- Bogotá is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.
Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia.
With a population of about 8.8 million people, Bogota sits approximately 2640m (8,660 feet) above sea level in the Colombian Andes region. Orientation is relatively easy, as the mountains to the east are generally visible from most parts of the city.
To understand the sheer size of the city, consider that Mexico City and New York City are the only North American cities larger than Bogotá. In fact, in 2008 the World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) from the United Kingdom ranked Bogotá as a world city comparable to San Francisco, Washington DC, Dubai, Buenos Aires or Berlin, grouped by their economical, political and cultural developments. What this means for the traveller is a world class urban destination.
Bogotá is a city of contrasts, and as such it offers a unique experience to its visitors. Prepare to find a hectic balance between the new and the old; the peaceful and the frantic. Encounter century-old plazas and churches shadowed by towering skyscrapers. Find peaceful tree-lined bicycle routes cut through by wild-traffic avenues. Bogota is a city with many layers. From internationally recognized universities to regional offices for multinational companies, Bogota is Colombia's capital for official business dealings. It is a city that caters to a population that has been exposed to European and North American influences, which ensures that anything from traditional dishes (Ajiaco) to sushi or fast food restaurants can be found. It's one of the most modern and metropolitan cities of South America and the world. Bogota is divided into 4 sections: The South which is mainly the poorer section of the city; El Centro, which translates "Center", is the city's original Downtown and hosts most of its traditional heritage locations, city and public offices, and financial headquarters. El Occidente, which is home to Bogota's major sporting venues and outdoor parks, as well as residence areas for mainly middle and some upper class living; and The North which is where most modern development has taken place, and combines many upscale living spaces with affluent shopping centres, boutiques, cafes, nightclubs, and many new business neighbourhoods offering headquarters to many multinational corporations.
During the last decades, due to the city's exponential growth, some of neighboring towns have been absorbed and are now considered within the metropolitan area of Greater Bogotá, like Suba, Soacha and Fontibón.
Centro Internacional is located between downtown, La Macarena and Chapinero
The city of Bogotá is divided into 20 distinct localities, or Districts, and every visit to this city should include touring at least three or four of them, depending on the purpose and extent of one's travel. The must-see Districts are:
- La Candelaria: The colonial district is officially the first neighborhood of Bogotá . Colombia's capital city was founded here in 1538 by Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada y Rivera in a spot known today as El Chorro de Quevedo. The next year, authorities re-founded the city a few blocks away at what is now known as the Plaza de Bolívar. Bogotá then grew up around the neighborhood. Because the city expanded west and north, La Candelaria retained much of its colonial atmosphere. The neighborhood is full of cobblestone streets and centuries-old houses. It is now a tourist attraction and university district, as well as the site of Colombia's government. Here you'll find most of the public buildings, both from the City and the Country's government. Historical squares, 400 year old churches, picturesque narrow streets are all to be found here, mixing with more modern developments in financial business district and you can find travel operators who offer city tours in Bogotá and La Candelaria.
- Chapinero : North of La Candelaria, it comprises the new downtown areas of the city, combining office space, residential areas and hundreds of alternatives for shopping, dining and sightseeing. In a city famous for its wild traffic, you'll really enjoy the walks that can be had around El Nogal, La Cabrera and Chicó Reservado. Begin at Carrera 7a around streets 79 or 80, and zig-zag your way down and north until you find the Parque 93. Along the way, you will find tree-lined narrow streets, personality-ridden shops and boutiques, and eccentric dining alternatives. Don't hesitate in stopping for a world famous coffee in any location, and zip your way through all the bars and clubs surrounding the Zona Rosa. Make it through to the beautiful green park of Virrey and walk down its creek for a breath of fresh air. By the time you reach the 93 you'll be glad to take the opportunity to sit down, rest, and people-watch in one of its many terraces. Between the Calle 65 and Calle 45 you can find Chapinero Alto, one of the most "alternative" neighborhoods in the city. Named as well as "Chapigay" or "Gay Hills", this part of the city is inhabited by the larger part of the LGBT population of Bogotá, and it's considered one of the most gay/lesbian tolerant zones of the metropolis. It's also home to many alternative clothing stores as well as stores that have all kinds of music equipment on offer. Housed in calle 58 # 10-18, you'll also find the largest clubs of the city - Theatron de Pelicula - that offers place for up to 6000 persons. Between Calle 65 and Calle 74 and Carrera 7 and Carrera 3 you can find the Zona G (G for Gourmet) where you can find the most prestigious and posh restaurants of the city covering a large range of cuisines with corresponding expensive prices.
- El Salitre makes for a unique sightseeing experience with its ample offerings in public venues for Sports and Outdoor activities. Here sports fans will find the Football (Soccer) Stadium, the Olympic Water Complex (biggest and most modern of South America), and the city's league venues for all sorts of disciplines like tennis, track and field, basketball, volleyball and bowling all within walking distance of each other. Outdoor fans will find the city's biggest Public Park (Simón Bolívar), home to the most crowded open-air concerts and festivals year-round, and favorite destination for all sorts of activities such as jogging, biking, kite-flying, pedal-boating, etc. Culture fans will be at home with the district's offerings of Museums, including a Botanical Garden displaying the most amazing floral showcase of the continent. The district also contains Ciudad Salitre, the best planned residential zone of the city where upper middle class and some of the upper class of the city has its residency; this part of the city offers a very good mix of services, residence and infrastructure.
- La Macarena : A bohemian neighborhood around the bullfight ring full of artsy cafes, art galleries and great restaurants, centered around carrera 4a between calles 26 and 30.
- Parque de la 93: A trendy section of Bogotá with nightclubs and cafes frequently visited by Bogota's "jet set".
- San Victorino : Located in the center of the city just in front of TransMilenio's station, Av. Jimenez. There you will find a plaza surrounded by all kinds of cheap stores selling different types of goods, from clothes to food and pets. If you do go, do not neglect your personal objects.
- Usaquén : The northernmost district, home to many sightseeing locations, modern business squares, and traditional architecture examples. The main square is the meeting point of the area where you can find pretty nice restaurants and bars and located just a few blocks north of Centro Comercial Santa Barbara. But walk around and find more great places to eat and drink. It serves as a hub to connect with outer destinations north from the city, which include many attractions within nearby towns. On Sundays there is an excellent market that takes over the whole area as streets are closed for market stalls and street performers occupy the square.
Other districts include: Bosa, Engativá, Fontibón, Kennedy, Los Mártires, Puente Aranda, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Suba, Sumapaz, Barrios Unidos and Tunjuelito.
The city is served by El Dorado International Airport (IATA: BOG), about 20 minutes from downtown in a taxi in good traffic.
It receives several flights daily on Avianca from New York City, Washington D.C., Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, São Paulo, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Mexico City, San José (Costa Rica), Lima, Buenos Aires, Panamá City, Quito, Guayaquil, Oranjestad (Aruba), Willemstad (Curaçao) among others. El Dorado is also the third busiest airport in Latin America and the largest by cargo movement.
In addition to Avianca , Copa  and Latam , other airlines that fly to Bogota are:
- North America Aeromexico (Mexico City), Interjet (Mexico City) , Air Canada (Toronto)
- USA: American Airlines (Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth), Delta (Atlanta, New York City), jetBlue (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando), Spirit (Fort Lauderdale) and United (Newark, Houston).
- South America: Aerolíneas Argentinas (Buenos Aires), Avior (Valencia, Venezuela); Conviasa (Caracas), TAME (Quito and Caracas).
- Caribbean: Cubana de Aviacion (Havana)
- Europe: Air France (Paris), Iberia (Madrid), Lufthansa (Frankfurt), KLM (Amsterdam), Turkish (Istanbul).
- VivaColombia is a low cost airline, that has began to fly to several international destinations like Panama City, Quito and Lima
Domestic flights are served by many airlines including:
Some domestic flights of Avianca are served from the Puente Aereo terminal, next to El Dorado terminal, and features WiFi access to the Internet from almost every location. The airport also offers FREE yellow fever vaccination (you will be given the yellow booklet) which is not mandatory in Colombia, only very isolated areas in the country are endemic for this disease. There are more than 30 daily flights to Medellín, over 20 daily flights to Cali and more than 10 to Cartagena. Taxis are regulated, reasonably priced and safe from the airport.
To get from airport into the city there are a couple of options:
- Regulated taxis. You first have to search for a stand where you will have to point out your destination and then they will print out a ticket indicating the price you will have pay. Then, pick up a taxi from the line and explain to the driver your destination. At the end of the journey you will have to pay ONLY what is printed out in the ticket. The typical price will range from COP20,000 up to COP35,000.
- Bus. Walking only some meters outside the main door entrance, you will find a "paradero" (bus stop) with frequent busetas passing by. Although this is by far the cheapest option (around COP1,500), it can be daring if you don't know the city already, since you can only see where the main destinations of the bus on a tiny sign at the front when it passes by. However, bus drivers are friendly and quite helpful, and you can ask them to let you know when the bus is passing a certain point of the city. A good option is to ask him to drop you close to a Transmilenio station and then continue your trip from there. If you're heading to La Candelaria, take the bus marked "Germania" which passes through the district typically heading up Carerra 3.
(October 2016) Autobus no: K86 operates directly between city and Airport. This bus starts from Carrera 7 (Carrera Septima-Chapinero) through Museo Nacional (city center) and Portal Eldorado (closest Transmilenio stop to the airport). From airport, bus no: M86 also goes to Portal Eldorado where you can transfer to Transmilenio buses. Ticket price is 2.000 COP but you must have Tullave Card beforehand. You can simply ask for someone to use his/her card and you can purchase your own card when you arrived to any Transmillenio stop.
- Transmilenio. Bogotá's bus rapid transit (BRT) system runs along El Dorado avenue, so it is now possible to use the system to get into and out of the airport. You can only use the system if you have small luggage - you might not be allowed into the stations if you are carrying big suitcases - if you want to try your luck though, the airport line is the most permissive. To get out, find the "Alimentador" (feeder) stops in front of the main terminal or the Puente Aéreo (if you travel with Avianca) - they are green buses with "Transmilenio" painted on the side. This bus will bring you for free to the main "Portal El Dorado" station. There, you can buy a single ticket for COP1,700 09:30-15:29 (or COP2,000 during peak hours of 06:00-08:29 and 16:30-21:29) at the counter to enter the actual station and take the a Transmilenio Bus to another parts of the city or to get out, you also may need to buy the green-colored card "Tullave"(COP3000) to use the Dorado line (different card than the rest of the system). Use Surumbo or the moovit application at Transmilenio to find how to get to your destination. The "Alimentador," bus number 16-14, services "Portal El Dorado" station, Puente Aéreo (at the main roadway curb, not the arrivals curb, just after vehicle traffic passes the taxi stand), El Dorado terminal (at the arrivals curb, about half way along the straightaway between where vehicle traffic enters the covered area and where the airport concourse begins to curve) then returns to "Portal El Dorado" station. At "Portal El Dorado" station, passengers must take an underpass between the Transmilenio platform and the feeder platform. Travellers on Transmilenio can get to the Eldorado bus station by taking any bus number starting with the letter "K." Travellers to get to La Candelaria can take buses with bus numbers starting with the letter "J", and "B" eventually heads to north through Caracas Avenue.
- SITP Urbano Buses. The blue SITP route P500 stops at the Airport. Before boarding, buy the Tullave (white and green) card. The ride costs COP1700 (about USD0.80) and you can link with the Transmilenio system on the 63rd Street (E line) or on the 72nd Street (all the other lines) - you will need the other smartcard (blue or red) to use them though.
- Private Transportation. Hire private transportation. You can schedule it upfront online. There are several private companies like Moveo, Tedecol, and more. That way you can get around the city with a private and reliable chauffeur.
The safety of bus travel in Colombia greatly improved prior to 2007, and nowadays is the main transport option between towns for most Colombians. However, foreigners, as most locals do, should be cautious not to travel to areas of unrest and conflict areas, and may also want to restrain to the major or touristy cities, there is no actual difference in travel by night or day, and incidents and encounters with illegal forces are now unheard in major routes. Do not carry large amounts of cash with you as robberies are not totally unheard of. Service in the 'upscale' buses is very good and they are very comfortable. Pick the most expensive service (just a couple of dollars extra) as these buses tend to be bigger, newer and in better mechanical condition.
Currently, buses run in and out of Bogota's main station, El Terminal de Transporte de Bogota. The station is clean and has standard amenities. Located at Calle 22 B, No 69-59, multiple bus companies have regular routes to destinations around the country. To get there from the airport, you can take a short taxi ride, since its really close. If you travel light and already have the "Tullave" card (COP3000), or will need it afterwards, it's cheaper (but not much) to take a Transmilenio bus to "Av. Rojas" station (After taking the "Alimentador" to "Portal el Dorado") and walk about 6 long blocks, so check a map in advance (Not unsafe, but not advisable at night hours).
Take into consideration that most of the restaurants serving within the terminal can be expensive by Colombian standards, but well served. In case of need, it may be advisable to order a dish for 2 people or just to check places around the station.
