The administrative centre of Colombia, Bogotá was the house to the region’s indigenous people, the Muisca, when the Spanish came around plundering gold and resources, and it’s been the country’s main city since.
Before I went, everyone explained Bogotá wasn’t anything special: dirty, crowded, hard to bypass, and lacking the charm of the other big cities in Colombia.
“Spend a couple of days there and move on,” each of them said.
Well, I spent a couple of days there – and some more.
I LOVED Bogotá.
It felt just like the most “Colombian” city I visited. It’s nothing like the gringofied cities in all of those other country. Its “gritty” nature was what appealed if you ask me.
Bogotá was a captivating, lively city I couldn’t get enough of.
The museum scene is incredible, there’s a whole lot of history, a blossoming art community, a thrilling food scene, a wild nightlife, and super welcoming people.
Additionally it is an enormous city with a huge amount of tours, day trips, and other activities to accomplish. You could easily spend weekly here.
To assist you maximize out of your visit, listed below are my top 20 what to see and do in Bogotá.
20 What to See and Do in Bogotá
1. Have a Free Walking Tour
Among my favorite things you can do when I reach a fresh destination is to have a free walking tour. It’s a good way to find the lay of the land, start to see the main sights, and also have an area expert answer every of my questions.
BeyondColombia includes a great free walking tour that may provide you with a solid introduction to the town. It also includes a free food tour, that is a terrific way to have a taste of some local Colombian dishes (you’ll spend around 18,000 COP/$6 USD on food for the tour). Be sure that you tip your guides!
For a far more specialized tour, browse the Bogotá Graffiti Tour. That one operates by donation, using the amount of money raised to reinvest in future community art projects.
2. Stroll in the Botanical Gardens
Opened in 1955, the Botanical Garden of Bogotá houses almost 20,000 plants. You will find a concentrate on regional plants, usually the ones that are endemic to the Andes and other high-alpine parts of the continent. It’s an extremely peaceful spot to walk around, and there are a few food stalls nearby, to help you grab an instant bite as you explore the gardens and see the exotic flowers and trees.
Cl. 63 No. 6895, +57 1-437-7060, jbb.gov.co. Open daily 8am-5pm (9am-5pm on weekends). Admission is 3,500 COP for adults and 1,800 COP for children.
3. Climb Monserrate
Standing tall at over 3,000 meters, you can observe Monserrate from just about everywhere around. It’s a favorite spot to take the view, and since there exists a church at the summit, it’s also a favorite spot for local weddings. You can walk up yourself within one hour, or you may take a cable car or funicular to the very best. Take into account that the walk up isn’t that safe during the night or alone – thieves scout out the route. Be cautious!
The funicular runs Monday-Saturday 6:30am-11:30am and Sundays 5:30am-4:30pm. The cable car is available Monday-Saturday 12pm-11:30pm and Sundays 10am-4:30pm. Tickets for either vehicle will be the same price: round-trip tickets cost 21,000 COP for adults (12,000 COP on Sundays).
4. Go to the Museo del Oro (The Gold Museum)
This is actually the most interesting museum in the complete country and sees over half of a million tourists each year. Opened in 1939, the Gold Museum documents the importance and usage of gold in pre-Hispanic civilizations in Colombia and houses over 55,000 gold items. There’s a whole lot of information to take, so make sure to get the audio guide (8,000 COP) or join among the daily free tours.
Cra. 6 No. 15-88, +57 1-343-2222, banrepcultural.org/bogota/museo-del-oro. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9am-6pm and Sundays 10am-4pm. Admission is 4,000 COP for adults and free for children. Admission can be free for adults on Sundays, nonetheless it gets busy quickly so make sure to arrive early!
5. Start to see the Salt Cathedral
Located about an hour’s drive from the town in Zipaquirá, the Salt Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church that was built-in the tunnels of a vintage salt mine. It’s 200 meters below ground, causeing this to be one of the most unique religious sites in the united states, if not the world. Every Sunday, up to 3,000 people attend church services here.
Parque de la Sal, +57 315-760-7376, catedraldesal.gov.co. Open daily 9am-5:40pm. Admission is 58,000 COP for foreigners, with discounts designed for seniors.
