Bogota Travel Guide : Essentials
- What to See in Bogota: La Candelaria, Chorro Quevedo, Plaza Bolivar, Paloquemao Market
- Best things to do in Bogota: Gold Museum, Botero Museum, Montserrate, Cerro Guadalupe,
- Best time to visit Bogota: best period for the sun is from December to February. High season starts from December 15th to January 15th
- Best Hotels in Bogota: La opera, Masaya
- Where to Eat in Bogota: La Puerta Falsa
- How to get around in Bogota: Public Transport like Transmilenio. Cabs & Uber are quite cheap.
- Where to go After Bogota : Villa de Leyva, Coffee Axis, Amazon, Caño Cristales, Pacific Coast, Llanos
Bogota is both the financial and administrative capital of Colombia.
Industrial, modern and developed, it is nevertheless home to remarkable old districts, such as the Candelaria.
Number of Inhabitants
The city of Bogotá has a population of approximately 7 743 955 (2018 estimate)
Bogotá is the capital of Colombia with an extension of 33Km from south to north and 16 from east to west
Bogota is located in the department of Cundiamaraca located in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes this explains why it is the third highest capital in the world, as it is about 2,625 meters above sea level
History of Bogota
Bogotá was officially founded in 1538, by the conqueror Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada.
At that time, the city was called Santa Fe de Bogota and was under the viceroyalty of Peru, attached to the Spanish crown.
It obtained its independence in 1819.
From 1948 to 1960, Colombia was the scene of a civil war, followed by a period of guerrilla war (armed conflict in Colombia).
Bogotá develops all the same during and especially after the civil war, enriching itself with new districts.
From 1995 onwards, it undergoes many changes with the construction of new infrastructures, the creation of bicycle paths, the new TransMilenio bus network, as well as the development of social programmes and new laws aimed at making the city friendly and pleasant.
Located in central Colombia, north of the Andes, Bogotá is built on a plateau at 2640 m above sea level.
It is crossed by several rivers joining the Rio Bogota, which gives rise to a magnificent 132 m waterfall (Salto del Tequendama).
What to do in Bogotá
- Stroll through Park 93 and Chico.
- Discover the Candelaria, one of the most beautiful and oldest neighborhoods in Bogota.
- Admire the houses in the city centre whose architecture has remained colonial.
- Visit and shop in the various shopping malls.
What to see in Bogotá
The city of Bogota has many tourist sites to see.
Visitors will be able to discover the Casa de la Moneda, the Arena of Santamaria, the old center of Bogota including the colonial district “la Calenderia”, the sanctuary of Montserrat with a panoramic view of Bogota and Bolivar’s country house, the quinta de Bolivar.
The city also has beautiful religious sites such as the Church of Saint Ignatius and the Primada Cathedral.
Don’t miss the Gold Museum, which tells part of Colombia’s history.
Finally, sports and relaxation enthusiasts can visit the Nemesio Camacho El Campin Stadium and the José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden.
- More info : Website of the Tourist Office of Bogota
The pedestrian area of La Candelaria, with its colourful houses and colonial architecture, forms the historic centre of the city.
Lose yourself in these charming alleys (Avenue Jimenez, Calle 5, Plazoleta…) to land at the Plaza Bolivar.
Nicknamed “Plaza Mayor”, this historical place declared National Monument includes the Capitol, the city hall, the courthouse, the Primada Cathedral as well as the presidential residence Casa Nariño.
Note: The visit of the Candelaria can be done on foot or by bicycle (count 3 to 4 hours).
New! We now offer a cooking workshop: after buying your ingredients at the market, you participate in a course to discover the local gastronomy.
El Chorro de Quevedo, in Candelaria
Where there is more life in the center is in this square.
You must drink a chicha that they sell on the street and, if you want, accompany it with a wafer.
There are usually storytellers (especially on week ends), music and, of course, lots of urban art!
The best thing is to go down all the way to “Calle del Embudo” Street (one of the streets that comes out of Chorro de Quevedo) and let yourself be involved in the best urban art in the city.
Calle del Embudo, one of the streets coming out of Chorro de Quevedo
The beginning of Calle del Embudo, one of the streets leading out of Chorro de Quevedo
With its 34,000 gold pieces, the gold museum (Museo del Oro) is considered one of the best history museums in the world, it is one of the most famous and complete museums in the capital.