The Terminal is divided in several colour-coded and numbered areas ("Modulos") that indicate the destinations to which companies in that area travel to : 1 = Yellow = South, 2 = Blue = East and West, 3 = Red = North and International, 5 = Purple = Arrivals.
To buy tickets, the most common way for locals is arriving at the corresponding area and asking in different companies, and be free to ask for lower fares since most locals, this way the best fares are often found. Nevertheless this is almost certainly impossible to accomplish in holidays and long weekends, where yo need to buy the ticket in advance to avoid hours long lines with a high possibility to not get a ticket at all, for this you may go to the terminal as well and buy the ticket for the day you need, or as most locals do, go to the closer official office of your favourite company for your route. You can also call to the company for reservations, feel free to ask help with your hotel. These days, some companies have online buying services, as "Bolivariano", but most don't.
On the Government sponsored search engine by destination, simply enter destination (Destino) and a list of companies (Empresa) serving that route will be returned along with average prices.
Some common bus companies in Colombia that are found in this Terminal are:
- Expreso Bolivariano : This company has one of the most extensive networks. Some international destinations as well.
- Coomotor  : Mostly destinations in Southern Colombia.
- Copetran : Destinations to Northern Colombia, as Caribbean coast "La costa" or the extreme sports capital of Colombia, San Gil, Santander.
Besides the main central terminal station, Bogotá also has a far south terminal. The area is way off the tourist path, but it is easily accessible via the Transmilenio G line. If you want to use this terminal, alight at the South Portal and change to a 'Terminal' feeder for free. The green bus will drop you off at the entrance of the terminal, which is generally cleaner and less busy than the North Terminal. It also has signs in English everywhere and since many buses coming from the North Terminal stop here anyway, you might want to use it. Do not venture outside the terminal though, there is nothing to see and the area is poor and potentially dangerous for foreigners (and locals).
Also, there is a highly recommended and practical permanent stop at Autopista Norte at the side of the Portal del Norte (Transmilenio station) and just at the front of "Exito 170" department store, for buses heading north, especially those going close, such as within Cundinamarca and Boyaca. Some may make multiple stops along the way, but if you're in the north of the city, its a much more convenient option for transport north. Here fares tend to be lower and you must pay directly to the bus driver just to be sure, not to the high amount of "assistants" that help you find the right bus. As well, you can go about two blocks north to the little "Panama" mall where some bus companies have official offices where you can buy tickets in advance and hop on when it arrives heading to the north, or buy tickets in advance for buses to other sites that you can take at the main terminal.
The city of Bogota is built on a grid system. A rather imperfect one, actually. Chaotic urban sprawl in the second half of the twentieth century, mostly driven by violence in the countryside and the immigration that ensued, made the city develop without any effective longterm urban planning (or, in some cases, just plain bad urban planning). This has resulted in a lot of irregular blocks, twisting streets, and diagonals cutting across what is supposed to be a perfect grid. Therefore, the apparently straightforward street address system has historically been more of a guideline as to where things are than a precise way to get to places. A recent (as of 2012) update of the street addresses in much of the city was directed towards solving some glaring inconsistencies in getting around. Most places that tourists visit are easy to find nowadays, but you have been warned.
Carreras (streets) are abbreviated as Cr., Kra., and Cra. and run parallel to the mountains from South to North. Carrera numbers increase from East to West, away from the mountains - so Carrera 7 is near the mountains and Carrera 100 is far from them - except for a very few carreras near the mountains that increase in reverse order and that have names like "Carrera 1 E" ('E' standing for East).
Calles (also streets) cross the carreras and run from East to West. Calles are abbreviated as Cll. and Cl. For half of the city (the northern half tourists are most likely to visit) calle numbers increase from South to North - so Calle 13 is near the center of the city, whereas Calle 200 is one the last streets before exiting Bogota on the northern side. Calles in the southern half work similarly to 'East' carreras near the mountains: the southern calle numbers increase from North to South, mirroring streets in the northern half. These are called things like "Calle 85 S" ('S' standing for South).
Aside from calles and carreras, there are 'diagonales' and 'transversales'. As their names suggest, they are not perfectly parrallel to calles and carreras. However, the same numbering system applies to them. Diagonales are supposed to be deviations from calles, whereas transversales are supposed to be deviations from carreras. So, for example, Diagonal 107 runs sort of East-West and is somewhere around Calle 106 or 108.
Avenidas, abbreviated as Av. or Avda., are usually larger, main streets. Geographically speaking, most avenidas somehow fit into one the four categories mentioned above, although some avenidas twist around. They usually have a classification and number as described above, but they also have a distinct name, like "Avenida Suba", "Avenida Boyacá" and whatnot. So, for example, Avenida Jiménez is a main street and, in the number system, is also called Calle 13, or the "Avenida NQS", union of three Avenues ("Av. Carrera Novena", "Avenida Quito" and "Autopista sur"), which in turn, in certain sections take specific names, as "Carrera 30", "Transversal 35", "Avenida Calle 45A Sur", "Avenida Calle 57R Sur".
Each address consists of a street and a series of numbers. For example, Cl. 45 24-15 (sometimes written as Cl. 45 # 24-15 or Cl. 45 No. 24-15), means (1) the location is on Calle 45, (2) of the two insecting carreras nearby, the one with the lower number is Carrera 24 (since in this case we are talking about carreras, it means the nearest carrera to the East of the location; if we were talking about calles, it would be the nearest calle to the South of the location), and (3) the location is roughly 15 meters from the interesection of Calle 45 and Carrera 24. Furthermore, since the last number, 15, is odd, the location is on the North side of Calle 24 (if the location were on a carrera, it would be on the East side of it). Even numbers at the end have the opposite meaning.
Despite taxi cabs being ubiquitous and affordable, travelling by taxi in Bogotá entails many risks. The most dangerous is arguably the "Paseo Millonario" (Millionaire Ride), in which the cab driver picks up his accomplices along the way and together they take your valuables, including money from your credit/debit cards, forcing you to withdraw cash from ATMs until your withdrawal limit is reached. To add insult to injury, they can keep you past midnight and withdraw your daily limit a second time. In June of 2013 a DEA agent was robbed and murdered by one of these gangs when he hailed a cab on the street after leaving a pub.To try and avoid this, do as most conscious locals do, only use cabs by calling by phone service (ask your hotel or see below), or in places like the airport, bus terminal and big malls, go to the official stands for this service.
As if that was not bad enough, taxi drivers can be unprofessional and not very courteous. Expect loud music, reckless driving and overcharging. They tend to react badly towards complaints, and the Police emergency line (123) will not take complaints related to them. If you feel that you've been overcharged try to negotiate, but don't push too hard, lest your driver becomes aggressive and starts calling other drivers on the radio for backup, which is known to have happened.
If, however, you do need to use a taxi in Bogota, bear in mind the following: it is dangerous to flag them on the street, so reach them by phone at 599-9999, 311-1111 or 411-1111 (or use the Tappsi or EasyTaxi apps). If calling for a taxi, the driver will want to confirm that it is you who called by asking for a "clave" (key), which is always the last two digits of the phone from which you called to request the taxi. Each taxi has a meter which should increment one tick every 1/10 kilometer or 30 seconds and starts at 25 ticks. The rate chart is printed on a card in the taxi. As said before, some drivers may try to take advantage of you in one way or another, so be sure the taxi meter is started when you begin your trip. Tipping is never necessary - be sure to count your change and be on the lookout for both counterfeit coins and notes. There are surcharges for the airport, holidays, and nights (after 8PM). Surcharge details are printed on the fare card. Surcharge for ordering a taxi arriving at your house is currently 600 pesos, surcharge after 8PM is 1.600 pesos, even if you are starting your trip before that time. Holidays and Sundays are also surcharged 1.600 pesos. Lock the doors of the taxi and keep your windows rolled up, especially after dark. Always check the fare card to ensure you are not being overcharged.
You can check the history of a cab using the license plate number on denuncie al taxista. Avoid taxi cabs with bad reviews.
Uber is a technology company that connects drivers with riders. Uber has seen very strong growth in Bogotá, particularly among those seeking a more secure alternative to local taxis. You must have a smartphone (iOS or Android) to download the app and request rides. While rates for local taxi services can be cheaper, there are less concerns regarding personal safety/theft. The Uber Website provides a list of up to date rates and information. However, Uber has been declared illegal by the national government, hence the service given by all the vehicles in the name of the company. If an Uber car (white vans or sedans with black-on-white plates) is stopped by the police, the driver will probably say that he works with a hotel, and will probably ask you beforehand to say that you were picked up at a hotel if asked by the police.
By Transmilenio and SITP
Transmilenio, Bogota's rapid bus service is generally affordable, clean and efficient. It carries commuters to numerous corners of the city in exclusive lanes ("troncales"), bypassing the infamous city traffic; however, there are some main routes that are not yet reached by Transmilenio. Tickets cost COP2,000 (about USD0.90) in Trasmilenio or COP1,700 (buses). You can buy your ticket(s) at the counter at all stations. Check in Moovit [www.sitp.gov.co/Publicaciones/planifica_tu_viaje_en_el_sitp_con_moovit].
Buses in exclusive lanes all have bus numbers that start with a letter. The letter is an indicator of where each route line terminates. Each of the bus routes in the exclusive lanes has a sister bus route that travels in the opposite direction with a different bus route number. Signs at each bus station show the list of sister routes and all of the stops along the way where the buses will be stopping. Buses do not stop at all stops between the terminuses.
The vehicles used in that systems are articulated red buses; they are fast and relatively safe, but are normally full during rush hour - plan your trip accordingly. The system also uses different kinds of stations: the simples offers bus services at the right and left sides (north-south;east-west) and the intermediates are usually located in middle points and have complete services, such as elevators, station libraries, bikes parks, restrooms. Alimentadores services (buses that reach zones the articulated buses do not) and the portals, the 7 arrival and departure places of the buses, are located near the entrances to the city. Service ends averagely at 10 or 11PM. Additionally, intercity buses from the metropolitan area also arrive at these stations.
The SITP (Integrated Public Transport System) is an extension of the Transmilenio system, although technically Transmilenio is one of its components. It intends to become an integrated system which will, amongst others, replace the old private bus system. SITP Urbano buses are blue and they use the regular lanes, not the express Transmilenio lanes. To use them you will need the Tullave (white and green) card. The main routes can be found here:  (the most touristy areas are in Usaquén and can be reached by routes 37 to Unicentro, 283 to Chico Norte, 488 to Unicentro and E44 to El Virrey - tourist areas in Chapinero, including City Centre, can be reached by routes 579 to Centro Internacional, 494A to Parque Bavaria, C13 to Marly and others).
Privately owned buses cruise all the main thorough fares and many side streets, and are the principal form of transport for the working and student classes. Though they do follow specific routes, they do not have bus "stops"; you merely call to them like taxis and they will stop for you where you are standing. Placards in the large front windows list destinations, either districts or main street names. Upon entering you will be asked for the fare; if you are not travelling alone you may be asked "Para ambos?", for example, meaning "For both?", to see if you are paying for just yourself or for your companion. Then you pass through a turnstile to the seating areas. Check the change that you are given back: drivers often try to take advantage of foreigners by giving them less change. The buses come in three sizes, usually, long (like a school bus), medium and small (called busetas). All have turnstiles. To exit these buses, you go to the back door and either push a button located usually on one of the hand rails or next to the exit, or simply call out "Aqui, por favor!" or "Pare!" (Stop!). Passengers are often expected to embark and disembark even from the middle of the street.
Sometimes vendors are allowed to enter the buses to sell candy or small gift items (occasionally donating one to the driver for the privilege). Or, you may find entertainers such as singers or guitar players, and even the more creative of the street beggars who will regale you with a long, poetic story of their sad situation before asking for donations. Even in the smallest buses, cramped full of people standing and sitting, it is a common sight. Interestingly, Grammy winning (2009) singer Ilona got her start performing on buses around Bogota.
The cost for riding on a private bus is usually 1550 COP during the day and 1600 COP during the night (as of August 2015).
Colectivos cover practically every major route of the city, and can generally be flagged down at any point on a main road. Watch these small buses for lists of destinations displayed on their windshields, or ask the driver (in Spanish) if he passes the neighborhood or intersection you are going to. Not very comfortable, but they are faster than a common bus and it's also used as a shuttle for routes that don't have so much affluence, it can take you almost anywhere.
Bogotá has Latin America's largest network of bicycle routes, called 'Ciclorutas.' On Sunday's and public holidays, many main and secondary roads are closed to cars for the Ciclovia 07:00-14:00, a special feature of Bogotá, where people can run, bicycle, inline skate or just watch from the side. There are refreshment stands along the way and most parks host some type of event such as yoga, dancing, stretching, spinning, etc. To get a bicycle you can rent a bike or do a guided bike tour of Bogota's Ciclorutas by tour operators and bike rental shops; these include Bogotravel tours and Bogota Bike Tours, both located in La Candelaria. The Ciclovia is a fun and healthy way to get to know the city, and to get closer to the people.
