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Colombiafrank’s Bogota Colombia Travel Guide

National Museum Bogotá Colombia

Updated on 03/19/2024

Dear readers
My name is Frank and I run a tour operator in Bogota, specializing in custom-made and Colombia luxury travel.
At the end of this guide you will find a list of many other helpful travel guides for Colombia.


The main attractions in Bogotá

Bogotá, the high-altitude capital of Colombia, seamlessly blends its rich colonial past with modern urban sophistication. From its captivating museums to vibrant street art, Bogotá offers a plethora of attractions that appeal to every kind of traveler. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture vulture, or a nature lover, this bustling metropolis has something to pique your interest.

Dive into our curated list of the best attractions in Bogotá, and let us guide you through the heart and soul of this South American gem. As you explore our recommendations, you’ll discover why Bogotá is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after destinations in the world.

Bogota tourist attractions map

Monserrate at 3,152 Meters

Monserrate is 3,152 meters (10,341 feet) high and is a well-known spot in Bogotá. It’s near La Candelaria, a 15-minute walk. To get there, follow the “Eje Ambiental” canal that starts from the mountain. Walk past Los Andes University. From there, either stay on the main road or take the path by Casa Bolivar. You can also take a taxi to make it easy. If you’re going on weekends or holidays, it’s best to visit early because it can get crowded.

To get to the top of Monserrate, you can either take the funicular or gondola from the base or walk up. The walk takes about 45 to 90 minutes. But be careful, because even if you’re used to walking, the high altitude can make it hard to breathe.

Guadalupe at 3,317 Meters

Guadalupe is 3,317 meters (10,883 feet) high and is next to the famous Monserrate in Bogotá. On top, there’s the big Virgen of Guadalupe statue. People can see this statue from many places in the city, and a lot of them visit it for religious reasons. Unlike Monserrate, you can’t reach Guadalupe by funicular or gondola, but there’s a road and buses go there on weekends.

For a great view of Bogotá at night, go to Guadalupe in the evening. You’ll see the city lights shining below and a starry sky above.

La Candelaria: Bogotá’s Historic and Cultural Epicenter

La Candelaria is Bogotá’s historical heart. I’ve been a resident since 2015 and can vouch for its unique atmosphere. It doesn’t mimic the charm of places like Cartagena or European old towns, but it has a style of its own. You might encounter city-life quirks like beggars, but this district houses many of Bogotá’s must-see attractions.

Key Sights in La Candelaria:

  • Gold Museum (Museo del Oro): One of Colombia’s most famous museums with pre-Hispanic gold artifacts.
  • Botero Museum: Showcases works by Fernando Botero, a renowned Colombian artist.
  • Bolívar Square (Plaza de Bolívar): The main square features the Primary Cathedral, the Palace of Justice, and the Capitol.
  • Chorro de Quevedo: Believed to be the founding spot of Bogotá.
  • Colón Theatre: A historic theater showcasing classic and contemporary performances.

Food & Culture: You can enjoy a variety of meals, from $2 budget options to gourmet experiences. La Candelaria is also a hotspot for culture with the highest number of hostels, indicating its appeal to tourists.

Safety Note: It’s serene at night as many places close after lunch. However, always be aware of your surroundings, especially after dark.

If you’re keen on culture, history, and sightseeing, La Candelaria is ideal. Staying here saves you from Bogotá’s heavy traffic, letting you explore more.

Gold Museum

In the center of Bogotá is the Gold Museum (El Museo del Oro). This place tells the story of Colombia’s old history and its love for gold. It’s just a 10-minute walk from La Candelaria, the historic area. Here, you can see the amazing gold work of ancient Colombian groups.

If you’re planning to see the famous Guatavita Lagoon, you should also visit the Gold Museum. The lagoon has a story about the El Dorado legend and a gold-covered Muisca king.

Even if you don’t usually like museums, you might enjoy this one. It has over 55,000 gold items, making it the biggest gold collection in the world. The museum tells stories about how the old tribes used gold in religion, society, and art.

You can enter for free on Sundays, but it’s closed on Tuesdays. If you want to learn more, think about getting a guide or an audio tour. Don’t miss this special place when you’re in Bogotá!

Botero Museum

Colombia has many great artists, but Fernando Botero is one of the most famous worldwide. The Botero Museum in Bogotá displays his unique art, where he often draws people and things in a big, round style.

The museum is in an elegantly restored colonial mansion. Apart from Botero’s art, it also has pieces from famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Salvador Dalí that Botero collected. This collection is worth over $1 billion USD, making it one of the most valuable in Latin America. Botero bought these artworks and then gave them to Colombia. He did this to help the country’s art culture. There’s also another Botero Museum in Medellín.

You don’t have to pay to enter the Botero Museum in Bogotá. Both art lovers and those new to art should see it. It’s a key place to understand Colombia’s art history.

