Tunja is one of the oldest cities in South America, It was first a Muiscas urban center, in 1000 a.c. aproximately. It was then occupied by the spaniards, who founded a city of their own in August 6th, 1539. During the colonial era, Tunja was an important political, cultural and administrative center, as well as a stanging point for expeditions to other regions of Colombia and Venezuela.Tunja Achieved its definitive independence from Spain in 1819, as part of the called "Paso de los Andes" (Crossing of the Andes), which allowed Bolívar to take the royalist defense by surprise. Much of this feats are recorded in local museums and other historical heritage in the city.During the Republic, Tunja became renowned due to its schools and education centers, and also due to harboring some of the best intelectuals of the country. By the end of the XXth century, Tunja begins experiencing an important urban expansion and an increase in private capital, which has made Tunja an important metropolis for the country.
Travel tips for Tunja
If you have planned to move around the regions in Colombia, you might be asked to have the yellow fever vaccine. Other vaccines that you should consider -in case you travel to the jungle- are the tetanus vaccine and the hepatitis A/B.The electric current kind used in Colombia is 110-volt AC (110 V), with a frequence of 60 Hz. We recommend you to have a plug adapter if you travel to places that use other voltage to avoid that the electronic devices suffer a short-circuit and don't work.Tunja has been recognized as the safest city in Colombia in 2015 but, as in any Large City, it's best to take care and carry your personal belongings with you all the time.The city is situated at 2822 m.s.n.m., so it's advised to carry sorojchi pills.
Best time to visit Tunja
Tunja is an atractive destination all year long, although you might want to visit the city in time for the Aguinaldo Boyacence, the International Festival of Culture or the Holy Week.
Climate in Tunja
Tunja is a cold city, with a subtropical highland weather and an average of 52,34º F degrees. It is recommended to bring warm clothes.
Things to do in Tunja
Tunja is an atractive tourism destination due to its historical heritage, specially its churches and colonial architecture, as well due to its international festivals. From Tunja you can easilly reach other tourism destinations in Boyacá, such as Villa de Leyva, Paipa or the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy National Park.
Nightlife in Tunja
Where to eat in Tunja
La Buona Vita
Location: Carrera 9 #23-45 Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00-21:30, Sun 12:00-16:00 Price: 20.000 COP per plate on average Italian restaurant with great handmade pastas.
Piqueteadeoro La Novena
Location: Carrera 9 - Calle 22. Hours: n/a Price: n/a Cheap traditional Colombian food and fruit salad bar.
Location: Carrera 9 #20-30. Hours: n/a Price: n/a Possibly the cheapest breakfast in town: Hot chocolate and roll with cheese, 1500 COP. Also set lunch and dinner.
The tourist places to see in Tunja are
Cathedral Basilica of St. James the Apostle in Tunja
Location: Bolivar Square Oldest Roman Catholic cathedral of Colombia, which is enshrined under the patronage of St. James the Greater (Santiago Apóstol).
The Bridge of Boyacá
Location: La Lajita Rural Area Small Bridge located at the Bogota-Tunja highway which is surrounded by monuments in conmemoration of the Battle of Boyacá which granted independence to the region.
Location: Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia An archeological site of the Muisca. According to the Myth, Hunzahúa, the first zaque of Hunza, fell in love with his sister, called Noncetá. Because this was forbidden, Hunzahúa fled with his sister to Chipatá where he secretly married her. After the mother of both found out, she threw a stick to the couple that missed them both yet spilled the chicha over the ground, forming the Hunzahúa Well.
Tunja Botanical Garden
Location: Pirgua Rural Area An impressive garden that preserves the local flora and fauna.
The things to do in Tunja
City Founder Gonzalo Suárez Rendón House and Museum
Location: Plaza Bolívar Hours: Until noon Price: Unknown House turned museum honouring the city founder Gonzalo Suárez Rendón, who established Tunja for the Spanish Crown on August 6, 1539. The house was built between 1540 and 1570, and is characterised by the cloistered staircases, the painted roof of the central hall and the use of marble.
Palacio de la Torre
Location: Bolívar Square K10-C20 Hours: Until noon Price: Unknown Also known as the House of Captain Gómez de Cifuentes is a former colonial era mansion of neoclasical style. It was built by said captain in honor to its wife.
Tunja Royal Plaza
Location: Calle 15 - Carrera 11, 150001 Hours: Until noon Price: Unknown Neoclasical style palace where the market was situated. It serves as a modern mall in present day Tunja.
Typical dishes in Tunja
A typical dish of the region which incorporates pig ribs, chicken, cow meat and potatoes, mixed with local spices
How to reach Tunja
Tunja by train
There is no passenger train that has Tunja as a destination in the present time.
Tunja by flight
The Gustavo Rojas Pinilla airport is located in the city but is currently inactive. It is scheduled to be back in service by 2017.
Tunja by bus
Tunja has a Bus Terminal which serves as a Hub for most Bus Companies and covers routes to most parts of the country. Bogotá is 2 to 3 hours away, at an average 17.000 COP per ticket.Villa de Leyva, a very popular tourist destination, is 45 minutes to an hour away, take a minibus from the terminal, at an average 6.000 COP per ticket.Paipa has a natural hot springs, with waterpark and spa. 45 minutes by bus, at an average 4000 per ticket.San Gil is the capital of extreme sports in Colombia, and is 4 hours away.
Accomodations in Tunja
Hotel El Cid Plaza
Location: Carrera 10 # 20-78, 150008 Precio: Starting at 56000 COP (Double Room) All rooms have private bathrooms and Cable TV. Has 24 hour reception service.
Hotel Salamandra Tunja
Location: Calle 22 # 9 - 13, 150001 Precio: Starting at 50000 COP (Double Room) Hotel Salamandra welcomes pets, and offers free wi-fi in all rooms.
Hotel Parque Santander
Location: Calle 23 No. 11- 57 Parque Santander 150002 Price: Starting at 91000 COP (Double Room) Located right next to Plaza Bolívar, has a restaurant, free breakfast and wi-fi as well as 24 hour reception service.
Location: Carrera 13 # 7-57 sur, 150001 Price: Starting at 70 000 COP (Double Room) Located near the Bullfighting Plaza, offers a restaurant, free wi-fi and private parking.
Location: Carrera 9 N° 24 - 38, 150001 Precio: 225000 COP Hotel Bochica welcomes pets, has free wi-fi and private parking.
Hotel Hunza y Centro De Convenciones
Location: Calle 21A # 10 - 66, 150440 Precio: 343000 COP (Double Room) Offers ample rooms, a pool and free wi-fi and private parking. Located near Plaza Antigua.
Important dates in Tunja
Boyacá International Cultural Festival
(Between August and September)
Anual event that gathers several shows from many artistic disciplines. Since 2009 the festival has an international guest, which brings shows from its own culture.
(16th to 24th of December)
A renowned festivity, there are concerts of established artists, and also parades, sport tournaments and many other activities.