The pulsating, modern city of Bucaramanga is the capital of the northern Santander department in Colombia. Surrounded by chilly Andean peaks, Bucaramanga, popularly known as Buca, boasts urban peaks of its own – the skyline is dominated by towering, modern skyscrapers. In stark contrast to its steel and glass avatar, the city is often called Colombia’s ‘City of Parks’, owing to its numerous parks. Buca attracts a considerable academic crowd because of its many universities, often found lounging amid its lush green spaces come weekend. It also has its fair share of art galleries, churches and museums, such as the Museo Casa de Bolívar – an erstwhile colonial mansion that had briefly hosted the illustrious El Libertador, Simón Bolívar, in the mid-1800s. Visit the local market of Mercado Central for delightful shopping and eating experiences. Bucaramanga offers buzzing nightlife as well, with dozens of lively pubs dotting the cityscape.