Sitting on the edge of Colombia and Venezuela, Cúcuta is best known as a South American border town. It’s an urban jungle of modern shopping malls, towering office blocks and plenty of hotels to suit every budget. Take a sunset stroll along the El Malecón riverside walk, admire contemporary art in the Clock Tower building and climb Cristo Rey hill for sweeping views over the city.
Today it’s home to a string of trendy neighbourhoods, with most of the action centred around the lively Avenue Libertadores. There are some great restaurants to explore, serving up everything from Creole to Caribbean classics. Check out the exhibitions at Banco de la República and Casa de la Cultura, and escape the blazing sun in shady Santander Park.
The new bus station is located nine kilometres north of town and offers connections to Colombia, Venezuela and beyond. Locals use buses and taxis to get around, which are cheap, fast and efficient. Cúcuta can be dangerous after dark, so it’s best to take a taxi when the sun goes down.
Officially known as San José de Cúcuta, the city has played an important role in Colombia’s colourful history. The first Congress of Cúcuta constitution was drafted in the city, which led to the foundation of the Republic of Colombia. It was also the site of the infamous Battle of Cúcuta, where Simón Bolívar rallied his troops in 1813 and led them to victory against the Spanish.