Bogotá Colombia : The Complete Travel Guide

In this article, you will learn everything about Bogotá. You will discover all the best places to stay in Bogotá, things to do, where to eat, how to get around and more. So if you plan to travel to Colombia, you will love this new guide. Let’s dive in
bogota colombia

Table of Contents

What to see in Bogotá: the guide.

What to do, where to eat and where to sleep in the Colombian capital

Inês y Chris25 May, 2019 Colombia, Travel Guides No Comments

Bogota is everything you want it to be.

It is so eclectic and heterogeneous that changing from one neighborhood to another can seem like you are in a different city.

It is huge in size and type of plans so it is important to decide what you want to do and limit your steps because doing everything is unmanageable.

It invites you to run but we advise you to stop to get its essence.

It has a reputation for being dangerous but we don’t feel it at all during the days we spend there.

However, like in any big city: you don’t have to give papaya! and you have to know where to move.

That’s what this guide is about.

For us, Bogotá was synonymous with cinema, theatre, exhibitions and cafés to work in.

Of artisan beers and of social agenda.

Of Benposta’s incredible project, of loaded transmilleniums and of cars where to chat.

Also of views, canelazos and art to stroll.

In Bogota it’s cool outside and, even so, the people we met there didn’t let us notice.

The best museum in Bogota is outdoors, in its streets.

The best museum in Bogota is outdoors, in its streets.

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When to go to Bogota

As we said in the introduction, it’s cool in Bogotá and it’s like that all year round.

The city is 2600 meters above sea level, so temperatures are milder, and also have a fairly constant climate throughout the year, so really any time is good to go to Bogota.

The average temperature is around 14º all year round, with highs of 20-21º and lows of 7º.

If you are lucky like us you can get a sunny day to enjoy the views from Monserrate

If you are lucky like us, you can have a sunny day to enjoy the views from Monserrate

As we say, 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.

In any case, when you go, take adequate clothing and footwear because it gets quite cold at night.

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.

Guide to enjoy Bogotá to the fullest

What to see

Viewpoint of Monserrate

Chris at the impressive viewpoint of Monserrate

Chris at the impressive viewpoint of Monserrate

You can’t leave the capital without contemplating the magnitude of its 8 million people (who actually told us they are “miscounted” and we believe it) at 3,200 meters.

You can’t see the end of the city! It’s impressive!

You can go up to the viewpoint of Monserrate in three ways: by funicular, by cable car (currently not available for maintenance) or on foot.

The funicular/teleférico costs 20000 pesos round trip per person (about 6 euros), 12000 pesos if you go on Sunday (about 3 euros) and has the following schedules

Monday to Saturday: 6:30 to 23:30 (tickets are sold until 22:30)

Sundays: 5:30 to 16:30

Holidays: 6:30 to 16:30

Please check timetables and prices at http://www.cerromonserrate.com/html/es/ as these may change.

The viewpoint of Monserrate

The viewpoint of Monserrate

Quevedo’s Jet

El Chorro de Quevedo, in Candelaria

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 the findes), music and, of course, lots of urban art! The best thing is to go down all the way to Funnel 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

Plaza de Bolívar and the Seventh (the seventh)

Plaza de Bolívar, the main square of Bogotá

Plaza de Bolívar, the main square of Bogotá

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.

The statue of Simón Bolívar in the center of the square

The statue of Simon Bolivar in the center of the square

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.

A man feeding the resident pigeons in the square

A man feeding the resident pigeons in the square

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.

Bolivar Square, Bogotá

Bolivar Square, Bogotá

Palace of Justice, Bogotá

Palace of Justice, Bogotá

One of the streets in the center of Bogota

One of the streets in the center of Bogota

Museums

Gold Museum

Gold masks at the Gold Museum, Bogotá

Gold masks at the Gold Museum, Bogotá

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.

Gold Museum, Bogotá

Kogui’s story in the Gold Museum, Bogotá

Mambo (Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá)

Chris in Mambo

Chris in Mambo

If you’re into modern art, this is yours.

We recognize it, we expected more.

We found it more complete and we liked the MAMM (Museum of Modern Art of Medellín) much better, but it’s worth taking a look and see what temporary exhibitions and talks are cooking up when you go.

Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 18:00.