In this museum, they take a tour, through the exhibition (sometimes interactive) of gold and pottery pieces of indigenous cultures, from the whole pre-Columbian period.
Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 to 18:00, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 16:00.
Entrance fee: 3,000 pesos from Tuesday to Saturday, free entrance on Sundays.
To enjoy a breathtaking view of the capital and its surroundings, climb the Cerro Monserrate, perched at an altitude of 3,152 metres at the entrance to the Olaya Herrera National Park.
You can take the funicular with panoramic roof or the cable car (only in the afternoon), or take the stairs (600 m of difference in altitude! the most fervent Catholics even do it on their knees!).
A place of peregrination for Colombians, the Sanctuary is particularly busy on religious feast days (attention: extreme crowding during Holy Week – March/April).
Dedicated to the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, this Foundation exhibits about a hundred of the artist’s drawings, paintings and sculptures.
Other masterpieces by internationally renowned artists (Renoir, Dali, Chagall, Picasso, Miro, Braque…) are also on display.
In the same building is the mint, also free of charge.
Note: closed on Tuesdays.
Taste the exotic flavours of Colombia at this vegetable and fruit market offering original and tropical varieties.
Located 10 minutes from the city centre, this authentic place, resplendent with colours and smells, is the refuelling point for individuals and professionals.
In the morning, take a stroll through the flower market.
A commercial, chic and festive district par excellence, the Zona Rosa offers a multitude of shopping centres, pubs and restaurants.
The farther north you go from the capital, the more upscale the neighbourhoods.
The residential area of Chapinero, the Zona T and even the village of Usaquen have become very pleasant places to live in the evenings.
The northern part of the city is a good place to go out rather than the less frequented Candelaria).
Plaza de Bolívar and the Seventh
In the center of the city’s main square there is, of course, a statue in honor of Simon Bolivar, the Palace of Justice, the National Capitol, the Cathedral, the Primate
Metropolitan Cathedral of Colombia, the House of the Ecclesiastical Council, the Sagrario Chapel, the Archbishop’s Palace, the San Bartolomé College and the Liévano
Palace, which is the seat of the Mayor’s Office of Bogotá.
With so many historical buildings it is not surprising, then, that this square is considered a National Monument of Colombia.
This square is especially emblematic since on November 6, 1985, a commando of the M-19 guerrilla group took over the Palace of Justice, followed by a destructive military recovery mission in which 98 people died, including 11 judges.
It was from that point onwards and throughout the 1990s that the armed conflict between the State, extreme right-wing paramilitary groups, extreme left-wing guerrillas and drug cartels intensified.
The square is located between the Seventh and Eighth Races.
La Séptima, also known as the Septimazo by the people of Bogota, is a pedestrian road that is worth walking along (during the day) to see the atmosphere: the shouts of the local vendors and the street music provide the soundtrack.
Usaquen Flea Market
Usaquen was once a town near Bogotá, but with the growth of the city, today it is a neighborhood full of restaurants and life.
Usaquén is also a great place to go on Sundays because there is a flea market there so if you get caught on a Sunday in the capital you know where to go.
La Macarena is a neighborhood relatively close to La Candelaria, where many artists live today and has become a bohemian neighborhood where there is also plenty of food on offer.
You can get lost in its small restaurants, art galleries or even watch the sunset in Independence Park.
Fruit tour in the Paloquemao market
If you are passionate about markets and fruits (and Colombia is a fruit paradise), a good plan is to take the fruit tour at the Paloquemao market.
It lasts about 3 hours and will take you to the colorful market of Paloquemao where you will learn about the different fruits that are sold there (as well as trying them).
Parks of Bogotá
Bogotá also has several parks you can go to if you are looking for a “break” within the city :
- Independence Park
- Bride and groom park
- Chicó Park
- 93 Park
- Simon Bolivar Park
- National Park
Where to make the change of currency
Where to exchange money in Bogotá: the currency used in Bogotá is the Colombian Peso COP. The currency can be exchanged at the airport, in banks or in exchange houses (the main exchange houses are located in the Avenida Jimenez or Eje ambiental near the gold museum).
Both US dollars and Euros can be exchanged (one Euro equals approximately 2179.05 Colombian Pesos).
What to see around Bogota ?
In the surroundings of Bogota, there are various tourist sites to see.
