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Colombiafrank’s Barrancabermeja Colombia Travel Guide

Tropical Landscape Colombia

Updated on 03/12/2024

Dear readers
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 Barrancabermeja?

Barrancabermeja, also known as the “beautiful daughter of the sun” or the “city between the waters”, is one of the most important cities in the department of Santander and is located on the banks of the river Magdalena.

But Barrancabermeja also has a rich cultural, historical and architectural heritage to be discovered.

Facts about Barrancabermeja

  • Barrancabermeja is the largest town in the Magdalena Medio region.
  • The main shopping centers in Barrancabermeja are Centro Comercial Iwaná and Centro Popular Comercial.
  • Barrancabermeja is at an altitude of 75 meters above sea level.
  • Barrancabermeja has a warm climate with temperatures between 24ºC and 32ºC.
  • The main economic sectors in Barrancabermeja are livestock, logistic services for transport, agriculture, trade, fisheries and the petrochemical industry.
  • Barrancabermeja is located on the banks of the Magdalena River, in the western part of Santander department.
  • Barrancabermeja is considered the most important industrial city in the department of Santander.
  • Barrancabermeja has a population of approximately 210,000 inhabitants.
  • Barrancabermeja has 6 districts (La Fortuna, El Centro, Mesetas de San Rafael, Ciénaga del Opón, San Rafael de Cuchuri and El Llanito).
  • Barrancabermeja was discovered by the Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada.
  • Barrancabermeja borders to the west with the Magdalena River and the municipality of Yondó, to the east with the municipality of San Vicente de Chucurí and Girón, to the north with Puerto Wilches and to the south with Puerto Parra and Simacota.
  • Barrancabermeja was founded on April 26, 1922.
  • Barrancabermeja has an area of 1,154 square kilometers.

Tourist attractions in Barrancabermeja

Here are some of the city’s top attractions:

Petroleum Museum

The Petroleum Museum was inaugurated in 1984 at Calle 60, near the Paseo de la Cultura, to bring people closer to the world of petroleum.

In this museum you will find more than 450 exhibits such as maps and photographs that illustrate the process of extracting, processing and distributing petroleum.

You can also see some of the machines used in the first excavations at Magdalena Medio.

The Oil Christ

The Oil Christ Monument is located in the Miramar artificial swamp area in front of a waterfront promenade that also has a tourist information office.

Created by Fernando Fernandez, the monument, 26 meters high and weighing 20 tons, shows a Christ with twelve apostles at his feet.

Fernandez was an employee of the Ecopetrol company who decided to create the sculpture and later donate it to the city.

Paseo de la Culture

The Paseo de la Cultura is located in Barrio Galán, more precisely on Avenida 60 in the city center.

This incredible park pays homage to the great compositions of the “papayera” music, a genre of music well known in Colombia.

Here you’ll find the statue of the “Pollera Colora” (a traditional Colombian song), the “Olympic Flame” erected to celebrate the 1996 World Skating Championships, and three temples alluding to papayera music.

Recreation Center Cafeba

The Cafaba Leisure Center is an ideal place to relax as it offers water and sports activities, a restaurant and areas for family outings.

The place is on the road that leads to the village of El Llanito, just 10 minutes from Barrancabermeja.

San Silvestre swamp

Considered one of the lungs of Colombia, the Ciénaga San Silvestre is the ideal place to observe different animal and plant species such as the endangered West Indies manatee.

You can also go on boat trips and practice various water sports such as canoeing.

This swamp is also known for collecting all the water here to make it drinkable and then deliver it to the residents of Barrancabermeja.

This beautiful place is located 10 minutes from Barrancabermeja city center.

Park to life

Parque a la Vida is located at Calle 54 # 36d-49, between the Recreo and Colombia neighborhoods.

In this park, which used to be the Central Cemetery, there are children’s games, as well as bars, restaurants, discos and ice cream parlors.

In the park you can also find people offering tourist transport services such as the “Chiva” and the “Trencito”.

Church of Our Lady of Carmen

This church is located in the Palmira district.

If you decide to visit, you can admire a bell tower unique in its kind.

The swamp of Llanito

The Llanito Swamp is the ideal place for fishing. Here you can learn and practice with the fishermen how to catch Mojarra, Bocachico, Vizcaína and other fish.

