Let’s be honest here, Bogota is absolutely huge. And, at 2,600m above sea level, the views are indescribable. Happily, it’s not all drug smuggling and rival gangs in this part of Colombia (phew!). Instead, you’ll find a beautiful, cultured and varied city that throws up some stark contrast between the old and the new.
Stroll around centuries-old buildings, such as the Catedral Primada or the Iglesia Museo de Santa Clara, or simply soak up the enormity and beauty of El Centro and its varied population.
Sports-mad folk won’t want to miss out on El Salitre, and for the hippies, artists and sandal-wearers out there, you won’t want to miss out on the fantastically named La Macarena(doing the awful dance craze is optional) for cafés, restaurants and smoking-hot-people watching!
Bogota’s Top 10
10. Church of San Francisco Hourly masses make for a pretty crowded experience, but as Bogota’s oldest surviving structure, it’s worth a look.
5. Museo Botero Picasso and his old chums hang here, as well as many works by Columbia’s most famous artist (Sr. Botero himself, obviously).
9. Palacio de Justicia A violent struggle for ownership gives this palace its history. Try to keep the gorilla/guerrilla jokes to a minimum.
4. Plaza de Bolívar Get ready to be pigeon-pooped on in this very famous square.
8. Iglesia Museo de Santa Clara A blinged-out church, now run by the government as a museum.
3. Cerro de Monserrate Take the cable car to the top for some fantastic views.
7. Museo del Siglo XIX If you’re all learned out, picture your girlfriend (or yourself) in one of the many amazing corsets on display.
2. Catedral Primada Learn why this enormous structure is the poster girl for the phrase “dust your self off and try again”.
6. Museo de Arte Colonial: Just when you’re about to get sick of art, you’ll love the messy sketches and open spaces at this gallery.
1. Museo Histórico Policia: Hear a story or three from local, English-speaking guides. Bizarre, but awesome.
- La Candelaria – Landmark area where many Colombian and South American historical events took place.
- Plaza de Bolivar – The central plaza for Bogota with neoclassical government palaces.
- Hacienda Santa Barbara – A house from 1800s belonging to one of the richest families in Colombia.
- Catedral Primada – Sits on the town square and is the largest church in the country.
- Presidential Palace – Located on Carrera Septima and comes complete with the Presidential Guard.
Bogota Art & Culture
- Donacion Botero – Gift to Bogota by the artist Botero includes his works, plus Renoir, Picasso, Dali and Monet, among others.
- Casa de Moneda – Vast collection of Colombian coins and includes the history of moneymaking.
- Gold Museum – Amazing collection of gold and artefacts from the pre-Columbian era.
- Banco de la Republica Art Collection – With 3,000 pieces of art dating back to the 1500s.
- Museum of Colonial Art - Features treasures from Colombian history.
- Santa Fe – One of Bogotaá’s newest malls and the second largest on the continent.
- Unicentro – Centrally located mall with great variety and assortment of unique shops.
- Hacienda Santa Barbara – Home to a trendy mall with a Sunday flea market just up the street.
- La Zona T – An upscale area with three top-notch malls: Centro Andina, Atlantis Plaza and El Retiro.
- San Andresito – One of the biggest shopping areas in the city, covering many city blocks.
Gay & Lesbian Bogota
- Tokyo Lounge – A cool place for dancing with electronic and popular dance music.
- Colosos Cafe Bear – Great place to get a bite to eat or hang out.
- Chase – A stylish bar with a great design and a friendly atmosphere.
- Babylon – One of the most popular saunas in the area and a well-known social hub.
- Theatron – The largest club of its kind in Bogota, with many venues that offer different music.
- Cerro de Monserrate – For an incredible panoramic view of the city, with funicular rides and restaurants.
- Torre Colpatria – The tallest building in Bogota, with a panoramic observation deck on top.
- Avenida Septima – Each Friday and Saturday night see street performers, magic shows, live music and arts and crafts.
- Ciclovia – Every Sunday, some avenues are closed and the streets are opened for walking, jogging, bike riding and skating.
- Parque Simon Bolivar – Take a walk, ride the train, get a bite to eat and a cup of Colombia’s world-famous coffee.
- To see great soccer games, check out the El Campin Stadium.
- For bullfights, see Bogota’s Plaza de Toros de Santamaria bullring.
- To get in on great basketball games, check out the Bogota Sports Centre.
- To get in exercise as you take in the city’s sights and sounds, why not try some of the bike tours available in Bogota.
- For a great game of golf, try the Bogota Golf Centre.
March brings with it the Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro, when performers from 45 countries put on classic, dance, avant-garde, circus, music and street theatre productions.
July 20 is Independence Day. Celebrate independently, or with a group. Ho ho!
The Red Bull Flugtag comes to town in September. Watch the crazies try to fly their contraptions and, let’s face it, fail spectacularly!
The famous Bogota Festival of Cinema walks the red carpet in October. Join in the festivities or try to land yourself a role in the next big hit!
When To Go
Bogota is pretty bloody high up, so you may feel a little dizzy from the altitude for a day or two. So take it easy on arrival.
Bogota is generally dry, with April and October tending to be the wettest months.
Temperatures are pretty even all year, ranging from about 9 to 18°C (48-64°F).
There are buses in the city, but they’re not the best. They stop running at around 9pm, come at seemingly randomly times and are quite slow.
The best way to get around is by taxi. But always insist that the meter is running.
There are great bike tracks all around the city, so riding a bike is a fun and convenient solution. Traffic can be an issue, though, so if you want just a casual spin, do it on a Sunday.
One of the premier capitals in the Americas, Bogotá is replete with landmarks, monuments and natural beauty. As the foremost city in Colombia, with more than 8 million people, "The Athens of South America" is a vibrant arts and culture mecca. Built on a high plateau in the foothills of the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes, Bogotá is no stranger to natural beauty as well. Put it all together and you have one of the most complete city destinations on the continent.
The Primada Cathedral is a remarkable architectural triumph that looms over Plaza de Bolívar. Home to the Justice Palace and National Capitol, the superb pedestrian mall is the main civic area in the city. Bogotá has many superb museums, with the Gold Museum, Maloka Science Museum and Museo Nacional among the most prominent. Ultimately however, Bogotá is a city of neighborhoods and for historic architecture and hip, bohemian vibes, La Candaleria and La Macarena remain the best. Last but not least, head to the top of Monseratte via funicular for awesome panoramic views of the city.
Dry and rainy seasons dominate the climate of Bogotá, with April, May, October and November the worst months on average in terms of precipitation. Overall the weather in the city is mild, with temperatures between 5°C and 19°C for the year.
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