Buga, one of Colombia’s prestigious Pueblos de Patrimonio, is not typically on the tourist radar. This small Colombian city of nearly 100,000 attracts over three million Catholic pilgrims a year to the Basílica del Señor de los Milagros, but there are other points of interest to visit besides its beautiful churches.
Parque José María Cabal
The non-religious sites in Buga are fairly close to each other. We started in Parque José María Cabal, the main plaza in town. It has some very tall trees, vendors selling juices and snacks, has a statue of José María Cabal in the center. Apparently there are iguanas that hang out in the trees but we didn’t notice any.
There are a couple of important buildings on the plaza including the courthouse, Palacio de Justicia.
One block to the east of the plaza is the Cabildo, which was built in 1810. It served as a government building during Spanish rule.
Casa de la Cultura
Our next stop was at the very interesting Casa de la Cultura. The building has a nice courtyard with a fountain in the middle.
We were given a tour of the exhibits currently on display, including Catholic vestments and models of the colorful windows and balconies of different towns in Colombia.
A block away is the Teatro Municipal. It’s a gorgeous building with the faces of Mozart, Beethoven, and Liszt on the building.
Parque de Bolívar
We then walked to Parque de Bolívar, which is on the south side of town. There is a statue of Simón Bolívar on one end and a bridge over the Río Guadalajara at the other.
Finally, we climbed up a lookout tower called El Faro. It’s a thin tower with a spiral staircase in the center. It cost COP$1,500 per person to climb up (as of March 2016).
Once at the top, there are spectacular views of Buga.