How to get to El Socorro…
How to get to El Socorro
Before visiting any place, it is important to know how to get there and how to get around. In this blog we will be covering transportation information about El Socorro, so that you can make the best of your trip or study with enough hands-on information.
Here in Colombia it’s very important to know the address system. What does a typical address like ¨Calle 15 #9-12¨ means? Unlike most English-speaking countries that use ¨street¨ or ¨avenue¨, here all the addresses are indicated in a grid manner. ¨Calle¨ means street, and ¨carrera¨ has a similar meaning of ¨avenue¨. In Google map you will see calle number goes bigger when it´s towards north and small towards south. Similarly carrera number goes bigger towards west and smaller towards east. One useful tip is, for cities with mountains especially (Bogotá, El Socorro, etc.), Colombians do say ¨arriba¨ (up) or ¨abajo¨ (down) very often. That refers to climb up along the ¨calle¨ to go to ¨carrera¨ with a small number or bigger number, which is east and west, basically. One interesting fact that´s worth noticing is, the house number usually does not start with 1,2,3 etc., but refers to how many meters it is to point where ¨calle¨ crosses with ¨carrera¨. That´s why we can interpret the address above as 12 meters to the corner of calle 15 and carrera 9.
Before you check on how to arrive to El Socorro, you need to know there are a few places called Socorro in Colombia. Make sure you type ¨El Socorro, Santander¨, to avoid any misunderstanding. Since we focus more on foreigners we would mainly introduce how to arrive El Socorro via public transportation. Self-driving travelers can refer here (http://www.santanderencanta.com/como-llegar-a-el-socorro-santander-desde-bogota/ ) for information.
As you might know there are no trains in Colombia for transportation, for all the places without airport the only option is by bus. In Colombia there are various bus companies offering different routes. The price range depends on how far you travel. Each company has different conditions in terms of Wi-Fi, washroom and how many stops it has along the route. Compared to online booking, more reliable ways to enquire and buy tickets are through phone calls and going to the bus stop yourself. To arrive in El Socorro from Bogotá it takes usually 5 and half hours. However it can be 7 hours if it has many stops along the way, depending on the bus company you choose. Therefore the cheapest might not be best. Also the prices do change quite a lot depending on the demand and holidays. From Bucaramanga to El Socorro it usually takes more or less 3 hours. Despite the beautiful view along the way, the road is in the mountains and thus can cause carsickness. For those who are very sensible to this, it is suggested to get some pills from the pharmacy store to keep yourself asleep.
If you have arrived to El Socorro, congratulations you’ve unlocked a new journey for your life. To explore this amazing small town, most of the cases your legs are the only transportation way you need, except it can be a bit tiring as the town is built along a slope to the mountain. The more ¨arriba¨ you live you will have more exercises you will get because the road becomes steeper when it goes up more. Two more available transportations you can use are taxi and public bus in the town. With a price of around 3000 pesos (around 1 dollar according to the exchange rate now) you can get around the town easily by taxi. In Colombia only those yellow taxis are legally registered thus safer, despite in El Socorro generally it is already very safe.
Another alternative is the green public buses that reach different places here. They are offered by a bus company called “Cootrasaravita” (Please refer to http://cootrasaravita.com/blog/ for more information). This company also offers buses to other places in Santander, which we will describe below.
In El Socorro there are two bus terminals, one mainly used for buses going to different places in Santander province and the other one to big cities like Bogotá, Cartagena, and Medellin, including places in other provinces. The previous one is just “Cootrasaravita”, as we mentioned above, which also offers transportation to Guapotá, Guadalupe, San Gil (hold your interest for our future post as well about San Gil, a place you must visit! ), Hato, etc. You can refer to the photo about the exact routes.
The other one is called “Terminal de Transporte del Socorro”. Once entering you will see many windows showing different places operated by different bus companies. It’s suggested to ask different companies and take the most suitable one regarding price, time, condition, etc. Once you get your ticket, pay attention to the bus number and company name. These would tell you when you should take the bus because normally the radio will call for the next bus only by company name and destination. The waiting time is normally short as well because El Socorro is normally one stop along the way. So don’t miss your bus! And more importantly, never enter the wrong bus as I did. Double check your bus company name and bus number and reassure they are all correct. Only after this you can relax and enjoy your trip and the beautiful view along the road.
Despite the longer hours needed in bus compared to planes, the breath-taking view along the way to El Socorro will definitely surprise you. If you have travelled along this way, share with us what attracted you most and what amazed you most! What’s more, do you think the stunning landscape is worth the trip? I’m sure we would have interesting answers. See you in El Socorro!