Related Articles

Bogota Wiki

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 colombia @diegonzalesPin
Bogota Colombia @diegonzalez

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

bogota colombiaPin
Bogotá Travel Guide – Photo © Tristan Quevilly

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.

bogota colombia @diegonzalezPin
Bogota colombia @diegonzalez

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).

bogota colombiaPin
Bogotá Travel Guide – Photo ©TristanQuevilly

Best Time to Visit Bogota

For Tourism

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

bogota colombiaPin
bogota colombia

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 to get to Bogota ?

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 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.

bogota colombiaPin
bogota colombia – Photo MonzoonPhoto

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)

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.

bogota colombiaPinPin
Bogota Downtown – Photo andresmo_00

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.

Get to Bogota by road

If you come from somewhere else in Colombia, Bogotá is very well connected by private company buses.

bogota colombiaPin
bogota colombia – Photo Monzoonphoto

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

Safety in Bogota

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.

bogota museo del oro colombiaPin
bogota museo del oro colombia

Safety 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.

bogota colombiaPin
bogota colombia

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
  • Bosa
  • Fontibon- Versalles
  • Plaza de las Americas
  • Diana Turba
  • Lucero-Meissen
  • San Francisco-Juan Pablo Segundo

How to get around in Bogota

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.

Get Around in Bogota 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 “Calle” (Street) that run perpendicular to the mountain, and “Carreras”, which are the roads that run parallel to the mountain.

transmilenio bogota @leomolinaPin
transmilenio bogota @leomolina

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 carreras 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 carrera that one is going to the southern sector.

Get Around in Bogota by TransMilenio

The transmilenio (Third Millennium Mass Transit System) is kind of articulated bus 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.

You should 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.

transmilenio bogotaPin
transmilenio bogota Photo @Dievanegas

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.

Get Around in Bogota by bus

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.

Get around in 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).

Taxi in Bogota @soybienbaboso

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.

Get Around in Bogota by Transmicable

Since 2018 Bogotá has been equipped with a Cable Car transport, similar to the one in Medellin. It has helped to open up the municipality of Ciudad Bolivar and boost its economy. The ticket costs 2600 Cop, and if you have the time, it is definitely worthwhile to try it.

transmicable ciudad bolivar bogotaPin
transmicable ciudad bolivar bogota – Photo @Purpurall

Important Info : the 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.

Colombia Photo Tours

Would you like to Visit Colombia and learn how to take amazing photos ? Meet our photo tours: We will travel at the rhythm of light, and the focus is to take time to enjoy the place and meet people. No endless exhaustive excursions collecting tourist sites. The Goal here is to be there, and live the country.

Colombia Photo Tour

Best Restaurants in Bogota

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).

De La Puerta Falsa BogotaPin
De La Puerta Falsa Bogota

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.

Tomodachi Ramen Bar bogotaPin
Tomodachi Ramen Bar bogota

Best Places to have a Coffee in Bogota

If you have plan to visit Bogotá for a few days, one way to soak up the local life is notably to spend time in local cafes.

Here’s a list of the best places to have a coffee 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

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.


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

ArteSano Crepes&Waffles

 yes, it’s from the famous Crepes&Waffles chain (Excellent 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

Bogota Nightlife : Best Places for Parties

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:

Nightlife in Zona T

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.

Aura Bar

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.

Salomé Pagana

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.

Salsa Camara

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.

El Sitio

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.

Point G

Calle 94 No. 11- 46. In this pleasant place you can hear live music, as the local has its own orchestra.

Ramón Antigua

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.

Nightlife in Bogota Zona Rosa

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.

Nightlife in Usaquen

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.

Barba Rosa

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.

La Candelaria

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:

Quiebra Canto

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.

Nightlife in 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 for parties 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.

Congo Reggae

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 Buy Souvenirs in Bogota ?

First of all, here are some ideas of souvenirs to bring back from Bogota:

  • Amerindian pottery
  • handmade blankets
  • Coffee
  • Mochilas (bags)
  • Ruanas (Colombian panchos)
  • Scarves (bufandas)
  • Leather and jewelry.

San Alejo Flea Market

You will find many items at the San Alejo Flea Market in downtown Bogota

The souvenir store of the botero museum also has original articles and beautiful old maps

flea market san alejo @mercadodepulgasanalejoPin
flea market san alejo @mercadodepulgasanalejo

Souvenir Stores in Calle 11

There are beautiful crafts as well as souvenir stores in all the street that goes up from the Bolivar square to the Botero museum

souvenir in bogota @souvenirscolombiaPin
souvenir in bogota @souvenirscolombia

Large shopping malls such as 

  • Atlantis Plaza
  • Unicentro
  • Andino
  • Superley will also open their doors to you.

And of course you will find many stores in Bogota’s airport for last minute souvenirs

Do you want to live incredible adventures in Colombia ?

If you want to discover the magical Colombia that most travelers miss by traveling alone, contact a local agency that will open the doors to the hidden Colombia. Hundreds of destinations, tailor-made trips, thematic tours, adventure expeditions, but above all a travel consultant who will accompany you from the beginning to the end.

CTA Aventure ColombiaPin

What should you pack for 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.

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.

bogota colombiaPinPin
Bogota colombia – Photo andresmo_00

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
  • Shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Jacket
  • Shoes
  • Slippers
  • Swimwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera/Video
  • Sunglasses
  • 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
  • Belts
  • First Aid Kit
  • Small backpack for excursions

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.

Bogota Travel FAQ

Is Bogota Safe to Travel ?

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. But Still you need to know some basic tips and neighborhoods to avoid….

What to do in Bogotá

Stroll through the Avenida Jimenez and Septima, 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. Don’t miss the Museo del Oro and Museo Botero.

What to Pack for Bogota ?

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.

Where to change money in Bogota?

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).

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.

How is the 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.

How to get around in Bogota

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. Otherwise take the yellow cabs

Now Your Turn

Now I would like to know, do you have any question ?

Or maybe do you have some information to add ?

Either way, let me know in the comments below

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *