Bucaramanga... A little help for newbies!!!

Hello Buca,
My wife and I are moving to Bucaramanga late winter. We are fully retired, love new experiences and not afraid of challenges. We have a few questions and would like a little help. We are coming from Atlanta, GA USA. We have our dog and cat coming with us.

OK so here we go,

1. Any recommendations on a hostel stay at or short term dwelling while house hunting for about a month or two?

2. A reliable and trustworthy driver for pick up at airport and possible hire for house hunting?

3. Where is a good area in Buca, Floridablanca or even Piedecuesta to rent.

4. Where are good medical facilities that have doctors from the local hospitals?

5. Who provides medical insurance at a decent price but good coverage?

6. Any expat groups that get together occasionally?

7. All the above of coarse WITHOUT GRINGO PRICING. LOL (retired not wealthy)

I know some of these questions can't be answered due to blog policies of possible advertising's, but please msg me ****

See you all in a few,
                       Kenny and Debra

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I used to live and teach in Bucaramanga - I have put your questions to my ex-students. let's see what they say

For lodging - you can always look at the airbnb listings for Buca, many are quite affordable and may offer negotiated discounts for extended stays:

https://www.airbnb.com/s/Bucaramanga--C … ide%5B%5D=

Kiwiprofesor :

I used to live and teach in Bucaramanga - I have put your questions to my ex-students. let's see what they say

In my recent online research, I found inconsistent data about the weather -- specifically, how warm it gets in Bucaramanga.

Buca is a couple thousand feet lower in elevation compared with other Expat-friendly areas of Colombia such as Medellín and the Juan Valdez Coffee Zone.

However, some online weather sites indicated cooler temperatures in Buca .. whereas other sites show temps in the upper 80's (average monthly highs).

Perhaps you could ask your ex-students about the weather in Bucaramanga, Profesor.

cccmedia in La Zona Cafetera

My experience is it can be warm but not like Atlanta, but generally favorable and cooler than 90% of Colombia. Rains about 1/3 to 1/2 the year, has favorable rates on apartments....i use finca raiz or www.fincaraiz.com. Seems like good place to be and the business scene is good. Landscape is awesome but city driving especially downtown is a joke. Imagine 10 ways up a mountain and they all intersect at least once or twice and that is how i feel when I am there. Mall is cool and nice. Floridablanca is where most want to be, maybe a bit more North as well. I wouldnt mind visiting again and the fincas are nice.

handymantulsa :

My experience is it can be warm but not like Atlanta, but generally favorable....

Mall is cool and nice.

High humidity is reported as the norm in Bucaramanga by multiple posters at the Bucaramanga vs. Medellín page of medellinliving.com ....

Relative humidity is historically about 80 percent on average during most months of the year in Buca .. versus in the 60's during most months in Medellín.  (climate-and-weather.com)

Can't spend most of your time at the cool mall.

cccmedia

Thank you all for the replies.

Kiwiprofesor, I'll be looking forward to hearing from some of you former students about the area.
I have been looking at 3 different weather sites for temps and real feels. It seems that the real feels are close to temps in Buca compared to about 10 to 15 degree diff in Mde Cali and Cartagena. Also looking at the proximity of cardiology specialist.

I would still like to hear about the GRINGO social life there if anyone knows how that is going?

Also any info for a reputable hostel with pick up at the airport since we will be arriving after 9pm with pets. (That will be fun). Airbnb doesn't seam to like pets.

Kenny

KennyDeb :

I would still like to hear about the GRINGO social life there if anyone knows how that is going?

You might want to google gringo tuesday bucaramanga.  Apparently, Gringo Tuesday there -- and perhaps an identically-named event held in Bogotá -- is a weekly language exchange event (and perhaps party).

cccmedia

A factor that makes weather comparisons difficult between Buca and Medellín is that weather readings (worldwide) are often taken at a city's airport .. and the airports in these two cities are at significantly higher elevations than the centers of the cities.

According to Wikipedia, the airport serving Bucaramanga is 820 feet higher up compared to the main city.

Usually, higher elevation means cooler temperatures, so actual Buca temperatures may be warmer than stated on weather sites that utilize temps reported at airports.

cccmedia

Thanks CCC I will check that group out and your correct about airport temps vs city temps.

Ken

Hi KennyDeb.

I am sorry if you find my reply to your original post a bit late. I've got some free time these days at work and have taken it to participate in this forum.
As Colombian and I could say this:

1. Any recommendations on a hostel stay at or short term dwelling while house hunting for about a month or two?
Hostel Kasa Guane
http://kasaguane.com/
I've never been there, however most of the people I've met in Couchsurfing have a good concept.

2. A reliable and trustworthy driver for pick up at airport and possible hire for house hunting?
If you can find it easily I could help you with that.

3. Where is a good area in Buca, Floridablanca or even Piedecuesta to rent.
Mmm I would say Bucaramanga or Floridablanca both have better weather conditions and transport connections in general than Girón or Piedecuesta. However the cost of the rent tends to be more costly too.

4. Where are good medical facilities that have doctors from the local hospitals?
Bucaramanga of course, however you can find in the rest of the metropolitan area good services.

5. Who provides medical insurance at a decent price but good coverage?
I am not sure about the answer, however there are plenty solutions for people who don't have any medical insurance and the cost is rational.

6. Any expat groups that get together occasionally?
Couchsurfing sometimes works for it. If there is no one, you can create one event and be part of the change :D

7. All the above of coarse WITHOUT GRINGO PRICING. LOL (retired not wealthy)
I have no clue. :D

If you need some extra info, please don't hesitate in contact me. I will be looking forward to hearing from you.