Art Museum of the Republic – Art Museum Miguel Urrutia (MAMU)

Right next to the famous Botero Museum in Bogotá is the Art Museum Miguel Urrutia, or MAMU. It’s different from the Botero Museum and has its own special feel.

MAMU is a place for both new and old art from Colombia and Latin America. The museum shows how art in this region has changed over time. It has many pieces from different artists and times in Latin America’s history.

MAMU also has temporary shows with art from around the world. Past shows have had art from big names like Andy Warhol, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Vik Muniz. These international shows, combined with the main Latin American art, make MAMU a place where you can see both local and worldwide art.

If you like art or just want to learn something new, MAMU is a must-see in Bogotá.

Plaza Bolívar, Bogotá

In the heart of Bogotá is Plaza Bolívar, a big and important square with a lot of history. It’s where the city’s main political, religious, and public events happen.

Around the square, you can see the Palace of Justice, which is about law and courts. There’s the Parliament building, or Capitolio Nacional. The Mayor’s Office is also here. And towering above is the Catedral Basilica Metropolitana, one of the oldest big churches in South America.

Also, the busy Carrera 7 road starts here. This road goes through the city and shows both new and old parts of Bogotá.

Plaza Bolívar is always alive with people and events. Locals and travelers come here for many reasons. It’s a place to see Bogotá’s buildings, watch people, or just sit and think. If you’re in the city, you should visit the plaza to really feel Bogotá.

Casa Nariño – Presidential Residence, Bogotá

Casa Nariño is close to the famous Plaza Bolívar and is the main home and office of Colombia’s President. Its design and history are important to Bogotá.

It’s named after Antonio Nariño, a leader from when Colombia was fighting for freedom. The building isn’t just the President’s house. It’s a symbol of Colombia’s history, politics, and dreams for the future. Inside, it’s beautifully decorated, and outside, there are big gardens.

Before, people could take guided tours inside Casa Nariño. These tours let visitors see the building’s inside and learn more about Colombia’s leaders. The tours aren’t always available, but many hope they’ll come back in the future.

Even without a tour, you can see Casa Nariño from outside and think about its role in Colombia’s story.

Restaurant Puerta Falsa

In the center of Bogotá, near Plaza Bolívar, is Restaurant Puerta Falsa. It’s more than just a restaurant; it’s been a part of Bogotá’s food story for over 200 years.

This place is famous for real Colombian food. They serve old recipes like tamales and ajiaco soup. For breakfast, many people love their churros and warm chocolate completo.

The inside of the restaurant feels old and cozy with simple decorations and old photos on the walls. It’s a good place to rest and eat after being in Plaza Bolívar. If you want to try Bogotá’s food traditions, you should visit Puerta Falsa.

Locals and visitors both enjoy eating here. It’s a special place where good food and history come together.

Chorro de Quevedo

Situated in the heart of Bogotá, Chorro de Quevedo is more than just a square—it’s the cradle of the city’s genesis. Legends suggest that this very spot marked the birth of Bogotá in the 16th century, under the guidance of the Spanish explorer, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada.

Walking on its ancient cobblestone paths, one is ushered into an era gone by. The square, steeped in history, commemorates the city’s establishment every year on the 6th of August. On this day, Chorro de Quevedo becomes a canvas of cultural festivities, where history is brought to life through enactments and ceremonies.

But this square is not just about the past. It embodies the soul of Bogotá’s vibrant art scene. Streets come alive with the melodies of street musicians, while walls bear the strokes of artists and murals. Restaurants and cafes add flavor, offering an array of Colombian delicacies.

The Bohemian spirit of the city is palpable here, especially on weekends. A mix of the old and the new, Chorro de Quevedo is where history meets modernity. And as December approaches, the square is draped in the festive spirit of Christmas, with twinkling lights and melodies echoing in the cold night air.

Visiting Chorro de Quevedo is like opening a book to Bogotá’s past, while also dancing to its contemporary beats. It stands as an enduring testament to the city’s journey through time.

Teatro Colón

Bogotá’s Teatro Colón stands not just as a monument to the performing arts, but as a symbol of Colombia’s rich cultural and architectural heritage. With its illustrious history dating back to the late 19th century, this opera house is a marriage of neoclassical and baroque architectural styles, making it a striking presence in the cityscape.

The exterior of the Teatro Colón evokes European grandeur, reminiscent of the continent’s famed opera houses. But once inside, visitors are greeted with a blend of opulence and intimacy. Intricate gold leaf designs, plush red seats, and a majestic chandelier lend it an air of timeless elegance, capturing the essence of its storied past.

Yet, the true soul of the Teatro Colón lies in its performances. Over the decades, its stage has resonated with the sounds of operas, ballets, concerts, and plays, spotlighting both Colombian talents and international maestros. This establishment has not only served as a platform for showcasing artistic excellence but has played a pivotal role in nurturing and propelling the nation’s cultural scene forward.

