Since the city is located 3,146 feet above sea level, the temperature is a comfortable 78°F all year long. This means that people dress in Spring attire year round. So, if you’re going to the ICBF office or court, you don’t have to wear a suit, just think of whatever you’d wear to go to your office during spring time, and for women -- sandals are appropriate. For the rest of your stay, casual dress is fine. However, T-shirts are typically considered to be underwear, and therefore, a polo type shirt or a collared shirt is a better choice.
However, that said, throughout Colombia they are stereotyped as fighters. And the women of Santander are seen as fiesty and direct.
So, how do you know where the North, East, West and South are? If you don’t have a compass with you, the easiest way is understanding the city’s layout. It is set on a grid of streets called calles (running from East to West) and carrerras (running from North to South) . The center of the city is considered to be at the Carrera 15 & Calle 36. As a rule of thumb, the higher the number, the safer you are.
Bucaramanga’s nicest areas are towards the East and the South. Neighborhoods like Cabecera and Canaveral are well known because they are nice and have malls, restaurants, and a lot of other commercial establishments.
The easiest way to get around is to take a taxi. Always call it, and avoid taking a taxi off the street. You can even tell the lady at the taxi company that you want a service by the hour and they will send you someone. It is really cheap and easy way to do some sight-seeing or especially if you have to go to the ICBF regional office, because it is actually located in a semi-dangerous area (North).
I would like to thank Inés and Carolina. Two wonderful Santandereanas and adoptive moms for the wonderful information they are providing for the blog this week.
* Photo by Fred Fraces