Best things to do in Bogota : Essentials
- Best things to do for free: Candelaria Neighborhood, Plaza Bolivar, Paloquemao Market, Gold Museums
- Best Excursions around Bogota : Guatavita, Zipaquira
- Best Museums: Gold Museum, Botero Museum
The Museums of Bogota
we will only name some of those we consider most important, however, for those who want to do cultural tourism in Bogota the traveler should know that there are more than forty museums.
The Gold Museum
This is one of the most important museums of the indigenous work in gold, it is really a very interesting museum in which you can see the legacy of the pre-Columbian culture.
It is a 6-story museum where you can see from the first works with the metal to the culmination of an enormously laborious work and everything is very well explained.
- Location Gold Museum of Bogota: Carrera 5ª esquina de la calle 16.
- Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9.00am to 06.00pm / Sundays and holidays from 10.00am to 04.00pm
- Rates: 3.000 COP, it is important to know that on Sundays it is free for any visitor.
- Website : Museo del Oro
3 Museums in One
In this great colonial house the traveler will be able to find three essential museums for those who are going to travel to Bogotá. It is not only important to visit them because of their importance, but also to be able to appreciate well the charm of the colonial style of the city of Bogotá.
In this site the traveler will be able to observe the historical process of the Mint in Bogota. This site was founded by the Spanish and was where the first gold coin was issued in the Americas in 1622. In this museum one can not only get to know a great part of Colombian history, but also learn about the process of creating the coins.
Bank of the Republic Museum
In this establishment one can observe temporary exhibitions, normally of great artistic quality. In the museum there are two large exhibition halls, but there is also a part of its Art Collection.
In the year 2000, Fernando Botero ceded a part of his art collection to the Banco de la República.
Thanks to this donation this museum was able to be founded with a total of 208 works of which 123 are by Botero himself and 85 by different international artists.
Within the 123 works of Botero the visitor will be able to enjoy pictorial and sculptural works and some drawings of this great artist.
As far as the collection of international artists is concerned, this collection offers a route of the evolution of the painting of this century, works of Picasso, Leger, Renoir, Dalí, Monet, Giacometti, Freud, Bacon, Calder and Beckmann can be found.
- Location: Calle 11 con cr. 4- 14
- Hours: Monday to Saturday from 09:00 am to 7:00pm. (last admission at 6:30pm)/ Sundays and holidays from 10:00am. to 5:00pm. (last admission at 4:30) Tuesdays closed.
- Rates: This museum is free.
National Museum of Colombia
The National Museum of Colombia was founded in 1823 for the conservation and dissemination of the country’s cultural heritage.
This is the oldest museum in Colombia with more than 20,000 objects on display. It was originally located in the Casa Botánica de Colombia and has been changing venues to its current location.
In this museum the visitor will be able to enjoy the historical evolution of this country, since you will find collections from the pre-Columbian historical origins until our times.
This museum is divided into 4 collections: history, art, archaeology and ethnography.
- Location: Carrera 7 calles 28 y 29.
- Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm / Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Rates: in 2012 the entrance to the museum is free.
The Candelaria Neighborhood
It is the historical district of the city of Bogota is one of the most well preserved colonial style neighborhoods in Latin America, is a place that undoubtedly the traveler can not miss, one has to get lost in the middle of these small streets of great charm.
This neighborhood is full of colonial houses, interior gardens, small squares, temples … here we will only name some of these best known places, but undoubtedly the traveler must walk a whole morning in the middle of this neighborhood.
It is the central square of Bogota and is where the formal foundation of this city was inaugurated. Around this square the tourist can see large historical buildings of great charm:
is the Congress of the Republic designed by Thomas Reed between 1848 and 1926 in neoclassical style.
From 1975 it is declared a National Monument, since it is considered one of the buildings of greatest architectural value in the whole city.
The entire structure is made of yellow quarry stone. It cannot be visited inside.
Palace of Justice
This majestic building was built in 2004, since the old Palace of Justice was destroyed in 1985 due to a takeover by the M-19 guerrilla to claim their rights.
The Colombian military army took over the Palace destroying the whole building and as a consequence many people died.
After this incident they decided to rebuild the Palace of Justice in the same place, but they had to do the whole building again.
headquarters of the City Council. This building is made up of three floors and an interior courtyard facing south.
