Known as “the City of Parks” and nestling in the northeastern foothills of the Andes, Bucaramanga was founded on 22 December 1622 by Andres Paez de Sotomayor and Miguel de Trujillo.
Thanks to the fertility of the local soil and the entrepreneurial spirit of its inhabitants, it gradually grew in size and in 1857 was named the capital of the department of Santander, which was known at the time as the Sovereign State of Santander. It was only awarded city status in 1869.
Situated in northeastern Colombia on the Cordillera Oriental of the Colombian Andes, on the banks of the Rio de Oro, Bucaramanga lies 384 kilometres from Bogota.
The city itself has a population of 528,000, though the metropolitan area – made up of the districts of Floridablanca, Giron and Piedecuesta – is home to more than 1,022,000 people, with 98.5 percent of them living in urban areas.
Habitually blessed with blue skies and average temperatures of 26ºC, Bucaramanga is the perfect place for engaging in outdoor pursuits or a little light reading in the shade of the trees that populate its many parks, one of the reasons why it is also called “the Beautiful City”.
The area is famed for its gorgeous sunsets, with the fading sunlight and the clouds combining to create a spectacular sight. Clear, calm and star-spangled, nights in Bucaramanga are the ideal time to enjoy a delicious meal in one of its many fine restaurants and to dance into the small hours in the city’s numerous bars and nightclubs.
The area’s biggest industry on a national level is shoemaking, though it is also noted for farming. Crops, livestock and poultry are farmed in surrounding areas in the departments of Santander and Cesar, while the associated industry is predominantly based in the city itself, where most the produce is marketed.
Ecotourism is also thriving in Bucaramanga and neighbouring districts, thanks to their many parks and the adventure tourism on offer in the area known as La Mesa de Ruitoque (Floridablanca). It is that diversity that has led to Bucaramanga being voted one of the seven tourism destinations of which Colombia is most proud.
Bucaramanga has two professional football teams: Atletico Bucaramanga and Real Santander, both of whom play in the Colombian second division.
Atletico Bucaramanga, which came into being in 1949, is the region’s biggest team. A first division side for most of its history, without ever managing to win a league title, Atletico suffered relegation to the second tier for the third time in 2008, since when they have been fighting hard to regain their place in the elite.
Real Bucaramanga were set up on 22 December 2010 to take part in the 2011 FIFA Liga Argos Futsal 'Primera Division', in addition to trying their hand at the different club tournaments organised by the FCF.
The club's name was chosen by combining the names of the region's two professional football teams, Atletico Bucaramanga and Real Santander. Real Bucaramanga are the only side in Colombia to have clinched two consecutive championship titles, winning the second campaign in 2014 and the first in 2015.