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San Antonio to San Cristobal, Venezuela - My First Visit To Venezuela

Venezuela travel blog by Mark Berman - December 2010   » View Photoset (24 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!

Border Crossing from Cucuta & Journey

My first time in Venezuela! I crossed at Cucuta in Colombia to the border town of San Antonio in Venezuela on my way to San Cristobal
Venezuela Photo - Green countryside heading east out of San Antonio.
Green countryside heading east out of San Antonio.
about an hour and a half away. I hired a taxi in Cucuta to take me across the border, to stop at both passport offices and wait while I changed my USD for Bolivares and then to take me to a bus. It was all reasonably straight forward as far as border crossings go.

Bus from San Antonio

At the bus stop we waited until all seats were full before we could go. I managed to get the front seat beside the driver and a window. Beside me was a young woman I could practice my Spanish with by means of asking questions about her country. The 90 minute bus ride takes you up into the hills and through small communities and a couple of towns before coming to San Cristobal. I enjoyed the scenery and kept my eyes open for things to see and photograph. I told the girl next to me that I am photo mad, she soon got the idea.

Along the Way

We set off into the
Venezuela Photo - Entering San Antonio from Colombia.
Entering San Antonio from Colombia.
green hills, soon I could see San Antonio and Colombia down in the far distance. The views of the valleys are on the right, there are one or two security checks during this first part of the journey. We passed through a little place called Apartaderos, then La Mulera, the views now are on the left, the road is in pretty good shape. I see several places at the road side selling ceramics as well as shops selling fresh meat with pieces of animals hanging there. Shortly we descend into the valley of a colorful town where all the houses are
Venezuela Photo - Fresh juices and fruits in the markets of San Cristobal.
Fresh juices and fruits in the markets of San Cristobal.
painted in bright colors, this is a place called Independencia. As you come down the hill there is a colorful shop on the right called Arte Sano and more red ceramics. Going from one side of the town to the other took a little time but there are some nice things to see including a pink church on the right, parks, streets and houses of color and statues and monuments. On the left there is an amazing monument of gold, blue and red set in a little plaza. On top of white pillars stand 9 important figures of bronze, it is called Plaza Los Fundadores, there was an earthquake around this area in 1875. 20 minutes later we began to descend into the valley of San Cristobal.
Venezuela Photo - The San Cristobal streets are like markets with everything out on the street.
The San Cristobal streets are like markets with everything out on the street.

Around Town in San Cristobal

From the bus terminal I took a taxi into the city center to find a place to stay, the taxi fare should cost $20 Bolivares. I found an economical hotel not far from the church, park and markets. The first night in San Cristobal I took it easy, went to a nice restaurant and went through my photos of the day.

Gothic Church

Next morning I ventured out. It's not the most attractive of cities I have been in but it does have one of the most amazing churches I have seen called Iglesia San Jose in Carrera 10 and there are more than half a dozen more around the city.

Plaza Bolivar

Down the hill a bit is Plaza Simon Bolivar where people sit down and play chess and drink coffee. The streets all around this
Venezuela Photo - Fresh meat for sale between San Antonio and San Cristobal.
Fresh meat for sale between San Antonio and San Cristobal.
area have shops and markets.

Changing Some $USD

I wanted to change $100USD cash for Bolivares but there was no money changer that anyone knew of so I asked a shop if they could change it. The lady rang a friend who came in and exchanged it for me at a rate of 7.2, not a bad rate and very helpful to me. Before I came to Venezuela people had said to me that I should bring in lots of $USD in cash because of something to do with the bad exchange rate you get here at ATM machines of 4.3. For $USD cash you usually get a rate of about 7.5 and for a bank transfer to someone you trust with an offshore account you will get a rate of about 7. I was soon to realise that I should have taken this advice
Venezuela Photo - The road between San Antonio and San Cristobal.
The road between San Antonio and San Cristobal.
a little more seriously when I saw my $700USD in cash dwindling faster than I had expected a week later.

Bus to Merida

After another night here, in the morning I taxied to the bus terminal beside where the fruit and vegetable markets reside and bought a bus ticket to Merida for $45 Bolivares ($6USD at an exchange rate of 7.5 or over $10USD if you exchange your money at the official bank rate of 4.3 = ouch!). Merida would be my first real destination in Venezuela, a place where there are plenty of things to do and see. The bus from San Cristobal to Merida takes 5-6hrs including a meal stop.

