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What to do in Bogotá

Bogotá is a colourful and vibrant city packed with interesting sights, experiences and cultural goings on as well as night life befitting of any great capital. From the colonial south to the affluent north Bogotá brims with a myriad ways in which to spend your time

What to do in Bogotá consists of:

  • the interactive map below
  • a general overview of Bogotá, its sights, services and places of interest; this follows the map
  • a database of listings accessible via the CAPITALISED tags below right or by searching here
  • Interactive map

    Click an entry in the left hand column to locate it on the map and to see more details. Zoom in to see area-specific listings, zoom out to see all listings. Check ‘Panoramio’ for pictures


    I’ve attempted (or will have attempted, once finished) to cover all main themes that you’re likely to be interested in – transport, accommodation, eating, sights and activities, night life, festivals, museums and galleries and day trips. Prices are given in Colombian Pesos (COP), use this currency converter to convert to your currency

    This guide is very much work in progress, please send suggestions for additions to alex@afowen.com and feel free to add info to/recommend/slag off individual listings using the comments facility

    Transport

    Travelling from the airport and bus terminal

    There are taxi kiosks at the airport and bus stations where you’ll be given a ticket with your destination address and fare. It’s a good idea to use this service if you’re worried about being over-charged. Many taxi drivers will refuse to take you without a ticket. If you want to avoid the queue or potentially save a few thousand pesos you can often get a cab in front of the airport building. If so, ensure that the meter is reset when you start your journey (meters start at 25 units). A taxi should cost less than 20,000 COP to wherever you want to go in town – for more taxi info including charge structure details see here

    Bus – If you are feeling a little more adventurous then you can take a public bus from outside the airport. Charges are 1,300 pesos during the day and 1,350 at night and on Sundays and public holidays

    Travelling to the airport by bus – for those staying in La Candelaria, buses to the airport can be taken from Calle 19, a good place to catch them is to the east (the mountain side) of Carrera 4 as they round the corner of Carrera 2

    Getting around town

    Taxis are plentiful in Bogotá, and cheap with the minimum fare of 3,200 COP and a trip from the centre to Zona Rosa usually less than 10,000 COP. See here for full taxi details

    The Transmilenio or Transmi is Bogotá’s big red bendy bus system with dedicated carriageways allowing the buses (some of them double-benders) to avoid the traffic jams that so plague the city. Fares are 1,600 COP per journey. It’s worth buying a few fares at a time if you’re intending to make multiple journey so as to avoid the massive queues that can form at rush hour. See a route map here

    Buses run all over the city and cost 1,300 COP during the day and 1,350 at night, on Sundays and public holidays. The key points of the routes are displayed on boards in the front windows. Until you know what you are doing it’s probably breast to ask a local for advice on which bus to get and check with the driver on boarding that they actually go there

    Accommodation

    See listings for: HOSTELS

    Most hostels (backpackers, not recovering addicts) are in La Candelaria, the colonial heart of Bogotá; Cranky Croc and Destino Nómada are commonly held to be two of the best. Expect to pay between 15,000 and 20,000 COP for a dorm bed and up to 60,000 COP for a private room for two. Beds for as little as 10,000 COP can be found in less salubrious establishments

    Outside of La Candelaria, El Cafecito is a quiet hostel about 20 blocks to the north near to the leafy Parque Nacional, and La Pinta lies in Chapinero, a cool area of town in itself and much closer to Zona Rosa than the other hostels

    For info on more expensive places to stay, probably best go to an expensive places to stay website…

    Eating

    See listings for: CAFES, DESSERTS, EMPANADAS, JUICES AND SMOOTHIES, RESTAURANTS, SET MEALS, SNACK FOOD, SUPERMARKETS, VEGETARIAN FOOD, ZONA ROSA,