Entrance fee: 10,000 pesos Students and teachers with ID: 7,000 pesos

The mural outside the Mambo

The mural outside the Mambo

One museum that we were very sorry not to go to and that looks very interesting is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bogotá.

In this case is open Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 to 18:00, Saturday from 10:00 to 16:00.

Admission fee: 3,000 pesos from Tuesday to Saturday, free admission on the last Saturdays of the month.

Mambo in Bogotá

Mambo in Bogotá

Fragments: Art and Memory Space

The entry of Fragments

The entry of Fragments

Undoubtedly one of the best shows we have been to in recent times and one of the most recommended to go to in Bogota.

The influential Colombian sculptor Doris Salcedo had an idea: to melt the 8994 weapons that were delivered to the UN in 2017 with the peace agreement and build something new…Fragments.

Basically, with the Colombian government’s peace agreement with the FARC in 2016, the following year the weapons were handed over and it was negotiated that they be used to make a work of art.

8994 weapons were handed over, equivalent to 37 tons of metal that currently make up the floor of this place of art and memory.

37 tons of metal from the weapons were melted down to create the basis for a historical memory space

37 tons of metal from cast weapons to create the basis for a historical memory space

The shape of the metal, its relief, was created by a group of women used as a weapon of war during the conflict (as they are in all wars).

Raped, mistreated, objectified, used as a trophy, as a currency by the different armed groups, both from the FARC and from the Government.

To create these reliefs, these 17 survivors of sexual violence beat and hammered the metal for several days, as a kind of catharsis.

In the documentary that you see during the exhibition, some say that at first the hammers resembled gunshots but that finally they reached a tranquility, a forgiveness without forgetting.

“If you can melt your weapons, you can also melt the hatred in Colombia,” said one.

Our feet in Fragments

Our Feet in Fragments

After listening to these incredible women and their stories and knowing the whole process it is very hard to walk on that ground.

“Weapons like the ground, like the basis of memory.

The victims of sexual violence forge this metal into a new reality,” says Doris Salcedo in the documentary.

The Floor of Fragments

The Fragments floor

The sculptor’s goal is that this is precisely an art and memory space in which other artists come to expose their narrative during the next 57 years that the space will be open (even if they are narratives that are antagonistic to her own).

57 years that are the same years that the conflict has lasted.

“To continue the dialogue in this space.

Difficult dialogues but dialogues”.

Exit of Fragments

Fragments output

Other museums

If something is not missing in Bogota, it is the museums! The previous ones are the ones we went to because they attracted our attention the most, but here we leave you others that we didn’t have time to visit and that we consider interesting

Botero Museum

National Museum: one of the oldest in America

Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC)

La Calera with a canelazo

La Calera at night

La Calera at night

One plan for the night is to take a taxi to La Calera and enjoy the sights of Bogota at night.

They will sell you canelazos right there, so don’t hesitate to join them.

Canelazo is a hot drink that Inês became addicted to in the country consisting of aguardiente, sugar, cinnamon and lemon, perfect to get warm!

With Duver, our friend from Bogota, enjoying the views in the Calera at night with warm canelazos as accompaniment

With Duver, our friend from Bogota whom we met in Cartagena, and who offered to drive us to La Calera.

Here, enjoying the views in La Calera at night with warm canelazos as accompaniment

Street art in the streets of Bogota

Let Bogota bring out its colors

If you like street art, Bogota’s full! You only have to get lost in the streets of La Candelaria or Chapinero to find different works full of color.

One of the most famous street art works in Bogota

Inês with one of Bogotá’s most famous street art works on Calle del Embudo

If you want to know more about the city’s street art, every day (at 10am and 2pm) there is an appointment at the journalists’ park to let Bogotá bring out its colors, with a guide.

The Bogota Graffiti Tour takes you on a tour of the city’s main urban artworks.

The park of the journalists, Bogota

The park of the journalists, Bogota

Candelaria Street

Candelaria Street

If you prefer, there is also another street art tour that is done by bike

More incredible street art in the streets of Bogota

More incredible street art in the streets of Bogota

Street Art in Candelaria

Street Art in Candelaria

Creative House Weft

Recommended by Traviat we arrived here.

