Updated on 02/22/2024
My name is Frank and I run a tour operator in Bogota, specializing in custom-made and Colombia luxury travel.
At the end of this guide you will find a useful Colombia travel guide.
Why visit Arauca?
Arauca is a destination of great beauty and cultural richness, located in eastern Colombia on the border with Venezuela. Arauca is the capital of the Arauca department of the same name.
The region’s natural beauty, diverse ecosystems and cultural heritage make Arauca an ideal destination for nature lovers looking to hike, bird and wildlife watch in the region’s parks and nature reserves.
In my opinion, Arauca is a must-see for anyone wanting to explore the Lanera region of Colombia.
Facts about Arauca
Arauca has about 84,000 inhabitants. It is 165 meters above sea level and has a tropical savannah climate with an average temperature of 27°C. The wettest months are from April to July.
Arauca was founded in 1780. The most important economic sectors in Arauca are agriculture, especially rice, maize and bean cultivation, as well as animal husbandry. In addition, oil is produced in the region, as there are several oil fields in the area.
Tourist attractions and activities in Arauca
These are some of the main attractions in the city:
International Bridge José Antonio Páez.
Just five minutes from the capital of the Arauca department, the International José Antonio Páez Bridge connects Colombia and Venezuela across the Arauca River. Named after a Venezuelan military and political leader, the bridge was built by the Venezuelan government in the 1960s to aid in oil transportation and to promote the development of the Arauca region.
Today the bridge is a major border crossing for trade and people, and offers stunning views of the Arauca River and surrounding countryside. It has become a popular spot for tourists visiting the region and enjoying the spectacular scenery, especially as the sun sets over the plain.
This is a popular promenade on the banks of the Arauca River. From here there are spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, the nearby mountains and the famous José Antonio Páez International Bridge.
The promenade is popular with locals and visitors alike and offers numerous restaurants, bars and other attractions nearby.
El Fórum los Libertadores Acoustic shell
Located in the Malecón area, this is where the city’s cultural events usually take place. The forum houses the Joropo monument. When visiting Arauca this is a must see.
Bolivar Park is a central place for social and cultural activities in the city. In the center of the park is a bust of Simón Bolívar the Liberator, and a plaque commemorating the historic meeting between Bolívar and his liberation junta. This meeting took place on the very spot where the park is located. Arauca became the country’s capital for a day.
Bolívar Park is surrounded by important buildings such as the María Inmaculada and General Santander Schools, the Departmental Governor’s Office, the Governor’s House and the Santa Bárbara Cathedral. The park is shaded by a variety of trees, making it a cool and pleasant place to stay.
Santa Barbara Cathedral
The Cathedral of Santa Bárbara is a beautiful, sober building that is not very ornate and has a more modern architecture.
A legend has it that there is a seven-headed serpent whose tail is buried under the altar of the cathedral and whose heads are buried under La Madrevieja. It is believed that on the day the snake turns, the city of Arauca will perish.
The Llano Ecological Park
This green lung is a natural treasure and a testament to the region’s relationship with the environment. It is a place where the community participates in educational, recreational and cultural activities that promote environmental awareness and respect for nature.
In Arauca, the park is a major tourist destination that showcases the natural beauty of the Eastern Plains. The park offers its visitors various activities such as hiking, bird watching and nature photography. The park has several hiking trails that meander through the diverse ecosystem, allowing visitors to explore the wildlife and habitats in their natural environment.
Best time to visit Arauca
The best time to visit the Arauca department is during the dry season from December to February. During this period, the weather is dry and mostly sunny, making it ideal for activities such as hiking and exploring the area’s natural beauty.
The most important festivals in the municipality also take place in December.
Events in Arauca
Arauca hosts the Araucano de la Frontera Festival, which also includes coleo and joropo tournaments and an international beauty pageant. Women from Colombia and Venezuela take part in these festivities. Since 1965, the celebrations have taken place from December 4th to 8th.
Nightlife in Arauca
The festivals in Arauca offer music and an urban atmosphere. The bars are usually small, but ideal for dancing.
La Roka nightclub
class 20 #24-38
Occasionally they invite local DJs and singers, mostly from the urban scene. They also organize events parallel to national festivals. Open Fridays and Saturdays from 8pm to 2am.
La Kava nightclub
Carrera 24 #16-22
Offers a similar vibe, again with an emphasis on the urban scene and dancing. Open Thursdays and Sundays from 4:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 4:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.
Typical food in Arauca
Typical food in Arauca, like the rest of the Llanos region, is meat based. Here are some of the typical dishes and ingredients you can find in Arauca:
Veal a la Llanera or Mamona
The most typical and popular dish of the Llanera, meat from a young, unweaned veal (hence the name of the dish), salted and then grilled over indirect heat. It is not customary to add any spices.
For the entreverao, cuts of pajarilla meat, heart, chunchullo, kidney, liver, and lung are used. In other words, all of these pieces are wrapped in a single chuzo coated with the beef’s tripe.
For veal a la llanera, it is customary to serve the meat with green plantain and yucca on a plantain- covered table, from which everyone takes their portions.
The Hallaca is basically a Llanero tamale but slightly smaller than normal. The basis is corn flour. Depending on the occasion and the season, the hallaca can be filled with chicken, pork, hen, fish and in some cases even turtle or chigüiro.
The dough is colored with achiote (savory) and olives, sultanas, capers, peppers and onions are added. The hallacas are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.