The city of Zipaquira is home to the Salt Cathedral, Plaza de Mercado and Laguna de Guatanita; in Tocancipa, the Jaime Duque amusement park charms with its tranquility.
Zipaquirá (salt cathedral) and Nemocón
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 51300 COP (14 ?) for foreigners, 30600 COP for nationals.
Nearby you also have the Nemocón Salt Mine
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.
We had the opportunity to visit one in our tour to Nevado Ruiz, in the coffee axis, but if your route does not pass through there, 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 (19 ?) the double room with private bathroom).
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”.
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.
Who knows if you will find it…
Even if you don’t find gold when you visit the lagoon, we think 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, you have this 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.
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.
To sleep, you can stay in Casa Villa Luguianga for 100000 COP (27 Usd) the double with private bathroom, or if you want something better you have the Hotel Antonio Nariño where it has double rooms from 150000 COP (40 Usd) to 300000 COP (80 Usd)
If you have little time and you want to go yes or yes in a day from Bogota, 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.
You have for example this tour to Villa de Leyva that leaves at 7am and costs 170
La Chorrera, Colombia’s highest waterfall
A natural waterfall 590 meters high, the highest in Colombia (and sixth in South America).
Other places of interest
There is a lot more to do around Bogota, here are some more places that we recommended to visit from Bogota:
Salto del Tequendama
a very picturesque natural waterfall
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.
Weather in Bogotá
The climate in Bogota is generally quite cold, because even though Colombia is a tropical country, the altitude in which it is located makes it a high mountain climate.
This explains why the average temperature is about 15ºC, with the minimum temperature at 6ºC and the maximum at 24ºC.
In addition to the low temperatures, traveling to Bogota implies suffering some rain, since it is recurrent in almost all the seasons of the year, except for Christmas.
Best time of year to travel to Bogotá
The best time or season of the year to travel to Bogotá is from December to February since it coincides with the dry season and since there is not so much rain the temperature is also a little more pleasant.
Best Hotels in Bogota
Where to Stay in Bogota
There are several options where you can make a base in the capital:
- Candelaria is the center of the city where you can walk to all the tourist attractions (museums, septimazo, quevedo jet, etc).
- Chapinero Alto is other good alternative, a more eclectic neighborhood where you will find a variety of alternative cultural (theaters, cinemas, galleries) and gastronomic (restaurants of all kinds and many cuquis cafes with good wifi) offerings.
- The neighborhood that is now considered the bohemian neighborhood par excellence is Macarena, surrounded by independent art galleries, concerts and international cuisine.
Where to sleep in Candelaria
This would be the option to stay in the center of the city, that is, near the main tourist attractions, a recommended neighborhood for a very short stay in the capital.
However, it is the most touristic neighborhood so you should not give papaya especially at night 😉
Between 100000 (25 euros) and 400000 COP (100 euros) a night for two people, depending on the private room, it offers the quality and the “cuquismo” of the Selina brand, in full narrow and colorful streets of the colonial houses of the Candelaria.
Close to everything and with excellent common areas (it even has computers), breakfast buffet and kitchen 🙂 It costs 150000 COP (40 euros/night) in a double room with private bathroom for 2 people.
Where to sleep in Chapinero Alto
Where to sleep in Macarena
If you want to be close to the center but in the bohemian and artistic core then the Macarena is your choice.
Pit Hotel (economical)
We recommend you a more economical option, the Pit Hostel (20 euros/night private room:
Apartment Museo Parque Central Bavaria (top)
(55 euros/night approx.) offers you incredible views of the whole city from the kitchen to the bedroom:
When to travel to Bogotá
The high season to travel to Bogotá coincides with the Christmas and New Year’s vacations, as they are the best time to find good weather.
This causes that there is enough movement of tourists, as much at international level as national, since it also coincides with the vacation period of the Colombian population.
Anyway, in July and August one will also find tourists, especially Westerners who take advantage of their vacation to travel to Bogotá.
It is important to know that prices do not change too much between high and low season
Best time to visit Bogota for Weather
It’s cool in Bogotá and it’s like that all year round.
Any time is good to visit Bogota, since there are hardly any seasons and the temperature does not vary much, although if you are very sensitive to cold, in theory, the best months (when it is less cold and there is less chance of rain) would be from December to March.