Trama is literally a creative and alternative house in the neighborhood of Chapinero Alto where you can find everything: a modern hairdresser’s shop where you can get a haircut (De Rulo), a cute shop where you can buy a T-shirt or a necklace and our favorite: a bookstore where there are only women authors on the shelves! Yes, it’s called ‘El Telar de las Palabras’ and it’s a little gem 🙂

El Telar de las Palabras

The Loom of Words

Going to the theatre

Being in the capital is a good option to go and see a play.

We went to the theatre company La Maldita Vanidad to see the play “de matos y hombres” (Steinbeck’s famous play but adapted to the Colombian reality) and we loved it.

Very recommendable.

Other options to go to the theater (all recommended by Traviat):

Theater offer: http://www.kioskoteatral.com

Free Theatre: http://teatrolibre.com/

Theatre Map: http://www.mapateatro.org/es

Petra Theatre: http://www.teatropetra.com

Colon Theatre: https://teatrocolon.gov.co

Julio Mario Santo Domingo Theater and Cultural Center: https://www.teatromayor.org

National Theatre: https://teatronacional.co

Go to the movies

Another great plan is to go to the movies.

We especially loved two theaters, both of them alternative films: Cine Tonalá (where we saw the controversial and forbidden documentary about the peace process “La Negociación”, which by the way, since May 2019 you can see online at Mowies) and Cinema Paraíso (where we went to see Gaspar Noé’s last film, “Clímax”, which was on release).

This last one, apart from the fact that you can have a drink while enjoying the movie (yes, it has tables in front of the seats) is in the Usaquén neighbourhood, a bohemian neighbourhood where you can have a BBC (the famous Bogota beer chain you’ll find everywhere) or have dinner in one of its many cuquis restaurants while you discuss what you’ve just seen.

That’s what we did 😉

We with Luis Javier and Santiago enjoying a variety of BBC.

We with Luis Javier and Santiago, from Traviat enjoying a variety of BBC.

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

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).

Fruits in Paloquemao market

Fruits in the market of Paloquemao – Photo by mariadcperrier

Parks of Bogotá

Bogotá also has several parks you can go to if you are looking for a “break” within the city.

Some of them (recommended by Traviat):

Independence Park

Bride and groom park

Chicó Park

93 Park

Simon Bolivar Park

National Park

Where to eat

Prudence: It is worth enjoying the menu of one of the best restaurants in Bogota.

For about 20 ? the tour of several dishes will make you doubt what you liked best: from the homemade butter to the fine herbs with freshly baked bread to liven up the wait for the starter to the last bite of the chocolate passion fruit cake.

Prudence: enjoying from the starter to the dessert

Prudence: enjoying from starters to dessert

Café La Florida, a mythical coffee for “onces” (snacks).

It is the coffee of all life, with classic style and with the famous tamales and buñuelos.

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).

The famous Ajiaco

The famous Ajiaco

Root (vegan).

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 ?.

Dinner at De Raíz, vegan restaurant in Chapinero Alto

Dinner at De Raíz, a vegan restaurant in Chapinero Alto

(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.

Neither in Madrid, nor in Lisbon, nor in any of our trips we found one that resembles this one.

Really, if you like ramen, don’t doubt it.

It costs about 18 euros/person (Asahi beer included) to transport you to Japan.

Ramen Tomodachi: the best ramen we tried outside Japan

Ramen Tomodachi: the best ramen we tried outside 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 😉 Almost all these places were also recommended by Traviat

We are working at the Juan Valdés Orígenes, in Bogotá

We are working at the Juan Valdés Orígenes, in Bogotá

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

Juan Valdés Orígenes

Juan Valdés Orígenes

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.

Very recommendable.

Mistral: A bakery with delicious bread and croissants and some tables where you can hit the keyboard 😉

Mistral, in Chapinero Alto.

Mistral, in Chapinero Alto.

Petunia: 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

ArteSano Crepes&Waffles: 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.

Amor Perfecto: Nice, good coffee and better desserts so if you have cravings you know where to go

The entrance to Perfect Love

The entrance to Perfect Love

Turntable: Music, Books, Wines Here you can do all that, from reading a book while tasting a good wine or listening to good music with a good espresso.

