San Cristóbal, Táchira

San Cristóbal, is the capital city of the Venezuelan state of Táchira. It is located in a mountainous region of Western Venezuela. The city is situated 818 m/2,625 ft above sea level in the northern Andes overlooking the Torbes River, 56 km/35 mi from the Colombian border. San Cristóbal was founded in 1561 by Juan de Maldonado. From its inception, the city evolved rapidly as one of the most progressive and important centers of commerce in the country, due primarily to its rich soil and its proximity to the border with Colombia.

The city was severely damaged by the Earthquake of Cúcuta (also known as Earthquake of the Andes) in 1875. The city is located on the Pan-American Highway.


San Cristobal has a large student poulation. There are many post-secondary school, both public and private, in San Cristobal. The main ones are:

  • Universidad Nacional Experimental del Tachira (UNET): Engineering in Electronics, Mechanics, Agriculture, and Information system, Architecture, Music, and Industrial and Environmental Engineering.
  • Universidad de los Andes (ULA): Business and Administration, Journalism, Languages, Education, Medicine.
  • Universidad Catolica del Tachira (UCAT): Law, Criminology, Accounting, Human Resources, Marketing, Education, Fisics and Buiness and Administration.

Universidad Nacional Experimental de las Fuerzas Amadas (UNEFA): Economics, Psychology, Urban Planning, Administrarion and Civil Engineering.

  • Universidad Nacional Abierta (UNA): Long Distance Education.
  • Instituto Universitario Politecnico Santiago Mariño.
  • Instituto Universitario Antonio Jose de Sucre.
  • Instituto Universitario Monseñor Talavera.

Law and government

San Cristóbal has one municipality: San Cristóbal Municipality, Venezuelan law specifies that municipal governments have four main functions: executive, legislative, comptroller, and planning. The executive function is managed by the mayor, who is in charge of representing the municipality's administration. The legislative branch is represented by the Municipal Council, composed of seven councillors, charged with the deliberation of new decrees and local laws. The comptroller tasks are managed by the municipal comptroller's office, which oversees accountancy. Finally, planning is represented by the Local Public Planning Council, which manages development projects for the municipality.

Industry and Economy

San Cristobal is the third richest city of Venezuela, after Chacao and Baruta municipalities in Miranda State. As throughout the Andean states, the people of Táchira are characterized as hardworking, cordial, conservative, and devoted to their historical, religious, and folkloric traditions. The primary industries here are centered around agriculture, mainly the production of coffee, sugar, and vegetables. Other important industrial sectors which have helped fuel the economic engines of the region include meat production (cattle), manufacturing industries like shoe, basket, and ceramics production. A fact that perhaps is not widely known is that it was in Táchira, and not in Zulia, that the first oil wells were excavated in 1875(located in the Petrolea sector close to Rubio)-- a procedure done in those days by hand and with buckets. It is a commercial, transportation, and industrial center. Textiles, leather products, cement, and tobacco are produced, and coffee, sugar, pineapples, and corn are exported. The service sector is also strong. There are many branches of nationals banks located in the city. There are also two main local banks that are an important engine of the local economy, Sofitasa bank and Banfoandes. In the dairy industry, Leche Tachira is one of the most consolidated industries in the country; this company is based in San Cristobal.


San Cristóbal's architecture is rich and varied. The wedding cake and modernist architectural styles are particularly evident in the facades of the Universidad Nacional Abierta and La Casa Antigua, a Spanish style building with various ornaments and sculptures. Another example is La Entrada Central, the only facade that's left from the old Hospital Vargas. Among the most notable churches are La Iglesia El Angel, the Gothic styled church San José, and the El Santuario Church.


There are three airports that serve Tachira State and its capital San Cristobal. Airport Juan Vicente Gomez of San Antonio, Airport Mayor Buenaventura Vivas of Santo Domingo del Tachira and International Airport of La Fria.

Main Avenues are: Avenida 19 de Abril, Rotaria, Marginal del Tobes, Cuatricenteria, Libertador, Carabobo, Espana, Universidad, Los Agustinos, UNET, Lucio Oquendo, Ave. Principal de Pueblo Nuevo, Ave. Principal de Barrio Sucre, Ave. Principal de Quinimar and the main two avenues Isais Medina Angarita (7ma Avenida) and Francisco Garcia de Hevia (5ta Avenida)

Famous Natives

Attractions & Surroundings

Like some of its sister cities and towns in the Andes, San Cristóbal is blessed with beautiful surroundings and a unique natural setting. The picturesque scenery, the majesty of the mountains, the slow pace of life, and the welcoming nature of its people all combine to make this region one of the most important touristic attractions in Venezuela.

One of the most celebrated festivities which attracts visitors from all over is the Feria Internacional de San Sebastián held annually at Pueblo Nuevo next to Tachira state football club's grounds. This fair, which occurs at the end of January, combines bullfighting festivities with a myriad of sport activities such as the Vuelta al Táchira, a bicycle race, artistic festivals, agricultural fairs, and many other spectacles. Nearby small businesses, in particular eateries, restaurants and small independent retailers thrive of the activities in Pueblo nuevo.

Places to visit in and around San Cristóbal include all the squares and parks around the city, the enchanting colonial town of San Pedro del Río and Peribeca. During Christmas these towns are full of decorations and mangers of every shape and size. Near the border with Colombia is the town of San Antonio de Táchira, with its lively commercial beat. Other interesting towns are Palmira and Abejales, above the town of Tariba, famous for their sugar cane baskets, and the town of El Topón, a typical agricultural town. The water fall of Chorro el Indio is an entertaining place to visit and be surrounded by nature.

Plaza de los Mangos, in Barrio Obrero, is a popular youth hangout close to San Cristobal's city centre. A leafy square home to music shops, imported clothing retailers, Mini malls, nightclubs, eateries, ice-cream parlours, pool halls and small music venues, Plaza de los Mangos has become a busy hub for youth life. On a small off-shoot road on the Plaza's north-eastern corner a small Virgin Mary figure is housed under a protruding old tree branch, a branch once used for public hangings, the date of the last hanging varies with who you ask.


Feria Internacional de San Sebastian. the San Sebastian fair is the largest fair in the contry. It takes place at the end of each January. There is animal, agricultural, industrial and commercial trade. In addition there are many shows and entertaiment offers for the locals and the tourists.


Distances are in Kilometers



Sister cities


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