How many days to spend in Bogotá
On a 2-week trip around Colombia, it is understandable that you do not dedicate all the days that the Colombian capital deserves but try to reserve at least 2 full days to enjoy its cultural and gastronomic offer.
What to take with you in Bogota
If you are ready to leave on a trip to Bogotá and don’t know what to put in your suitcase, here are some tips so you don’t forget anything.
What should I bring in my suitcase to travel to Bogotá
To travel to Bogota it is important to take warm clothes, because as we have explained in other sites of this website the climate is quite cold, anyway, we also recommend you to take some short sleeve shirt, in case the sun makes the temperature increase some day. It is also highly recommended to take an umbrella or a raincoat, the rains all over Colombia are frequent. Also, if you are not traveling to Bogota in the dry season, it is also important to take water boots, as the streets are easily flooded.
In addition to these more specific things we also recommend that you take a first aid kit with everything you need, although in Bogota you will find everything. Just as it is important to carry a good camera for those who love photography.
Tips for preparing your suitcase
To prepare the suitcase it is important to choose a good suitcase. For air travel we recommend using a hard suitcase, since this way you avoid getting your things broken at the airport. Anyway, if you do not have a hard suitcase is recommended to wrap the backpack with the plastic of the airport, is the best way to ensure that you will not spoil anything. It is also important that you take a handbag with a mode, because if by bad luck you lose your luggage at least you will have spare clothes for a day.
Once you have the bag ready it’s time to start filling it. If you prepare a list with everything you want to take is much more difficult to forget something important.
List of things to pack
Here we show you a list of possible things you need to do to travel to Bogotá. As we do not know the number of days your trip will last you must be the one who decides the number of things you will take with you. It is also good to know that if you go many days in Bogotá it is easy to find places that clean your clothes for an economic price and it does not take more than two days to return your clothes.
In the following list you will see some empty boxes, they are for you to fill with things that you will need more. Remember that you should always carry your money and documents with you and never ship them, so that they are not stolen, we recommend that you keep them in an interior anti-theft pocket.
- Long pants
- Long sleeve shirt
- Short sleeve t-shirt
- Umbrella / Waterproof
- Toilet bag (here you can create another list with the things you will need)
- Small size flashlight (always useful)
- Passport and documentation
- Travel guide
- Shower slippers
- Plastic laundry bags
- Electricity adapter (in Colombia the electricity is 110Kv American type)
- Mobile / Laptop charger and what you will need
- First Aid Kit
- Small backpack for excursions
Where to party
Bogota being a great capital allows the tourist to enjoy any kind of party with all kinds of music styles, as you can go listen to jazz in a quiet place to go in a local electronic music until dawn.
Apart from the places that we indicate here it is also important to know that one of the riches of the party in Bogota is to go out in private parties or in places that many times the same hostels can inform you about.
Now we are going to name some of the sectors that you cannot miss if you like the party:
It is located on Calle 82 with the Carrera 13.
They are two pedestrian streets that are shaped like a T and offer a lot of bars and cafes of high quality, the locals in this area mostly put lounge music, electronic and crossover.
Av. 82 No. 12-29. You can listen to electronic music.
Bogotá Beer Company
Carrera 12 No. 83- 33.
Bar that produces its own handcrafted beers with an English style atmosphere.
They put a mix of classic and contemporary rock.
Calle 82 con Carrera 14
This site is for lovers of Salsa and Son, as the owner is an expert in this genre and guarantees customers to dance the best of the best. On weekends it is easy to find live groups of considerable recognition in this place.
Carrera 14 No. 82- 45. It also offers live music on weekends and it is one of the most popular places for salseros in Bogota.
El Rincón de Rafael Ricardo
de Calle 85 No 14-55.
This is a good place to be able to dance good Vallenato, in fact the name of the place is that of an important singer of Vallenato.
It is also a place with a lot of partying to do until closing time.
Jhonny Cay Bar restaurant:
carrera 13 No. 82- 17. It is an ideal place to listen to reggae, but also to find some of the best cocktails in Bogota at a good price. Some weekends you can listen to live music.
Parque de la 93
It is located on 93rd Street with Carrera 13 and its surroundings.
This site is the most typical place to go out to party in the city, since one can find different bars, pubs and places to have a drink and dance to music of any kind.
Anyway all this area is characterized by the terraces of these premises.
Carrera 11 No.93- 52.
