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Getting There and Away

You can arrive to San Gil from Bogotá or Tunja. From Villa de Leyva, you have to return to Tunja, or take the backroads, which is cheaper: go by way of Arcabuco, which is on the main Bogotá-Bucaramanga road. If traveling to Villa de Leyva, leave San Gil before 2:30 p.m. to avoid having to overnight in Tunja.

If arriving from the coast, first go to Bucaramanga, then transfer.

The long-distance bus terminal, handling traffic to Bogotá, Cucutá and the coast, is located on Carrera 12 and Calle 31, about two kilometers (1.2 mi) from town. Most routes to Santa Marta and other coastal points and to Cucutá transfer in Bucaramanga; it is better to go to Bucaramanga from where cheaper and more frequent transport. Only direct services are listed below.

To Bogotá: 6 hoours, $16 — Berlinas (every hour), Brasilia (11 p.m., midnight), Copetran (every hour, $16 and $23.65).

To Cartagena: Brasilia (7:30 p.m.,15 hr, $47.50), Copetran (5 p.m., 14 hr, $37). To get to Santa Marta, take this bus as far as Ciénaga (7:30 p.m., 12 hr, $33) and transfer there.

Cotrasangil is the main carrier for Bucaramanga; its office is on the corner of Calle 8 and Carrera 11 (every half-hour, 4:30 a.m.-8 p.m., 2.5 hr, $7.40).

Bus services also exist for MedellĂ­n.

Minivans to villages near San Gil leave from the depot at Carrera 11 and Calle 15. For Guanes, first go to Barichara and transfer there.

To Barichara: every half-hour, 6:10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., $1.60, 0.5 hours; last bus back, 6:30 p.m.

To Cabrera: Monday-Friday 5:45 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 6 p.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m., 7 p.m., Sunday and holidays 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5:45 p.m ., $2.10, 1 hour.

To Charalá: every half-hour, 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m., $2.10, 45 minutes; last back 6 p.m.

To CuritĂ­: every 15 minutes, 6 a.m.-7 p.m., $0.80, 20 minutes; last back 6:30 p.m.

To Mogotes: seven buses per day, $3.20, 2 hours; last back 4 p.m.

To Páramo: every hour, 6 a.m.-7:15 p.m., $1.50, 0.5 hours; last back 6:15 p.m.

To Villanueva: every 20 minutes, 6 a.m.-6:50 p.m., $1.30, 0.5 hours; last back 6 p.m.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to San Gil: Safety, Important Information to know about Parque Nacional del ChicamochaParque Nacional del Chicamocha, Services - Tourism Office, When to go and Holidays and Festivals.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

18 Mar 2011

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