Bogotá is the capital, international metropolis and cultural melting pot of Colombia. The city suffered for many years due to rapid population expansion. Then from the mid 1990’s onwards, with a bit of political will from the mayor, and financial resources from the central government, huge leaps forward were made in terms of Bogotá’s infrastructure, cleanliness, safety and general outlook.
Bogotá is described by many as the Athens of Latin America, mainly because of the large number of universities and libraries. Bogotá is also Colombia’s main cultural centre, hosting events such as the annual theatre festival and Rock en Parque, a free open-air concert held once a year which lasts several days and takes place in the leafy Parque Simon Bolívar.
Bogotá boasts an incredible night life, with an international bar scene, gourmet restaurants and many nightclubs which regularly attract international DJs.
We recommend you to book a hotel in the colonial area of La Candelaria or further north. The Candelaria is the heart of the city’s oldest neighbourhood. Chorro de Quevedo perched at the top of La Candelaria is the place where the city was founded. In recent years, numerous hotels have been built in old colonial style houses and art deco buildings.
La Candelaria is also home to the outstanding Museum of Fernando Botero. One of the most important art collections in Latin America. The nearby Plaza Santander is where the impressive gold museum is found, this has been beautifully refurbished and offers not only a fascinating insight into the history of the Colombia, but also a glimpse into primitive metallurgy.
Bogotá features in many of our Colombia trips, if you are just passing through then be sure to make the most of your time there. At the very least go to the top of Monserrate by cable car, funicular or footpath and take in the incredible views of the city.
Bogotá offers numerous sightseeing opportunities, we’d recommend a city tour around La Candelaria, the imposing Plaza Bolívar and the capital’s most important museums. Following the walking tour a trip to El Cerro de Monserrate to take in the view of the city. Traditional Colombian dining options are available both in the old town and atop Monserrate. A city tour takes from 4 hours to a whole day.
The centre of Bogotá has plenty to keep the attention of the architecture fan. The post-modern and art deco infill willingly tell tales of more turbulent times during the Bogotazo and the ensuing Violencia. The casual visitor is unlikely to know that Le Corbusier left his thumbprint all over Bogotá with his masterplan for reconstruction and collaborations with his Colombian protégé Rogelio Salmona.
In the vicinity of Bogotá we also offer a broad selection of day trips, for example the Sacred Laguna of Guatavita, a spectacular lake nestled in a landscape that resembles a volcanic crater. Nearby the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, a huge cathedral built within a former salt mine. Want to know more about the salt mines? Then a visit to the spectacular Salt Mines of Nemocón must surely be on your itinerary too.
For nature lovers we recommend a trip to the Cloud Forest of Chicaque, a nature park just beyond Bogotá’s Soacha district, an ideal place for a light to moderate trek or horse riding. Or visit one of the local Andean páramo landscapes in either Sumapaz or Chingaza, both of which can be visited in one day from your base in Bogotá.
For the adventure traveller, river rafting, rappel and paragliding are also available within the vicinity of Bogotá, or perhaps you would like to brush up your rock climbing skills at an indoor wall before heading on to more challenging climbs elsewhere in Colombia.
For those interested in knowing where their morning cup of coffee starts life, nearby Fusagasugá is home to one of Colombia’s coolest little coffee haciendas, it is a wonderfully preserved working coffee farm where you will receive an introduction to the world of coffee cultivation
Prefer to take things a little easier? Then check out the thermal baths at Choachí, or add the thermal baths on to the end of a hike to La Chorrera, the country’s highest waterfall.
Still awake after all that? Then ask us for up to date recommendations for nightlife in the Zona Rosa, Chapinero, Quinta Comacho, Usaquén, or perhaps somewhere a little off the beaten path.
Bogotá features in our round trips The Colours of Colombia, The Colombian Pacific Explorer and The Colombian Extreme Adventure. It is also a logical add-on destination for The Colombian Heritage Experience and our short coffee tours.