For those wishing to immerse themselves further, the theater often hosts guided tours. These excursions offer an insider’s view into its architectural marvels, historical anecdotes, and the legends of the many artists who have performed under its ornate dome.

A visit to the Teatro Colón is more than just an outing; it’s an experience. An experience that offers a taste of Colombia’s artistic brilliance and a glimpse into its cultural soul.

Plaza de la Concordia

In La Candelaria, Bogotá’s historic epicenter, Plaza de la Concordia stands as a testament to the rhythms of daily life, culture, and the enduring spirit of the local community. This isn’t just a marketplace – it’s an archive of traditions, memories, and flavors.

From the moment you step foot into the plaza, the sights and sounds envelop you. Stalls stretch out in every direction, each a vibrant tableau of Colombia’s agricultural and culinary richness. Gleaming fruits with colors and shapes that may be unfamiliar to international travelers beckon with promises of exotic tastes. Vegetables, painstakingly arranged, serve as a testament to the land’s fertility and the hard work of its farmers. But the allure of the market goes beyond just fresh produce.

As you venture deeper into the market, the aroma of traditional Colombian dishes wafts through the air. From arepas grilling on hotplates to the bubbling pots of sancocho, a hearty Colombian stew, the plaza offers a culinary odyssey. Handcrafted artifacts, woven baskets, and pottery give a glimpse into the artistry and craftsmanship of the local artisans.

However, it’s the people who truly breathe life into Plaza de la Concordia. The exchanges between vendors and patrons, punctuated with laughter, friendly banter, and sometimes even spirited negotiations, encapsulate the spirit of community that is so intrinsic to Bogotá.

For those fortunate enough to find themselves wandering the cobbled streets of La Candelaria, a detour to Plaza de la Concordia is not just recommended; it’s essential. It’s a place where one can connect with the city’s pulse, taste its flavors, and feel the warmth of its people. A place where every visit tells a different story, yet the essence remains timeless.

Bolívar City Park

Simón Bolívar City Park, located in Bogotá, serves as a key urban green space. Named after the Latin American liberator, the park offers recreational areas, jogging paths, and cycling tracks. A notable feature is its man-made lake, popular for rowing. Within the park, the Virgilio Barco Library stands out, combining modern architecture with a vast collection of books. Overall, the park is a vital spot for relaxation, exercise, and cultural exploration in the city.

Bogotá Botanical Garden

Located in Bogotá, the city’s Botanical Garden is a significant hub for botanical research and a showcase of Colombia’s vast plant biodiversity, second only to Brazil globally. The garden displays native plants from various Colombian ecosystems, such as cloud forests, páramos, and deserts.

Each section is designed to reflect the natural habitats of its plants. Apart from its role as a living exhibit, the garden emphasizes conservation and education, offering workshops, tours, and exhibitions. It also undertakes research and conservation initiatives for endangered species. A visit offers both relaxation and educational insights into Colombia’s plant life.


Paloquemao, Colombia’s largest market located in Bogotá, is a vibrant showcase of the nation’s heritage. This bustling marketplace offers a vast array of fresh produce, including exotic fruits unique to Colombia, seafood, and meats. Notably, the market boasts a vast flower section, highlighting Colombia’s significant position in the global floral industry.

Visitors can experience the richness of Colombian culture through interactions with vendors, melodies of local musicians, and the aromas of traditional dishes. A visit to Paloquemao provides a genuine insight into Bogotá’s everyday life and Colombia’s diverse culture.


Usaquén, a district in Bogotá, is a unique blend of historical charm and modern urban life. Once a peaceful village, it retains its old-world charm while being an integral part of the city. A trip from La Candelaria to Usaquén, covering about 8.5 miles (14 km), can vary from 40 minutes to nearly 2 hours, depending on traffic.

The district’s cobbled streets and colonial buildings lead to a mix of boutiques, galleries, and craft stalls. With a variety of dining options, Usaquén is especially known for its Sunday flea market, a popular spot for handcrafted items and antiques. For those looking to experience Bogotá’s history and culture in a relaxed setting, Usaquén is a top choice.

Zona Rosa

Situated in central Bogotá, Zona Rosa is the go-to spot for entertainment and shopping. Known for its lively atmosphere, it’s a hotspot for both nightlife and retail adventures. The prominent Andino shopping mall, featuring luxury brands and Colombian designers, is a highlight. Beyond the mall, the district boasts a range of boutiques and shops offering diverse products, from global trends to local crafts.

Food enthusiasts can explore numerous restaurants serving both traditional Colombian dishes and international flavors. Cafes offer perfect spots for relaxation and people-watching. At night, Zona Rosa becomes a hub for nightlife with its array of bars, clubs, and lounges. Casinos add to the district’s allure for those seeking a thrill. Overall, Zona Rosa represents Bogotá’s modern, urban flair, catering to various interests.