Bogota Street in the old downtown part of La Candelaria
View of La Candelaria, with central Bogotá in the background
Home of author Jose Vargas Vila
Many landmark events in the history of Colombian and South American independence took place in the La Candelaria, district including the near killing and escape of Simon Bolivar, the execution of revolutionary heroine Policarpa Salavarrieta, known as 'La Pola,' and the Grito de Libertad, known as the beginning of the region's revolution. And the district is indeed teeming with history, and there are a lot of interesting museums and old churches in what is the oldest Bogotá neighborhood. Some streets are reserved to pedestrians. The most important places are La Catedral, Plaza de Bolivar, Palacio de Nariño, Iglesia del Carmen, Biblioteca Luis A Arango (blaa), the Colonial Art Museum and the old architecture of the houses and buildings, almost all of the museums charge no admission. La Candelaria also contains numerous Catholic Churches, many of them centuries-old. The Colombian-American and Colombian-French cultural centers are located in La Candelaria, and a Colombian-Spanish cultural center is under construction.
- Casa de Moneda, Calle 11 No. 4-21 (Next to Museo Botero), ☎ 343-1223. M-F : 10AM to 8PM , Tu : closed / Sa : 10AM to 7PM / Su : 10AM to 4PM. Has a collection of Colombian coins and the history of moneymaking. Free entrance.
- Cultural Heritage Museum.
- DIBS by Culture Shock Colombia, Carrera 3 11-24, ☎ +57 312 3002215, . This little gallery is a great spot for contemporary art and street art. A lot of street artists in Bogota have their work for sale here. The people who run the place know a lot about the local street art scene and one of the owners also works as a guide for the graffiti tour. If you're lucky and an artist is at the gallery, you can even get your stuff signed. This place has also some cool artsy gadgets and is one of the few places that has good postcards
- Prudencia, Carrera 2 11-34, ☎ +57 1 394 1678, . This restaurant is one of the top locations for farm to table food in the city. It's located in an old house renovated by renowned Colombian architect Simon Velez. It's worth a visit just to see the structure of bamboo and recycled petroleum pipes as well as a mural that pays homage to garden produce. Much of their menu comes from a smoker in their back garden. Its a great place to get to taste excellent Colombian ingredients prepared in an interesting way.
- Emerald Museum, Calle 16 # 6-66 piso 23 (Avianca Tower), ☎ 2864259, . Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.. 5.000 COP. Colombia is the worldwide largest producer of emeralds and this small museum exhibits some exclusive pieces as well as a recreated mine tunnel. You can also watch artists creating jewellery. The museum is housed on the uppermost floor of the Avianca Skyscraper and offers some beautiful vistas over Bogotá and La Candelaria. All information in Spanish only. The entrance price includes a guide.
- Emerald market. Emerald market has a dazzling displays of cut and uncut emeralds of all qualities and sizes for purchase. Worth seeing even if not buying. Also unoffical market close by comprising of many older (read experienced) men standing around carrying emeralds to sell cheaper/tax free.
- Gold Museum (El Museo del Oro), Calle 16 No. 5-41 (On one side of the Parque Santander), ☎ ''+57 1'' 284-7450 (fax: ''+57 1'' 343-2222), . Tu-Sa : 9 to 6 / Su : 10 to 4. Impressive collection of gold and pre-Colombian artifacts from Colombia and surrounding nations. Don't miss this museum. The Gold Museum is unique and you won't find a better place to see the pre-Spanish artwork on gold. Most of the information is only available in Spanish, although there are tours held in English. La Casa del Florero was the site of an 1810 protest by Colombians considered to be the initiation of the revolt against Spain. Free English Tour: Tue-Sat 11am & 4pm. 3000 COP, Sun free.
- Banco de la Republica Art Collection (Museo Botero), Calle 11 No. 4-41. Tu-Sa:10AM-7PM, Sun and holidays 10AM-4PM Closed on Mon, including holiday Mondays. Exhibits Permanent Banco de la República Art Collection consisting of nearly 3,000 paintings, sculptures and assembly of Colombian and international masters from the XVI century to our days. Visitors may appreciate a selection of Colombian painters works, for instance Gregorio Vázquez de Arce y Ceballos, the most important Colony painter, Alejandro Obregón, Enrique Grau, Latin American as Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and many other globally renowned. Fernando Botero - Colombias most important and influential painter - donated a big part of his collection to this museum under the condition that the public will have free entrance to the site. Free English Tour: Wed 12.30pm & Fri 4pm. Free Entrance.
- Museum of Colonial Art, Carrera 6 No. 9-77, ☎ 341 6017 ([email protected]). Tu-Sa 10AM to 5:30PM / Su from 10AM to 3:30PM. Under Eduardo Santos administration on August 6, 1942 the Colonial Museum containing Viceroy-ship art, silver plates, the Virgin of the Light and the most characteristic Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos collection, among other valuable Colombian culture treasures opened its doors. Declared National Monument National in 1975, Las Aulas Cloister is one of the oldest buildings in Bogotá.
- Museum Francisco José de Caldas, Carrera 8 #6-87, ☎ 289-6275 ([email protected]). M-F : 8AM to 5PM / Sa : 8AM to 2PM. Centered around the life of the revolution martyr. Showcases his mapping expedition of Colombia and how he contributed to the revolution by building a fort and a riffle factory in Antioquia. Free entrance.
- Museum of Regional Costumes.
- National Police Historical Museum, Calle 9 No. 9-27, ☎ 233 5911 – 281 3284. M-F : 8AM to 12PM and 1PM to 5PM / Sa : 8AM to 2PM. Its main interest resides in the rooms dedicated to the hunt of Pablo Escobar. Guided tours in Spanish and English. Free entrance.
- Military Museum, Calle 10 # 4-92, ☎ 281 30 86. closed on Mondays, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.. free. Not really worth your time, this museum exhibits the military history of Colombia and also has a room assigned to the role that Colombia played in the Korean War. Some German and French made cannons are strewn around the inner courtyard and some rather modern war equipment is located on the outer courtyard, like a helicopter and missiles. If you have too much time in Bogotá, you might consider visiting this museum.
- Cerro de Monserrate. A true beautiful panoramic view of the city is only a funicular or transferico ride away. You can take the Funicular up and Transferico down, or vice versa. You have the option to buying one way tickets, too. You will have the most amazing views and also enjoy Colombian or French food in the two full-service restaurants at the top. There are also souvenir stalls on the weekends. Remember to bring a warm coat, because it is chilly up there. On Sunday is a very crowded place, so be ready to get into a long line. Locals have their group wait in line to get on the funicular while someone else queues op to buy the tickets at the same time. It feels a bit like skipping the line, but everybody does it so you might as well do it too. It is very important to also wear sunscreen and hat because at such a high altitude, you will burn very easily even if it is "cloudy". This is especially true if you are going around noon. You can also hike up the stone-set path up Monserrate like the locals do without any additional costs. It takes approximately 1-1.5 hours up and approximately 45 minutes down. Remember to allot more time if you are not accustomed to being 2 miles above sea level. There have been reports of muggings, so beware when you do the climb and if you can, go at weekends when the way is much more crowded and police officers are posted every hundred meters or so. The beginning of the way up to Monserrate can be found near Los Andres university. The path up the mountain has been closed for some time (May 2016 it was closed) but might re-open, check to avoid surprises. Transmilenio station Las Aguas is conveniently located. 8,200 one way, 14,000 COP round trip (9,000 COP on Sundays).
- Torre Colpatria, Carrera 7 # 24 - 89. Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Bogota's tallest building and one of South America's tallest buildings is in El Centro Internacional. The panoramic viewing deck is on the 47th and thereby uppermost floor. Viewing deck open to public only at weekends and public holidays until 5 p.m. 3,000 COP.
- Museo Nacional, Carrera 7 No. 28-66, ☎ ''+57 1'' 334-8366 ([email protected]), . Tu 10AM-8PM; W,Sa 10AM-6PM; Su 10AM-4PM. The National Museum is the oldest in the country and one of the oldest in the continent, built in 1823. Its fortress architecture is built in stone and brick. The plant includes arches, domes and columns forming a sort of Greek cross over which 104 prison cells are distributed, with solid wall façade. The museum houses a collection of over 20,000 pieces including works of art and objects representing different national history periods. Permanent exhibitions present archeology and ethnography samples from most antique Colombian men vestiges, 10,000 years BC, up to XX century indigenous and afro- Colombian art and culture. Founders and New Kingdom of Granada room houses rich Liberators and other Spanish authorities iconography; the round room exhibits a series of oleos synthesizing Colombia painting history. Free English tour Wed 4pm. Free.
- Museum of Modern Art of Bogota (MamBo), Calle 24 No. 6-00, ☎ (571) 286 0466 / (571) 293 3109, . Tue to Sa : 10AM to 5:30PM / Su 10AM to 3:30PM. Exhibits a complete collection of modern art work basically consisting of drawing, paintings, engraved work, sculpture and assembly. Houses work of Colombian masters Fernando Botero, Alejandro Obregón, Enrique Grau and Édgar Negret, among many other together with important Latin American artists pinacotheca. The moderns building, designed by architect Rogelio Salmona, achieves optimum space and natural light management. Adult : 4000 COP / Student : 2000 COP.
- Planetario Distrital, Carrera 7 Calle 26, ☎ 334-4546 ([email protected]), . Dome cinema as well as telescope observation on Friday nights. Reopened in April 2013 after renovations. Sits directly south of the Bull Fighting Arena in the La Macarena neighborhood. Beautiful roof terrace.
- Plaza de Toros de Santamaria, Carrera 6 No. 26-50, ☎ 334-1482. Santa Maria's bullring
- Photography Museum, Av 19 #3-50, . Actually it's not a real museum, it's just an office organizing fotographic events. Check the web page.
- Hacienda Santa Bárbara, Carrera 7 No. 116 - 05. A 19th century house that belonged to Pepe Sierra, one of the wealthiest Colombians in that time, that became a mall in late 80's. Famous for its cafés (some of them nationally renowned) and jewelry shops (more than 20). It is a high end mall and not as crowded as other malls.
- Parque & Museo El Chico, Calle 93, Carrera 7, . Old hacienda located in a nice park with botanic information. Guided tour of the interior with its antique furniture. Adult : 2,500 COP / Student : 1,500 COP.
- Jardín Botánico José Celestino Mutis, Calle 63 No 68-95, ☎ 4377060, . 8-5pm, 9-5pm Sat,Sun. Large assortment of plants including rose, food, medicinal gardens. A building with 5 different rooms each representing a different climate zone the repective flora. Apparently inludes 5,000 orchids found in Colombia. Tours available. 2,000 COP.
- Maloka, Cra 68D No 24A-51 (Neighborhood El Salitre), ([email protected]), . Built in 1998, Maloka is one of the only science centers in South America. It houses interactive exhibitions about biodiversity, physics, telecommunications, conquest of space and environment protection as well as the only dome theater of the continent. Interactive exhibitions : 9,000 COP / Dome theater : 11,000 COP.
Downtown day tour
No visitor to Bogota skips the historic Downtown and La Candelaria neighborhood. In fact most affordable lodging and dining options can be found this side of town making it highly desirable by low-budget travelers and backpackers, given its close location to many of the city's attractions. Start your way on Avenida Septima and Calle 16, just arriving Parque Santander. Take the opportunity to visit the world famous Museo del Oro, or Gold Museum for its legendary El Dorado collections. Then continue south one block to Avenida Jimenez (Calle 15) and give your camera a workout at one of Bogota's most famous and historic intersections, where a couple of ancient churches and 19th century buildings collide. Turn east (towards the mountains) and walk up Avenida Jimenez alongside downtown's famous Eje Ambiental or Environmental Axis, which is a section of the avenue that has been closed off to vehicles except Transmilenio, to make way for a generous tree-lined pedestrian sidewalk and an enclosed water stream. Many historic and famous buildings are located alongside the Eje Ambiental, home to Bogota's most renowned and traditional companies like El Tiempo and the Bank of the Republic. A few blocks east just past the Parque de los Periodistas the Eje Ambiental starts bending northwise, so leave the axis and turn south instead via one of the small streets that branch into the neighborhood and make your way up to Calle 13 and Carrera 2, el Chorro de Quevedo, unofficial center of La Candelaria, where it is argued that the City of Bogota was founded back in 1538. Today, bohemian life meets to enjoy arts, culture and music at this spot. On the way make sure to take in the whimsical coloring and architecture of the neighborhood's streets and colonial houses. Continue on Carrera 2 southward a couple of blocks up until Calle 11, and turn west once again just in front of La Salle University: You'll be glad you do since you've been climbing constantly eastward so enjoy your walk back down. Make sure to notice the eccentric street names found on picturesque signs at every corner. Make your way down west on Calle 11 and you will pass by the Museo Botero, museum showcasing some of famous Colombian painter Botero's private art collection and work. Another block down is the Centro Cultural Garcia Marquez, modern cultural center and venue that includes Library, Art Galleries, concert halls and lesson rooms, with year-round events and displays for all tastes and audiences interested in culture and the arts. Continue down west and reach the Plaza de Bolivar, the city's overwhelming main square surrounded by neoclasic government palaces and the Catedral Primada, largest church in the country. After taking in the many sights, you might want to leave the square southbound for a couple of blocks on Carrera Septima to check out the Presidential Palace and its Presidential Guard. Finally turn around back Carrera Septima northward until you find Transmilenio, just about where you started!
