Santander is the "Adventure Sports Capital of Colombia" and a very important mountainous region of Colombia, with incredibly beautiful landscapes and very friendly people. It offers easy access from Bogotá overland or by plane, with daily routes available to Bucaramanga (the capital city).
It is a perfect place for all kinds of adventure and ecological activities like hiking, rafting, kayaking paragliding and rappelling. It’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts as well as for travelers who seek both historical and ecological highlights. The rustic charm of the colonial villages and the friendliness of its people make this region one of the culturally rich ones in Colombia.
Barichara is the jewel of Santander and "the prettiest town in Colombia". A town of colonial architecture, churches, immaculate plazas and cobblestone streets, named a National Heritage Site.
Along with nearby San Gil, Barichara is the ideal base for adventure in the Colombian Andes. Located at 4,300 feet above sea level, the pueblito's charm together with a budding hotel, restaurant and adventure scene make it an increasingly favored place for locals and visitors alike. Barichara is a 2 1/2-hour drive from Bucaramanga (or 20-minute helicopter flight) crossing the Chicamocha Canyon en route.
Villa de Leyva was declared a national monument in 1945, this magical town has been preserved in its entirety and virtually no modern architecture exists, making it one of the finest examples of a traditional colonial settlement anywhere in the Americas.
At an altitude of 2140 m, it enjoys a healthy, mild climate and relaxed atmosphere and is a popular weekend getaway for city dwellers.
Each December, Villa de Leyva hosts a lively fiesta when neighboring towns compete against each other with colorful firework displays and a street carnival takes place in the narrow cobbled streets. For three days, the city is dominated by food, drink, music, and dance in a fantastic party called La Fiesta de la Luz.