Quinta Camacho

Located in Bogotá, Quinta Camacho is a distinctive neighborhood known for its colonial and British-inspired architecture. This area combines the charm of historical buildings with a lively dining and social scene. It offers a diverse range of restaurants catering to various cuisines, from traditional Colombian to international dishes.

Alongside eateries, there are numerous artisanal coffee shops and trendy bars, perfect for both relaxation and socializing. Quinta Camacho also invites exploration with its cobblestone streets, boutiques, and art galleries. A fusion of history and modernity, this district provides a peaceful escape in the heart of the city, ideal for dining, unwinding, or simply reminiscing.

La Macarena

Adjacent to La Candelaria in Bogotá is the eclectic neighborhood of La Macarena, known for its artistic and bohemian atmosphere. It’s a culinary hotspot, offering everything from traditional Colombian dishes to global cuisines.

More than just food, La Macarena boasts numerous art galleries, artisan shops, and cultural venues. Impromptu performances and exhibitions are common, enhancing its vibrant character. Its close proximity to La Candelaria allows visitors to experience both the historic charm and contemporary spirit of Bogotá in one visit. La Macarena offers a blend of culture, art, and cuisine, making it a must-visit for those seeking the heart and soul of the city.

Perseverancia Market

Located in La Macarena district, the Perseverancia Market offers a deep dive into Colombia’s diverse culinary scene. This bustling market is a haven for regional dishes from across the country. From the coastal cuisines of the Caribbean to the robust flavors of the Andes, every stall presents a unique gastronomic adventure.

The market is especially popular for its lunch dishes, with locals flocking for the “almuerzos corrientes” – traditional set meals featuring a mix of staples. More than just food, this market captures Bogotá’s community spirit and cultural essence. For a true taste of Colombian cuisine and culture, the Perseverancia Market is a must-visit when in La Macarena.

Zona G

Nestled in the heart of Bogotá, Zona G stands as a testament to the city’s flourishing culinary scene. This gastronomic hotspot, accentuated by tree-shaded pathways and a relaxed ambiance, offers a delightful contrast of luxury and Bogotá’s authentic charm. The neighborhood’s crown jewel, Hotel Four Seasons Casa Medina, is an architectural marvel, epitomizing opulence and historical richness.

Yet, it’s Zona G’s eclectic array of restaurants that truly captivate visitors. From world-class dining establishments to cozy cafes, the district caters to every culinary whim, particularly its revered brunch scene. As evening dawns, the area’s sophisticated bars come alive, offering a perfect backdrop for relaxation and socializing. For those seeking a mix of luxury, gastronomy, and local flavor, Zona G is Bogotá’s premier destination.

Carrera 7

Carrera 7 in Bogotá, starting from Plaza Bolivar, is a bustling pedestrian street known for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Both local and international brands line its path, accompanied by eateries serving a range of cuisines.

On weekends, the street fills with performers, from musicians to dancers. However, visitors should be cautious as pickpockets can be present. Overall, Carrera 7 offers a slice of Bogotá’s urban life, making it a must-visit for travelers.

Central Cemetery

Bogotá’s Central Cemetery, near the La Candelaria district, is not just a burial ground but a reflection of the city’s history and cultural heritage. Housing ornate monuments and gravestones, it commemorates notable Colombian figures from various eras. Visitors can opt for self-guided tours, utilizing informative plaques, or take guided tours for deeper insights into the cemetery’s history and its residents. In essence, the Central Cemetery serves as a living historical record, offering a unique look into Bogotá’s past.

National Museum

Located in Bogotá’s center, the National Museum stands as a testament to Colombia’s rich history and art. Originally a prison built in 1823, its transformation from the “Panóptico” penitentiary to a museum adds depth to its character. Its vast collection encompasses artifacts from pre-Columbian times to the modern era, detailing the country’s journey.

Alongside historical exhibits, rotating art exhibitions bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary art. In sum, the museum offers a comprehensive insight into Colombia’s cultural evolution, making it a must-visit for those interested in the nation’s heritage.

Flea Markets of Bogotá

Bogotá has lively flea markets popular with locals and travelers. They offer a range of items, from vintage goods to local crafts. Always on Sundays.

1. La Candelaria Flea Market:
In Bogotá’s historic center, this market at Carrera 3 #17-10 has antiques, crafts, and more. Both tourists and locals frequent it.

2. Carrera Septima Flea Market:
Located at Calle 24 # 6-01 near the main walkway, this market has Colombian crafts, used items, and textiles, reflecting Bogotá’s urban feel.

3. Usaquén Flea Market:
A popular Sunday spot in Usaquén, it features ceramics, jewelry, and art. The market is in a colonial area with cobbled streets.

In short, Bogotá’s flea markets give insight into the city’s culture. Visiting them is a top recommendation for a Bogotá trip.

If you are looking for more activities, check out our Activities & Attractions in Bogota Shortlist.

Discovering Bogotá

  • Location: Nestled at an altitude of 2,600 meters (8,530 feet) above sea level, Bogotá is strategically placed on the Colombian Andean region.
  • Population: Over 10 million residents.
  • Climate: Its significant altitude blesses it with a unique temperate climate, different from many South American cities.

