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Bogota Travel Guide | Things to see and useful tips

Updated: Apr 25

In this article find the best places to see and visit in Bogota as well as some useful tips when traveling around Bogota.

Please do not be threatened by comments online about how dangerous the place is. If you have common sense and you are not flashing around your expensive jewelry and your latest iPhone then you will be completely fine. More about the safety issues will be explained later in the blog, first, let’s take a look at all the amazing things you can do and see in Bogota!

  1. Places to visit in Bogota

  2. Things to do in Bogota

  3. Dishes and drinks to try in Bogota

  4. Best coffee, food, and cocktail places

  5. Tips when traveling around Bogota

  6. Best areas to stay in Bogota

  7. Video

Places to visit in Bogota

Monserrate Sanctuary

Definitely allocate half of the day to get to the top of Cerro de Monserrate mountain where you will find the Monserrate Sanctuary, a sacred place for the locals. Historically, people climbed up to receive peace and let go of their concerns. These days you can take a cable car or a little tram up to the top. You can also walk up but that might take a while and if you are not used to the high altitude you can get sick. Also, it is quite a steep route up. If you do decide to travel by foot to the top, then here are the directions.

On the day I was visiting, the cable car was closed, but as I said there is another option - tram. Cable car and tram are both located next to each other and they share the same ticket office so you won’t miss it.

These are the round-trip prices:

Once up you can enjoy the Monserrate Sanctuary and the surrounding area where you will find many local restaurants and a little shopping avenue, mainly souvenirs.

The best part about this place is the views! You can see the whole of Bogota from up there. You only realize how big the city is once at the summit. You will also see the other side of the mountain with a lot of greenery. Take a jumper, because up there is a bit cooler than down in the center.

Gold Museum

Bogota has one of the biggest gold museums in the world. It showcases not only the influence of gold in Colombia and South America but also goes into detail about indigenous people in Colombia as well as surrounding areas. It was a very interesting visit as it let me learn a lot about the history of Colombia before the Europeans came to the continent.

Here is the pricing for general tickets:

Discounts are applied to children, the elderly, and groups, so if you want to find out more about that and working hours, check out their official page.

Did you know that historically Colombia was much bigger? Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador were a part of Gran Colombia (Great Colombia). That is why their flags are so similar.

La Candelaria area

La Candelaria is basically the historical center of Bogota. You will find many historical buildings there, also currently essential buildings like the Palace of Justice and the National Capitol. Even the city mayor's office is there.

The main square is one you definitely need to see and it's called the Bolivar Square. You will find the Primary Cathedral of Bogota there. You can enter the Cathedral for free.

My best advice is just to wander around the colorful streets of the area and enjoy the vibe. Just a note to do it during the day. Once it gets dark it is not advised to wander around. If you want to get somewhere best take a taxi directly to the place and back. During the day you are completely fine.

Things to do in Bogota

A MUST DO is the original city graffiti tour! During the tour, you not only see the most amazing art pieces in the town but also find out about political and social problems in the last past years in Colombia. We personally had a guide, Ana, and she was incredible. She told us so many interesting facts. I couldn’t recommend her and tour enough.

You can book a spot on their website. Note that you need to book 1 day in advance! You can also check them out on Instagram!

The tour is for free, but donations are welcomed. Usually, they say that around 35000 COP (~8 EUR / 7 GBP / 9 USD) is ok.

You can also do many other tours in Bogota. The company I recommend is Beyond Colombia. I highly recommend them because they are local people who are organizing these tours so they will give you the best insight into the city. The tours are free, but again donations are highly welcomed.

You have there 3 tours to choose from:

  • City Walking Tour

  • Local Food Tour

  • War and Peace Tour

I tried the City Walking Tour and I really enjoyed it as I got a really good insight into the city and its history. Also if you do not feel safe in the city then booking the tour for your first day might be a good idea, as the guide will take you through the city and then after you will feel more comfortable to wander around. Again, the tour has to be booked at least one day in advance.

I want to highlight that I do not have any affiliation with the above tours or companies. I do not earn anything by recommending them. I booked them myself and really enjoyed both so I just want to share all the good stuff in Bogota with you.

Dishes and drinks to try in Bogota

Bogota city has some specialties.

Firstly food-wise, they have their own traditional soup ‘Ajiaco’, which is a potato soup with chicken, corn and their local spices. I tried it and I really enjoyed it, but I warn you it is quite heavy so just that soup on its own will be enough.

