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Though it’s just 9km from Bucaramanga, the tiny town of San Juan de Girón ★ on the banks of the Río de Oro seems like another country. While Bucaramanga is big and brash, this laidback bohemian village, which dates to 1631, is full of stone bridges, whitewashed houses, and cobblestone streets. Until the 19th century, it was actually bigger and more important than Bucaramanga. Today there are several colonial churches and plazas, including the Catedral del Señor de los Milagros on the Parque Principal, which dates to the mid-1600s.

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