The entrance of Tornamesa, in Bogota

The entrance of Tornamesa, in Bogotá

Where to party

The guys from Traviat also gave us a lot of tips here, so we leave you with a summary of areas and places to go to party or have a drink at night:

To find out about culture and leisure activities in Bogotá: RevistaDC, Cartel Urbano and Guía del Ocio

Zona T and the 93 park: with many pubs and bars, restaurants, shopping centres, boutiques (especially busy at night because of its

nightlife)

Places to party: Boogaloop, Quiebracanto, Bar Candelario, Cine Tonalá

Good cocktails: Huerta Bar, Red Room, Bar Enano

For a drink: Mono Bandido, any of the BBC (Bogota Beer Company) locations, for example this one or this one

BBC Beer Tasting (Bogotá Beer Company)

BBC Beer Tasting (Bogotá Beer Company)

Where to sleep

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).

However we stay in Chapinero Alto, 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.

That’s precisely why we offer you options in all three neighborhoods, so that you can choose the one that best suits what you’re looking for.

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 😉

Selina: 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.

Selina’s room in Candelaria, Bogotá

Selina’s room in Candelaria, Bogotá.

Photo by Booking

Selina, in Candelaria, Bogotá.

Photo by Booking

Selina, in Candelaria, Bogotá.

Photo by Booking

Another option in the neighborhood of Candelaria is the Masaya.

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.

Room in the Masaya, Candelaria, Bogotá

Room in the Masaya, Candelaria, Bogotá.

Photo by Booking

Masaya, Candelaria, Bogotá

Masaya, Candelaria, Bogotá

Where to sleep in Chapinero Alto

This was the neighborhood where we stayed and where we recommend you to stay if you want to be in a quieter area than La Candelaria and with more gastronomic and cultural alternatives.

Also known as Chapigay (for being something like the Chueca of Bogota), it may seem farther away but it’s an excellent option to make a base in the capital since it’s very well connected with public transport, and close by taxi.

It is recommended for all kinds of stays, especially if you are staying more days in the capital and if you have to work a little.

If you are several, this apartment is an excellent option as it can accommodate up to 6 people!

Apartment in Chapinero alto for up to 6 people Photo of Booking

Apartment in Chapinero Alto up to 6 people, 20 ? per person approx.

If you are less, do not despair, there are several options.

You have this ideal apartment or this one where we stay, ideal for 2 people, super safe, well located and excellent hot water with pressure (eh, it is not so easy to find this in Bogota), 30 euros/night.

Also, inside Chapinero Alto, it is very well located, being able to walk to all the plans we told you about in the neighborhood:

Our apartment in Chapinero Alto, Bogotá

Our apartment in Chapinero Alto, Bogotá.

Book here

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.

In that case we recommend you a more economical option, the Pit Hostel (20 euros/night private room:

Pit Hostal, Bogotá.

Picture of Booking.

Pit Hostel, Bogotá.

Photo of Booking.

Book here

If you prefer something more top, the apartment Museo Parque Central Bavaria (55 euros/night approx.) offers you incredible views of the whole city from the kitchen to the bedroom:

Apartment Museum Central Park Bavaria.

Photo by Booking

Apartment Museum Central Park Bavaria.

Photo by Booking.

Book here

Around Bogota

Apart from the city itself, Bogotá is in a privileged location for nearby escapes, many of them in the middle of nature.

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

Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

Zipaquira Salt Cathedral.

Photo by Civitatis

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.

Frailejones in the Páramo de Ocetá

Friars in the Páramo de Ocetá – Photo by Colparques

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).

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”.

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…

😉

Guatavita Lagoon

Guatavita Lagoon – Picture of Quimbaya

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 ? 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.

Villa de Leyva

The square of Villa de Leyva – Photo by Erik Cleves Kristensen

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 ?) 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 ?) to 300000 COP (80 ?)

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).

Here is the location of La Chorrera

La Chorrera Waterfall

La Chorrera Waterfall – Photo by GetYourGuide, with whom you can hire the tour for $140

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.

We also recommend that you take a look at this Travelgrafia post with 15 plans to make near Bogotá

Map of Bogotá with all the places mentioned in this post

Here you have a Google Maps map in which we have included all the places mentioned in this post, so you can take it with you on your mobile and make it easier to organize your visit to Bogotá:

Traviat: you don’t have time and you want a trip made to measure

We give you a guide of what we liked best when we went to organize your trip around the city.

If you don’t have time to organize and want to know what’s “on” when you go, the coolest places, the exhibitions of the moment, that unmissable restaurant, contact our friends based in Bogota: Traviat.