Important Dates & Historical Highlights:

  • Pre-Muisca Era: Settlement around 18,000 years ago.
  • 1538: Founded by Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada.
  • July 20, 1810: Declaration of independence from Spain.
  • 1819: Achieved full independence after the Battle of Boyacá.
  • Mid-20th Century: The Bogotazo in 1948, reshaped the city’s social and political landscape.

Key Data:

  • Original Name: Bacatá (meaning chief of the region in the Muiscan language).
  • Historic Center: La Candelaria is known for Spanish colonial architecture and rich history. It’s also the governmental hub with the Congress and is surrounded by prestigious universities.
  • Major 20th Century Event: The assassination of liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán in 1948 and the consequent Bogotazo, drastically changed the district’s social structure.

Personal Experience:

  • 2011: My first visit to Bogota as a backpacker. La Candelaria was not a safe place back then.
  • 2015 – Present: I emigrated to Colombia in 2015 and have been living in La Candelaria ever since. The development so far has been exciting and positive.

Bogotá’s blend of rich history, strategic significance, and unwavering spirit has made it a focal point in South America. As the capital, it not only narrates Colombia’s past but is also a testament to its promising future.

Tours in Bogotá

Graffiti-Tour of Bogotá

  • Schedule: Daily at 10 am and 2 pm.
  • Starting Point: Plaza de Periodistas.
  • Features: Showcases Bogotá’s vibrant street art while narrating Colombia’s complex history.
  • Guides: Knowledgeable, offering different perspectives.
  • Duration: 2-3 hours, mainly in English.
  • Cost: Free, but tipping is appreciated (partly supports local social projects).
  • Recommendations: Wear comfortable attire, be prepared for rain, and bring a camera.

Bogotá’s Old Town Free Walk

  • Schedule: Daily at 10 am and 2 pm.
  • Starting Point: Santander Park (near the Gold Museum).
  • Features: Covers history, architecture, political movements, and local legends.
  • Guides: Often academically trained and well-informed.
  • Duration: About 3 hours.
  • Cost: Free, tipping customary.
  • Recommendations: Comfortable shoes, rain gear, and a camera.

Bogotá Bike Tour Overview

  • Schedule: Daily at 10:30 am and 1:30 p.m.
  • Starting Point: Bogotá Bike Tours shop.
  • Features: Covers major landmarks, including local fruit tasting at Paloquemao market.
  • Guides: Knowledgeable, offering safe navigation.
  • Duration: Varies.
  • Cost: 60,000 COP.
  • Recommendations: Biking attire, rain gear, and camera.

Ciclovia: Bogotá’s Bicycle Event

  • When: Every Sunday and public holidays, 07:00 to 14:00.
  • What: Transformation of main streets into car-free zones.
  • Key Features:
    • Creates exclusive bike lanes.
    • Suitable for all age groups and skill levels.
    • Enables exploration without regular traffic.
    • Enriched with activities like dance, food stalls, and performances.
    • Aids in reducing air pollution for the day.

Main attractions and activities outside Bogota

La Chorrera Waterfall

La Chorrera is the highest waterfall in Colombia. It offers a serene nature retreat offering both adventure and relaxation.

  • Location: 90 minutes from Bogotá, in Choachi.
  • Key Features:
    • Mesmerizing cascades, especially after rainfall.
    • Natural pools for swimming.
    • Panoramic waterfall views.
    • Lush surroundings for photography.
  • Access:
    • Private Transport: Ideal for convenience.
    • Public Transport: On Calle 6 con Avenida Caracas take a bus to Choachí. The journey takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. Make sure to let the ticket seller and the driver know that your stop is La Chorrera. From the road to the park entrance, there is a 4 km unpaved road.
  • Travel Tips:
    • Carry rain gear and hiking shoes.
    • Preserve the environment.

Salt Cathedral – Zipaquirá

The Salt Cathedral is Colombia’s underground wonder and boasts a blend of art, architecture, and spirituality.

  • Location: 1 hour from Bogotá in Zipaquira.
  • Key Features:
    • Intricate salt carvings and religious symbols.
    • Notable as a religious site.
    • Enhanced lighting for ambiance.
  • Access:
    • Tours: Via various Bogotá agencies.
    • Train: Tourist train departing from Estacion de La Sabana or Usaquén on specific days.
    • Public Transport: TransMilenio to Portal Norte. Then take a bus towards Zipaquirá, get off at Parque de la Esperanza and take a taxi or a 15-minute walk to the Cathedral.
  • Travel Tips:
    • Check the bus station details.
    • A helicopter landing is available.

Guatavita Lagoon

This turquoise lagoon is a blend of natural beauty and historical indigenous tales.