The facade with large windows and arches is French style designed by the architects Gaston Lelarge and Ricardo Lleras Codazzi.
This building was inaugurated in 1905, anyway before this construction there had been in this space a commercial establishment that was razed in 1900 because of a fire.
Primary Cathedral of Bogota
this cathedral dedicated to the Immaculate Conception is of neoclassical style and was designed by Domingo de Petrés and began its construction in 1807.
Even so it is important to point out that before this cathedral there were 4 more in this place that were demolished by different phenomena.
Chapel of the Sagrario of the Cathedral: temple of catholic cult that keeps the Holy Sacrament.
This temple was built between 1660 and 1700 and is of Granada’s baroque style.
It is important to go inside to enjoy the paintings of Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos.
You can visit it during the mass schedule Archbishop’s Palace: it is the building where the Archdiocese of Bogota is located.
The main artistic interest of this building is the main door, since it was designed by the Italian sculptor who executed the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Vico Consorti.
Located in Carrera 8 No. 7- 26: This is the official residence of the Presidents of Colombia, so it should not surprise the traveler that in this street there are a lot of police and military who inspect their backpacks, since on more than one occasion they have tried to attack it.
Plaza del Chorro Quevedo
It is in the heart of the candelaria on 13th street with the carrea 2 i is one of the most emblematic points of the city.
In fact the city of Bogota began in this square when Gonzalo Jimenez Quesada in 1538 decided to build the first house in the city at this point.
The name of the square was not given until 1832 when the parents of the Agustina community with the surname Quevedo decided to build a fountain in the square to supply the whole community with water.
The neighbors, in order to thank them for this fact, decided to baptize it as the Quevedo’s Jet Square.
Nowadays, in this square it is easy to find students, musicians and all kinds of young people who are going to enjoy their free time here.
Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen
Located on Calle 8 con la carrera 4. This temple of Florentine Gothic style with Byzantine and Arab influence was declared a National Monument in 1993.
The building painted with white and brown stripes is composed of three naves forming the classic Latin cross plant.
The construction of this temple began in 1926, however, already in the 17th century there was a small sanctuary in this place dedicated to the Virgin of Carmen.
Jimenez de Quesada Avenue
Visit the luminous lagoon in Montego Bay
It bears the name of the city’s founder, but is also known as 13th street or environmental axis is another important route.
Previously it was possible to circulate in car, but from 2002 the circulation of all the vehicles was prohibited except for the Transmilenio.
It is important to remember that under this street is the most important river of the city, San Francisco, you can see by the slopes of the promenade how it has been channeled.
This street is the one that separates the historical center from the international center of Bogota.
La Septima (7th Street)
This street, which crosses the city from south to north, is one of the most important in the city.
In this street important events are held throughout the year, for example this street every Sunday morning is cut so that people can walk and bike.
This same day in this same race with the 24th street there is a famous craft market and second hand quite interesting to know (San Alejo Flea Market).
All this makes it an important commercial area, where the traveler can find more than one space to buy handicrafts at a good price (Pasaje Artesanal Colombia linda Carrera 7ª con calle 24 and between the seventh and the plaza Bolívar there is another big store to buy handicrafts).
It is important to note that between Carrera 7 and Jimenez Avenue is the place where Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was murdered.
Interested tourists will be able to see some inscriptions on the wall in homage to one of Colombia’s most important political leaders.
A colonial style neighborhood
This small neighborhood located in the north of Bogota more or less on Carrera 7 with Calle 116.
Usaquén used to be a small town near the capital in a totally colonial style that little by little was absorbed by the big city.
Sightseeing in Usaquen
Currently, this neighborhood formed by about four streets is one of the highest areas of Bogota so tourists can enjoy cafes and restaurants of high level.
It is also nice to visit the small train station of Usaquén, as it is preserved exactly as it was in its time.
It is important to note that on Sunday mornings there is a craft market very nice to discover.
The Sanctuary of Montserrate de Bogota
Visit the Sanctuary of Monserrate in Bogotá
The eastern mountain range that borders the city of Bogotá is called the hill of Montserrate which is part of the eastern cordillera of the Andes.
This hill is a place of pilgrimage for Christians, yet it is beautiful to climb to this place, because if the day is not cloudy you can appreciate the immensity of this city of more than 8,000,000 inhabitants, since the traveler will be at 3,200 meters above sea level.