Tours, performances and festivals
- Every Friday and Sunday night, Avenida Septima is closed and you can see all sorts of street performers, live music, magic shows, etc. and buy crafts and other good. If you don't mind crowds its worth a visit.
- Check out the Iberoamerican Theater Festival, the biggest theater festival in the world (occurs every two years in April).
International football game at El Campin Stadium
- Catch a football (soccer) game at El Campin Stadium. Easily accessible by Transmillenio and with a capacity of 48,000 spectators, it hosts games for the Colombian international squad as well as for professional league home teams Millionarios and Santa Fe. Avoid the north and south section for these home games which are populated by rival supporter groups; instead get a ticket for the eastern or western wings. International game tickets start at COP20,000 and home games at COP16,000.
- Bogota Salsa Tour (Salsa music and dancing experiences / nighlife tours), ☎ +57 305 727 6022 ([email protected]), . 8pm-3am. Take a ride thorugh the amazing world of salsa in Bogota. Salsa music is a very important side of nightlife scene in Bogota, unlike in american and dancing clubs, salsa music in Bogota is not only for experienced dancers, music collectors or any specific group of individuals. You can see on a 1 to 3 stops tour how local people actually live salsa, it means dancing, eating, partying and listenig life music. You need no prior experience at dancing salsa to enjoy a salsa tour since there are always dancing lessons included as part of the activity. There are also places to buy food and drinks when the tour does not include it. On the other hand, Bogota Salsa Tour goes further than partying and dancing, during the night you will learn about history of Salsa music, dancing styles and almost everything you need to understand why is Salsa so popular in the world. Tours and dancing lessons are performed in English and Spanish as well by local experts that have choosen the best places of the city. Bogota Salsa Tour's experiences are available form monday to saturday and they last between 3 to 7 hours, private transportation is included and now it a very popular activity for locals and foreigners who want to re-discover the city and its Salsa scene. Safety is a priority, transportation, clubs and staff have been handpicked to offer a VIP experience that you will never regret. $45 - $90 USD.
- Take a cab or Transmilenio to a working class neighborhood in the southside. Sit down in a 'panaderia' (bakery), order a "colombiana" brand soda and some good bread...sit down and breathe the environment of the regular Colombian...don't narrow yourself to the upscale Norte. Since picking out one of these neighborhoods can be dangerous, the best ones to do so: Santa Isabel, 20 de Julio, The Tunal area.
- Go to Parque Simon Bolivar and chill like rolos (Bogota citizens) do, walk around the cities biggest park or ride the train.
- Ciclovía. Su 07:00-14:00. Rent a bike on Sundays and join the locals when they cycle, run and stroll on the normally traffic choked main roads of the city. Bogotá Bike Tours and Bogotravel Tours, both located in La Candelaria, rent bicycles for COP20,000 for 4 hours or offer guided bike tours by locals. The most handy and properly most relaxed choice would be a tour north on Carrera 7. You can cycle almost all the way up to Usaquen, from where on the Septima is again opened for traffic. Don't expect the whole city to be car free. Ciclovia indeed limits itself to just a very few main roads in the city. Other roads blocked include: Calle 26, Avenida 1 Mayo and Avenida Bocaya. Ciclovia Sundays are also one of your best bets to explore the 'dangerous' South of the city a bit. COP7,000/h.
- Hike. There are not many safe places to hike in Bogota (further north, near Suesca, has more options) but here are two great places: Climbing Cerro Monserrate. There is a paved path from the bottom all the way up that takes around an hour and you can walk back down or take the teleferico/cablecar back. You should only really do this on a weekend when its busy as during the week robberies are likely. Quebrada La Vieja. Just above Calle 71 and the circunvalar ring road is a path that leads up into the hills behind Bogota. It is monitored by police and therefore it is only open from 7am until 9am (exit is possible until 10am) on weekdays and Saturdays. The views over Bogota from the top are great.
- Ecological Hike in the Humedales, . Who would have imagined that there exists a fascinating natural wonder right in the heart of Bogotá? The wetlands of the Sabana (savannah) de Bogotá is where the rivers slow down a bit to rest on the plateau and “clean up” after flowing down from mountains. The water then continues to flow into the valleys to rejoin with the rivers below, including the Bogotá and Magdalena rivers. In Bogota's Wetlands, one can encounter plants that convert pollutants into medicines and a natural water treatment system in the heart of the city. COP62,000.
- Graffiti Tour, . The Graffiti Tour is a great and interesting walk for those interested in alternative art. You get to meet some of the artists and understand the political motivations behind many of the beautiful pieces around La Candelaria. The tours are bilingual and donation-based. The guides are part of the graffiti and art scene in Bogota and some of them are artists themselves. A lot of artists also have their work shown in the "Dibs" gallery (Carrera 3 11-24) in La Candelaria.
- Second Hand Market, Carrera 7 con 24 (Opposite Torre Colpatria). Sundays and Public Holidays. Located on a parking lot you can find a very nice and crowded second hand market that sells everything from household goods, antique, art, clothes and books. Also has the typical Colombian handicraft items for sale, usually at much better prices than in La Candelaria or the other famous Sunday-only second hand market in Usaquen. Live music.
- Mountain biking from Bogotá (Mountain bike trails / tours at Bogota´s east hills), Calle 16 No 2-52 (In La Candelaria at the tour operator Bogotravel tours), ☎ 57+ 2826313, . 09:00-18:00. They arrange single / groups for Mountain Bike Tours in Bogota. The chairman is Fernando. Everything is exceptionally and good, from the hotel pick-up, the drive up to the super viewpoint at Guadalupe hill then the bike ride itself through wonderful and varied scenery. My only word of warning is that you will be cycling above 3,000 mts of altitude, if you are not used to this the thin air will make it hard work but Fernando is very patient and supportive! Very highly recommended. From COP105,000. (Includes Biking equipment,From 4 to 6 hours)
- Mountain biking outside of Bogotá (Mountain biking near Bogota), Carrera 3 No. 12-72 (At Bogota Bike Tours, in La Candelaria), ☎ 57+ 281-9924, . 08:00-18:00. Bogota is surrounded by small towns, including some in coffee-growing regions, which are great to explore by bicycle. Around the town of Suesca, discover single-track mountain biking. From COP160,000. (Includes bicycle, helmet and bilingual guide.,)
- Heroes Tour Bogota, . Heroes Tour is a free walking tour in la Candelaria which aims at showing the recent history of Colombia through an angle of a dolorous but necessary subject to truly understand Bogota & Colombia. The stories of this tour explain how Colombia, such an amazing country, has been disfigured by cartels and who are the real heroes of the fight against Pablo Escobar & other narcotraffickers. Bogota, is the perfect place to tell this story. Since Bogota is home of national institutions, the narco-conflict took another dimension here. Heroes Tour starts at Plaza de Bolivar, starting point of this free walking tour, is a great symbol of the 3 pillars -Executive, Legislative & Judicial powers- that cartels tried to tear down. The dozen of stops of the tour include the National Congress, thePresidential Palace Casa de Nariño, Museum of National Police, the Palace of Justice, and a walk in La Septima.
Bogota has numerous educational institutions. Some of the better known universities include: Universidad Nacional, Universidad de America , Universidad de los Andes , Pontificia Universidad Javeriana , Universidad Piloto de Colombia , Universidad del Rosario (www.urosario.edu.co),Universidad Externado ,Universidad Santo Tomas , Universidad de la Sabana , Universidad de la Salle . However, there are many privately and publicly funded universities and Schools.
If you want to learn Spanish, universities are a good option since they have all inclusive plans. They not only offer Spanish courses but also Mandarin, Japanese, French, German, Italian, etc. Also, many embassies have institutions that teach languages, including Spanish, for foreign people, such as the Meboc Institute (www.mebocinstitute.com) , Centro Colombo Americano, the British Council, The Italian Institute, The French Alliance and the Brazil-Colombia Cultural Institute (IBRACO).
Learn Spanish in Bogota. If you're thinking of taking a Spanish course or private Spanish lessons in Bogota Study Spanish Colombia  is a free online guide written by a local expat that lists all the options to study Spanish in Bogota as well as loads of useful information about student visa requirements and accommodation options.
Spanish Schools There are many Spanish Language Schools. Some of them are: Lenguache ¡Habla Español! , Nueva lengua, Spanish world institute, Whee Institute . In those schools you will find intensive, standard and budget Spanish courses.
Galeria AMEB (Calle 11 #1-14, Candelaria) is an art gallery in La Candelaria offering not only Spanish courses, but also lessons in all things art (drums, guitar, bass, painting, sculptures, etc...) They charged me 25 000COP/hour for private Spanish lessons. It's run by a retired University professor (Alicia Bonilla) & a full time artist (Ernesto Velasco). An interesting environment with friendly people and flexible hours.They can provide a homestay of sorts as well in their art gallery. tel. 320 485 2860 / 283 7199 ;
The Spanish spoken in Bogotá is neutral and clear. The accent varies from region to region. If you know the basics, you'll probably be fine. Bogotá is full of English academies and bilingual schools, so English is spoken by many young people. The most "touristy" areas are full of young students who go to bilingual schools, and generally, they will help you translate. Colombians love to show off the best of their country to reduce the negative image it has among foreigners.
Officially, it is not legal to work in Colombia without a proper working visa. Visas can be obtained by employers on your behalf.
There is also a significant market for English and other language teachers. English translation or editing jobs are possible to find under the table.
Local products worth bringing home include:
- Inexpensive handicrafts and jewelry from vendors. One of the cheapest and picturesque places to buy handicrafts is Pasaje Rivas (Calle 9 no. 9). You can access the narrow hall filled with small stores crossing Plaza de Bolívar, where the Mayor's and president's offices are located.
- Coffee-based products
- Leather handbags, shoes, and wallets.
- Uncut and cut emeralds brought in from the world's best emerald mines. Both formal and informal markets with beautiful displays of emeralds.
- Inexpensive silver jewelry
- Dress suits and shoes
In Usaquen you can find a huge flea market on Sundays.
Modern touristic postcards and posters of Colombia can be found in bookstores like Lerner, Art Books, Fondo de Cultura Económica or in museums like the National Museum of Colombia, the Museum of Modern Art (MAMBO) and the Planetery of Bogotá.
- Santa Fe, Autopista Norte Calle 183 costado occidental, . One of the newest malls in Bogota and second-largest in South America is located 5 minute walk north of the Portal del Norte Transmillenio station. It has a wide variety of shops, designer stores, and a food court with many local and international choices. A very fun and modern place.
- Unicentro. A very modern mall with many western retail shops. It is located at Carrera 15 between Calles 120 and 127.
- Gran Estación, It is localed at Av. Calle 26 No. 62-47, ☎ 2 21 08 00, . A very modern mall, located in the west of the city near to airport El Dorado. Here you can find several shops, pubs, coffee bar, market, restaurants, banks and cinemas and different places with 100% of entertainment.
- Hacienda Santa Barbara, Carrera 7 No. 115-60. A shopping mall made out of an old "hacienda" in the trendy bohemian neighbourhood of Usaquén. This is the place to buy colombian souvenirs, due to the high number of jewelry shops and souvenir shops, it also a really good place to buy certified emeralds. You can find high end brands such as Strauss & Bowden , Schumacher and Lievano. On Sundays the Usaquén flea market is just a block north.
- La Zona T, Calle 82 Cra 11. The chicest area of Bogota is surrounded by the upscale malls of Centro Andino, Atlantis Plaza and El Retiro which holds various upscale boutiques such as Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Bulgari, Cartier, Loewe and many more.
- More Affordable Shopping Malls : Center: San Martín, Calima. Western and Northwestern: Salitre Plaza, Hayuelos, Floresta, Iserra 100, Unicentro de Occidente, Titan. South: Plaza de las Americas, Ciudad Tunal, Tintal Plaza.
Camping and outdoors equipment
- Thundra Outdoors, Calle 82, No 12-62 (Close to Andino shopping mall and la Zona T.), ☎ 1-5300645 / 310 2578180, . 10AM to 7:30PM. Outdoors equipment : camping, trekking and climbing gear.
- MonoDedo, Cr.16 No 82-22, ☎ (+57-1) 616 3467 ([email protected]), . Outdoors equipment and climbing information.
- Home Center, (Portal Norte). Tents and sleeping bags at cheaper prices.
- 14 Ochomiles is a camping/outdoor chain store with several Bogota locations.