Cheers,

Jonathan L.

Dear Jonathan,

1.  Some weather sites on the web say Buca's monthly high temperatures are typically in the high 70's F., some sites say high 80's.  Please tell us your experience regarding high temps.

2.  What about the humidity?  Is it uncomfortable compared with, say, Medellín?

cccmedia, on the road in Popayán, Colombia

Hi ccmedia, how's going on?

Please find my comments below inline.

1.  Some weather sites on the web say Buca's monthly high temperatures are typically in the high 70's F, some sites say high 80's.  Please tell us your experience regarding high temps.

I consider both are correct. From 7 am to 5 pm it tends to be warm, between 75-80's F, however in the evening and night it gets colder 65-70 F. If you've been in Medellin you can compare it by having a sensation just a bit hotter.

2.  What about the humidity?  Is it uncomfortable compared with, say, Medellín?

In Bucaramanga humidity is not a big deal.

:D

Hi, we are looking at Bucaramanga for 2019 and wondered if you moved there. We would be interested to hear how it worked out. Thanks

I Live here.

I moved here several months ago,

What would you like to know???

Send me a PM if you want..

Interested to know best area for expat to live..
Names of malls...good restaurants.
Taxi from airport.

I live in Cabacera, Estrato 5, but only because my Girlfriend lstudies (such as it is with the stupid strike here) relatively close.

Other good areas in Floridablanca, Cañaveral

Taxi from Airport costs 35 mil pesos roughly

Malls-tons of malls- in the metropolitan area more than in Medellin I think.. MegaMall, Cacique, FloridaBlanca, Caracoli-just to name a few I can think off

Lots of restaurants- I havent discovered them all yet. There are 2 sushi reatsurants within a few blocks of whre I live, A few upscale restaurats like in the DannCarleton and Chicamocha hotel. Tons of botique hamburger places..LOL. Service in the more economic restaurants suck like in most places in Colombia

Lots of little parks throughout the city

What I really like- lots of things to do- lots of Salsa Dance studios, yoga studios, 2 bodytechs, other gyms, ra running club, and a lot of real interesting Pueblos and natural parques within 1 to 4 hours youcan visit and hiking / Touring clubs and groups you can go out with on the weekends to visit all types of Pueblos, Chicamocha cañon, many, many waterfalls and lake, the Paramos de , etc., etc.

Bad points- weather a little hot at times but not as bad as Cali

And a lot durtier than where I was in Manizales previously- espescially in the Popular barrios in the North and welsewhere (where you dont want to spend time anyway), but even here sometimes in Cabacera..maybe because of all the Venezuelans passing through

Ohh also a lot of Vennies in the streets begging or selling stuff ..often with kids or babies in tow


But all-in-all, for me, a great place, I love it here. But I am well travelled, having lived in 8 different countries, visited around 50, been living in Colombia for over 6years, in 3 diferent cities (actually 4 if you count Cali, where I soent 3 months one time before moving here permanently)


So I am a pretty adaptable guy. Not everyone is the same.

Thank you! We used to have apt in sabaneta ....medellin is great but looking for something different..we live in costa rica and travel all over so we need good international airport....choosing between CO and Mx....need secure building so no worries when we are gone..

Thanks...we live in costa rica but had apt in sabaneta..looking for something different! Good international airport near by....choosing between MX and CO..
Can't wait to get there. We love spending Christmas in CO..

Quechimba :

What I really like- lots of things to do- lots of Salsa Dance studios, yoga studios, 2 bodytechs, other gyms, ra running club, and a lot of real interesting Pueblos and natural parques and hiking....

Weather a little hot at times....

Well, we had no idea that you were so physically active, Quechimba. :) 

---

What about suburban Ruitoque?  Is it noticeably cooler due to higher elevation than Buca?  Is air pollution less in Ruitoque? 

cccmedia

CCC- I like to stay active..a little lck of discipline lately. Today I missed my Yoga and Dance classes because I  came late and miscommunication

Last night I missed group running cuz of sore foot.

Spend too much time on the inetrnet and these sites.Being retired makes being late and  things a lot less critical  ..starting to be worse than Colombians in this regard.

Still..never miss the gym if I can afford it nd do a llt of travelling and outdoor activities.
Never been to Ruitoque..have you?Not a tourist destination, and too far from everything convenient. Kind of like Rio Negro in Medellin , I quess. Looking at images on the internet..looks way out of my league..estrato "7 or 8" a lot of mansions and big houses and a golf and country club. For the Colombian "0.1%" (literally the 1 in 1000).

After a walk in the street today, I gues the ything that irks me most about Bucaramanga is the garbage in the street. Way dirtier than Manizales. For various reasons, including culture of the people.

Climate  (way better than Manizales with its rain and fog-at least last year) and traffic I can handle..and air polution doesnt seem to be an issue

Quechimba :

Never been to Ruitoque (suburb of Bucaramanga) ..have you?  Not a tourist destination, and too far from everything...

Looking at images on the internet..looks way out of my league.. estrato "7 or 8" a lot of mansions and big houses and a golf and country club.

Not yet I haven't (visited Ruitoque).  I was waiting to hear from Ruitoque Expat(s) about the potentially cooler air.

If I discover there's a casino there, I would be more interested.

For those not yet in on the joke, there is no Estrato 7 or 8.  But the point is made.

cccmedia

The Prensa actually use the term "estrato 7"

https://www.dinero.com/edicion-impresa/ … bia/204151

There is a Golf and Country club in  Ruitoque

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