Bogotá isn’t usually the first city people think of when they think of Colombia but it is well worth a visit! While other Colombian cities such as Medellín and Cartagena are more popular with tourists than the capital city, there are so many things to do in Bogotá.
In this article, I share why I love Bogotá, my favourite things to do in the city, the best places to stay, and tips for a visit to Colombia’s capital.
Why Visit Bogotá
Bogotá and Colombia have been overlooked as a travel destination in the past thanks to its portrayal in the media and reputation in the past 30 years. Today things in the city and country are much different than they once were. Colombia is establishing itself as an idyllic travel destination and each year more and more tourist and backpackers from all over the world are visiting the country.
While Bogotá may not the most visited city in the country, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Bogotá is surrounded by mountains and the city has ample things to see and do.
The city combined the old historic centre of downtown or La Candelaria with the modern skyscrapers in Calle 100. This makes Bogotá a truly unique and exciting city to visit.
When To Visit Bogotá
Bogotá is located high in the Andes mountain range in central Colombia, the city sits at an altitude of 2,640m (8,660ft). The high altitude means the city is cooler than other cities in Colombia. Colombia has no traditional seasons, but instead just wet and dry seasons.
December to March and July to September are considered the dry seasons with less chance of rain and more sunshine. So we recommend visiting Bogotá between December and March when the weather is drier and the sun is shining.
Things To Do In Bogotá
There are plenty of things to do in Bogotá. I lived in the city for 2 years and since I have left new things keep popping up and each time I revisit there are new things to enjoy.
Some of the best things to do in Bogota are:
1) Visit La Candelaria
La Candelaria is the historic centre of Bogotá, with its colourful buildings, museums, narrow cobbled streets, and beautiful buildings. La Candelaria is located in the southern part of the city, with several museums, government buildings, the President’s House, and Plaza Bolivar to explore.
This neighbourhood has an abundance of restaurants, quiet unique cafes, and street vendors, to purchase traditional Colombian street food. La Candelaria is well worth a day trip from other areas of the city, but caution should be taken as this is the most touristy spot and if you visit after dark, don’t walk anywhere take a taxi.
2) Usaquen Sunday Market
Usaquén used to be a small village outside of the city but as the city has expanded Usaquén became a neighbourhood of the city. Usaquén still has that small-town feel with a central plaza and small one-of-a-kind coffee shops and restaurants.
Every Sunday there is a market in the streets of Usaquén, with vendors selling everything from souvenirs, freshly made soap, coffee, and hand-made artisan products. It is a great place to walk around and stop for lunch on a Sunday.
3) Climb To The Top Of Monserrate
The Monserrate is a cathedral located on one of Bogotá’s eastern mountains. You can either take a tram to the top or walk up the mountain, either way, you can experience the incredible views over the city and beyond.
The Monserrate is a fully functioning cathedral with regular services, visitors can walk around the cathedral, take in the city’s skyline, and walk around the market stalls.
4) Plaza De Bolivar
Walk around the Plaza de Bolivar with a beautiful cathedral and a large square surrounded by government buildings. The square is often home to events and festivals, at different times of the year from concerts to music festivals.
The cathedral is located on one side of the square and Government buildings are located around the other three sides, this area is large and beautiful. On Sunday’s there are often market stalls on the adjacent streets and events in the plaza.
5) Experience Andres Carne De Res
Andres Carne de Res in Chia is a unique and wonderful restaurant that stretches over the streets. The restaurant has great typical Colombian foods, fun dancing and incredible decor. Andres is decorated with extreme and extravagant objects and antiques, lights everywhere and is a feast for the eyes!
6) Discover The Cities History On A Graffiti Tour
All over La Candelaria and other areas of the city are pieces of street art that have been commissioned and represent Colombia’s history or tell a story. You can book a Graffiti tour which will take you on a walking tour around the city, showing you all the best graffiti art.
7) Visit The Gold Museum (Museo De Oro)
The Gold Museum (Museo Dr Oro) is located in La Candelaria and is home to over 55,000 pieces of gold from jewelry to figures and everyday items found all over Colombia. The museum showcases pieces of gold from different communities around Colombia and each piece displays the history of the area and tribes who inhabited it.
The Gold Museum is my favourite museum in the city because it has such unique pieces on display and highlights major parts of Colombian history.
Other Things To See in Bogotá:
- Visit A Fruit Vendor
- Have A Picnic Or Relax In Parque Virrey
- Botanical Gardens Of Bogotá
- Parque 93
- Lake Guatavita
- Nemocon Salt Mine
- Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
- Dance Salsa
- Parque Simon Bolivar
- Andino Mall
- Museo Botero
- National Museum of Colombia
- Paloquemao Market
- Casa De Narino
- Quebrada La Vieja – Hike
Where To Stay In Bogotá
My favourite place to stay in Bogotá is Hotel B3 Virrey. This hotel is not 5-star luxury but it is clean, rooms are spacious, and it is in a great location. B3 Virrey is located next to Parque Virrey which is a lively park that has events year-round from food shows, weekly yoga in the park, on Sunday they have exercise classes and stalls.
Parque Virrey is located on the edge of Chapinero and Chico and is within 5 minute walking distance of Calle 85. Calle 85 is the main street which has shops, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, and is one block from Andino shopping mall. This area has good transportation links and roads to other areas and attractions in the city.