Pisillo is a low-moisture stew of indigenous origin based on chili, meat, poultry or fish.
Pisillo de Pescado
Pisillo de pescado is made with dried fish and a hogao of long onions, white onions, garlic, chili, cilantro, achiote (annato) and tomatoes. It is a dish usually served for breakfast, accompanied by arepa (corn cakes). Depending on your appetite, you can also eat scrambled eggs.
Pisillo de chigüiro
To prepare the pisillo you need a tender piece of meat, although it can also be prepared with dried meat, this is the most traditional variant.
Accommodation in Arauca
Here are some of the accommodation options in Arauca:
Hotel Quinta del Sol
Carrera 16 # 14-15
All somewhat basic rooms in the hotel have a wardrobe. The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a desk and a flat screen TV.
Hotel Punta Arena Spa Boutique
Calle 20 #23-70
Located in Arauca, near the business and financial district, Hotel Punta Arena Spa Boutique offers a spa center and hot tub.
How to get to Arauca
The city of Arauca is located about 600 kilometers east of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. There are several ways to reach Arauca from Bogotá and other major cities.
The easiest way to get to Arauca is by plane. Santiago Perez Quiroz Airport (AUC) is located just 15 minutes from the city center and is served by several national airlines. Flights from Bogotá to Arauca take about an hour and cost between US$100 and US$150.
The airlines that offer connections are as follows:
Another option is to take the bus from Bogotá to Arauca. Several bus companies offer daily services from the capital, including Cootransarauca, Libertadores and Flota Sugamuxi. The journey takes about 12 hours and costs between $30 and $50, depending on the company and seat type. The easiest way to buy tickets is through Pinbus.
For those who prefer to drive, it takes about 10-12 hours to drive from Bogotá to Arauca, depending on traffic and road conditions. It is important to note that some parts of the route pass through remote areas. It is therefore recommended to drive during the day and be prepared for long stretches of unpaved roads. The following companies rent cars in Colombia:
With private transfer
Another option for those who prefer more comfort and convenience is hiring a private transfer from Bogotá to Arauca. Several private transport companies offer this service. Prices vary depending on the type of vehicle and number of passengers, but typically range from $300 to $500 one way.
Getting around Arauca
There are several modes of transportation to get around in the city of Arauca.
Taxis are readily available and can be hailed on the street or booked through a mobile app. They are relatively affordable and suitable for short distances.
Buses run from Monday to Sunday from 6 am to 7 pm along the main thoroughfares.
Motorcycle taxis are the most common mode of transportation in Arauca. They are ideal for short journeys and are available throughout the city.
Colombia Travel Guides
Here you will find travel guides for the most popular regions in Colombia, which we have put together during our extensive travels around the country.
- Colombia Travel Guide
- Bogota Colombia Travel Guide
- Medellin Colombia Travel Guide
- Cartagena Colombia Travel Guide
- Santa Marta Colombia Travel Guide
- Cali Colombia Travel Guide
- Coffee Triangle Colombia Travel Guide
- Barranquilla Colombia Travel Guide
- La Guajira Colombia Travel Guide
- San Andres Island Colombia Travel Guide
- Providencia Island Colombia Travel Guide
- Casanare Llanos Colombia Travel Guide
- Amazonas Colombia Travel Guide
- Choco Colombia Travel Guide
- Santander Colombia Travel Guide
- Boyaca Colombia Travel Guide
Travel Guides to Colombia’s Small Towns
Here you will find travel guides for less popular destinations in Colombia. Some of these destinations are even real insider tips and not even known to the Colombians as travel destinations.
- Aguachica Colombia Travel Guide
- Arauca Colombia Travel Guide
- Armenia Colombia Travel Guide
- Barrancabermeja Colombia Travel Guide
- Bucaramanga Colombia Travel Guide
- Buenaventura Colombia Travel Guide
- Canyon Chicamocha Colombia Travel Guide
- El Carmen de Bolivar Colombia Travel Guide
- Caucasia Colombia Travel Guide
- Cucuta Colombia Travel Guide
- Florencia Colombia Travel Guide
- Ibagué Colombia travel guide
- Inirida Colombia Travel Guide
- Ipiales Colombia Travel Guide
- Magangue Colombia Travel Guide
- Manizales Colombia Travel Guide
- Mitu Colombia Travel Guide
- Mocoa Colombia Travel Guide
- Monteria Colombia Travel Guide
- Neiva Colombia Travel Guide
- Palomino Colombia Travel Guide
- Palmira Colombia Travel Guide
- Pasto Colombia Travel Guide
- Pereira Colombia Travel Guide
- Popayan Colombia Travel Guide
- Puerto Asis Colombia Travel Guide
- Puerto Carreno Colombia Travel Guide
- Quibdo Colombia Travel Guide
- Riohacha Colombia Travel Guide
- San José del Guaviare Colombia Travel Guide
- Sincelejo Colombia Travel Guide
- Sogamoso Colombia Travel Guide
- Tayrona Park Colombia Travel Guide
- Tulua Colombia Travel Guide
- Tumaco Colombia Travel Guide
- Tunja Colombia Travel Guide
- Turbo Colombia Travel Guide
- Valledupar Colombia Travel Guide
- Villa de Leyva Colombia Travel Guide
- Villavicencio Colombia Travel Guide
- Yopal Colombia Travel Guide