I have to warn you that if you are a vegetarian and the menu says ‘veggie option’, do not entirely rely on that. Even if they do not add chicken, the soup most probably is still cooked in the chicken broth. So be careful about that and enquire at the place before ordering.

Drinks-wise you have to try the local alcoholic drink 'Chicha'. You can get them in many flavours, like mango and different berries. It is quite strong but sweet so I would say a perfect combo haha. You can’t find this drink everywhere but in the La Candelaria area, you should be able to get it in almost every bar.

Also, a bit strange thing that I have to mention is that in Bogota people like to mix sweet with salty. For example, they have a hot chocolate with cheese. When you order they bring you a cup of hot chocolate and the cheese on the side. You have to break the cheese into pieces and put it into the hot chocolate. You then eat the semi-melted cheese from the hot chocolate. From what I heard, you either love it or you hate it. I hated it! If you want to try this then there is a really famous cafe next to the Primary Cathedral of Bogota where you can try it. More about this in the next section ⬇️

Best coffee, food, and cocktail places

So the famous cafe for hot chocolate with cheese is called Puerta Falsa

On our wanders around Candelaria we found a good coffee place ‘Tintoraria Art Coffee’, but turns out they have some really nice pizza there too. Location, menu and working hours you can find HERE. Also, they have live music every Friday!

For lunch, I would like to recommend La Candelario (place of the picture above). Only open for lunch until 4 pm. The interior is great and food… the best food in Bogota (at least from the places we tried). As you can guess it is also in the La Candelaria area. The traditional Ajiaco soup you can find there.

Tips when traveling around Bogota

I know a lot of people have safety concerns when traveling to Bogota and there is a reason for it. From my personal experience, I can tell you that I had common sense, I wasn’t pulling out my phone everywhere, also I do not wear brand clothing or expensive jewelry, so I felt fairly safe in the city. As long as you stick to basic rules you should be fine. Police are on every second corner. The thing to watch out for most probably is the pickpockets. I for example felt safe, but I was paranoid about my bag all the time. You just need to be very vigilant in Bogota.

There are things you can do to ensure nothing goes wrong:

  • Keep your bag in front of you, not on the back

  • Do not use external pockets, only inside ones and the ones you can close.

  • Do not walk on the street that is empty.

  • Avoid wandering around in the evening and night. Take a taxi straight from A to B.

For your peace of mind consider getting travel insurance!

Another thing I have to mention is the weather. It can change very quickly. In the morning it can be sunny and in the evening pouring rain. If you decide to leave for the whole day, I would recommend taking your umbrella or raincoat with you. Also, the sun is extremely strong in Bogota. Even if it seems cloudy, please put on the sunscreen. I didn’t, went out the first day and burnt.

Bogota is more than 2000 metres above sea level!

This tip is not only for Bogota but the whole of Colombia. Ideally, you should learn some basic Spanish. Or buy data straight away so you can use a translator because although in hotels and some places people tend to understand English, the level is not ideal. You might struggle if you do not understand Spanish at all.

Try to exchange the money in the airport (in Bogota airport you get a really good exchange rate) so you can pay everywhere in cash because card transactions in many places charge you extra.

To get around Bogota best to use Uber or Cabify. Yes, Uber is illegal in Colombia but people still use it, it is safe and works like there would be no regulations. I advise using these 2 applications because then you know exactly how much you are paying. Also, drivers information is on there, so these 2 options are the safest. You can use the yellow taxi, but they might charge you more and there is a bit of safety concern involved. In saying that, from the airport, the yellow taxi is completely fine and they have to charge you the standard price of 10 USD, so do not pay more than that.

Best areas to stay in Bogota

The two best areas to stay at is the La Candelaria area and Chapinero, specifically Zona Rosa and Zona T in Chapinero.

La Candelaria will give you everything within walking distance - The Gold Museum, Monserrate, Bolivar (main) square, the Primary Cathedral of Bogota. Also, all the main tours will happen here. This is the perfect zone for tourists that want to see the architecture of the city, learn about the history and be within walking distance to everywhere. It is a safe area during the day. It is not recommended to walk around at night.

Zona T and Zona Rosa is the new modern side of the city, full of restaurants and shopping centers. It is one of the safest areas to stay at. Ideal if you traveling through Bogota and just need a quick stayover. If you will want to see more of the city you will need to take a taxi to the La Candelaria area.

Get the Bogota Vibe in my video:

My other articles and videos about Colombia:


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