It is a very good place to go out to party, as you can see live music from different artists.
Calle 94 No. 11- 46. In this pleasant place you can hear live music, as the local has its own orchestra.
Calle 93ª No. 13b- 56.
In this place you can listen to music of all times so you can dance to any kind of audience.
The best day to go out dancing in this place is Thursday night.
Streets 79 to 85 between Carrera 11 and 15.
This is the rumba sector and the maximum nightlife fun as it is full of bars, pubs, party places with music of all styles: reagge, merengue, electronic, rock, hip-hop, tropi-pop…
85th Street No. 12-51. It is a three-story discotheque and in each one of them, you can listen to a different style of music: hip hop, electronic and tropipop.
Carrera 14 No. 82-50.
In this local in the afternoons they are accustomed to project movies, in the nights they put music of all the styles.
Carrera 12 No. 83- 23.
It is a beautiful and pleasant place with a big terrace to spend a good night.
In and around 119th Street with Carrera 6.
This area apart from being a beautiful place for its colonial style has bars and pubs where those who do not like to go out until the early morning can dance a while or listen to music while drinking a beer or a cubata.
Race 6 no. 117- 44. They play lounge music, jazz on Wednesdays and different DJ’s on weekends.
Carrera 5 No. 119- 55. It is a place for Karaoke and live concerts.
It is the historical center of the city. A place full of bars and places to go dancing with a little more bohemian character. It is one of the best places to spend a night out in Bogota, also some bars you can find live music groups of any kind. Recommended places:
located on Carrera 5 No. 17-76. One of the most popular places that are open from Monday to Saturday. The weekend is for salsa lovers, as they play the best salsa songs. During the week one can listen to other types of music like Rock in English and Reggae.
El Goce Pagano
very close to Quiebra Canto on Avenida Jiménez No. 00-06. At night all kinds of public attend to listen to Salsa and Reggae.
El Gato Gris
It is a bar restaurant located in the Chorro de Quevedo (Carrera Quinta calle 12ª).
It is a place for those who want to go to listen to live music with a little quiet.
The place is beautiful, of very good quality, but also a little expensive compared to other places.
Carrera Segunda No. 13ª- 40. It is a very well decorated place with elves and fairies where you can listen to Rock & Roll from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
53rd street with 27th race. A place full of bars to dance many types of music, yet there are some of the best places specialized in cossover, mariachis and vallenato.
Avenida Primer de Mayo
Primero de Mayo with Boyacá Avenue. A street full of bars to go out and have a good night.
Alternative Places in Bogota
La Trampa Vallenata
Carrera 7 No. 47- 61. In this place they play live music and if you make sure you listen to good vallenato.
Carrera 7 con Calle 49- 57.
This place is open from Thursday to Saturday from eight in the afternoon until three in the morning.
It is a good place to dance reggae with a very good atmosphere.
Carrera 7 with Calle 55-o5 floor 1.
It is a good place for reggae lovers, but you will also hear other styles such as dance hall or roots reggae.
Where to eat if you travel to Bogotá
In Bogota the traveler will be able to eat everything, since being a big city it is easy to find restaurants of all types and from anywhere in the world, in addition there are also plenty of vegetarian restaurants for those who do not like to eat meat.
The areas where it is easier to find a variety of restaurants is the Candelaria area and the International Center of Bogota, the G Zone and for those who do not care about the price of food in Usaquen will find many high level restaurants.
In the International Center and in La Candelaria you can find restaurants from the most expensive to the most economical and at night it is easy to find places that sell food on the street.
Anyway if you are a meat lover it is recommended that you go to a restaurant on 7th Street to have a barbecue.
La Puerta Falsa
one of the most emblematic restaurants in the city, right in the middle of the city, where you can eat the famous soup, the ajiaco, or have some good tamales for breakfast.
The ajiaco is a soup with corn, several types of potatoes, water, guasca (aromatic herb) and crumbled chicken.
There are also vegans (without chicken).
It’s not cheap but it’s great.
If you’re looking for a vegan, look no further.
Those tacos were delicious 😉 We went with our friends Luis Javier and Santiago to a farewell dinner in Bogota and for the 4 of us it was about 70 ?.
(Vegan) Executioner Burgers, Sandwiches and Vegan Puppies
Tomodachi Ramen Bar: It’s not even traditional Colombian food but we couldn’t help but mention it.