The Sanctuary is located in a very beautiful area where the traveler can be walking for a while and also visit a typical colonial church.
There is also a street full of stores where you can buy any kind of souvenirs, anyway we recommend buying them in other places in Bogota because being such a tourist area prices are a little more expensive.
How to get to the Sanctuary of Monserrate in Bogotá
The most common thing is to go up with the cable car, since on foot it is a good walk that is not recommended to do when it starts to get dark.
- Location :The funicular station is located on Carrera 2 con Calle 21
- Timetables: Monday to Saturday from 7:00am to 11:45am, Sundays from 5:30am to 5:30pm and holidays from 6:00am to 5:30pm
- Rates: The daytime return price from Monday to Saturday and holidays is 15.400 COP, the nighttime 17.000COP and on Sundays 9.000COP.
Excursions in Bogota
The Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
Zipaquira is a city of mining tradition due to the salt mines that have surrounded this place.
In 1995 the city’s Salt Cathedral was inaugurated and it has been considered one of the most emblematic temples in the department of Cundinamarca.
Inside the mountain the Bogota architect Roswell Garavito Pearl designed this Salt Cathedral.
On the way to it, the traveler will be able to observe the whole path of the Way of the Cross of Jesus by means of the sculpture of a cross.
This place is considered by Colombians as one of the 7 wonders of Colombia, anyway, it is not a must visit either if one travels to Bogotá.
- Location: Zipaquirá is a city near Bogotá.
- How to get there: If you want to go by public transportation you should get to the Transmilenio Portal Norte stop and there take the bus to Zipaquirá.
- Hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 am to 06:00 pm: Adults (13-59 years old) 20000 COP Over 60 years old 14000 COP Children from 4 to 12 years old 14 000 COP
Cañón de la Lechuza
Located about 60 km from Bogota, in the village of Santa Rosa there is a small lake fed by the Bogota River. This lake is surrounded by huge rock walls that look like a canyon.
- How to get there: To get to the lake the visitor will have to walk about 45 minutes around the mountain or following the river level.
This small town with great charm is built on the side of the Tominé Reservoir. In this quite traditional village the traveler will be able to enjoy a lot of craft stores that sell the products at a good price.
But if you decide to go to this little town it is essential to visit the Guatavita Lake where different buses will take you there.
This place full of magic is where the famous legend of El Dorado originated, but only because of the spectacular landscape it is worth visiting.
- How to get there: To get to Guatavita the visitor must go to the Transmilenio stop in Portal Norte and from there take the bus to Guatavita.
Salto de los Micos
It’s a fantastic natural place located about 90km from Bogota in the municipality of Villeta.
This place full of trails for excursions allows the traveler to enjoy different waterfalls ranging from 5 to 40 meters.
In addition, in this place, the traveler will be able to enjoy a good spa to rest and to enjoy the tranquility.
Parks and Gardens
José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden
It is the most important botanical garden in the city created in 1955, this is a very good place to spend a day in the middle of a big city and to be able to appreciate the Colombian flora of the typical Andean forest, cloud forest, greenhouse circuits of hot, dry, rainy climate… It can be accessed both on foot and by car. It is a good place to spend a whole morning or afternoon getting to know the flora of this beautiful country.
Location José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden: Avenida Calle 63 No. 68-95 Visiting hours: Monday to Friday from 08.00am to 05.00pm
Metropolitan Park Simon Bolivar
This is undoubtedly one of the best known parks in the city, in fact this park is formed by a group of parks, squares and sports and event complexes that make it a place full of life. It is nice and pleasant to miss a whole day knowing this park which offers multiple activities for all types of tourists.
Metropolitan Park La Florida
This 200-hectare park is also full of activities: places to do high-risk sports, soccer fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, areas for barbecues, camping with a dining room… but you can also see great varieties of trees such as the famous Quindio wax palms, migratory birds and is very close to the Jaboque wetland. It is located in the municipality of Cota on the outskirts of Bogota.
Mirador de los Nevados Park
Located in the town of Suba, north of Bogota. It is a place with a large number of pedestrian trails where you can observe a variety of native flora and fauna. It is important to know that on good weather days it is possible from here to see the peaks of the Parque Nacional de los Nevados.
Third Millennium Park
Located between Sixth and Ninth Streets is a place to go for a walk and enjoy recreation, is full of gardens, places to bathe, to rest …