Here are the best places to visit near Bogota:

Zipaquirá (salt cathedral) and Nemocón

zipaquira catedral de sal colombia
zipaquira catedral de sal colombia – Photo TristanQuevilly

The salt cathedral of Zipaquirá is one of the 7 wonders of Colombia, and one of the most common excursions from Bogotá, as it is an hour away from the capital.

You can go there by yourself (take a bus for 5400 COP from the Portal del Norte to Zipaquirá), or if you have little time and don’t want to complicate yourself, you can take a tour like this one for 54 COP that lasts about 6 hours, which already includes the entrance to the Salt Cathedral and in which you are picked up at your accommodation

If you go on your own, the entrance to the cathedral costs around 50000 COP for foreigners, 30.000 COP for nationals.

Pro Tip: Nearby you also have the Nemocón Salt Mine which is less frequented

Monguí and the Ocetá moor

The páramos are one of the most important ecosystems in Colombia, as they are like sponges where fresh water is generated to supply much of the country.

paramo de oceta @nicfray
paramo de oceta @nicfray

From Bogotá you can go to Monguí and Páramo de Ocetá and see the famous frailejones up close, about 4 hours from the capital.

Ideally, you will sleep one night in Monguí (for example at Hospedaje Las Cabanas, for 7000 COP/night the double room with private bathroom).

mongui @mariadcperrier
Mongui @mariadcperrier

Guatavita Lagoon

Are you familiar with the legend of “El Dorado”? It’s a legendary city where, in theory, there were abundant gold mines.

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Colombia, they heard about a ceremony in which a king covered his body with gold dust and made offerings in a sacred lagoon, and they thought it was “El Dorado”.

laguna de guatavita colombia
laguna de guatavita colombia @camicacho

It was also said that the new chief entered the lagoon naked, mounted on a raft, and his subjects threw gold statuettes (“tunjos”) at him.

Today we know that this lagoon is Guatavita’s, and there have been numerous expeditions to the place in search of this treasure, not yet found.

It’s a great place to get in touch with nature (the real gold 😉

So if you have the chance, you can go from Bogotá, as it’s about 2 hours away by car.

If you have little time and want to take advantage, the best way to visit Guatavita is to take a private tour where for less than 90 Usd you can visit Zipaquira and its Salt Cathedral, and the Guatavita lagoon in the same day, returning to Bogota to sleep (entrance fees not included)

Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva is an escape from Bogota that we include here because of how beautiful it is but really it is the only one in which it is more than advisable to stay overnight, to enjoy it and especially because it is a beating to do it the same day.

It is about 3-4 hours from the capital, and has a huge main square.

Founded in 1572, it has colonial architecture, cobbled streets and varied rural landscapes in its surroundings, and is considered one of the most beautiful towns in Colombia.

villa de leyva colombia
Villa de Leyva colombia – Photo @fly.4all

You can go there by yourself (by bus from the north terminal in Bogotá, it takes about 4 hours), which we recommend if you’re going to spend a night there because you’ll save a lot of money and enjoy Villa de Leyva much more.

If you have little time in Colombia, we recommend you to go on a tour so you don’t lose much time in public transport and take advantage of the hours to the maximum.

La Chorrera, Colombia’s highest waterfall

A natural waterfall 590 meters high, the highest in Colombia (and sixth in South America).

la chorrera colombia
la chorrera colombia Photo @giovannypulidophotographer

Salto del Tequendama

 a very picturesque natural waterfall

salto del tequendema colombia
salto del tequendema colombia – Photo @camscaper

Canyon of the owl

In Suesca, you can appreciate the “farallones”, walk through acacia, pine and eucalyptus forests, go through a canyon where the Bogota river passes until you reach the town of Santa Rosita.

It is also possible to do rappel and canoeing.

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