The day we woke up craving ramen, thank goodness we went to Tomodachi because we discovered the best ramen we had ever tasted outside of Japan.
Really, if you like ramen, don’t doubt it.
It costs about 18 euros/person (Asahi beer included) to transport you to Japan.
Where to drink coffee, have breakfast or work
In Bogota we also included this section for digital nomads because since it was an excellent base for us to give the keyboard who knows if it is not for you too?
Besides, all these sites usually have very good coffee, good wifi, good breakfasts and better brunches 😉
Juan Valdés Orígenes
the coffee for digital nomads par excellence.
It is huge, it has all kinds of tables (high, low, small, big) with plugs where you can work for several hours with a coffee without being disturbed.
That is if you can resist the delicious brunches they have accompanied by the Colombian coffee of the Juan Valdés chain
Art and Passion Café Escuela de Baristas: Where to have a coffee of all kinds, literally.
Japanese, Turkish, Colombian.
You say that you want that surely they have it.
A bakery with delicious bread and croissants and some tables where you can hit the keyboard 😉
A small cafeteria with a terrace where they make a delicious espresso and a brownie to cry about.
It’s also a project that supports the LGBTIQ collective, so besides being a beautiful and quiet space ideal for a coffee and cake or a little work, you’ll be contributing to an incredible people’s coffee
yes, it’s from the famous Crepes&Waffles chain (we were addicted to their salad buffet) but with a slightly different menu (healthier) and a great terrace.
Perfect for brunching.
Nice, good coffee and better desserts so if you have cravings you know where to go
Gastronomy and local recipe(s)
The dishes you can’t miss
It is an extremely delicious soup with chicken, potatoes of different varieties, corn and guasca (a spice).
In many restaurants cream of milk and capers are added, but the client can order it without these ingredients.
Then this dish is accompanied by avocado.
typical colobian dishes sancocho
It is a soup of broth elaborated with chicken, potato, yucca (type of tuber), banana. It is a quite rich soup and very typical in all Colombia.
the colombian tamale in bogota
This typical Colombian dish is usually eaten for breakfast on festive Sundays with chocolate a la taza, however, travelers who are not used to eating so much for breakfast can order it for lunch.
This dish is actually typical of Tolima, but in Bogotá you can find restaurants that make very good tamales.
The tamale is made with a paste of rice with meat or chicken, chickpeas, carrots and condiments and everything is put to cook the steam wrapped in some banana leaves.
This is really a delicious dish.
It is another typical dish of the Tolima region, but one that is very easy to find throughout Bogota.
It consists of a suckling pig (small pork), empty and filled with pork, rice and beef or chicken.
It is a pretty good dish and impressive to watch.
This is a dish for those who like to eat a lot. This tray contains: beans, eggs, all kinds of meat (chorizo, chicharrón, cow…), rice and banana.
In all of Bogotá it is easy to find people selling empanadas of all types that are quite rich most are made with rice, meat and vegetables.
Pastel de pollo
ball-shaped chicken fritters
Colombia is a country with a great variety of fruits so it has become very typical to drink juices both on the street and in bars and during meals.
You can find delicious juices made with water or milk as well as fruit salads with ice cream.
In Bogota you will see that in the fruit salads they mix them cream of milk and cheese, if the traveler likes this mixture they have to warn the waiters that they want it without cheese or milk.
This product is typically Colombian, but according to the region they do it in one way or another. The arepas are like a paste of corn flour cooked to the frying pan that they serve as accompaniment of the plates (it would be like our bread). You can find it also made with cheese and of different sizes.
Chocolate cup with cheese
In Bogota it is typical to eat chocolate cup but it is much clearer than what is eaten in Europe and it is usually made with water and not milk.
But it is important to know that within the cup it is usual to put cheese, if you want it without cheese it is always better to warn.
- Chincha : sweet guava flaky pastry
- Banana vegetable : fried banana, sweet or salted
- Salpicon : fruit salad
How to get around Bogotá
The public transport par excellence in Bogota is the transmilenio, a network of articulated buses with their own lanes that connect the whole city at a low cost.
by public transport
Moving around Bogotá is relatively easy both on foot and by transportation when one learns how the streets are organized in the city, since like big U.S. cities the streets do not have names, but numbers.