  • Location: 90 minutes from Bogota in Guatavita.
  • Key Features:
    • El Dorado Legend.
    • Gold Museum in Bogotá.
    • Spanish-speaking tours.
  • Access:
    • Combined trips with Salt Cathedral are available.
  • Travel Tips:
    • Wear comfortable trekking shoes.
    • Dress in layers.

Andrés Carne de Res Chía

Andrés Carne de Res is a staple Colombian dining site where you can enjoy the Colombian spirit and culture trough culinary and entertainment experiences.

  • Location: 1 hour from Bogota in Chía.
  • Key Features:
    • Venue for up to 2,000 guests.
    • Dine, dance, and party.
    • Colombian and contemporary music.
  • Access:
    • Plan transportation as it’s outside Bogotá.
  • Travel Tips:
    • Book in advance.
    • Dress comfortably yet chic.

Chingaza National Park

Chingaza is a surreal landscape teeming with biodiversity that is essential for the water supply in the region. It has a paramo ecosystem, which can only be seen in a few countries worldwide.

  • Location: 2 hours from Bogotá
  • Key Features:
    • Unique Flora and Fauna.
    • Vast moorlands with lagoons and forests.
    • Vital water supply source.
    • Camping and rustic houses.
  • Access:
    • Tours: Via various Bogotá agencies.
    • Plan transportation as it’s outside Bogotá.
  • Travel Tips:
    • Prepare for altitude sickness.
    • Dress in layers.


The town of Suesca is a climbers’ paradise, an adventure-filled location offering both adrenaline and serenity.

  • Location: 1 hour from Bogota.
  • Key Features:
    • Over 400 climbing routes.
    • Panoramic views beyond climbing spots.
    • Relics of ancient civilizations.
  • Access:
    • Buses from Terminal Norte (in front of TransMilenio’s Terminal station). It takes about 1.5 hours.
    • All-inclusive excursions are available.
  • Travel Tips:
    • Engage with a local climbing expert.
    • Prepare for changing weather.


Villeta is a close-to-nature spot ideal for a short break from the capital.

  • Location: About 2 hours from Bogotá.
  • Key Features:
    • Warm climate.
    • Scenic hills and river.
    • Thermal Springs.
  • Access:
    • Drive 1.5 hours from Bogotá taking the Calle 80 road.
    • Public transportation: Take a bus at Terminal Salitre towards Villeta, it takes 2 hours.
  • Travel Tips:
    • The evening might require a light sweater.
    • Explore local eateries.

Villa de Leyva in Boyacá, Colombia

Villa de Leyva is a town that offers a vivid glimpse into Colombia’s colonial history. It is a popular long weekend destination for Bogota residents.

  • Location: About 3-4 hours from Bogotá.
  • Key Features:
    • Established in 1572.
    • Plaza Mayor: South America’s large cobblestone square.
    • Preserved colonial architecture.
  • Access:
    • Public transportation: Take a bus at Terminal Norte towards Villa de Leyva, it takes 2 hours.
    • Plan private transportation or drive for 3 hours on the Bogota-Tunja road.
  • Travel Tips:
    • Explore around the plaza and do nature-adventure activities.

Playing golf in Bogota

Colombia’s beautiful landscapes and mild weather make it attractive for golf lovers globally. While new to golf tourism, Bogotá provides a unique golfing experience. For more details, visit our page on golfing in Colombia.

If you are looking for more activities and destinations, check out our Activities & Attractions outside Bogota Shortlist.

Bogotá Accommodation Guide

Bogotá has diverse neighborhoods, each with its own character. Here’s a quick guide:

Zona T & Zona G

  • Vibe: Urban sophistication.
  • Attractions: Upscale shops and restaurants.
  • Accommodation: Luxury hotels.

Calle 93 to Calle 85

  • Vibe: Cultural and modern mix.
  • Attractions: Trendy cafes, art galleries, and boutiques.

Usaquén, Chapinero & Parkway

  • Vibe: Mix of traditional and modern.
  • Attractions: Quaint cafes, bars, and unique shops.

La Candelaria

  • Vibe: Historical.
  • Attractions: Museums, old churches, and murals.
  • Accommodation: Mostly hostels, ideal for budget travelers.

Accommodation Tips

  • Short Stays: For quick trips focused on history and culture, choose La Candelaria. Many attractions are close by.
  • Luxury & Nightlife: If you want luxury and nightlife, pick northern areas like Zona T & G.
  • Safety: La Candelaria is safe during the day but can be a bit spooky at night. If unsure, stay north or return to your lodging before dark.

Bogotá caters to all. From La Candelaria’s history to Zona T & G’s luxury, there’s a fit for everyone. Match your accommodation with your plans for the best experience.

For more details on places to stay, see our Bogotá accommodation blogs below:

Nightlife in Bogotá

Bogotá pulses with energy after dark. With diverse nightlife options, there’s something for everyone. Here’s your guide to navigating the city’s vibrant nights:

Party Timeline

Bogotá’s nightlife thrives every night. However, it truly comes alive on weekends, with Fridays and Saturdays being the most buzzing.

