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Tunja is a city in northeast Colombia and the capital of the Boyacá department. It is very much a college town, with several universities despite its small size. At an elevation of 2,820 m (9,250 ft), Tunja has a chilly highland climate.

Like in other places, Spanish conquistadors opened up a can of whoop- here, supplanting the Muisca indigenous people's town of Hunza with their own called Tunja in 1537. They made a point of establishing many religious institutions in the days to follow; as such, Tunja has a trend for religious tourism in particular. But additionally one should consider the pre-Colombian and Colombian revolutionary attractions around too.

Tunja is also known as a center for higher learning and for its Holy Week, International Festival of Culture, and Aguinaldo Boyacense.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

The bus terminal is at the bottom of the hill where the main plaza is. Collectivos to the surrounding cities leave from upstairs.

  • From Bogotá: COP$18,000, 2hr 30min. Buses leave from the terminal, but it may be faster and more convenient to catch one at Portal del Norte.
  • From Cocuy National Park: COP$25,000, 9 hr
  • From San Gil: COP$20,000, 4 hr
  • From Sogamoso: COP$7,000, 1hr 30min
  • From Villa de Leyva: COP$6,000, 1 hr, 39 km

Get around[edit]

Map of Tunja

By taxi[edit]

Taxis are plentiful, with a minimum fare of $3.000. Most trips within the city won't cost more than COP$4,000. tel: 3102183305

By bus[edit]

Minibuses are usually COP$1,400, and go pretty much everywhere.

See[edit]

There's a cool old train station on Avenida Norte. It's fallen into disrepair, but looks like they might be working on restoring rail service.

  • 1 Puente de Boyacá (about 20 km southwest on Route 55). Famous bridge that was the site of a historic battle and decisive revolutionary victory for the independence of New Granada. Besides the main site here are also related monuments and obelisks attending to this affair. Puente_de_Boyacá on Wikipedia
  • 2 Bolivar Plaza. Kind of self-explanatory, but it is from here that you can absorb the colonial feeling of the city quite well.
  • 3 Catedral Basìlica Metropolitana Santiago de Tunja, +57 8 7423022. In a city full of churches, it's like the grand dame, sitting on the Bolivar plaza. Its construction fuses Isabelline, Renaissance, and neoclassical styles, erected between 1567 and 1598. Cathedral_Basilica_of_St._James_the_Apostle,_Tunja on Wikipedia
  • 4 Casa del Fundador Gonzalo Suárez Rendón (House of the Founder Gonzalo Suárez Rendón), Cra. 9 #1956, +57 8 7423272. 09ː00-11ː00, 14ː00-16ː00 Tu-S, closed M. Originally built in 1540, it is said to be the only remaining house of a city founder in Latin America. It is an art and history museum. Casa_del_Fundador_Gonzalo_Suárez_Rendón on Wikipedia
  • 5 Iglesia de San Ignacio, a 18-109,, Cra. 10, # 181, +57 312 4266175. This church was completed in 1620 in the Jesuit style and is particularly noteworthy for having a polychrome statue of Jesus. It is also where the International Festival of Culture takes place. Iglesia_de_San_Ignacio_(Tunja) on Wikipedia
  • 6 Capilla Museo Santa Clara La Real, Cra. 7 #58, +57 8 7423032. The structure is thought to have been the first convent in the principality of New Granada. It is pretty heavily decorated inside.
  • 7 Iglesia De Santo Domingo, Cra. 11 #2038, +57 311 4730360. Church with Isabelline-style architecture built in 1560 with really quite incredible wood and plaster bas-relief design all over the nave interior. Iglesia_de_Santo_Domingo_(Tunja) on Wikipedia
  • 8 Santuario El Topo. Another church, whew, this one dating to 1599 and where Our Lady of the Miracle is venerated. There is said to have been an apparition here. Iglesia_de_Nuestra_Señora_del_Milagro_del_Topo on Wikipedia
  • 9 Tower Palace, Cl 20. It was a neoclassical Spanish colonial mansion built in 1539 that now houses canvases of Colombian departmental governors. Palacio_de_la_Torre on Wikipedia
  • 10 Iglesia de las Nieves, Cra. 25 ##8-24, +57 320 8359621. Church from 1572 dedicated to St. Peter. Iglesia_de_las_Nieves_(Tunja) on Wikipedia
  • 11 Iglesia de Santa Bárbara, Cra. 11 ## 16-62, +57 8 7424082. Neoclassical-type church dating from 1599. Iglesia_de_Santa_Bárbara_(Tunja) on Wikipedia
  • 12 Parroquia San Laureano, Cra. 10 ## 13 - 90, +57 313 3559366. One of the first churches to be built in Tunja, back in 1566. Moreover, it was the site of where Independence fighters who were assassinated in 1816 were buried. Ermita_de_San_Laureano_(Tunja) on Wikipedia
  • 13 Iglesia de San Francisco, Cra. 10 #21a22, +57 8 7423194. This church was built between 1570-1640 in the Colonial-Classicist Baroque style and used to be attached to a convent, but that was demolished over the course of time. Iglesia_de_San_Francisco_(Tunja) on Wikipedia
  • 14 Monasterio de San Agustin, a 23-73,, Cra. 8 #231. An old cloister that also served as the jail and bank of the republic at one point.
  • 15 Pinzón Park, a 23-73,, Carrera 8 #23-1. Park built upon a site of the Muisca city of Hunza. It has a statue of the general the park is named after and sits beside the San Agustin Cloister.
  • 16 Hunzahúa Well, Av. Central del norte (on UPTC campus). 07ː00-22ː30 daily. Archaeological site of the preColombian Hunza people. There are some steles and stuff. Hunzahúa_Well on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

Buy[edit]

  • Unicentro, Av Universitaria #39-77. The largest mall in Tunja.

Eat[edit]

  • La Buona Vita, Carrera 9 #23-45, +57 7422198. M-Sa 12:00-21:30, Su 12:00-16:00. Italian restaurant with great handmade pastas. COP$20,000 per plate.
  • Piqueteadeoro La Novena, Carrera 9 - Calle 22. Cheap traditional Colombian food and fruit salad.
  • El Maizal, Carrera 9 #20-30 (Just off the plaza's NE corner). Possibly the cheapest breakfast in town: Hot chocolate and roll with cheese, COP$1500. Also set lunch and dinner.

Drink[edit]

All nightlife closes at 1:30AM, Sundays being rather dead.

  • Bruder Pub, Kra 9 #21-89, +57 7443444. Microbrewery and pub, good beer and good food at very affordable prices. COP$12z000 per Liter.
  • Berlin, Carrera 10 - Calle 21A; 5th floor. Cocktail bar with roof-top terrace. Nice view over the city.
  • Hops & Barley, Avenida Norte (Take a buseta that says Muiscas or UTPC and get off at "La Olimpica", about 1 km after the old train station.). Brew pub that brews an IPA, stout and other craft favorites.
  • Pussini, Plaza de Bolivar. Cosy cafe.

Sleep[edit]

Dozens of options between the bus terminal and Plaza Bolivar, and somewhat beyond.

Go next[edit]

  • Bogotá is 2 to 3 hours away, COP$17,000.
  • Villa de Leyva, one of the nicest colonial towns in Colombia, is 45 minutes to an hour away, take a minibus from the terminal, COP$6,000.
  • Paipa has a natural hot springs, with waterpark and spa. It is 45 minutes away by bus, COP$4,000.
  • San Gil is the capital of extreme sports in Colombia, and is 4 hours away.
  • Suesca is one of the major sites for rock climbing in Colombia.


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