- El Mundo De La Camiseta, Cra. 10 #11-85 (San Victorino), ☎ 312 310 0039 / 311 811 4032. Located upstairs, has replicas of football jerseys. 15,000 to 25,000 COP.
- La Superliga, Calle 11 #11-67 Local 7-8 (San Victorino), ☎ 342 9408 / 283 5379 / 314 244 7644 ([email protected]). Replicas of football jerseys as well as official ones at good prices. 15,000 to 45,000 COP.
Arepas: Corn flour based pancakes, sometimes made with cheese or slightly salted.
Empanadas: The closest comparison would be pasties or a pot pie. These are popular all over South America, so generally each country/region has their own recipe. The filling usually consists of meat, potato, vegetables and rice wrapped in a corn flour crust.
Tamal: Usually eaten for breakfast. A mixture of meat, chicken, potato, vegetables and yellow corn wrapped in plantain leaves and then boiled. Should be accompanied by a large mug of hot chocolate and a piece of bread.
Ajiaco: Traditional thick soup based on three kinds of potatoes, chicken, avocado, dairy cream, herbs, corn, among others. Typically from the altiplano region.
Plenty of options. These are only a few and are divided by areas. However, it is very difficult to find a decent Chinese/Japanese restaurant. Do not expect much even if you find any, since most of them are "fake" oriental restaurants.
A famous Colombian chain Crepes and Waffles has locations all over the city (and country) and offers excellent, reasonably priced food and is worth supporting as it hires only women heads-of-households (single mothers) for its staff. Other noteworthy Colombian restaurant chains include Hamburguesas El Corral, Pollo Frisby, and Jeno's Pizza.
- Alhazar Comida Creativa, Carrera 3 and Calle 19 D. Extremly good high quality food. you get a meal (incl. fresh fruit juice an a side dish) for 12,000-15,000.
- Café Hibiscus, Carrera 3 and Calle 19 C. Very good breakfast to reasonable prices. You get also a good Lunch meal for 8,000.
- Henry Comida Rapida, Carrera 1 and Calle 19 (On the Los Andes University Plaza). Fast food joint for the nearby university, order a godzilla and you'll be served with what is most likely the biggest empanada of the continent !
- Asociación Construimos Futuro, Calle 15A #2-21, La Candelaria (Below hospedaje Sugamuxi), ☎ 3374323/27 ([email protected]). Cooperative of social economy with friendly and helpful staff. Good and varied breakfasts and lunches. The association holds a supermarket besides as well. Around 7000 pesos for breakfast or meal of the day.
- Dona Elvira, Calle 50 # 20-26 (Chapinero), ☎ (57 1) 235 8275, . 11.30am to 4pm. If you're looking for authentic Bogota cuisine, this is the one. Dona Elvira defends the real Creole cuisine in Chapinero since 1934. Sobrebarriga a la criolla (creole flank steak), huesos de marrano (pig bones), sancocho de gallina (chicken stew), cordero sudado (literraly sweating lamb), some amazing Colombian food. Dona Elvira is opened from Wednesday to Sunday and public holidays, and only for lunch (11.30am to 4pm) so plan ahead.
- PitaWok, Carrera 4 #14-88, La Candelaria, ☎ 562 75 94. Small and friendly restaurant with excellent Middle-East and Thai food: shawarmas, kebabs, pitas, Wok dishes and Arabian pastries. Food delivery as well. From 5000 pesos.
- La Monapizza, Carrera 4 #12-25, La Candelaria, ☎ 282 16 65, . Excellent pizzeria with sizes ranging from pizzeta to grande. The pequeña is more than enough for one person. From 8000 pesos for the small pizza.
- Tapas Macarena, Cra. 4A # 26-01, La Macarena, ☎ 2439004. If you like tapas, you'll love this place. Tapas inspired by Spain, including a wide variety of beer and wine pairings. The restaurant is relatively unmarked but is on the corner of 4A and calle 26. This a a tiny one-room restaurant with tons of atmosphere and an open kitchen. Probably the best place in Bogota to visit. At least $30 per person.
- La Taperia, Cra. 4A No. 26 B - 12, La Macarena, ☎ 8053252. The second tapas bar in Bogota. Great food and drink selection. Live Flamenco music on Thursdays. At least $150 per person.
Located a couple blocks north from the Hacienda Santa Barbara shopping mall, this is the little pueblo in the big city (Roughly Calle 120 / Carrera 5). Colonial structures, some small shops and boutiques, flea market on Sundays, and a variety of restaurants around a traditional town square :
- Cadaqués, Calle 119B # 5-43 (First street north of the northeast corner of the park, going east towards the large parking lot, right side), ☎ +57 1 6201199 ([email protected]), . Lunch and Dinner. Spanish/Catalonian Fusion cuisine, including Paella, tapas, fideuá, and seafood, along with eclecltic local ingredients. Molecular cooking is a feature. Between 15,000 and 35,000 pesos.
- Thezera, Cra. 5 # 117-55 (East passed Usaquen's central park, on the last street go South, and it's 2 houses down), ☎ +57 1 215-5290 ([email protected]), . Lunch and Dinner. International cuisine including; Peppered New York Strip, Rosemary Chicken, Tuna Tartar, Lamp Chops, Coconut Breaded Grouper, and Ceviche. Live Jazz on Thursdays. Between 12,000 and 36,000 pesos.
- Abasto, Cra. 6 # 119b-52 (300 m North passed Usaquen's main square), ☎ +57 1 215-1286, . Lunch and Dinner. Colombian home-made cuisine. Between 10,000 and 30,000 pesos.
This zone has some of the finest eateries in Bogota. Within a few small blocks you will find plenty of options. The restaurants are more oriented toward fine dining more so than night club type activity. If you want elegant or romantic, this is a good choice. These are five star restaurants. By looking at the addresses below, you can tell that these restaurants are all neighbors.
- Astrid y Gaston, Carrera 7 No 67-64, ☎ +57 1 211-1400, . The restaurant offers the flavors of Peruvian cuisine in Bogota. Reservations are required, so do call ahead!
- Bagatelle, Calle 70 A No. 4-99, ☎ +57 1 321-3475, . Once a bakery, this restaurant has the feel of a Parisian cafe. It serves crepes, sandwiches, and salads, as well as breakfast and brunch. The Bagatelle is famous for its pan de chocolate.
- Clowns Deli, Calle 70 A No. 4-45, ☎ +57 1 248-0254, . Clowns Deli offers sandwiches and salads for a reasonable price.
- Criterion, Calle 69A No. 5-75, ☎ +57 1 310-1377, . This contemporary restaurants offers its patrons French-influenced, gourmet dishes. The menu consists of a variety of starters and meats, and also offers its guests a tasting menu that changes weekly. Criterion was awarded the Five Star Diamond Award in 2008; the only restaurant in Colombia to receive the recognition.
- Gostinos 69, Carrera 5 No. 69A-30, ☎ +57 1 313-0612. Gostinos 69 offers its patrons seafood at reasonable prices.
- Harry Sasson Restaurante, Calle 83 No. 12-49, ☎ +57 1 616-4520, . Chef Harry Sasson creates delectable, international dishes with Asian influences. This restaurant also has a wide variety of wines from all over the world, including Argentina, France, and California.
- La Hamburgueseria, Calle 70 No. 4-69, ☎ +57 1 321-3350, . La Hamburgueseria is not fast food restaurant, but does offers a great variety of hamburgers and sandwiches, made from the best ingredients. This restaurant has many other locations, so be sure to check out the website to find the one closest to you!
- La Table de Michel, Calle 69A No. 4-15, ☎ +57 1 347-7939, 347-7939. La Table de Miguel offers excellent French dishes. They also have a wine list made up of mainly French wines, but also a few Chilean. The great thing about this restaurant is that the menu is translated into various languages for the convenience of the diner.
- MASA, Calle 70 No. 4 - 83, ☎ +(571) 211 0899 ([email protected]), . American-style brunch and bakery as well as lunch and dinner service including tossed salad to order, by NYC-trained chef. Great outdoor patio.
- Nazca, Calle 74 No 5-28, ☎ +57 1 321-3459, . This Peruvian restaurant serves up to 96 people, and has a 'launch area,' where those waiting for tables can snack. The principle dish of Nazca is ceviche.
- SUNA, Camino Natural, Calle 71 No. 4-47, ☎ +57 1 212-3721, . Organic Restaurant and Market. Suna serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This environmentally-friendly restaurant offers a menu consisting of organic, vegetarian, raw, and vegan dishes.
Zona T and Zona Rosa
This zone has a mix of good dining, discos, shopping malls and more. It gets crowded on the weekend, and is popular with foreigners.
- Balzac, Calle 83 No. 12-19, ☎ +57 1 610-5210, 610-6206. French cuisine.
- Cafe Tostion, Carrera 12A No. 83-80, ☎ +57 1 610-5154 ([email protected]), . Names after the Colombian sportsman, this coffee shop offers a wide variety of traditional coffees. Coffee grains are also available for purchase.
- Casa Mexicana, Calle 80 No. 14-08, ☎ +57 1 218-2874, 257-3407 ([email protected]). As the name suggests, this restaurants offers traditional Mexican dishes, and includes a variety of beers, tequilas, and margaritas.
- Club Colombia, Avenida 82 No 9-16, ☎ +57 1 249-5681, 321-0704. Colombian cuisine.
- Crepes & Waffles, Carrera 12A No. 83-40, ☎ +57 1 256-4683, . This chain restaurant with branches all over the city has great crepes, both sweet and savory, and waffles, as well as soups and salads, for a great price! Try their delicious "Panne Cook", a round bread filled with meat or chicken. They laudably only employ single mothers, which, as a downturn, goes hand in hand with bad service and very long waiting times, since they did not receive a proper training. Customary 10% tip is expected. 6.000-25.000.
- Hard Rock Cafe Bogota, Calle 81 No. 13-05 (Atlantis Mall), ☎ +57 1 530-2200. The world-famous Hard Rock Cafe offers all of its favorites in a great atmosphere.
Restaurant Andres Carne de Res
- Andres Carne de Res, (Chia), ☎ 863-7880 ([email protected]), . Andres Carne de Res is actually a little out of town in the town of Chia, but the trip is well worth the effort. Movers, shakers and the beautiful people descend on the sprawling bar, grill and restaurant nightly. The decor is unique, the vibe amazing, and once you are done eating the dancing goes on until the wee hours. Make sure you have someone to take you home again. Prices equivalent to a high end steak house in the United States. Taxi from the city costs 70,000-80,000 pesos one-way depending on origin. Cover: 15,000 COP.
- Andres D.C. (De Corazon), Calle 82 # 11 - 57, ☎ 863-7880. Opened in September 2009, this is an extension of the Chia Restaurant right next to la Zona T and thus a lot more accessible. It stretches over 4 floors in the Retiro shopping mall and is a bit more orientated towards dining than partying. The menu has 32 pages and offers more than 800 options. Plan on spending a lot of money (cover 20.000-30.000 COP and a Whiskey will set you back 26.000 COP).
- Bogota Beer Company, . Bogota´s very own brewery! Try the "Jirafa" (giraffe) which is a 1 yard long glass full of the Beer of your choice, or the "Campín Calamari" and the "Cedritos Chips" (All dishes are named after Bogota´s most famous neighborhoods). It's not uncommon that you will have to wait a bit outside until a table clears. A beer will set you back around 6.000-7.000 COP.
- Cl 85 No 13-06 (Calle 85), ☎ 256-6950.
- Cra 11A No 93-94 (Parque de la 93), ☎ 621-9914.
- Av 19 No 120-74 (Pepe Sierra), ☎ 214-5464.
- Cra 6 No 119-24 (Usaquén), ☎ 620-8444.
- Cl 82 No 12-10 (Zona Rosa, in front of the Andino Mall), ☎ 611-1254.
- Centrico, Cra 7 #32-16 piso 41 (a), ☎ 3017878755. Wed - Sat 8:00pm-3:00am. Relatively new club on the 40th floor of a building with views of the city conveniently located in the Centro Internacional, sometimes hosting big techno DJs. Formerly known as Cha-Cha club. 20,000-30,000 pesos.
- El Bandido, Calle 79 B con 7, ☎ +57 3114722327, . Great charming restaurant with amazing atmosphere for a night out, especially on the weekends. Good Italian food and great drinks. Live band and DJ on the weekends. Reservations are a must to get a table. Some spots are available at the bar, but it gets pretty packed.
- Gato Gris, Cra 1A No 13-12 (Candelaria). This place is just charming in many ways. It is right at the Chorro de Quevedo, the birthplace of Bogotá. It has many nooks and levels, perfect for little intimate gatherings. Great rooftop with fireplaces and views of downtown Bogotá. Italian dishes are delightful, ceviche not so much.
- Gato Negro, Cl 93A No 11A-47 ((Parque de la 93)), ☎ 6215364, . 12:00 pm to 2:30 am. Bogota´s icon since 1996. Right on the Parque de la 93, it is one of the most intimate and romantic restaurants in town. With it views from its open terrace and warm ambience and decor, it is a classic timeless spot for locals and visitors alike.