Popular Nightlife Districts

Zona Rosa & Zona T

  • Vibe: The epicenter of Bogotá’s nightlife.
  • Location: Between Avenida 79 – Avenida 85 and Carrera 11 – Carrera 15.
  • Highlights: A vibrant mix of bars, pubs, and clubs. High footfall ensures safety.
  • Must-visits: Armando, Morena, Andrés Carne de Res, and 440 promise unforgettable nights.


  • Vibe: Eclectic and inclusive.
  • Location: Calle 44 to Calle 74, between Carrera 4 and Avenida Caracas.
  • Highlights: Theatrón, one of the biggest gay clubs in South America, is a must-visit, known for its energetic atmosphere that’s welcoming to all.

For EDM Fans

  • Baum and Cinema Club: These clubs are havens for electronic music aficionados. Featuring famous DJs, they ensure a mesmerizing club experience.

Nightlife Tips

  • Stay Vigilant: In busy settings, watch out for your belongings, particularly mobile phones.
  • Safety First: Never leave drinks unattended. It’s essential for ensuring a fun, worry-free evening.

In summary, Bogotá promises a blend of rhythm, revelry, and memorable nights. Dive into Zona Rosa’s vibrant scene or sway to Chapinero’s beats—each night in Bogotá is a promise of a new adventure. Dance on!

Cultural Agenda of Bogotá

Bogotá, the heart of Colombia’s cultural panorama, buzzes with a myriad of events and festivals year-round, offering a smorgasbord of experiences for those with a penchant for the arts, sounds, and flavors. Delve into the city’s vibrant cultural itinerary:

Jazz al Parque and Rock al Parque

These signature music festivals light up Bogotá annually. With both jazz and rock genres taking center stage, attendees are treated to mesmerizing renditions from local talents and international maestros. The open-air venues add to the allure, as melodies resonate under the vast expanse of the Bogotá sky.


A week-long celebration of modern art, ARTBO metamorphoses Bogotá into an artistic wonderland. It showcases avant-garde exhibits, immersive performances, and galleries that push the creative envelope.

Burger/Sushi/Pizza Master

These culinary contests pit Bogotá’s finest eateries against each other, each vying for the coveted “Master” crown in their respective categories. A delightful exploration of flavors, this competition provides a snapshot of the city’s eclectic food landscape.

Book Fair

The esteemed Bogotá International Book Fair in Corferias is a paradise for bibliophiles. Beyond the vast collection of books up for grabs, the event teems with insightful conferences, author engagements, and an array of literary activities.

Stay Updated

  • Cultural Calendar: Ensure you peruse Bogotá’s cultural calendar prior to your visit. It’s quite possible that a riveting event coincides with your stay, presenting an opportunity to truly engage with the city’s cultural soul.

Find more extensive information in our separate blog on the most popular events in Bogota.

More info:

Sundays in Bogota

Sundays in Bogotá offer a mix of activities. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Museums: Many museums in Bogotá have free entry on Sundays.
  • Ciclovia: Major streets are closed for cars, allowing people to walk or cycle.
  • Family Time: Sundays are typically family days, with gatherings being common.
  • Quiet Afternoon: Some areas, like La Candelaria, are quieter in the afternoon.
  • Malls: They are popular spots for shopping and dining.

Food in Bogotá

Street Food

  • Arepas: Corn flatbreads with various fillings.
  • Empanadas: Fried pastries with meat or vegetable fillings.
  • Pandebono: Cheese buns, often enjoyed with sauces like ají or honey.

Local Dishes

  • Ajiaco: Chicken soup with potatoes, corn, and guascas herb. Served with cream, capers, avocado, and rice.
  • Tamal: Steamed corn dough with fillings, wrapped in plantain leaves.
  • Chocolate con Queso: Hot chocolate with melting cheese.

International Food

  • Various international cuisines are available in Bogotá, including Japanese, Italian, French, and Mexican.

Bogotá provides a rich mix of traditional Colombian flavors and international dishes to suit every preference.

Best Travel Times for Bogotá


  • Consistent temperate weather makes Bogotá suitable for visits any time of the year.

Holiday Season (December 24th – January 15th):

  • Bogotá slows down as families gather for festivities.
  • Many businesses shut down, resulting in a quieter city atmosphere.
  • Not the best time for nightlife or party seekers.

Alternative Destinations:

  • If you’re aiming for a lively holiday scene, consider coastal areas like Santa Marta or Cartagena.

Decide on the best time to visit Bogotá based on your interests. Whether it’s immersing in culture or seeking festive events, Colombia has a lot to offer.

Arrival at Bogotá Airport


  • Key hub for international and domestic flights.
  • Most domestic trips might route through Bogotá.

Money Matters:

  • Opt for ATMs for a better exchange rate.
  • Avoid currency counters requiring fingerprints.

