Getting there & away
Bucaramanga's bus terminal is situated southwest of the center, midway to Girón; frequent city buses marked 'Terminal' go there from Carrera 15. Buses depart regularly to Bogotá (US$22, 10 hours), Cartagena (US$36, 12 hours) and Santa Marta (US$31, nine hours).
There are also numerous buses to Cúcuta (US$10, six hours). A scenic road winds up to the páramo (open highland) at 3400m and then drops down to Cúcuta. If you sit on the right-hand side of the bus, you will have a splendid view as you leave Bucaramanga and again when you arrive at Pamplona. Travel by day and take a sweater.
The Palonegro airport is on a meseta (plateau) high above the city, off the road to Barrancabermeja. The landing here is quite breathtaking. Local buses marked 'Aeropuerto' link the airport and the city center every hour or so; you catch them on Carrera 15. It's faster to go by colectivo (US$2), which park in Parque Santander. There are flights to some major Colombian cities, including Bogotá (US$70 to US$110) and Medellín (US$80 to US$130).