The 74 miles (119 km) between colonial Barichara and modern Bucaramanga are filled with beautiful mountain scenery, with the highlight being the impressive Chicamocha Canyon.
For comfort and speed, a private transfer is the best choice for this route, and the drive will take about three hours.
Direct buses leave only a few times a day, and you will most likely have to transfer in San Gil, so this is only a good choice if you aren't on a strict timeline.
For even more adventure in this unique region of Colombia, consider joining this 12-day tour through Santander. You can also keep your compass going north until you reach the Caribbean on this 9-day adventure.
By Private Transfer
Duration: 2 hours
Whether you decide to go with an exclusive private transfer company or flag a taxi down in the street, having an expert drive you is the best way to reach Bucaramanga.
The most compelling reason to choose this option is being able to make a stop at the Chicamocha Canyon, one of the region's natural gems. The landscape as it is seen at the viewpoint is absolutely astonishing, and will definitely stay with you as one of the best memories you will have of your trip through Santander.
You can also relax as someone who knows the region well does the work of traversing through the winding mountains and deals with wretched drivers.
Duration: 3-4 hours
Most travelers who make the trip to Bucaramanga from Santander go by bus. However, given the limited number of direct routes offered, you will probably have to get a bus to San Gil first. This leg of the trip is merely 30-40 minutes, and is usually serviced by small vans.
You will then have to transfer to another bus to Bucaramanga. You will reach your destination in around two hours and 30 minutes.
The great disadvantage of this option is that you will not be able to stop at the canyon. You'll pass through it and simply see what you missed out on.
It is possible to take a bus to the canyon from San Gil, and then another one to Bucaramanga from there. However, we are now talking about taking three separate buses, and significantly higher chances of headaches.