To understand how this works it is important to know that there are Streets, which are the roads that run perpendicular to the mountain, and Races, which are the roads that run parallel to the mountain.
Therefore, when you want to go to a point, you have to move forward or backward depending on whether you are at a higher or lower number than you have to go.
It is important to keep in mind that in the southern sector of the city the enumeration of streets and races begins again, therefore if one goes to the south of Bogota on foot or by cab one will have to indicate to part of the street and race that one is going to the southern sector.
Traveling in TransMilenio (Third Millennium Mass Transit System)
They are a kind of articulated buses that have the same operation as a subway, so it is the easiest way to move around in Bogota for tourists who want to travel by public transport.
We recommend that you use it at least once, to get more involved in local life, although all the local people will tell you that you better not use it because sometimes there are thefts and during rush hours it gets very crowded and you go like a sardine.
There are different TransMilenios that cover different routes in the city and in each station the traveler can find a map with the routes and connections of the TransMilenios.
At the final stations of the TransMilenium route there are what are called “feeders” which are other non-articulated buses, which finish arriving in some areas that the TransMilenium does not reach and enter at the same price as the TransMilenium ticket.
The TransMilenio ticket is bought at the ticket office of each station.
The tickets go with an electronic card and you can buy as many tickets as you want without them expiring.
It is important to keep in mind that during rush hours (first thing in the morning and from seven in the evening until nine at night) it is almost an adventure to take this type of transport, since there are a lot of people fighting to get in.
Traveling by bus in Bogotá
In Bogotá there are different buses or adapted vans that cover the whole city.
Traveling in these types of vehicles is a little cheaper than the TransMilenio and one can get anywhere, but until one starts to get to know this capital a little better it is very easy to get lost.
It is also important to keep in mind that during rush hours there is a lot of traffic in the city and it can take more than half an hour to get around.
Private Transport in Bogota
Getting around Bogota by cab / Uber
Moving around Bogotá by cab or Uber is the easiest way when you don’t know this great city. All cabs have a meter, but sometimes the tourist has to remind the driver to turn it on so they don’t make up the price later.
Cabs, compared to Europe, are not expensive but sometimes they lengthen the runs so they can charge more to travelers. (between 5000 and 10000COP – between $ 1,30 USD and $ 2,60).
To make sure they you are not cheated by the price, all cabs have to carry a card that indicates the equivalence of the number on the meter with the real price they have to charge, the passenger is entitled to be shown the card.
For taxis, in Colombia it is always recommended not to get into street taxis, so we recommend the Easy application (now belonging to Cabify) with which you can order legal taxis through their app
Rent a car in Bogotá (car rental or other vehicles)
Of course, if the tourist only wants to be in Bogota we do not recommend renting a car to move around the city, since driving in this great capital is quite chaotic if one is not used to it.
Even so, if the traveler wants to do it there is a wide range of companies that do it and you can book it to take you to the same airport. Some of these companies are:
- ABC rent a car: Calle 936 No. 49- 26, La Castellana.
- Milano rent a car: (571) 3819588
- Hertz: Avenida Caracas No. 28ª- 17.
Pico y Placa
It is important to know that if you rent a car in Bogotá there is a law known as the Pico y Placa.
This law indicates that vehicles finished with an even license plate may not circulate in the city on even days and odd days the other way around.
The restriction is only from Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
The fine for driving on a day when it is not the driver’s turn is quite high.
How to get to Bogotá
If you are visiting Colombia from another country, you will most likely go by plane and land in one of the major cities (Bogotá, Medellín or Cartagena).
If you are flying from USA, it is very common to fly to Bogotá as there are direct flights, although if you have time and want to save money you can find good combinations to other cities (we fly Florida->Cartagena for less than 350 USDone way).
To find the best deals, we recommend you use flight comparators such as Skyscanner and be flexible with the dates.
It is also possible that you arrive in Bogotá by domestic flight from somewhere else in Colombia, as if you have little time and want to see many parts of the country it is the fastest way.
If you have to buy domestic flights in Colombia, we recommend you to check VivaAir and also the comparators we just mentioned (Skyscanner), in case there are offers from other companies (check VivaAir because it is very cheap but you have to check well the small print and baggage policies, so the price you will see at first is without checking in and with a small backpack as hand luggage)
How to get from the airport to downtown Bogotá
If you arrive by plane to Bogotá, you have several ways to get to the city center, more expensive or cheaper depending on the comfort and speed:
Hire a transfer in advance: from 22 ? per vehicle
By taxi: they work with a meter, it is safe, and it costs between 20,000 and 35,000 COP (between 6 and 10 euros for the taxi).