6. Browse the Museo de Botero
Founded in 2000, this museum houses among Latin America’s most significant art collections. The museum was made after Fernando Botero donated a huge selection of his works to the Banco de la República de Colombia with the promise that they might be displayed in a free of charge museum for everybody to see. Furthermore to his own pieces, contained in the donation were functions by Monet, Picasso, and other world-famous artists. Have a free tour or get the audio guide (not free).
Cl. 11 No. 4-41, +57 1-343-1316, banrepcultural.org/bogota/museo-botero. Open Monday and Wednesday-Saturday 9am-7pm and Sundays 10am-5pm (closed Tuesdays). Admission is free, and free guided tours can be found daily; start to see the website for updated times. Audio guides are for sale to 10,000 COP.
7. Explore La Candelaria
I must say i loved this neighborhood. This is actually the old part of Bogotá. You can wander the narrow cobblestone streets and ingest the eclectic architecture, with art deco, colonial, and baroque styles all calling a nearby home. Most of the city’s best attractions (also, many hostels) are here too, like the Botero Museum, the Gold Museum, and many churches and universities. Watch live music while hanging at Plaza Chorro de Quevedo, try the neighborhood chicha (a glass or two created from corn, often fermented to be alcoholic) privately streets, and ingest a number of the amazing restaurants in this district.
8. Start to see the Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Carmen is a Gothic church situated in La Candelaria. The church includes a red-and-white striped pattern – both externally and inside – rendering it look like a huge candy cane. Built from 1926 to 1938, the church stands almost 60 meters tall has some incredible Byzantine and Moorish art.
Cra. 5 No. 8-36, +57 1-342-0972. Open Monday-Friday 7am-7:30am and 10am-4pm, Saturdays 7am-7:30am, and Sundays 7am-12:30pm.
9. Visit Simon Bolívar Metropolitan Park
That is probably the most popular parks in Bogotá. Created in 1979, it spans almost 1,000 acres. You could find people exercising, relaxing, or attending concerts here. The park is known as following the famous Simón Bolívar, who led the liberation of the spot from its Spanish overlords.
Open daily 6am-6pm. Admission is free unless there exists a concert or event happening.
10. Wander Plaza Bolívar
This is actually the main square of Bogotá, home to Colombia’s Palace of Justice, the Cathedral of Bogotá, the mayor’s office, and the Capitol Building. It’s the historical heart of the town, with buildings from as soon as the 16th century. Beneath the Spanish, the plaza was home to bullfights, circus acts, and public markets. Look out for the plethora of pigeons!
11. Check out the Laguna de Guatavita (Lake Guatavita)
If you would like to have a break from the town and get some oxygen, leave on a excursion to Lake Guatavita. Located around 60 kilometers north of Bogotá, this small lake is a sacred site to the region’s indigenous people and is apparently where in fact the rumors of El Dorado originated. Additionally, there are hot springs in the nearby town of Sesquilé if you’re looking for some relaxation.
Day trips to the region last around 6 hours and can vary in price. Be prepared to pay at least 180,000 COP per person.
12. Explore Parque 93
This is actually the area of town with among the better restaurants, nightclubs, and bars in the complete city. The park itself houses a continuing rotation of temporary art exhibitions. Situated in among the nicer regions of town, you’ll look for a large amount of good restaurants and cafés lining the park.
13. Attend Gringo Tuesdays
That is a weekly language exchange that evolves into a global party. Every Tuesday, you can talk with other locals and travelers for a couple hours of conversation. Once that’s over, the true party begins and goes late in to the night. It’s a great, social particular date if you’re looking meet fellow travelers. A whole lot of hostels organize party buses to the function, so if you’re via La Candelaria, that is an excellent transportation option.
Street 85 No. 11-53, Promenade del Faro, +57 311-492-0249, gringotuesdays.com/en. Every Tuesday, the language exchange occurs 4pm-8pm, accompanied by the party, which runs 8pm-3am.
14. Uncover the National Museum of Colombia
Located in the heart of Bogotá, here is the oldest and biggest museum in the complete country (and among the oldest on the continent). Built-in 1823, it’s home to over 20,000 works of art and historical artifacts, some dating dating back to 10,000 BCE. The building was actually used as a prison initially (it will be looks imposing) until it transitioned right into a museum in 1946. If you’re a brief history buff or simply want for more information about the united states, this museum is crucial.
Carrera 7 No 28-66, +57 1-381-6470, museonacional.gov.co. Open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sundays 10am-5pm. Admission is 4,000 COp for adults, 3,000 COP for students, and 2,000 COP for children aged 5-12.
