BogotáBogotá is the sprawling, high-altitude capital of Colombia. In fact, it is the third highest capital in the world! Cradled by chilly and lush Andean peaks, the city features colonial-era historical centre La Candelaria. Colonial buildings and cobbles streets attract visitors to explore the pre-Colombian Gold Museum, Fernando Botero's art and ornate churches. Bogotá’s monumental government buildings and human-scale brown brick houses are a real treat for architecture lovers. Another major attraction is the city's vibrant and varied nightlife.
The CityBogotá is the capital of and largest city in Colombia. With 8 million inhabitants, it is a melting pot for people from all around the country, as well as the city with the most economic opportunities. The streets are always busy and lively, especially on weekends when entire families head to the city centre for a lunch and stroll. The city was founded as Santa Fe de Bogotá in 1538 by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, a Spanish military leader who conquered the area's Muisca and Chibcha Indians. Protected from winds by the mountains of Monserrate and Guadalupe, the town flourished and took advantage of the plentiful water, wood and planting land. Urban design consisted of squares of one hundred meters, which gives the historical centre its present street grid. As a rule, the east–west streets were called carreras and the north-south ones are called calles. Despite its size, Bogota city centre is easily walkable and most of the top attractions are accessible on foot. As a visitor, you are most likely to spend a lot of time in La Candelaria, where the most visited tourist attractions are located. A short Uber or bus ride away you’ll find the wealthier neighbourhood of Chapinero. Many hotels, restaurant and nightlife hotspots are found in this general direction. While Bogotá is a densely populated city with occasionally hellish traffic, it is incredibly green thanks to all the moisture captured by the Andean peaks along the eastern side of the urban blocks. Thanks to this fusion of the past and present, Bogotá is an ideal location with history, entertainment, delicious cuisine, culture, business, and much more.
Day TripsFar above sea level, hugged by mountains on every side, Bogotá is fast-growing, intensely urban and sometimes exhausting city in Colombia. Beyond the city limits, in the urban sprawl and in the hilly jungle beyond, you will find plenty of hidden gems. Even staunch supporters of the urban lifestyle will find themselves longing for some quality time outside the embrace if the concrete maze of city streets. Fortunately, lush national parks and stark deserts, salt mines and coffee plantations are all just a short drive away. Make Bogotá your gateway to the Colombian adventure.
NightlifeNightlife is Bogotá is a serious affair. You can choose to relax with a cocktail or stay up till the morning light partying hard with the locals. There are plenty of raucous bars and clubs for you to choose from. The closes thing to a party are in Bogotá is Zona T or the more upscale Parque 93. The busiest and craziest nights are around 15th and 31st of every month — the payday rush. Most businesses close at 3 am, but there are many exceptions. Colombia’s capital has a thriving LGBT community. If you plan to visit only one club in the city, make it Theatron — an enormous party complex that is equally fun for everyone and gives you the biggest choice of music styles in one place.
Do & See
Colombia's capital is truly packed with touristy things to do. From free walking tours, bike rides, street art and world-class museums to flea markets, culinary gems, colonial and pre-Colombian cultural heritage. Start your day overlooking the city from Mount Monserrate 3,152 meters above the sea level. Explore the cobbled streets and museums of La Candelaria and head to the Chapinero neighbourhood for hip cafes, shops, restaurants and nightlife.
Colombia's most quintessential dish is Bandeja paisa — a full meal that carries the name of the Paisa Region. It comes in a wide variety of interpretations, but usually consists of two types of sausage, ground beef, rice and red beans, chicharrón (fried pork rind), an arepa, a plantain, a slice of avocado and a fried egg to top it all off. You are going to find these ingredients again and again in every traditional restaurant. As any modern metropolis, Bogotá offers upscale restaurants where celebrity chefs use avant-garde techniques and carefully selected ingredients. Some chefs apply their tremendous skills to celebrating their country's history and reviving indigenous food culture. Lastly, Asian food has conquered the hearts of Bogotanos. You'll find plenty of curries from all over the Asian continent, chewy noodles and delicate wontons.
Bogotá has a rich, diverse, and complex coffee culture that is defined by the Colombia's diversity and inequality. Alongside the humble cigarrerías and street vendors, cafe chains and stylish coffee shops have popped up, offering Italian-style espresso drinks. The traditional cup of coffee in Colombia is known as tinto or tintico. Ground coffee is added to boiling water directly and is allowed to brew for a few minutes. Many of the third wave coffee shops are also micro-roasters, selling and serving incredibly fresh single-origins and blends. Many baristas are business owners themselves and they tend to have strong relationships with coffee producers and roasters. Make sure to explore the many aspects of Bogota's coffee scene: the affordable tintico, the upscale cappuccino, or the exquisitely natural Chemex brew.
Shopping opportunities in Bogotá are plentiful and varied. In the historical city centre is the best place for handicrafts and bargains. Up north, around Zona T, you will find upscale shopping malls and boutiques, with plenty of cafes and restaurants to recharge your batteries. Colombian artisans are well known for their leather shoes and purses, precious emeralds and intricate gold jewellery. You can haggle for better prices in the centre, but be prepared to pay the sticker price in the more upscale shops.