Pamplona is definitely out of the way, but it's a pleasant city with a comfortable climate and a good collection of small museums.
A spectacular 4 hour ride through the mountains from Bucaramanga takes you to Pamplona, founded in 1549. A great place to start exploring is the main plaza, Plaza Águeda Gallardo. It's one of the country's largest and most pleasant plazas.
The plaza is surrounded by a mix of modern and colonial buildings, and in every direction you can see the mountains that Pamplona is nestled between. You can find countless street vendors, a gazebo, and plenty of places to sit and people watch.
The most important building on the plaza is Catedral de Santa Clara. Construction began in 1584 under María Velasco de Montalvo, the daughter of Pamplona's founder, Spanish conquistador Ortún Velázquez de Velasco. It was heavily damaged in an earthquake in 1875 and reconstructed. The church is the oldest religious building in Norte de Santander.
On the southwest corner of the plaza is the Casa de Mercado, which was built in 1920. This historic market building is full of stalls selling fruits, vegetables, spices, meats, clothing, and other goods. Commerce spills over onto the side streets as well.
There are five good museums that can be found in Pamplona. First, Casa Colonial has three main rooms with artifacts and photos from Pamplona's history, including many from the indigenous people who once inhabited the region.
On the plaza are the Casa Águeda Gallardo de Villamizar (another colonial house) and Museo de Arte Moderno Ramírez Villamizar, a modern art museum showcasing the work of Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar. He was a local artist who was born in Pamplona in 1922 and died in Bogotá in 2004. Just off the main plaza is the Museo Arquidiocesano de Arte Religioso, a religious art museum.
Finally, there's Casa Anzoátegui, which is located on Calle Real a couple blocks from the main plaza. It's a colonial house where José Anzoátegui, a hero of Colombian independence, died on November 15, 1819. Enthusiastic local students take turns giving tours of different rooms in the house, which has an impressive colonial weapons collection.
Visit Pamplona with Paisadventure by adding it to any customized tour.