     

View all photos in the San Antonio to San Cristobal Photoset


Itineraries / Routes: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008



Distances & times (if available) from about halfway from San Antonio to San Cristobal (Venezuela) to:


Map location: San Antonio to San Cristobal, Venezuela. My first time in Venezuela! I crossed at Cucuta in Colombia to the border town of San Antonio on my way to San Cristobal about an hour and a half away.
 A : Cucuta to Venezuela - Colombia 31 kms 31 kms straight distance | 1hr 32mins 1hr 32mins by car (59 kms) | 1hr 50mins 1hr 50mins by bus (59 kms) (59 kms)
 B : Bucaramanga to Cucuta - Colombia 80 kms 80 kms straight distance | 4hrs 57mins 4hrs 57mins by car (200 kms) | 5hrs 56mins 5hrs 56mins by bus (200 kms) (200 kms)
 C : Merida - Venezuela 150 kms 150 kms straight distance | 5hrs 32mins 5hrs 32mins by car (220 kms) | 6hrs 38mins 6hrs 38mins by bus (220 kms) (220 kms)
 D : El Paramo - Venezuela 162 kms 162 kms straight distance | 5hrs 58mins 5hrs 58mins by car (238 kms) | 7hrs 9mins 7hrs 9mins by bus (238 kms) (238 kms)
 E : Bucaramanga - Colombia 120 kms 120 kms straight distance | 5hrs 57mins 5hrs 57mins by car (253 kms) | 7hrs 8mins 7hrs 8mins by bus (253 kms) (253 kms)
 F : Mucuchies - Venezuela 186 kms 186 kms straight distance | 6hrs 55mins 6hrs 55mins by car (272 kms) | 8hrs 18mins 8hrs 18mins by bus (272 kms) (272 kms)
 G : Barinas - Venezuela 238 kms 238 kms straight distance | 4hrs 34mins 4hrs 34mins by car (305 kms) | 5hrs 28mins 5hrs 28mins by bus (305 kms) (305 kms)
 H : Barichara - Colombia 165 kms 165 kms straight distance | 9hrs 7mins 9hrs 7mins by car (338 kms) | 10hrs 56mins 10hrs 56mins by bus (338 kms) (338 kms)
 I : San Gil - Colombia 165 kms 165 kms straight distance | 8hrs 11mins 8hrs 11mins by car (341 kms) | 9hrs 49mins 9hrs 49mins by bus (341 kms) (341 kms)
 J : Barinas to Apartaderos - Venezuela 229 kms 229 kms straight distance | 5hrs 23mins 5hrs 23mins by car (351 kms) | 6hrs 27mins 6hrs 27mins by bus (351 kms) (351 kms)
 K : San Isidro de Apartaderos - Venezuela 194 kms 194 kms straight distance | 6hrs 41mins 6hrs 41mins by car (408 kms) | 8hrs 1min 8hrs 1min by bus (408 kms) (408 kms)
 L : Merida to Maracaibo - Venezuela 239 kms 239 kms straight distance | 7hrs 11mins 7hrs 11mins by car (424 kms) | 8hrs 37mins 8hrs 37mins by bus (424 kms) (424 kms)
 M : Medellin to Bucaramanga - Colombia 261 kms 261 kms straight distance | 8hrs 37mins 8hrs 37mins by car (434 kms) | 10hrs 20mins 10hrs 20mins by bus (434 kms) (434 kms)
 N : Timotes - Venezuela 214 kms 214 kms straight distance | 8hrs 7mins 8hrs 7mins by car (460 kms) | 9hrs 44mins 9hrs 44mins by bus (460 kms) (460 kms)
 O : Magangue to Mompos - Colombia 318 kms 318 kms straight distance | 14hrs 5mins 14hrs 5mins by car (726 kms) | 16hrs 54mins 16hrs 54mins by bus (726 kms) (726 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for San Antonio to San Cristobal, Venezuela:

Hotel Rossio, San Cristobal, Venezuela - Large Photo
Hotel Rossio, San Cristobal, Venezuela (December 2010 - 2 nights) - Comfortable hotel with character in the center of the city near the plaza, church and food, a good price for Venezuela of around $13USD for my own room with bathroom and tv. Friendly staff.

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