This is what we use, and we also got a very nice man (paisa) who gave us a lot of tips from Bogota.
In transmilenio: it’s an articulated network of public buses from Bogotá.
You have to buy a card (5000 COP, 1,30 ?) and the trip to the center costs about 2400 COP (0,7 ?).
The problem is that they get very crowded at rush hour and with the backpacks they still don’t let you in (or it can be an odyssey), so we don’t recommend it.
Also from the airport you have to take a free bus to the transmilenio stop first.
Other city buses: apart from the transmilenio, there are other city buses that you can also use to get to the centre at a very low price, although we haven’t used them so we don’t have any information.
If you come from somewhere else in Colombia, Bogotá is very well connected by private company buses.
We recommend that you check buses and schedules, and buy your tickets, on websites such as Redbus or Pinbus, which work very well and you can choose your seat (be careful because on those websites not all options appear, so there may be more schedules and/or companies).
You can also check information (not always updated) at https://www.horariodebuses.com.co/
You will be able to bring back from Bogota various objects such as
- Amerindian pottery
- handmade blankets
- purses (bolsas)
- ruanas (Colombian panchos)
- scarves (bufandas)
- leather and jewelry.
You will find many items at the San Alejo Flea Market in downtown Bogota (carrera 7 and street 24).
Large shopping malls such as
- Atlantis Plaza
- Superley will also open their doors to you.
Safety in Bogota ?
Bogota is a pretty safe city if the tourist moves around a little bit carefully. Years ago it was a little more dangerous because of the social and armed conflict in the country, however, the conflict has been moving to the rural areas and there are no signs of war in the city or in the tourist areas in general.
Don’t Give Papaya
The advice that local people all over Colombia will give you most regarding security is: Don’t give away papaya!
It’s an expression they use to indicate that you don’t become an easy target: don’t go around showing off things of value (smartphone, camera, money) and thus avoid attracting attention.
Obviously, as tourists/travelers, we like to photograph the places, look for information on our smartphone, etc., and this doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
It just means that you are more cautious than usual and try to limit carrying your camera on the street.
Security in the center and north of Bogotá
Apart from this, as far as urban security is concerned, the center of Bogota and the north are quite safe during the day; at night one has to be more careful and avoid passing through the streets if there is no movement of people.
During the day as well as at night it is important to be careful not to go too far down from Caracas or carrera 14, everything and that the neighborhood of San Victorino is curious to know one has to go with a little care through this area during the day and not go at night, beyond the commercial area of San Victorino is quite dangerous to move.
Safety in the south of Bogota
As far as the southern part of the city is concerned, during the day it is more or less safe, but it is easy to cross the border with dangerous neighborhoods without realizing it, that is why we recommend not to move around in this sector of the city, since there is nothing of tourist interest there either.
Anyway some of the most dangerous neighborhoods are
- Ciudad Bolívar
- Portal de las Américas
- Fontibon- Versalles
- Plaza de las Americas
- Diana Turba
- San Francisco-Juan Pablo Segundo
In any case, always travel with travel insurance: medical expenses, theft or problems with your plane on a trip can make you a lot of money, so ideally you should take out travel insurance.
We always use IATI and we recommend it (in this 7 month trip through Latin America we bought the IATI Estrella Premium).
If you hire your insurance through this link you have a 5% discount
It is recommended that you take out travel insurance covering medical expenses and repatriation.
No vaccinations are required to travel to Colombia.
Depending on the areas you wish to go to (coastal region, Amazon…), vaccination against yellow fever is strongly recommended, as well as DTP updates, vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever and rabies.
Against mosquitoes, take repellent products with you.
In case of emergency, call 123.
Hospitals in Bogota
- Clinica del Country
- Carrera 16 # 82-57
- +571 530 04 70
- +571 530 12 70
Santa Fe Foundation
- Carrera 7 No.
- 117 – 15
- +571 215 23 00
- In summer : – 7h
- In winter : – 6h
Now Your Turn
Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:
Do you have any questions Bogotá ?
Or maybe I didn’t mention one of your favorite tips about this destination ?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.