This is not a sponsored post, we recommend them because they are our friends and we know the quality they offer to those looking for this kind of tailor made travel service.

Luis Javier and Santiago will organize your tailor-made trip so that you can make the most of the capital and, besides being professionals, they are also charming.

Living this city with them and their suggestions has totally changed our experience.

Bogotá is a huge city where it is difficult to find out everything there is to do.

It was great to meet someone who caught our roll and needs and thanks to whom we knew from cuquis cafes with the conditions to work, a neighborhood cinema where to enjoy the controversial documentary of the moment or the best restaurant nearby without ruining us.

Thanks friends!

A wall in the Tonala Cinema where we were recommended by Traviat

A wall in the Tonala Cinema where we were recommended by Traviat

How to get to Bogotá

By plane

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 Spain, 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 Madrid->Florida->Cartagena for less than 350 euros one way).

To find the best deals, we recommend you use flight comparators such as Skyscanner and Kiwi 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 and Kiwi), 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.

By road

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/

How to get around Bogotá

As we have just told you, 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.

To use it you must first buy a card (5000COP, 1.30 ?) and recharge to pay for the trips.

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.

The Transmilenio in the city

The Transmillenium in the City

Taxi / Uber: the most efficient and safe way to move around Bogotá is by taxi / Uber, besides the routes are quite cheap (between 5000 and 10000COP – between 1,30 and 2,60 ?).

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.

Safety: precautions and advice

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.

Chris exemplifying what “Give Papaya” means

Chris exemplifying what “Dar Papaya” means

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.

We were in Bogota for a week (and 3 months in Colombia), took pictures of everything we wanted, used our smartphones, and didn’t have any problems (although it’s true that we were more careful and tried to keep the camera or smartphone in our backpacks/pockets when we weren’t using it)

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

We said goodbye with a phrase from the play “La mala hora” (1962) by one of the most famous Colombians, Gabriel García Márquez: “I believe that it is still not too late to build a utopia that will allow us to share the land”.

I am sure that this guide will help you to better organize your steps in the Colombian capital and will help you to fall in love with it.

If so, come by and tell us about your experience!

Characteristics of Bogota

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 7,674,350 (2013 estimate).

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.

Geography

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).

How to get around the city?

The city of Bogota offers two modes of transport, taxi and bus.

Taxis: the city is full of vehicles and the fare is cheap.

Bus: There are two bus networks in Bogotá.

The first, TransMilenio, is faster than the second.

What to see?

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.

Website of the Tourist Office of Colombia

What to do?

– 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.

Shopping?

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, Unicentro, Andino or Superley will also open their doors to you.

Gastronomy and local recipe(s)

The dishes: Ajiaco de Bogota (soup made with chicken, different potatoes and cream cheese), Empañadas (beef and potato fritters), Pastel de pollo (ball-shaped chicken fritters), Tamal (leaves stuffed with pork, chicken, corn and green beans).

Desserts: Chincha, (sweet guava flaky pastry), Banana vegetable (fried banana, sweet or salted), Salpicon (fruit salad).

What to see in the region?

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.

Health?

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

Time difference

  • In summer : – 7h
  • In winter : – 6h

What to see un Bogota

LA CANDELARIA

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.

GOLD MUSEUM

 

With its 34,000 gold pieces on display, this collection of pre-Hispanic gold and silverware is one of the most dazzling on the continent and honours the Quimbaya, Taironas, Muiscas and Tolimas civilisations.

Possibility of tasting what is certainly the best coffee produced in Colombia.

Note: closed on Mondays, free on Sundays.

Botero Foundation

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.

Cerro Monserrate.

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).

Paloquemao market.

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.

ZONA ROSA

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).

Cocuy Park

The Sierra Nevada del Cocuy is one of the most impressive mountain ranges in South America!

Located 9 hours by bus from Bogota, this park is very well preserved.

On the program: grandiose landscapes, glacial lakes, diverse vegetation and snowy summits.

The trekkers enjoy every day with new discoveries, at the price of great efforts (4 to 8 hours of walking per day, with several hundred meters of daily elevation gain).

The canyons, lagoons, waterfalls and other caves are great rewards, crowned by breathtaking panoramas.

Note: currently the park is closed.

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