- Gnoveva, Calle 84 Bis No 14A-08. Very cheap. Lower prices, the music and the people are great, no cover and a bottle of aguardiente is $35000 pesos.
- Kubiko Bar, Carrera 12A No 83-49 (Zona T), ☎ ''+57 1'' 236-1613. This bar offers imported beers and great cocktails, they also featured a live DJ that plays the latest electronic music. No cover.
- Kukaramakara, Carrera 15 No. 93-57 (Near Lola), ☎ 642-3166, . The environment and decoration of this place has the perfect combination of modern club elements and traditional artesanal environment from Colombia´s ancestors. Also features a local band every Friday and Saturday night that performs Latinamerican singer´s songs. Cover : 15,000 COP.
- Lola, Cra 15 No 93-37, ☎ 605-4405 ([email protected]), . Frequented mostly by students and people looking to have fun, on a well located spot for lower prices than those found on the "Zona T" or the Park on 93rd St. Cover : 10,000 COP.
- Pravda, Cll. 83 No 12-20 (Zona T), ☎ 257-2088. Best Martinis in town, also a little pricey. Try the Lychee Martini.
- Salto del Angel, Cra 13 No 93A-45 (Parque de la 93), ☎ 622-6437, . One of the coolest spots in Bogota, it is the place to see all the football matches with your buddies, beers and really, really good food on Sundays, and on Saturdays, Fridays and Thursdays it is the place to see all the beautiful people dancing salsa and vallenato music between the tables. Great environment but get there early or make a reservation. Cover : 10,000-20,000 COP.
Also visit other local nightclubs where most North residents go like Gavanna, Velvet, Amatista, Barbarosa, Salome Pagana (Salsa Dancing club) or Nabu (Most located in the "Zona Rosa" one of the trendiest parts of Bogotá).
- La Villa, Carrera 14a #83-56 (Zona Rosa, west of T zone), ☎ 3114920249, . Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat. Open since 2010, La Villa has come to be recognized as the hub of Bogota's International nightlife, bringing together Expats, travelers and Colombians alike in a rustic, yet elegant, atmosphere. Playing a mix of International hits, Afro-latino and Cumbe music spun by Bogota's top djs the party is in full force every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday. Be sure to check out their signature event, Gringo Tuesdays, which offers a free language exchange from 5-9pm every Tuesday evening to kick off Colombia's largest international party, bringing together over 1,000 people every week! 15,000 pesos.
If you are going to stay in Bogota, keep in mind the location; Most low-budget visitors choose to stay in La Candelaria, the colonial neighborhood in the center of the city. There are many cheap, nice hostels where you can meet travelers from all around the world. The historic district as well as all the major museums and some nightlife options are within walking distance. Common precautions apply as in any major south american city : do not walk alone, carry as little cash as possible and leave the passport and credit card at the hotel. Pressure from neighborhood groups to oust the remaining criminals has caused police presence to increase but you must always remain cautious. Check the location very carefully before you choose a place to stay, security is worse in the tiny deserted streets uphill and closer to Egipto neighborhood. You'll find several hotels in the upscale northern districts like Zona T or Parque de la 93. Security won't be such an issue but prices are much higher. Nevertheless, you won't have any problem hailing a taxi at 06:00 in the morning because your hotel would be just around the corner from the nightclub (keep your eyes open though - thieves hang around tourist areas at all times and they are most active at the time people start leaving the nightclubs). On the other hand, you can find low to medium price hotels around downtown or near universities (i.e. Chapinero Neighborhood).
Note than most hostels carry a strict no drugs due to the negative effects that these activities have on Colombian's and their way of life. Cocaine use not only supports armed battles but also destroys Amazon rain-forest through its production. Child prostitution is also a current issue for many hostels and hotels who are fighting to prevent this from becoming a way of earning an income for young Colombians.
- Anandamayi Hostel, Calle 9 No. 2-81 La Candelaria, ☎ (+571) 341-7208 ([email protected]), . Anandamayi is a very comfortable and inexpensive hostel in the most beautiful colonial house in la Candelaria old town. Hostel Prices 9-14 USD. Very nice vibe (the owner is a follower of Sai Baba), but it is quite a few blocks walk from the Transmilenio (calle 16 vs. calle 9). This area is known to be dangerous at night. Hostels like Fatima are better located.
- Explora Hostels, Calle 12c No. 3-19, (old adress Calle 14 No. 3 - 19) La Candelaria, ☎ (+571) 282-9320 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Explora Hostels is a very comfortable and inexpensive hostel; it is brand new in a fully renovated house. It has a lot of showers and the staff is always there to help you. If you get to station Las Aguas in Transmilenio its just a few blocks away and in one of the safest parts of la candelaria . Dorms for 6 people are available for USD10 and privates for USD25.
- Bogota B&B hostel, Av. Calle 32 No. 15-63 Teusaquillo (close to transmillenio bus station profamilia), ☎ (+571) 323 2428 ([email protected]), . checkout: 10:00, but you can stay at the hostel till late night. 5min walk from the national museum and the national parc is a quiet nice safe hostel with nice personal athmosphere. 15 min. walk to Candelaria, but take care at night. The hostel also includes a nice kitchen, clean rooms and dorms, 1 outdoor patio, a big living room with 2 hammocks, TV and DVD-Player, free coffee, good Wi-Fi and 1 Internet terminal (but weak computer), laundry facilities (COP20,000 for 10kg of washing and drying) Dorm COP18,000, sgl w. shared bath COP30,000, twin COP50,000, dbl with bath COP60,000.
- Casa Locombia, Calle 12C #1-51 La Candelaria, ☎ (+57) 3003048578 ([email protected]). checkin: When You Want; checkout: 12PM. Located in the historic city centre the Candelaria, directly opposite the Concordia market square. Budget accommodation for travellers with several dormitories spread out over three floors. Friendly relaxed vibe with kitchen, common area, terrace and a functioning bar and restaurant downstairs. The place becomes lively on weekend, particularly Friday. The colonial building is a home for a colourful array of artists, musicians, acrobats, performers and artisans. Volunteering opportunities are also available.
- Chapinorte Hostel Bogota, calle 79 14-59 apt 301 & 402 (Zona Rosa), ☎ +   256 2152 - 3176406716 ([email protected]), . Is the prefered accommodation for backpackers and world travelers who visit the safest and funniest area within Bogota: Zona Rosa, T Zone and Park 93.
They are the first one hostel in north Bogota, surrounded by the most important universities, embassies, parks, shopping and finnacial centers, banks, restaurants, bike roads,theatres, T & G Zone, Park 93 and not away from the historical, cultural and tourist centers. The rooms are space-full, lightly, comfortables and includes wi-fi, towel, breakfast and hotel taxes. .
- Hostal Sue, Calle 16 No. 2-55, La Candelaria, ☎ (+571) 334 8894 ([email protected]), . This hostel is quickly becoming one of the most popular backpacker's hangout, with everything a traveller could want - Great facilities, fully equipped kitchen, sociable bar and courtyard, fun activities and a perfect central and safe location - especially close to the many museums, including Botero and Gold Museum, and the great night life of Candelaria. Rated to have best hot Showers in South America by travel guide, with rooms and bathrooms cleaned daily, not to mention the beds are made up daily! Friendly and helpful bi-lingual staff.Laundry Service. Free Locker. Cable TV with many DVDs. Free Internet Access and wi-fi plus most travellers favourite - Table Tennis. www.suecandelaria.com call 571 334 8894 or email [email protected] Rates from 20,000 COP to 55,000 COP.
- The Cranky Croc, Calle 15 No. 3-46 La Candelaria, ☎ (+571) 342 2438 ([email protected]), . In the heart of La Candelaria is the newest and cleanest hostel in Bogota. Run by Aussie ex-pat Andy and his crew, this historic building has been completely remodeled and features a wet bar, indoor barbecue and cafe serving breakfast and the Friday night all you can eat barbecue. The hostel also includes a huge kitchen, clean rooms and dorms with lots of hot water, 2 outdoor patios, free coffee, excellent Wi-Fi and Internet terminals, laundry facilities, and motorcycle/car parking at a small additional fee. Dorm bed : 22,000 COP / Single with shared bath : 60,000 COP / Double with bat : 80,000 COP.
- Destino Nómada Hostel, Calle 11 No. 1-38 La Candelaria, ☎ (+571) 352-0932 ([email protected]), . The hostel is located right in the middle of 'La Candelaria', Bogotá´s historical center. From the Hostel's street, you will be able to reach all the most important cultural spots, and a party area within just a few blocks. The hostel is surrounded by 2 of the biggest universities in Bogotá (Externado and La Salle), which keeps the area full of students always willing to interact with fellow travelers and makes the location safer as it's up to the next door museums, theatres, famous restaurants and again the universities to keep it that way and 24/7. The hostel includes free coffee and a local drink called 'Agua de Panela', free towels and linens, pick up service from/to the airport, TV room, High Speed Internet Access with enough computers & Free WI-FI, fully equipped Kitchen, Bar with budget drinks and specials, BBQ every Friday and more. The hostel also receive Credit and Debit Cards.
- Hostal Cacique Sugamuxi (Hostal CASU), Calle 12D Bis No. 2-19, La Candelaria centro historico, ☎ +57 1 337-4326 ([email protected]), . Upstairs, very secure and a lot quieter than the other English-speakers hangouts. Very clean hostel with friendly and helpful staff. Wi-Fi, living room and kitchen, supermarket, panaderia and a restaurant downstairs. Dorms and privates (very clean shared bathrooms, separated for men and women). from COP$ 25,000-35,000..
- Hostal Colonial La Quinta, Calle 13A No. 1-43 La Candelaria, ☎ +571 284 7696 ([email protected]), . checkout: 1PM. Good location, breakfast included, 24-hour security, free wifi, laundry for 2,000 COP, TV Dorm bed: USD $12 / Double room with shared bathroom: USD $32 / Double room with private bathroom: USD $30.
- Hostal Fatima, Calle 12c No. 2-24, La Candelaria, ☎ (+571) 281 6389 / (+571) 283 6411 ([email protected]), . . Including breakfast costs a little more, Free internet (but old hardware). The hostel probably has the most beautiful interior in La Candelaria, but mattresses are not solid enough. Hot water is limited by electric heating system. They have opened up a bar as well, which can be fun on some nights. Rates from 18,000 COP.
- Hostal Martinik, Cr. 4 No. 11-88, La Candelaria, ☎ (+571) 2833180, . checkin: 1PM.; checkout: 12PM.. New Hostal, opened jan. 2010, in a huge colonial house in the popular Candelaria district. Close to Bogotas major sites such as the Botero Museum or the Gold Museum. Offers clean rooms, new mattresses and FITTED sheets, big fully-equipped kitchen, hot water, laundry facilities, high-speed wi-fi internet and coffee. It can get a little noisy at night though. There is a big patio area, with hammocks and barbecue and a TV-Room. Hammock: 10.000, Dorms: 15.000 - 24.000, Private and Doubles: 25.000 - 50.000. Every fifth night is half price . Rates from 10,000 COP to 50,000 COP.
- Hostal Sayta, Calle 12B No. 0-57 La Candelaria (One block from the Chorro de Quevedo), ☎ 2810387 ([email protected]), . The tastefully decorated Sayta Hostal is located in a calm and safe part of the "La Candelaria" old town. There is free coffee, Internet and Wifi, hot showers and great rooms with comfortable beds. Friendly owners, too. For the entire hostel there is one shower and one toilet. Also, their is only one bathroom sink and there is no door or curtain separating it from the dining table and kitchen. Very decent owner, but even at this price it is not good deal for what you receive. From 20'000 COP for a dorm bed and 48'000 COP for a private room.
- Masaya - Boutique Hostel, .
- Musicology Hostel, Calle 9 No. 3-15, La Candelaria, ☎ (+571) 286 9093 ([email protected]), . New hostel - opened in 2009, located in a colonial house in La Candelaria district. The hostel offers free breakfast, free internet, bar with food and alcohol, TV room, Spanish classes, hot showers, laundry service. Prices from 20,000 COP.
- North House Hostel Zona Rosa, Cra. 18 No. 80-66, Zona Rosa, ☎ (+571) 8136398, . checkin: 1PM.; checkout: 12PM.. New Hostel in the heart of the exciting Zona Rosa, much safer than La Candelaria. Close to everything. Offers clean rooms, new mattresses, big fully-equipped kitchen, hot water, laundry facilities, wifi and coffee, and nice private backyard. Dorms: 17.000 - 20.000, Private and Dobles: 25.000 - 50.000. Rates from 17,000 COP to 20,000 COP.
