10 Things To Do And See In Bogotá, Colombia

10 Things To Do And See In Bogotá, Colombia
Colombia’s capital city has a lot to offer those willing to explore it. Long regarded as unsafe for tourists, Bogota is developing a new reputation as one of the most exciting and culturally diverse cities in Latin America. The friendly locals and wonderful culinary scene only add to the intoxicating atmosphere that this city exudes.
The Muisca Raft at the Gold Museum © Guillermo Vasquez/Flickr

Museo del Oro

Museo del Oro, or Gold Museum, is perhaps the most famous museum in Bogotá and Colombia. It is one of the most spectacular exhibits of pre-Hispanic art, culture and tradition ever displayed. More than 55,000 pieces of gold artifacts rest inside the museum, with descriptions and historical facts about each one in both Spanish and English. It is the biggest display of gold artifacts in the world, with most of the pieces having been discovered and excavated in Colombia. An hour isn’t nearly enough to tour this spectacular place. Guided tours and recordings are also available for an extra cost. The Spanish-colonial neighborhood, La Candelaria, is also just a few blocks away for those interested in touring both.

Opening Hours: Tue – Sat: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. & Sun: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dancer By the Bar © Fernando Botero/Flickr

Museo de Botero

Fernando Botero is one of Colombia’s most famous artists, known for his unique style that depicts people and animals with large, exaggerated or fat features. Even if you aren’t too interested in art, you’ll find Botero’s work lighthearted and unlike anything you’ve seen before. His style is now called “Boterismo” and can be seen in some of the biggest galleries from Paris to New York. Along with Botero’s work, you’ll see pieces by Dalí, Degas and Picasso. The museum is set in a beautiful Spanish colonial home in the heart of La Candelaria. If these aren’t enough reasons to visit, admission to the museum is also free.

Opening Hours: Mon, Wed – Sat: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. & Sun: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bogotá from Cerro Monserrate ©Jorge Díaz/Flickr

Cerro Monserrate

Cerro Monserrate, or Monserrate Mountain, rises 3,152 meters (10,341 feet) above the sea level, and overlooks the entire city, providing spectacular views, day or night. On top of the mountain there is a historic church and shrine dedicated to “El Señor Caído” meaning The Fallen Lord. Since its consecration in the 17th century, many have hiked the mountain as a pilgrimage to offer prayers and sacrifices to the shrine. There are also a few restaurants and bars at the top of the hill, easily accessed by aerial tram or funicular. Check the weather forecast and head to the top on a clear night for panoramic views of Bogotá after dark.

Bogotá Graffiti ©Pedro Szekely/Wikimedia

Bogotá Graffiti Tour

You might be wondering why you’d need a tour to see graffiti that is ultimately found all over the city. But this tour is well worth it. You’ll be visiting the murals of some of Bogotá’s most celebrated street artists, who depict powerful representations of the city’s culture, struggles and people. All tours are led in English, with private tours available in Spanish or German. This tour is a wonderful way to really get to know the urban environment and culture of Bogotá. Though there is no fee for the tour, it’s customary to offer a donation to the maintenance and upkeep of the art and the artists.

Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Andrés Carne de Res ©Mauro Fuentes/Flickr

Andrés Carne de Res

Andrés Carne de Res is more than a restaurant and bar; it’s an experience that every visitor in Bogotá needs to have. The entire restaurant seats 2,000 people on any given night and somehow manage to do it in spectacular fashion. The endless walls of eclectic decor and the wild events and parties they host make it the perfect place for anyone hoping to enjoy Bogotá’s nightlife. It’s located just north of the city limits in the town, Chía. Check their Facebook page or website for frequent updates and schedules of events. You’ll be treated to amazing food, great service and endless entertainment.

Opening Hours: Thurs – Sat: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. & Sun: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Meriania nobilis ©Quimbaya/Flickr

Jardín Botánico de Bogotá

The Botanical Garden of Bogotá is the biggest and most diverse in Colombia, featuring flora from every climate and region of the country. The peace and tranquility within the lush green walls will make you forget about the bulging metropolis that exists outside. You’ll have a chance to see some of the 130,000 plant species that exist in Colombia, along with the many endemic plant species that prosper in the region’s ecosystems. Known especially for their beautiful orchids, the botanical gardens have a display dedicated especially to the delicate flowers. You can spend the entire day exploring the gardens for less than £2 ($4 US).

La Candelaria

Visiting Bogotá’s most historic and beautiful neighborhood is like talking a walk through the Spanish colonial era. Almost every building has a wooden balcony that looks out onto the busy streets, with elaborate doors and entryways painted in bold, bright colors. There are many museums, libraries, universities and restaurants located in the area, each with unique architecture and history. Head to the Botero Museum to view artwork from one of Colombia’s most celebrated artists, or to one of the many restaurants that still embrace the colonial architecture.

La Candelaria, Downtown, Bogotá, Colombia

Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Carmen © Pedro Szekely/Flickr

Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen

This is one of the most beautiful and historic Catholic churches in Bogotá, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Located in La Candelaria, it was consecrated in 1938 and is known for its gothic, Florentine style. The red and white horizontal stripes that line both the inside and outside are hard to miss and forget. Be sure to look inside at the elaborately painted interior. Unlike most cathedrals, there isn’t as much gold as there is red, blue and white.

Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen, LaCandelaria, Bogotá, Colombia

Laguna de Guatavita

If you’ve been to the Gold Museum, you have to follow it up with a visit to the Lake of Guatavita. It’s the site of the legend of El Dorado and holds significant importance in Colombia’s history. Many of the artifacts found in the Gold Museum were discovered and excavated at the lake, including the museum’s most famous piece, the Muisca raft. Though the lake isn’t in the city, it can be easily accessed by car. We recommend finding an experienced guide through your hotel or travel agent. Experiencing the fascinating legend and history of this sacred place will be one of the more memorable parts of your trip.

A proud farmer with his crop ©Neil Palmer/Flickr

Colombian Coffee Tour with Andes Eco Tours

This tour is a must for coffee lovers. Colombia is known for producing some of the best coffee in the world. The high altitude, cool climate and rich soil make the perfect environment for the growth of high quality beans. The tour will take you from Bogotá and into the mountainous regions surrounding the city where the best beans are grown. You’ll tour a beautiful family farm, surrounded by lush vegetation and friendly locals. The tour covers all the bases, from growing to harvesting, roasting and finally brewing. At the end of the tour you’ll sample some of the best freshly ground coffee you’ve ever had.