We only stayed in Bogota for a short week, therefore we can’t tell you very many things about the city. But we did some exploring and have a few recommendations 🙂 First of all: Don’t believe everything that people tell you.
Bogota has a bit of a negative reputation, especially in comparison to the warmer, Caribbean places of Colombia. People have told us it is “boring”, “ugly”, “dangerous” and cold. Well, our impression of Colombia’s capital was pretty positive! It is far from boring, there are a lot of things to do and see. Ugly is, of course, very subjective. But the center of Bogota screams at you with bright colors from countless Murals and street art so I think it is far from ugly. Dangerous… our impression was that all the warnings are very over the top. Sure, you need to guard your belongings and watch out a bit. But we were told to absolutely not head to certain areas and when we went there anyways they were just as normal as the place our hostel was in. I did feel a bit dodgy with my camera whenever there was not a lot of people around. But if you are not alone and don’t dangle your belongings you won’t feel unsafe, I guarantee it.
Here are 5 cool things that you should/could do while you are in Bogota:
1. Free Walking Tour In Bogota
We have done a lot of walking tours during our traveling so I always feel like we can allow ourselves some well-founded judgment on them. Hence I can say that the Cartagena walking tour was terrible, the one in Medellín the best ever and the one in Bogota very much worth doing 😉 Our guide was super nice, funny and well-educated. The tour showed us really interesting places and also showed us that there is really nothing to be afraid of when walking around the center. I went to the walking tour without my camera (recommendation from our hostel) and felt so very silly… so many things I wanted to take pictures of and literally no threat at all.
2. Watch The Sunset From Monserrate
Our guide couldn’t say that often enough and we agree: Go up to Monserrate. You have three options: You can either walk up, but then you can only go during the day. Or you can take one of the two electrical options: Fenicular or cable car. With those, you can go until dark. Because we really wanted to see the city at sunset we went up at around 5 pm. The view was stunning (see for yourself) and the sunset was epic. We really had no feeling of how big Bogota is until we saw it from above. Disclaimer: If you are a vegetarian you should bring yourself a snack from below. On the top, you can only get meaty snacks 😀
3. Check Out Treasures In The Gold Museum
Every last Sunday of the month Bogota’s museums open their doors to everyone. This way even people that can’t afford the entry can get the cultural experience. I think this is a super nice custom. We went to the Gold museum on this day but I would recommend you to go during any other day than the free Sunday. You will not see shit and will instead just get a dose of claustrophobia. But from what I could see I can confirm that the gold museum of Bogota is great and super interesting. Much more so than the one in Cartagena. Makes sense since most of the treasures from the lost city have been transferred there. At least the once that the Spanish were willing to return.
4. Freebie: Botero Museum
I think it is imprinted into every traveler’s nature to love free stuff 😉 I mean, I wouldn’t know who has a problem with free stuff but travelers love it especially. That is the main reason why I love the Botero museum in Bogota. I am not a fan of the famous Colombian artists work but he insisted that his museum must be open to everyone. And for that, I am definitely his fan. But joke aside, the museum is pretty awesome. Not only is it full of original Botero-work, the architecture of the place is super nice. It is bright, spacious, modern – and totally worth checking out.
5. Do A Graffiti Tour
With this, I am not referring to the actual guided graffiti tour. That one might also be cool, no doubt. But I just wanted to mention that Bogota is full of amazing murals and graffiti and just by strolling through the street you can discover so much beauty. All free 😉
Our hostel had a decent kitchen (rare amongst hostels) so we cooked most of the days. But three places are worth mentioning anyway:
This place has a very basic menu but offers some really tasty Asian fusion cuisine. You can assemble your own wok-creation and get off rather cheaply. It is pretty crowded during peak hours, you might want to aim for a bit before or after lunchtime.
On the Carrera 4, you will find this adorable little french panaderia. It is pretty pricey but the taste of those croissants and eclairs will keep haunting me for a while.
Disclaimer: The following is NOT a recommendation!
The service in this place was one of the worst I have ever experienced. The food was ok and rather cheap but the waitress was absolutely terrible. Even though we wanted to stay longer and have more drinks we left after she didn’t bother to take our order for 20 minutes. Consider yourself warned 😉
Did we miss out on anything? What were your experiences with Bogota? Let us know in the comments 🙂
Also published on Medium.