unpredictable rivers and steep tracks up the mountainsides for the trekkers.
Santander is one of the world´s favorite places, for hang-gliders swooping through the warm current of air all through the year from Tumba del Alemán in the canyon of Chicamocha, Mesa de Ruitoque, Curití or Mesa de los Santos. The Mesa offers a high degree of complexity for rock-climbers.
Santander means caving, torrentism, trekking, hang-gliding, rafting and rock climbing.
For cavers, the caves already explored and of most interest are Caverna del Yeso and Cueva de la Vaca, in Curití; Cueva del Indio, Cueva Antigua and Hoyo de los Pájaros. The waterfalls and the canyons of Chicamocha, Juan Curí and Pinchote offer perfect conditions for torrentism and rappel.
And, what of the excitement of gliding over the falls or fighting the whitewater, rafting or in a kayak? Well, here we have the River Fonce with a difficulty level of III, the Suarez at V, and the Chicamocha with some stretches of IV and V.