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Two hours (72 km/43 mi) from Pamplona is San José de Cúcuta, capital of Norte de Santander department. The twisting, paved road has one tollbooth and a military checkpoint. You may at times feel like you are already in Venezuela--with the slang of cucuteños, the fashions and all the cars with Venezuelan plates—but you are still some 20 kilometers (12 mi) from the official border.

Cúcuta is also an important commercial center between the two countries, whether of legitimate wares or contraband (especially gasoline). Since Cúcuta is a popular shopping destination for Venezuelans, everything is geared toward them: numerous ATMs and casas de cambio, shops specializing in clothing and shoes, and fast-food restaurants to fuel frenzied shoppers. Traffic is insane. Two lanes become three or more. Motorcycles disregard what few stoplights there are and use the sidewalk to bypass the traffic. Commerce spills from the stores onto the littered streets.

Those traveling in their own vehicles may find the bustle a bit beyond their experience and prefer to spend the night in Pamplona. Cúcuta is little more than a gateway to Venezuela and a commercial capital. It is also a city steeped in independence history. Nearby, Villa del Rosario preserves important symbols for the bolivariano nations.


Other places nearby Cúcuta : Sogamoso, Villa de Leyva , Curití, San Gil, Guane, Capitanejo , Pamplona, Barichara , Bucaramanga and Cocuy .

06 Oct 2011

VIVA Colombia
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