What You Need To Know
Cúcuta, officially San José de Cúcuta, is a Colombian city, capital of Norte de Santander department. It is located in the northeast of the country, in the eastern branch of the Colombian Andes, on the border with Venezuela. Cúcuta has a population of approximately 650,000 people according to the 2005-2020 census, making it the 6th largest city in the country. Due to its proximity with Venezuela, Cúcuta is an important commercial center. The international border in Cúcuta is said to be the most dynamic of South America. The city has a length of 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) from north to south and 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) from east to west. It is divided into 10 communes and it is the political, economic, administrative, industrial, cultural and tourism hub of the Norte de Santander department.
Cúcuta has experienced a great urban development, as a result other cities has been constituted around the city, like Los Patios in the east, and Villa del Rosario in the south. They are part of the Metropolitan Area of Cúcuta which has a population of about 850.000 people. It is connected by roads across the country to major cities like Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Ocaña, Valledupar, Pamplona, Tunja and Cartagena de Indias and because of its location, to many cities of Venezuela. Its airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Camilo Daza, offers flights to several Colombian cities as well as to Panama City.
The city was the place of some of the most important events in Colombian history, like the redaction of the first constitution by the Congress of Cúcuta which led to the foundation of the Republic of Colombia, also known as Gran Colombia, and the Battle of Cúcuta, where troops led by Simón Bolívar defeated the Spanish Royal Rorce, thereby liberating the city from Spanish rule and allowing Bolívar troops to continue their campaign toward Venezuela.
Area: 1,176 km2 (454 sq mi)
The city is in the eastern part of the Department of North Santander, in the Cordillera Oriental, close to the border with Venezuela. The city’s area is 110 square kilometres (42 square miles) and its elevation is 320 metres (1,050 feet) above sea level.
Rivers in Cúcuta and Norte de Santander include the Pamplonita River, Guaramito River, San Miguel River and Zulia River.
The Pamplonita River crosses the Norte de Santander Department.
Cúcuta has a tropical savanna climate. The mean temperature is 27.6 °C; high temperatures are around 38 °C. There is a sharp contrast between the wet season and the dry season. The driest months are December, January, February and March; the wettest are April, May, September, October and November. June and July usually have significant precipitation, whereas August is sunny and windy. The annual precipitation is around 1,041 mm (40.98 in).
The city is notable for bilateral trade and manufacturing. Its location on the border between Colombia and Venezuela has made possible strong links with the Venezuelan city of San Cristóbal, Táchira.
Its Free Zone is the most active of all those in the country and one of the most active in all Latin America, largely due to Venezuela being Colombia’s second largest trade partner.
The most developed industries are dairy, construction, textiles, shoes and leather. The city is a producer of cement of the first order and its clay and stoneware industry has the best reputation nationally for its high quality. The mining of coal also plays an important role in the local economy. The University Francisco de Paula Santander in Cucuta, the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, and the Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia in Tunja are the only ones in the country that provide for the career of Mining Engineering.
The peso is the official currency. Owing to its proximity to Venezuela, the bolívar was accepted by the vast majority of commercial establishments until the rapid devaluation of the Venezuelan currency began after the 2013 recession.
For travel outside the city, there is a bus station called “Terminal de Transportes” (to be replaced by a new one), the Camilo Daza International Airport (Colombia) and the San Antonio Airport (Venezuela). Eighty years ago the city had the “Railroad of Cúcuta”, which connected with Venezuela.
The main forms of public transportation are the bus (or collective) and taxicabs. In addition, National Planning has a project to build a mass transit system, under the name “Metrobus” (Cucuta).
The highway to Bucaramanga (renovated in January 2007) connects Cúcuta with Bogotá, Medellín and Cali. The highway to Ocaña connects the city with Barranquilla, Cartagena and Santa Marta, and the highway to San Cristóbal connects it with Caracas.
Law 100 of 1993 is the law governing Health in Colombia, which is regulated by the Ministry of Social Protection. In Cucuta and North Santander, health is administered by the Municipal Institute of Health (IMSALUD) and the local Department of Health, respectively. Entities such as the Colombian Red Cross, Colombian Civil Defense (for emergencies, calamities and natural disasters) and the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), are part of the social protection system.
The city has the following public health institutions (or State Social Enterprises, ESE): ESE Erasmus University Hospital Meoz, the ESE Francisco de Paula Santander (Clinical Social Security), the ESE CardioNeuroPulmonar Rehabilitation Center, the ESE Hospital of Los Patios, and ESE Hospital of Villa del Rosario. Private health centers include: San Jose Clinic, the North Clinic, Clinica Santa Ana, Lions Clinic, the Samaritan Clinic, and Profamilia (sexual and reproductive health).
The aforementioned entities are part of the network of institutions providing services to health attached to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Municipal Health Department. The Erasmus Hospital Meoz holds fourth-level scale and specializes in performing highly complex surgeries, such as transplants and reimplantations. Additionally, it offers healthcare puentos distributed in the different districts of the city, which deal with varying degrees of complexity. The city has a large number of health promoting entities (SPE’s), such as Colsanitas, SaludCoop, Cafesalud, etc.