- Platypus Hostel, Calle 16 No. 2-43, La Candelaria, ☎ (571) 281 1801 ([email protected]), . Located in the old Candelaria district, it is owned and run by a friendly and helpful Colombian named German (pronounced 'Herman'). The hostel is usually over-crowded and the facilities are too old, beds are neither good nor clean and hot water is not stable. Prices seem like overcharged as there are better hostels around. However, it's still the most famous place in La Candelaria. The hostel offers free coffee, internet facilities and hot showers. Included in the Platypus portfolio are Platypus 2 and 3, where those wishing to stay for longer can take advantage of having their own room at discounted rates. Make sure you book for Platypus in advance as they very seldom have availability on arrival. The best reason for staying here is German's knowledge but he is rarely around nowadays (*At the time of writing, in June 2009, travelers get robbed every night near Platypus. As the location is well-known for local robbers, usually they await victims in front of Platypus at night. Better to avoid staying at Platypus at the moment). Dorm bed : 18,000 COP / Private rooms from 33,000 COP.
- Casa Bellavista, Carrera 2 # 12B - 31, La Candelaria. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12pm. Good central location in La Candelaria up a lively walking alley. Beds made each day, very clean, well furnished cosy place. Open 24h service (although requires ringing to wake someone in the wee hours). Lockers, hot showers, communal computers, Billard, TV, guitar, free coffee/tea, kitchen, lots of bathrooms, and great common area on second floor with glass ceiling. However breakfast is quite light, the wireless internet is sometimes spotty, and the upstairs dorms are located around the common area with practically no sound attenuation. Therefore cheaper upstairs dorms are not ideal for early light sleepers Rates starting at 27,000 COP for dorm with 10 beds.
- Hotel Aragon, Carrera 3 No. 14-13, ☎ 57 342-5239, 57 284-8325 (fax: 57 342-6387). If the Platypus is full, you can try this hotel a few blocks down. Management has a poor reputation but it's actually a hotel so there are no dormitories. The place is basic and a little dated but the rooms are fairly clean and there's hot water all the time (but it may not be on your floor). It's a period style building with spacious rooms, in-room Wi-Fi, a big kitchen (free coffee in the morning), TV lounge, and big bathrooms. Rooms facing the street can be noisy. Single room : 25,000 COP with shared bath, 40,000 for big double room.
- Hotel Dorantes, Calle 13 No. 5-7, La Candelaria, ☎ 3346640 / 3415365 (informació[email protected]), . Hot water (not electric), beautiful building in need of attention. WiFi may be available (just ask for the key). Clean and friendly. Unique charm and kitsch. Avoid Friday and Saturday night if you plan to fall asleep before 3:00AM - perfect if you want to join the partying taking place outside. Huge double room : 45,000 COP.
- Hotel Internacional, Carrera 5 No. 14-45, La Candelaria, ☎ 341-3151 ([email protected]), . A safe, inexpensive alternative to hostels. Shared bathrooms down the hall with strong hot water. No TV in rooms. Internet computers available in lobby. Shared kitchen available to guests. Tourist information in several languages. Clean private rooms from 20,000 COP.
- Hoteles B3, Carrera 15 # 88-36, ☎ 57-1-5934490 ([email protected]), . Four different styles of rooms available, starting with "Cozy." These rooms include one bed, a work area, a full-sized bathroom, a 37" screen television, and Wi-Fi. Located near 93 Park, it is a useful location for travelers interested in Bogota's entertainment or on business in Chapinero. From COP 180,000.00.
- Hotel Charlie's Place, Calle 8-D No.106-84, ☎ (+571) 214-6069, . Run by an American expat, this hotel is located in the Santa Ana neighborhood close to Usaquen. There is also Wi-Fi, an onsite bar and cafe which serves breakfast in the morning, and they can arrange transportation to/from the airport. Single room : 207,705 COP.
- Hotel Confort Bogota, Carrera 70C No 48A- 51, Barrio Normandía, ☎ 571-4730985, . All rooms are equipped with television, safe, telephone, wake-up calls and Private bathroom with hot water. Some of its facilities and services are garden, patio, massage service, 24-hour front desk, laundry/ironing service, car rental, tour desk, free Wi-Fi and shuttle service (surcharge). Rates start at 125,000.00 COP.
- Furnished Flat in Bogota, Carrera 15 No 109- 56, Barrio Santa Paula, ☎ 57-300-266-1022, . This is a 125 sq meter (1,345 sq ft) fully furnished apartment with free Wi-fi, a super king size bed in the main room, smaller beds in the second room, a private office with desks and rotating chairs, 24 hour security, a chimney to keep you warm, a kitchen with everything you need, and much more. It is within walking distance of Unicentro (one of the most important shopping malls in the city. Rates start at 200,000.00 COP.
- Abadia Colonial, Calle 11 No. 2 - 32 (La Candelaria), ☎ +57 1 341 18 84 ([email protected]), . checkin: 3:00 p.m.; checkout: 12:00 (noon). Cosy hotel in an old building, only about 560 metres (5 blocks) off Plaza de Bolivar (city centre). Free WiFi. American breakfast included. TV. Safe deposit boxes. Private bathroom (shower). Italian/Colombian restaurant. Airport transfers on request (fee).
- Arlington Place, Calle 109 No. 19-51 Plaza de Navarra Bogota, ☎ +571-6197053, . All rooms have stylish and spacious apartments that are equipped with cable TV, coffee/teak maker, fully equipped kitchen, living room, and a private balcony. Some of its amenities are high speed Internet connection, 24-hour security, airport transfers, and laundry services. Rates on official website start at USD 129.00.
- A Bogotá on Holidays, Calle 51a #74-20 Normandia II Sector, ☎ (+57) 17575121, . All rooms equipped with Living area, Telephone, Wi-Fi Internet access, Private toilet and shower with hot water. Some of its facilities and services are Room service, Airport transfer, Wi-Fi Internet access, Terrace. Rates on official website start at COP 88,000.00.
- Hotel Casa Deco, Calle 14 No. 2-30, ☎ ''57'' 283-7032 ([email protected]), . checkin: 2""; checkout: 12"". Very close to mayor Touristic attractions like Gold Museum ,Botero museum, Monserrate, excellent service and great breakfasts. Rooms COP$218,000.
- Hotel Casona del Patio, Carrera 8 # 69 - 24, ☎ ''571'' 2128805 ([email protected]), . Hotel in Bogota with 24 rooms located in the financial heart of the city. A convenient, cozy, low-cost hotel that exemplifies the architecture and the cultural heritage of Bogota. COP$120,000.
- Hotel Chorro de Quevedo, Calle 13 b n. 1-53, Barrio La Candelaria Centro, Bogota, ☎ +57- 1- 3426204, . All the rooms have a bathroom and television with cable (lots of English language channels). The staff are really friendly, and ready and willing to offer travel advice. A great base to explore La Candelaria. Breakfast included.
- Hotel Confort 80, Carrera 16A # 79-85, ☎ 57-1-6101678 57-1-6101938 57-321-8154376 ([email protected]), .
- Hotel Egina Bogota, Carrera 14a # 119 - 16 Bogota Colombia, ☎ +5716371610, . 44 accommodations, Standard Rooms, Junior Suites and Business Class rooms, all equipped with Cable TV, Wi-Fi Internet access and Mini-bar. Facilities and services are Restaurant and bar, Room service and Wi-Fi Internet access. From COP 195,000.00.
- Hotel Emaus Bogota, Carrera 4 No. 69a - 46, ☎ +5715442005, . Boutique rooms, all equipped with 29-inch LCD TV with cable channels, Wi-Fi Internet access and Mini-bar. Facilities and services are Jardin de Emaus restaurant, 24-hour front desk, Laundry service and Ironing service. From USD 160.00.
- Hotel Excelsior, Carrera 14 # 86A-96, ☎ 57-1-2184311, .
- Hotel Park Way, Av. Carrera. 24 No. 39 B-32 La Soledad, ☎ (57-1) 288 5090, . Hotel Park Way offers single, double and triple rooms with 24-hour internet connection, mini-bar and breakfast. Its facilities and services include Wi-Fi internet access, cultural artifacts shop, fax and laundry services.
- Lloyd's Apartasuites, Carretera 11 # 94-71, ☎ +5716055757, . A/C apartasuites equipped with cable TV, shower with bath tub, sofa, phone and mini-bar. Some of its facilities and services are Wi-Fi internet access,laundry and ironing services, room service and airport transfer. From 127.32 USD.
- Hotel Lourdes, Calle 63 No. 15-61, ☎ ''57'' 255 36 13 ([email protected]), . Located nearby the Transmilenio this nice hotel offers great value for money, including free, though always slow and at times intermittent, internet and TV. Single rooms with private bath COP$70,000.
- Hotel Le Manoir Bogota, Calle 105 N 17 A 82 Bogota Colombia, ☎ 5716371610, . Junior Room, Twin Room, Suite and Penthouse. all equipped with TV with cable channels, Wi-Fi Internet connection and Mini-bar. Facilities and services are Banquet facilities, Fitness room/ gym, Laundry service. From COP 215,000.00.
- Hotel San Sebastian, Avenida Jimenez No. 3-97, ☎ ''57'' 337-5031 ([email protected]), . This comfortable and convenient hotel located in the pleasant area of La Candelaria offers 36 excellent accommodation, a stones throw from the top sights in Bogota.
- Hotel Santafe Real, Avenida Esperanza 40-31, ☎ (+571) 3686817, . All rooms are equipped with cable television, kitchen, dining area, and minibar. Some of its facilities and services include 24-hour front desk, restaurant, room service, safe deposit boxes, terrace, and Wi-Fi connection. Room rates start at COP 142,000.00.
- Tivoli Suites, Carrera 17 109A 1-99, ☎ (571) 6370411, . All rooms equipped with Cable TV, DVD player, Telephone, Private toilet and shower. Some of its facilities and services are Business center, meeting/ banquet facilities, 24-hour front desk and baggage storage. From COP 200,000.00.
- Oasis Collections, ☎ +1.631.731.1677 ([email protected]), . A portfolio of 35+ handpicked homes and apartments that include concierge service and full guest support. The company was founded in 2009 and have twice won the honor of Top Villa Provider by Condé Nast Traveler.
- B.O.G. Hotel, ☎ Carrera 11 nº 86 – 74 ([email protected]). Bog Hotel has a full-service spa, an outdoor pool, and a health club. Complimentary wireless and wired high-speed Internet access is available in public areas and a computer station is located on site.
- Hotel Retiro 84, Calle 84 #9-95, ☎ +57 1 6161501, . This hotel in Bogota offers room equipped with safe-deposit box, Wi-fi, minibar, TV LCD, hairdryer and magnifying vanity mirror. Some of its facilities and services are restaurant, bar, business center, room service, concierge, transfer service and high-speed internet access. Rates start at COP 230,000.00.
- Breton Hill Hotel Boutique, Carrera 11 No 93ª – 37 Piso 2, ☎ (571) 6215409, . All rooms are equipped with cable television, safe, Wi-Fi, minibar, telephone, private toilet and bath. Some of its facility and services are business center, Wi-fi, tours and rooms service. Rates start at 228,520.00 COP.
- Casa Real 93, Calle 93A No 9A-53, ☎ 530-4884, . All rooms are equipped with cable television, microwave, minibar, refrigerator, safe, Wi-fi, heater and coffee maker with free gourmet coffee. Some of its facilities and services are restaurant, conference room, covered parking, business center, laundry service,Wi-fi, transportation and courier service. Rates start at COP 270,000.00.
- Bogota Marriott Hotel, Av. El Dorado n.º 69b - 53, Bogotá, Colombia, ☎ +57 1 4851111 (fax: +57 1 4851112), . The Bogota Marriott has 264 rooms and 15 suites with service high speed internet, desk for visitors to the city for work and soundproof windows. It offers spacious meeting rooms, pool, gym, 3 treatment rooms for massages and spa services, a Japanese restaurant and other Italian food. Prices range between $200 - $800.
- Cabrera Imperial, Calle 83 9 2-100, ☎ (571)7560356, . It offers rooms equipped with kitchen with microwave oven, air-conditioning, safe, cable television and DVD player. Some of its facilities and services are indoor swimming pool, sauna, fitness room, room service, car rental and airport transfer. Rates start at 537,600.00 COP.
- Hotel Centro Internacional, Carrera 13A # 38-97, ☎ Toll Free 018000 915086, Móvil 310 883 8446, . Hotel Centro Internacional offers 52 air-conditioned rooms all equipped with TV with cable channels, mini-bar, high-speed Internet access, and has a complimentary American breakfast. Some of its facilities and services include restaurant, travel agency, car rental, currency exchange, and medical services. starting from $88.
- Lugano Imperial Suites, Calle 70A 7-62, ☎ (571)313 1113, . It offers 36 suites apartment, fully furnished short and long term special stays for families and executives. It offers rooms equipped with home theater, kitchen and broadband Internet access. Some of its facilities and services are restaurant, bar, sauna, massage service, concierge and rooms service. Rates start at 462,000.00 COP.