Other luxury hotel options in this area are:
If you prefer to be in the heart of the shopping, nightlife and restaurants then you can book a hotel in the Chico area. For those looking for a budget or hostel option then you should look at Chapinero where more affordable accommodations can be found.
For a more detailed guide, be sure to read our dedicated article on the best areas and hotels in Bogota!
Where To Eat In Bogotá
Great cuisine might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Bogotá, but the city has been making a name for itself through Latin America. Bogotá has a number of areas that are well known around the city for having world-class restaurants – Zona G and Zona T.
Here are a few of my favourite restaurants in Bogotá:
Bars & Hangouts In Bogotá
Colombian’s are known for partying, they love to socialise with friends, family, colleagues, either during football matching, the weekend, or even after work in the evenings. For this reason, Bogotá has countless bars and restaurants from rooftop bars, luxury cocktail bars, side corner hidden hole in the wall bars, and street vendors who serve alcohol.
Here are a few of the best bars in Bogotá:
- Apache – Click Clack Hotel
- El Fabuloso – Rooftop Bar in Chapinero
- Bogota Beer Company – A chain of bars and brewery company in Bogota
- Andres Carne De Res
- Armando Records – Three-story concert and nightclub venue on Calle 85
- Odem – Rooftop Bar
Where To Go From Bogotá
Colombia is slowly becoming a top tourist destination and is appearing on everyone’s travel bucket lists. While many destinations and cities are becoming more popular with tourists the quieter and countryside towns still have a local feel.
Bogotá is a great stopover city or place to start a trip in Colombia or South America. You should consider visiting other cities in Colombia such as Medellín, Cali, Cartagena, and Santa Marta.
Colombia has Caribbean Islands, a Caribbean coastline, tropical rainforests, an ancient Lost City, Amazon rainforest, desert, Pacific Coastline, whale watching, bird watching, plains, countryside, and more!
Related Article: How To Get The Most Out Of 7 Days In Colombia
What To Know For Visiting Bogotá
The typical visa to visit Colombia allows you a free 90 day stay depending on your country of nationality. Be sure to check the official Colombian visa website for the latest information.
The currency used in Colombia is the Colombian Peso (COP). The current exchange rate is approximately 1 USD to 4,000 COP. You can check the latest COP exchange rate on Google.
While travelling, our number one tip is to use a free Charles Schwab Debit Card which gives unlimited worldwide ATM Fee Refunds and the true exchange rate.
Best Tours In Bogotá
Some of the best tours and things to do in Bogotá are:
- Zipaquira: Half-Day Salt Cathedral Tour
- Bogotá City Tour with Monserrate Hill
- Bogotá Capital Street Art Tour
Where To Stay In Bogotá
Bogotá’s Chapinero neighbourhood is our recommended area to stay when visiting the city. We recommend booking your hotels on Booking.com to get the best rate and many hotels offer free cancellation in case your plans change.
Some of our favourite hotels in Bogotá are:
- Hotel B3 Virrey: Great location and some rooms have a park view, right in the middle of Chapinero within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and bars.
- Click Clack Hotel: A beautiful design hotel close to Park 93, within walking distance of restaurants, parks, and has its own rooftop bar.
- TRYP by Wyndham Bogotá Usaquén: 2 minutes walk from bars, restaurants, shops, and a weekly Sunday market.
For more information, be sure to read our dedicated article on the best neighborhoods and hotels in Bogota!
AirBnB is also a great option in Bogotá and you can save up to $44 on your first booking with that link!
Best Books About Bogotá
Read more about Colombia before you go! Some of the best books about Bogotá are:
- Lonely Planet Colombia (Country Guide)
- Insight Guides Colombia
- Short Walks From Bogota: Journeys in the New Colombia
What Power Adapters Do You Need
Colombia uses standard 2 prong Type A or B adapters also commonly used in the United States.
You can buy a universal adapter that will work in any country and has extra ports for USB cables to charge your phone and other devices.
We also always travel with a portable battery pack which is great to keep your phone charged on long journies.
Transportation In Bogotá
- Public Transportation: Bogotá has an extensive bus system called the TransMilenio which runs from every corner of the city. The TransMilenio can be accessed with a loadable card and is very inexpensive. Be aware the buses and stations can get very crowded at peak times and keep your valuables close.
- Rental Cars: It is possible to rent a car at the airport in Bogotá, though driving might be challenging due to bad road congestion, local rules, and specific driving times.
- Taxis: Uber is not available in Colombia anymore but there are many taxi applications such as Tappsi. Do not catch a taxi from the road, always prebook or organise with the reception at your hotel.
Our top recommended travel insurance companies for Bogotá are:
- World Nomads: Comprehensive coverage for medical, travel delays, and electronics.
- SafetyWing: Cheaper monthly coverage primarily for medical.
More Articles About Colombia
- How To Get The Most Out Of 7 Days In Colombia
- Ultimate Guide To The Lost City, Colombia
- 6 Reasons To Sail From Panama To Colombia
- Where To Stay In Bogota, Colombia: A Guide To The Neighbourhoods & Hotels
- Where To Stay In Cartagena, Colombia: A Guide To The Neighbourhoods & Hotels
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Bogotá. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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We Are Travel Girls Editor Anny Wooldridge of AnnysAdventures.com
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