The interface between a solid and vacuum can become electronically distinct from the bulk. This feature, encountered in the case of quantum Hall effect, has a manifestation in insulators with topologically protected metallic surface states. Non-trivial Berry curvature of the Bloch waves or periodically driven perturbation are known to generate it. Here, by studying the angle-dependent magnetoresistance in prismatic bismuth crystals of different shapes, we detect a robust surface contribution to electric conductivity when the magnetic field is aligned parallel to a two-dimensional boundary between the three-dimensional crystal and vacuum. The effect is absent in antimony, which has an identical crystal symmetry, a similar Fermi surface structure and equally ballistic carriers, but an inverted band symmetry and a topological invariant of opposite sign. Our observation points to the relevance of band symmetries to survival of metallicity at the boundary interrupting the cyclotron orbits.