This beautiful place is located 30 minutes from Barrancabermeja in the village of El Llanito.

The dock

El Muelle, also known as El Puerto, is located on the Magdalena River.

Here you will find several restaurants serving local dishes from the region.

In addition, the Muelle offers a spectacular view to enjoy beautiful sunsets.

Pipatón Monument

The Pipatón Monument is located at Avenida 36, one of the busiest streets of Barrancabermeja.

The monument depicting the cacique Pipatón and Princess Yarima is a symbol of struggle and resistance.

Hector Lombana designed the sculptures inspired by the Yariguíes, a people who fought for their independence for more than 400 years until they were exterminated in the first half of the 20th century.

Ecopetrol refinery

The Ecopetrol refinery in the Barrancabermeja industrial complex is known for being one of the oldest refineries in Colombia. It also has 250 hectares where extraction processes, environmental controls and other processes necessary for the production of gasoline, propane, concinol, diesel, etc. are carried out.

This refinery, which began operations at the beginning of the 20th century, currently produces more than 250,000 barrels of oil per day.

Club Miramar Country Club

This club offers skydiving and other activities such as boat trips.

The Country Club Miramar is located 20 minutes from Barrancabermeja.

Yuma Promenade

The Paseo Yuma connects the railway track to the small square where the Pipetón Monument is located.

Along this street corridor you will find various works by the Cartagena artist Hector Lombana, including sculptures of fleas, iguanas, turtles, small birds and herons.

Daniel Villa Zapata Stadium

The Daniel Villa Zapata Stadium is the ideal place to indulge in the passion of football, since it hosts the matches of the Alianza Petrolera city team, which competes in the first division of Colombian football.

The stadium has a capacity of 10,400 and is located on 67th and 11th Streets, very close to the Infantas Club and the Luis Fernando Castellanos Coliseum.

Sailing Club San Silvestre

Club Náutico San Silvestre is located on the road that connects Barrancabermeja to the village of El Llanito.

In this club you can practice various sports such as basketball, football, sport fishing, swimming and others. In addition, you can enjoy other spaces such as a billiard room, a restaurant, a bar and a conference room.

Children’s park

The children’s park is one of the most visited places by tourists and residents of Barrancabermeja.

This spot in the Colombia neighborhood, between streets 48 and 49, has children’s games and the popular Yo Amo Barrancabermeja sign, where many tourists take photos.

This park is surrounded by shops and La Inmaculada Cathedral.

Bridge Guillermo Gaviria Correa

The Guillermo-Gaviria-Correa Bridge connects Barrancabermeja in the department of Santander with Yondó in the department of Antioquia.

Inaugurated in 2006, the name of the bridge is a tribute to Guillermo Gaviria Correa, who was governor of Antioquia.

The bridge to the north of the city offers incredible views of the Magdalena River.

Luis Fernando Castellanos Coliseum

The Luis Fernando Castellanos Coliseum, also known by its former name Coliseo de la Juventud, is an important sports venue.

Located on Carrera 11, very close to the Daniel Villa Zapata Stadium, this place hosted the 2013 Women’s World Indoor Soccer Championship and also hosted basketball teams such as the Búcaros de Santander.

Skating rink

If you like sports, especially ice skating, you should definitely visit the Barrancabermeja Ice Rink.

The rink hosted the 1996 and 2000 World Speed Skating Championships and the 2008 America’s Skating Cup.

Best time to visit Barrancabermeja

The best time to visit Barrancabermeja is October, when the temperatures are cooler and more comfortable for touring the city’s various attractions.

Events in Barrancabermeja

Here are the main events that take place in Barrancabermeja throughout the year and not to be missed.

National Oil Festival

The National Oil Festival is one of the most important events in Barrancabermeja.

It was held in Pennsylvania for the first time in 1959 to mark the centenary of the world’s first oil drilling and features various activities such as dances, parades, music shows and pageants.

Dulce Festival

Festival del Dulce is an event where you can taste all kinds of sweets like lentil candy, coconut candy, rice candy and many others made with different fruits.

It must be remembered that sweets are very important in the gastronomy of Barrancabermeja.

This event takes place on the eve of Holy Week, between March and April.

National Festival of Barrancabermeja Folk Bands

The Festival Nacional de Bandas Folclóricas de Barrancabermeja (National Festival of Folk Bands of Barrancabermeja) is an event where different bands come together to play some songs with the most popular rhythms of the region such as cumbia and porro.