15. Wander the Usaquén Market
Every Sunday, artisans line the cobblestoned streets to market a variety of local crafts and goods. While it’s usually known as a flea market, things listed below are a bit nicer and more upscale than a number of the other markets. It’s still reasonable priced, though, and produces a fun way to invest your day.
The marketplace runs 11am-4pm every Sunday in Usaquén.
16. Explore the Museo Santa Clara
This church was built-in the 17th century and is really among the oldest in the complete country. It had been deconsecrated in the 1960s and changed into a museum by the federal government. There are over 148 baroque paintings that almost entirely cover its walls, causeing this to be just about the most beautifully decorated churches you’ll see in Colombia.
Cra. 8 No. 8-91, +57 1-337-6762, museocolonial.gov.co. Open Tuesday-Friday 9am-4:30pm and Saturday-Sunday 10am-3:30pm. Admission is 4,000 COP for adults and 2,000 COP for children.
17. Grab a snack from La Puerta Falsa
This little shop has been serving locals for over 200 years! La Puerta Falsa (The False Door) is a little restaurant with room for less than 20 people, the tamales and ajiaco soup have already been community staples for generations. If you’re seeking to try traditional Colombian food, this can be the spot to go!
Calle 11 No. 6-50, +57 1-286-5091, restaurantelapuertafalsa.inf.travel. Open daily 7am-10pm though its schedule isn’t occur stone.
18. Go to the Iglesia de SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
Built-in the 16th century, this Catholic church may be the oldest surviving church in Bogotá. The inside is incredibly ornate, with a lovely altar that goes back to the 17th century. It’s still used, and you’ll likely see some locals praying throughout your visit, so be sure to dress appropriately and become respectful.
Av. Jimenez De Quesada No. 7-10, +57 1-341-2357. Open Monday-Friday 6:30am-10:30pm; 6:30am-12:30pm and 4pm-6:30pm on Saturdays; and 7:30am-1:30pm and 4:30-7:30pm on Sundays. Admission is free.
19. Sample the neighborhood brews
Bogotá (and the united states includes a whole) includes a growing craft beer scene. Bogotá Craft Beer offers a four-hour tour that goes to some of the greatest bars and breweries around. The tour carries a knowledgable guide and secure transportation from spot to place. I recommend it.
Tours can be found daily 4pm-9pm and ought to be booked beforehand via their website. Tickets remain 95,000 COP per person.
20. Have a food tour
Bogotá is a wonderful city for foodies, and the simplest way to have a sense of the culinary offerings is to have a food tour. Bogotá Food Tour will need you around La Macarena, Bogotá’s bohemian and artistic neighborhood. The tour lasts three hours and can take you to three different restaurants where you could sample an area dish and drink. Tours likewise incorporate pickup and drop-off at your accommodation.
Tours can be found Monday-Saturday and commence around 7pm. Booking beforehand is required in order to secure your transportation. Tickets are 188,500 COP per person.
It’s true that Bogotá can be an “edgy city” with a whole lot of petty crime. Yet I loved the atmosphere and vibe of the town. It had grit (similar to Naples, Italy). I loved the art, the museums, the meals. The town has so much to provide travelers. You really can fill lots of time between all of the sights, tours, parks, and activities. I’d have liked to remain longer in Bogotá easily could.
I’d budget 3 to 5 days for your visit. It’ll definitely be worthwhile.
Book Your Visit to Colombia: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world, and that means you always know no stone has been left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you would like to stay somewhere apart from a hostel, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I take advantage of them all enough time. My favorite places to remain are:
- Masaya Hostel – That is a cool hostel situated in La Candaleria. It has plenty of common space where you could meet people plus some comfy hammocks you can relax in; in addition, it hosts a variety of activities and excursions, from live music to salsa lessons.
- Botánico Hostel – This cool hostel is relvatively new. The beds are comfy, it’s in an excellent location, and it provides free breakfast too!
Don’t Forget TRAVEL COVER Travel cover will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in the event anything goes wrong. I never embark on a trip without it, as I’ve had to utilize it many times during the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for a decade. My favorite companies offering the very best service and value are:
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to save lots of money when I travel – and I believe they will assist you to too!
Want MORE INFO on Colombia? Make sure to visit our robust destination guide on Colombia for a lot more planning tips!