Spectacularly set in the deep Valle del Espíritu Santo in the Cordillera Oriental, colonial-era Pamplona is a delightful town of old churches, narrow streets and bustling commerce. With an average temperature of just 16°C, it's a welcome respite from the heat of nearby Bucaramanga and Cúcuta, and a nice stopover if you're en route to or from Venezuela.
Pamplona was founded by Pedro de Orsúa and Ortún Velasco in 1549, making it the oldest town in the region. Soon after its foundation five convents were established and the town swiftly developed into an important religious and political center. A construction boom saw the rise of churches and noble mansions.
Unfortunately, an earthquake occurring in 1875 wiped out a good part of the town. The inviting plaza is now a mix of reconstructed colonial and modern architecture.
Pamplona was a schooling center from its early days, and the traditions have not been lost; today the town is home to the Universidad de Pamplona, and the large student population is very much in evidence. Pamplona has a distinctly cultured air, and boasts more museums than Cúcuta and Bucaramanga combined.