    Street food abounds in Bogotá. Freshly cut mango and pineapple, salpicón (a drink made of finely chopped fruits and their juice), hand fried potato chips, plantain and churro are all to be found for 1,000 COP. Buñuelos (deep-fried balls of cornflour and cheese), pandebono (baked cheesy corn and cassava bread) with or without an arequipe filling and almojábana (similar to yet not as nice as pandebono) are typical breadstuffs readily available from shop fronts all over the city for 1,000 – 1,500 COP. Empanadas (deep-fried breaded parcels of meat or cheese) and arepas (hard corn pancakes served either simply with butter and about 1/2 a pound of salt or a range of fillings including, interestingly, quails eggs) are other snack foods to be found in all quarters and your typical street sweet is the oblea – two large wafers filled with your choice of arequipe, jam, cream, cheese, nuts and glacé fruit – probably best to get one with everything…

    For heartier traditional foods, head to Calle 11 between Carerras 6 and 7 (near Plaza Bolívar) where a number of restaurants including La Puerta Falsa serve local plates including Ajiaco Santafereño and the typical breakfast of hot chocolate, bread and cheese. For survival porpoises, three course set meals (menús) can be found for as little as 4,000 COP all over town

    La Candelaria, the hostel district, has many snack food places, bakeries, cafés and restaurants. Yumi Yumi does very good quality sandwiches and fantastic juices and smoothies. Quinua y Amaranto and Crazy Mongolian are two of my favourite places for everyday, good quality food at a reasonable price. For more salubrious surroundings, there are a few well appointed restaurants around El Chorro de Quevedo with La Rosita with its open fire when cold, offering high-level home-made desserts. Satsuma is a swanky yet reasonably priced sushi bar/restaurant, if you’re looking for a treat…

    Macarena, a funky and bohemian neighbourhood about 10 blocks north of La Candelaria has about 20 good quality restaurants in close proximity to each other, mostly on Carrera 4a with Calle 27. Arabic, French, generic (North) American, Italian, Seafood, Spanish, Sushi and others are on offer – you can safely come here on a random and be sure that you’ll find something to suit your taste, unless you are mental or something… My favourite for service, atmosphere and the French onion soup is Liberty

    It is said that Zona G is the place to head for the finest dining in Bogotá, a websearch suggests it lies between Carreras 4 and 7 and Calles 69 and 79. Parque 93 (Carreras 11a-13, Calles 93a-93b) offers a range of good eating in a very modern and western looking and feeling location and Usaquén, whose park lies between Carreras 6 and 6a and Calles 118 and 119 offers more good food in a pretty village-type atmosphere

    There is a very good French restaurant on Monserrate with amazing views of the city

    Sights and activities

    See listings for: ACTIVITIES BOUTIQUES CAFES CINEMAS CRAFTS/ARTISANRY CYCLE HIRE CYCLING FLEA MARKETS FREE STUFF JUICES AND SMOOTHIES MALLS MUSEA GALLERIES ETC PLACES OF INTEREST SOUVENIRS TEN PIN BOWLING TOURS

    Where to start… downtown I suppose…

    I’m in the process of completing this overview, search for what to do in Bogotá using the CAPITALISED tags in the tag cloud to the right…

    Night life

    See listings for: BARS CLUBS ZONA ROSA

    Festivals

    Museums and galleries

    See listings for: MUSEA GALLERIES ETC

    Day trips

    See listings for: DAY TRIPS

    Parque Chicaque is a beautiful natural park that lies to the south west of Bogotá, replete with walking trails, amazing views and all kinds of naturey stuff. It makes for a very full day, accommodation is available on site. Full details available via the link

    The impressive salt cathedral at Zipaquirá is a popular destination for a day trip whilst in Bogotá. From the centre (La Candelaria), the journey takes about 2 hours involving taking a local bus from Portal Norte

    La Laguna de Guatavita is a picturesque lake in beautiful countryside to the north of Bogotá. There are many versions of El Dorado legends born of the lake and the Muisca to whom it is sacred, some of her treasures can be seen in the Museo del Oro. This day trip includes countryside walking and a guided tour of the lake. Full details available via the link

    Santandercito is a peaceful village a couple of hours from Bogotá centre. The stunning Salto de Tequendama (waterfall) is passed on the way with Santandercito offering an orchid garden, zoo, walks, and general chilling out with spectacular views. Full details available via the link

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