- Richmond Suites Hotel, Calle 93 #18-81, ☎ (571) 6235623, . It offers 32 suites apartment, fully furnished for short or long special stays for families and executives. It offers rooms equipped with air-conditioning, 32-inch cable TV, DVD player, fully equipped kitchen with mini-bar and microwave oven. Some of its facilities and services are fitness center, restaurant, business center, 24-hour room service and safe deposit boxes. Rates start at 290,000.00 COP.
- JW Marriott, Charleston Hotel, Hotel Casa Medina, Sofitel Victoria Regia, Habitel Hotel, Embassy Suites, La Fontana Hotel, Bogotá Royal, Andino Royal, Hacienda Royal, Casa Dann Carlton, Meliá Santa Fe, Radisson, La Boheme Royal, Pavilion, Bogotá Plaza, Cosmos 100 Hotel y Centro de Convenciones, Hotel Capital, Tequendama Crowne Plaza Hotel, among others.
Although the crime rate per capita shows that Bogotá is safer than Washington D.C. and most other Latin American cities, crime is rampant. Muggings happen everywhere, at any hour, and may occasionally be violent. Be very careful at all times, everywhere, and try to restrict your activities to the daytime. This is emphasised by the latest (2015) travel warnings from the US Department of State and Canada.
Bogota's major safety problems are the drugged, homeless people that are found all around the city and muggers with knives. The following advice, most of which is common sense, should make your stay more enjoyable and minimise the risk of trouble:
- Try to restrict your activities to the daytime - but remember that crime in Bogota strikes at any time. Be vigilant.
- Avoid walking alone and do not venture into dodgy-looking places. Trust your instincts.
- Do not flag taxis on the street, call them by phone or try to arrange some form of trusted private transportation.
- Do not flash any electronic devices (iPods, cameras, mobile phones) and leave your jewelry in the hotel.
- Bring copies of your passport and important documents and leave the originals in the hotel.
- Be aware of your surroundings and even if you are lost, try to look like you know where you're going (in that case try to find a shop or mall, so you can "regroup" and find out where you are.
- In public transport, try to sit at the front and avoid using your electronics.
If mugged, surrender money and electronics - it is not worth getting stabbed and maybe killed for what ultimately are material, recoverable things. It would be a good idea to divide your valuable items and put stuff into different pockets of your jacket, jeans, back bag etc. Muggings are over in seconds and the robbers normally do not check what they have gotten. So handing them over just your purse might satisfy them and you can keep your back bag or vice versa. Do not rush in handing them over everything, they themselves have the urge to get away!
If anything should happen to you, do not expect any help from either other people in the area or the police themselves. The first are too afraid to intervene, and the Police will probably just tell you that you should not have walked in that road/area and that it is normal to get robbed there. Police reports can only be made in certain police stations (for example in Teusaquillo, cr. 13 con calle 39) or with the Tourist Police (close to Transmilenio station Las Aguas). You might spend several hours waiting in the police station, since a lot of people want to make a report and the average report takes 45-60 minutes to be completed. However, you can also report the loss or theft of your documents and belongings online: http://webrp.policia.gov.co/publico/constancia.aspx (Spanish only).
Again, common sense prevails and note that driving a Mercedes through a poor neighborhood may be unpleasant for both you and the locals (just like anywhere else in the world).
Bogotá's water is potable and of great quality. Foreigners may want to mix bottled and tap water for the first few days, though. In most part of the city the water has the taste of chlorine, which does not impede its drinkability. Bogotá has no tropical diseases like malaria because of its altitude and no mosquitoes either. Altitude sickness is, in fact, the largest health problem affecting foreigners. Generally, a few days without hard physical activity or time spent in a mid-altitude city like Medellín will do the trick. If you have heart disease or a respiratory condition, talk to your doctor. El Dorado Airport provides wheelchairs for travellers with special needs. Private hospitals offer excellent health care.
- Belgium, Calle 26 No 4A-45, Piso 7, ☎ +57 1 282-8901.
- Brazil, Calle 93 No 14-20, ☎ +57 1 218-0800.
- Canada, Carrera 7 No 114-33, Piso 14, ☎ +57 1 657-9800 ([email protected], fax: +57 1 657-9912), . M-Th 8AM-12:30PM, 1:30PM-5PM, F 8AM-1:30PM.
- China, Carrera 16 No 98-30, Santa Fe de Bogota, ☎ +57 16223235, consular office +57 1 6223126 ([email protected], fax: +57 1 6223114), .
- Egypt, Transfersal 19A #101-10, ☎ +57 1 2562940 (fax: +57 1 2569255), .
- France, Carrera 11 No 93-12, ☎ +57 1 618-0511, .
- Germany, Ave El Dorado - Cra. 69 No 25B-44, Piso 7, Edificio World Business Port, ☎ +57 1 4232600, .
- South Korea, Calle 94 No .9-39, ☎ +57 1 616-7200 ([email protected]). 8:00-12:00 / 14:00-17:00 Monday to Friday.
- Venezuela, Carrera 11 N° 87-51 Edificio Horizonte Piso 5, ☎ +57 1 644-5555 ([email protected], fax: +57 1 640-1242), .
The most important media for Bogotá are:
- El Tiempo  is the country's largest daily with a heavy focus on the capital.
- El Espectador  has a liberal point of view and also a heavy focus on Bogotá.
- City TV  is the local commercial television station.
- Radio Santa Fé  is the local radio station.
For news and travel information on Bogotá in English:
There are so many great places to see within a couple of hours of Bogota, and for people that have spent a lot of time in the city, getting out is a necessity! It's also easy to find a completely different climate zone, and if you've spent any time in Bogota you'll know that it isn't so warm -- so a muggy poolside finca might be just what the doctor ordered!
North of Bogota
- Visit nearby towns like Chia, Cajica, Guatavita, Tabio, and Zipaquira. You can find cheap and fast transportation to any of these destinations either from the Terminal de transportes in El Salitre or the Transmilenio's Portal del Norte bus stop. By all means, try to circumvent rush hour for the part of your journey that runs through Bogotá: you might find yourself spending 2 hours in the bus just trying to leave the city. From most, you can return the same day. But it's a good idea to get out, Bogotá is a chaotic city surrounded by lots of relaxed and peaceful places.
- Further afield is the popular colonial town Villa de Leyva, 2-3 hours north. In that direction you could also visit Tunja, Paipa and Sogamoso.
Catedral de Sal in Zipaquirá
- Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá, . An impressive Cathedral hewn out of a salt mine in Zipaquira. A visit is by guided tour and takes around 2 hours. English, German, French, and Spanish-speaking guides are available. Spanish tours depart every 30 minutes, for English tours you have to wait longer. To get there you can take a share or private guided tour or take the Transmilenio to Portal del Norte and then a bus to Zipaquirá (2 hours / 5,750 COP). There is also a tourist train, doing the journey from central Bogotá to Zipaquira via Usaquen (40.000 one way). Consider taking a taxi when arriving in Zipa(4000 COP), as it is a 20-minute uphill walk from where the bus drops you off. You can walk back through the town and enjoy nice views. The current cathedral is the second construction and opened in 1995 after the first one had to close because of safety concerns. The other lesser known salt mine in the valley that you can visit is Nemocon, in a charming town with pictures painted all over the town's buildings. Entrance : 20,000 COP with student ID or COP 35,000 adult.
- Andrés Carne de Res (Restaurant and nightclub) Amazing steak and a great place to party. Do not miss it if you want to see how important food and dancing is for Colombians! Very mixed crowd of all ages. As expensive as the branch in Bogotá. Calle 3 # 11A -56 Phone: 863-7880 (Chía) Live music is one the best "rumbiaderos" (nightclubs). It is located about 20 mins north of Bogotá by car or around 1 1/2 hours by Transmilenio (to Portal Norte) and public bus (to Chia) from La Candelaria.
- Suesca is a local adventure sports hub, with bouldering and climbing available everywhere. There are also tour operators who organize rafting trips to the nearby rivers. Around 1h north from Portal Norte by public bus (7.000 COP).
- North of Bogota, in the hills above Sopo lies Pionono National Park, which has great day hikes from where you can look down on Guatavita Lake on one side and the northern Bogota suburbs on the other side. It passes through the unique high alpine ecosystem similar to the larger Chingaza National Park to the east (also a good day trip, but you'd need private transport for that). Buses to Sopo from Portal del Norte, and either walk (a long way) to the top of the hill or hire a taxi in Sopo. Sopo is also the location of the Alpina milk factory.
East of Bogota
- The amazing road to La Calera goes up from central Bogota with beautiful views over the city and used to be one of the most popular night spots in the city. Students on Chiva party buses are now the most frequent visitors at night.
- Choachí is the best kept secret in town. This small village 50 minutes east of Bogotá is reached after climbing up and down a tall mountain, so tall you can see Monserrate at your feet. Local cooking, hot springs (20.000 COP) and a great Swiss restaurant await for you at your destination. Buses go from the Tercer Milenio Transmilenio station.
- Laguna del Cacique Guatavita, ☎ 57 + 1 + 2826313. Closed every Monday. If Monday is a holiday, then it is closed Tuesday. This spiritual lake is where the legend of El Dorado originated. The Muisca Indian Kings used to have religious ceremonies in the middle of the lake. They were pushed on a float to the middle of the lake, all their bodies covered in gold dust, and threw gold offerings as sacrifices into the lagoon. English/Spanish guided tour is available. The journey will take little more time than to Zipaquirá (depending on traffic, expect to spend between 1 1/2 and 4 hours for the one way). Go to Transmilenio's North Portal and find the inter-municipal route within the Portal to Sesquilé/Guatavita. Let the driver know that you intend to go to the Lagoon and he'll drop you off at a point where you have to walk - it's quite a hike on a steep hill, but people going by car will often pick you up and take you to the entrance if you ask. Of the little information available on site, all is translated to proper English. One reconstructed typical house of the Muisca people can be found close to the entrance. Otherwise, it's just a 1 hour walk to the lagoon and back again. Without a guide the place might seem not very interesting to you. There is also a pleasant small village called Guatavita, located directly at the edge of a big reservoir, just a few kilometers away from the lagoon. Foreigners : 13,600 COP / Colombians : 8,800 COP.
South East of Bogota
- Melgar, La Mesa and Giradot are small cities approximately 100 km southeast of Bogotá and together comprise the by far most popular weekend get-away for Bogotá's upper class. Melgar is known as the "City of Thousand Pools", due to the abundance of private vacation homes that have their own swimming pool. The climate is very hot and humid (around 30 to 35° Celsius) and therefore these places are the perfect place to get a dose of heat coming from always cool and chilly Bogotá. Nothing else to see there though. Catch a bus from Terminal de Transporte in El Salitre. The journey will take you between 2-4 hours, depending on the traffic situation.
West of Bogota
- La Vega lies down a spectacular winding road in a cute little valley. Horseriding is popular, and there is supposed to be a butterfly park there somewhere.
- The very little known Tobia lies the west past La Vega (around 2-3 hours) where white-water rafting, rapelling and caving is popular and well-established.
South of Bogota
- Salto del Tequendama. The site where the Rio Bogotá falls appromimately 80 meters down the edge of the high plateau. Less than one hour with public transport from Portal Sur. A old, beautiful hotel was reopened as a museum after years of renovation. The stink of the Rio Bogotá, which almost surely is the most polluted river of Colombia, will likely make a visit to these falls a rather unpleasant experience.
- Parque Natural Chicaque is a beautiful, privately owned natural reserve close to the Bogotán suburb of Soacha in the south, more or less a 1h drive from the Transmilenio station Portal Sur. At weekends and public holidays, sometimes there is a shuttle service leaving from Portal Sur to Chicacque and the other way round (7.000 COP). Also you can take a tour or private transfer service to Chicaque with travel companies like; Bogotravel tours located in La Candelaria. Check their website for the timings. There are various ecological paths crisscrossing the natural reserve, that encompasses true cloud forest. Longest hike to a Cascade takes around 5 hours and covers 8 km. Many shorter walks on nice natural stone paths available as well. Restaurant and possibility to spend the night in tree houses or the lodge in the heart of the park. Very costly though. Entrance fee: 12.500 - 13.000 COP, depending on the season.
Bogotá is a hub to visit other places in Colombia. As the capital city is centrally located you can easily visit many distinct destinations such as the Amazon Jungle (1.5 hrs by plane), Spanish colonial cities Cartagena or Popayán (1 hr flight), modern cities like Medellín located in an impressive Andean valley or Cali at the foothills of the Andes.
To get to the airport from the city, you may use taxi or a public buseta (van). A way to get by public transport is either to go to the Calle 19, which from the Candelaria where most foreigners tend to stay, is only 4-5 blocks away. Catch a bus that says "Aeropuerto". Or go the Avenida 26 which is the street that goes directly to the airport. Also look for buses that state "Aeropuerto" there. This journey may take around 45 Minutes from the city center depending on the traffic conditions, but is significally cheaper than taking a taxi anywhere in the city (1.300 COP vs. around 25.000 COP). The Transmilenio K10 route will drop you off at Portal El Dorado, and you can board a green Alimentador bus from there to the Airport and the Puente Aéreo.
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