This festival, which was first held in 1990, is held in April every year.

It is so important that it has been declared the nation’s cultural and artistic heritage.

If you plan to attend this festival, be prepared to dance and sing until dawn.

Feast of the Colonies

The Feast of the Colonies is a gastronomic event that brings together the different colonies residing in the city to prepare and showcase the typical dishes of the region and other foods brought from other parts of the country.

This event, which usually takes place in July, has been held without interruption since 1999.

If you decide to visit this festival, you can also enjoy musical performances while enjoying a delicious meal.

Bollo Festival

Held in Barrio la Victoria, the Bollo festival is a tribute to a food (a pastry) that over the years has become the livelihood of many families in Barrancabermeja.

This festival usually takes place in April.

Piano Festival

The Piano Festival is an annual event that brings together great pianists for concerts and recitals.

This festival is organized by the Universidad Industrial de Santander and is usually held in September at the Galvis Galvis Library in Barrancabermeja.

Rio Grande de la Magdalena Accordion Festival

The Festival de Acordeones del Río Grande de la Magdalena is an event that brings together the best exponents of Vallenato music for four days to delight the people of Barrancabermeja with their talent while paying tribute to one of the country’s most beloved rhythms.

During this festival, various competitions are held in 6 categories to determine the best representative of Vallenato, and the singers who have had a long career are also honored.

Every 11 years the King of Kings takes place, a very special tournament in which only the winners of the festival from previous years take part.

This festival was first held in 1984 and takes place annually between October and November.

It is also considered the third most important Vallenato music festival in Colombia, after the Festival Cuna de Acordeones in Villanueva (Guajira) and the Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata in Valledupar.

Birthday of Barrancabermeja

Barrancabermeja’s birthday is celebrated on April 26th with various artistic events such as parades, fairs, concerts and of course fireworks.

Drum festival

The Festival de Tamboras pays homage to the magical sound of drums and offers various activities that allow participants to get to know Colombian folklore better.

This event takes place in March every year.

Agricultural and agro-industrial fair

The Feria Agropecuaria y Agroindustrial, also known as Feria Ganadera, is an event where various activities take place, such as the marketing of cars and machines, the presentation of regional and national artists, and cattle and horse exhibitions.

The fair is usually held between June and July in Barrancabermeja, as this is the center of commercial and agricultural activity in the Magdalena Medio region.

Fish festival

The fish festival pays homage to the fishermen of the region.

At this event there are various competitions and of course local dishes from the region.

Fandango de la carrera 24

This cultural event takes place every January 1st at sunrise.

The purpose of this event is to bring together the residents of Barrancabermeja so that they can meet and celebrate the arrival of the New Year with different activities while dancing and singing.

Nightlife in Barrancabermeja

Barrancabermeja has some incredible places to enjoy music and dancing, here are some of them.

Cucaracho Bar

Calle 50 # 26-07, 3rd floor

https://www.facebook.com/cucaracho.bar/

The Cucaracho Bar hosts various events and shows where you can sing and dance.

La Habana bca

Calle 67 # 31a-57

https://www.facebook.com/people/La-Habana-bca/100077518006489/?paipv=0&eav=AfbIPchDNaIZ_PBR0jWPGHOJFDH3v-5sve3fF7iHP1w5IZsV3VV-uUVySLtW23gBP-s&_rdr

There is a great atmosphere here and a large selection of beers, spirits and cocktails.

La Via Lactea 1979

Calle 50 # 17-80

https://www.facebook.com/lavialactea1979/?locale=es_LA

This bar has good music, alcoholic drinks and the best pizzas in town.

The eatery has been around since 1979 and has a large terrace where you can sit with friends and family.

Typical dishes in Barrancabermeja

These are some of the typical dishes that you can find in the city of Barrancabermeja.

Pepitoria

Pepitoria is a stew containing goat or lamb tripe.

This dish is usually served with yucca, rice, salad and potatoes.

Mute

Mute is a stew that includes corn, beef drumsticks, chickpeas, beans, broad beans, pork, potatoes, tripe, and auyama.

If you decide to try this dish, keep in mind that due to the ingredients, it can be a bit thick during preparation.