Reaching the City:

  • Avoid random taxi offers; use the official taxi stand.
  • If using a bus, get a bus card inside the airport. Look for the bus M86 to get to Portal El Dorado. From there you will find buses to all destinations. Going to La Candelaria, take Bus 1 until Universidades. Then walk the tunnel and exit at the station Las Aguas, cross the square Las Periodistas and here you are.
  • For the internet, a local SIM card from providers like Claro is handy.

Public Transportation in Bogota

Public Transportation in Bogotá

I frequently use public transportation, particularly TransMilenio, as it’s often faster than other modes. However, be prepared for rush hour crowds; the bus stations can become quite overwhelming. An amusing anecdote: A friend of mine once sent me a photo of myself on the bus. When I asked, he explained to me that he had discovered this photo in a Facebook group “Sexy Foreigners in Transmillenio”. Believe me, as a foreigner, you will stand out in Bogota’s public transportation.

Metro Bogotá

  • Status: A long-awaited project, is finally under construction. Initially planned in the 1960s, the first line is expected to be operational post-2030.

TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System

  • Overview: TransMilenio, functioning like a bus-based subway system, is the backbone of Bogotá’s public transport. Once inside the stations, you can travel all day without extra charges. These are the 2 or 3-cabin red buses.
  • Routes and Coverage: Extensive network across major Bogotá areas.
  • Fares and Tickets: Rechargeable smart cards are used, available for purchase at stations.
  • Cost: Approximately COP 3,000 (around USD 0.75).
  • Tips for Use: Avoid rush hours to bypass overcrowding. The TransMilenio website or app is great for route planning. Extra tip: each letter represents a route, so B buses go to the north, J to the historical center, and so on.

Traditional City Buses

  • Overview: Serving areas beyond TransMilenio’s reach, including smaller “Colectivos.” Note: some buses may not comfortably accommodate taller people.
  • Routes and Coverage: Varied, with destinations indicated on the windshield.
  • Fares and Payment: Pay the driver directly, these are typically less expensive than TransMilenio. Signal with a hand wave for stops, as formal stations are rare. Also, let the driver know in advance where you get off.

SITP (Sistema Integrado de Transporte Público)

  • Overview: Complements TransMilenio by providing more local connections. Most of the SITP are blue, but some are yellow and orange, covering special routes.
  • Routes and Coverage: Connects various neighborhoods with localized routes.
  • Fares and Tickets: Same smart card system as TransMilenio, enabling smooth transfers.
  • Cost: Approximately COP 2,700 (around USD 0.70).

Cycling – Bogotá’s Ciclovía

  • Overview: A unique aspect of Bogotá’s transport culture. Major streets become bike-friendly zones every Sunday and on holidays. Also, there is a wide network of bike routes for daily transport.
  • Bike Rentals: Widely available, encouraging eco-friendly travel.

Useful Apps and Resources

  • TransMilenio and SITP Official App: For efficient route planning and schedule checking.
  • Maps and Navigation: Apps like Google Maps and Moovit are invaluable for navigating public transport.

Safety and Cultural Tips

  • Safety: Vigilance is key, especially during busy times. Be mindful of pickpockets.
  • Language: Basic Spanish aids significantly, especially when using traditional buses.

My Likes and Dislikes About Bogotá: A Personal Perspective

Bogotá, like any city, offers a unique blend of experiences and challenges. Here’s my personal take on what I like and dislike about the Colombian capital:

What I Like about Bogotá

  • Pleasant Climate: The pleasantly cool climate in Bogotá is a definite plus. It’s perfect for staying active and focused on work and sports.
  • Accessibility: The city’s central location and extensive transportation network make it easy to travel throughout Colombia, opening up opportunities for exploration.
  • Business-Focused Culture: Bogotá’s people tend to have a strong focus on business, contributing to a sense of reliability in a Latin American context.
  • Constant Evolution: The city is dynamic, always changing, and evolving. There’s a sense of continuous discovery, ensuring that you’ll never run out of new experiences.

What I Dislike about Bogotá

  • Pollution: Pollution can be a significant concern in Bogotá, affecting air quality and overall environmental health.
  • Traffic Congestion: The city’s notorious traffic congestion can be frustrating, especially during rush hours, making commutes longer and less enjoyable.
  • Sidewalk Hazards: The presence of dog bumps on sidewalks can be an inconvenience, particularly in the mornings when navigating them can be challenging.

It’s essential to recognize that everyone’s experience of a city is unique, shaped by individual preferences and priorities. While Bogotá may have its drawbacks, its positive aspects can make it a compelling and vibrant place to live and explore.

Colombia Travel Guides

Here you will find travel guides for the most popular regions in Colombia, which we have put together during our extensive travels around the country.

Travel Guides to Colombia’s Small Towns

Here you will find travel guides for less popular destinations in Colombia. Some of these destinations are even real insider tips and not even known to the Colombians as travel destinations.


About Author



Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia. I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia. For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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