Bocadillo Veleno

It is prepared from ripe guava pulp and then wrapped in a bijao leaf.

It is usually accompanied by goat cheese.

Arepa Santanderana

Arepa Santandereana is an arepa made from corn and pork rinds.

Caldo

Caldo is a soup made with potatoes, water, cilantro, eggs, toast and milk.

Carne Oreada

It is marinated, salted beef that is taken out of the sun and then broiled.

It is usually served with yucca and chili.

Oblea

It is a pastry mainly coated with arequipe, but other ingredients such as blackberries, cheese and chocolate can also be added.

Santandereano tamale

This tamale is made from peeled corn dough and filled with chicken, beef or pork, served with onions, chickpeas and peppers.

The tamale is wrapped in a banana leaf and usually served with bread, cheese, and hot chocolate.

Fried Mojarra

This dish consists of mojarra (saltwater fish), patacon, coconut rice and salad.

Panela water with lemon is usually served with this.

Cubana

An artisanal drink containing cinnamon, rice, kola, pineapple and cloves.

Masato

Masato is a fermented drink made from water, rice, sugar, wheat flour, cloves and cinnamon.

This drink is usually served with meat empanadas or fritters.

Bocachico en cabrito

It is a river fish stuffed with fried vegetables and then wrapped in bijao leaves, tied with a flatbread and finally roasted over charcoal.

Dulce de Grosellas

A dessert made with water, sugar and currants, a wild, slightly acidic, low-calorie fruit rich in vitamin C.

Accommodation in Barrancabermeja

Here are some of the accommodation options in Barrancabermeja, Colombia:

Hotel Elite

Calle 49 #9-58

CLICK HERE TO GET THE BEST RATES FOR THE HOTEL ÉLITE

Hotel Elite is a 20-minute drive from Yariguíes Airport and just 5 minutes from the San Silvestre refinery and shopping center.

The hotel rooms are modernly furnished and feature a desk, cable TV, radio alarm clock, private bathroom and air conditioning.

Hotel Elite also features an outdoor pool, gym, ballroom and a restaurant where you can enjoy local dishes and delicious cocktails.

Hotel San Gabriel

Calle 49 #9-38 2nd floor

CLICK HERE FOR BEST RATES AT HOTEL SAN GABRIEL

Hotel San Gabriel features a restaurant, meeting facilities and free private parking.

The rooms feature a flat-screen cable TV, air conditioning, a private bathroom and a minibar.

It is located just 2 km (1.2 miles) from Daniel Villa Zapata Football Stadium, 1.1 km (0.6 miles) from Ecopetrol, 1.5 km (1 mile) from San Silvestre Shopping Center and a 10-minute walk from several restaurants and bars.

Hotel Millenium Barrancabermeja

Calle 71 # 18-09

CLICK HERE FOR THE BEST RATES FOR THE MILLENIUM BARRANCABERMEJA

The Hotel Millenium Barrancabermeja has ideal relaxation facilities such as a Turkish bath, a massage room, a fitness room, a bar and a restaurant with international cuisine.

The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, cable TV, private bathroom and minibar.

The hotel is 6.5 km (4 miles) from the Petroleum Museum and 15 minutes’ drive from Yariguíes Airport.

How to get to Barrancabermeja?

The city of Barrancabermeja is located about 430 kilometers from Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. There are several ways to get from Bogotá to Barrancabermeja.

Airplane

The quickest way to reach Barrancabermeja is by plane. Yariguíes Airport is connected to the main cities in the country. This airport is located on Via al Centro Ecopetrol, 10 km (6.2 miles) from Barrancabermeja.

Estimated flight time is approximately 1 hour.

The airlines that offer connections are as follows:

Bus

Barrancabermeja has a bus station to the west of the city, a few blocks from the banks of the Magdalena River, more specifically on the Cra. 5 #48 -109 so you can travel with bus companies like Expreso Brasilia and Copetran.

The journey takes about 8 hours and 30 minutes.

The easiest way to buy tickets is via Pinbus.

By car

Another alternative is to travel by car, although it can be quite long, taking around 8 to 9 hours depending on speed and traffic jams.

Please note that you have to pay about 5 tolls on the way.

The following companies rent cars in Colombia:

  • hertz
  • advice
  • ABC

Colombia Travel Guides

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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.

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About Author

Frank

Frank

Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia.I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia.For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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