Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, is slowly becoming one of Latin America’s most lively and popular cities. Full of art, fashion, culture, history, opportunities, and unique experiences, Bogotá is a great city to visit and live. The whole of Colombia is rapidly becoming a must-see tourist destination, with a large increase in visitors from all around the world within the last five years. Bogotá is a destination not to be missed on any visitor’s trip to Colombia, and here are 25 reasons why.
The view from Monserrate
The Monserrate is a cathedral situated on top of one of Bogotá’s surrounding Eastern Hills and can be seen from all over the city. Visitors can access the mountain top by either a cable car, train, or hiking trail, from the La Candelaria neighborhood. The mountain top is a sacred place, with many individuals visiting to show their offerings at the cathedral. The mountain provides a breathtaking view far and wide of the city and its surrounding area, giving visitors a sense of the scale and enormity of the city.
For the traditional soup, ajiaco
Ajiaco is a traditional white soup, containing a mix of potatoes, chicken and herbs, and is often served with rice, corn and avocado. This soup recipe dates back centuries, often being passed down through generations. It is consumed by locals to keep warm in the cold mountain temperatures around the city.
For the unique fresh fruits
Colombia’s year-round altitude-dependant climate allows for the farming of a variety of fruits all year round. Colombia has fruits which grow in every climate, whether cold, warm, tropical, or dry, and many fruits are native to Colombia and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Bogotá has a large number of fresh fruit produce stalls, stores, and street vendors who sell freshly picked fruit all over the city.
For the “fat” people museum
Fernando Botero is famous worldwide for producing art with big features, giving the impression of obese people or animals. Botero’s artwork has been featured in Singapore and New York, as well as in Bogotá and Medellín. Botero has produced paintings and sculptures that are showcased in the Botero Museum in La Candelaria, Bogotá.
To experience Andrés Carne de Res
Andrés Carne de Res is a unique restaurant-turned-nightlife venue located in Chia, just outside Bogotá. Andrés transports visitors to a unique world filled with walls covered in trinkets and unique decorations, covering every inch of the venue. The restaurant serves delicious traditional Colombian foods and cocktails.
For the variety of nightlife
Bogotá is a city of variety, with many Colombians moving to the city from different areas of the country, bringing with them their traditions and cultural influences, which is especially noticeable in the city’s nightlife scene. With music arriving in the city from the Caribbean coast, Pacific coast and everywhere in between, providing a range of nightlife venues from basement bars to huge, three-story clubs, Bogotá has it all.
To relax in Park Virrey
Park Virrey is a long and narrow park located in Bogotá’s Chico neighborhood. The park holds a large number of events throughout the year, from food festivals to concerts. The park is a little getaway in the center of the bustling city, a place where people relax, have picnics, and take part in exercise.
To experience the lively Park 93
Park 93 is also located within the city’s Chico neighborhood, and is surrounded by fine restaurants and coffee shops. Park 93 is a busy park which regularly holds events, shows and concerts, for people to visit and enjoy. Park 93 is a lively and unique place in the city center – a place to relax or party.
For the variety of events
Bogotá’s event schedule is bursting with travel events, design events, art weeks, art fairs, a fashion week, as well as many other events. Throughout the year the capital attracts a large number of visitors who arrive in the city to discover what events are on offer. Located all over the city in parks, corferias, and many other locations, there is always something happening in the city to visit and discover.
For the year-round weather
Bogotá’s weather is constant all year round, averaging 57F (14C) degrees all year, with an average high of 66F (19C) degrees and an average low of 46F (8C) degrees. The city has two rainy seasons (April–May and October–November) and a windy season (December–April).
For the Colombian people
Bogotános are generally welcoming people, with many often stopping to say “hi” on the street or helping you in a store if you have a problem. Generally the people enjoy having visitors in the city, and so they go over and above to help out. Often people give up seats on buses for others, or offer a hand down from a step.
For the variety of restaurants
Bogotá’s historical influence from Africa, Spain, England, France and many other places, provides the city with a large variety of cuisines. The city has some amazing five-star restaurants, as well as hidden secret gems or unique cafés. Zona T and Zona G are the city’s high-end restaurant spots, showcasing delicious treats and home cooked-style meals.
For the fresh juices
The abundance of fresh fruits in the city makes for delicious, freshly squeezed fruit juices, and it is normal to witness street sellers with carts full of fresh products which they make into juice right before your eyes. Cafés and restaurants usually offer large varieties of fruit juices, some of which aren’t avaliable anywhere else in the world.
To experience the markets
Bogotá has a large number of daily or weekly markets, varying from artisanal souvenirs to food, and markets full of everything imaginable. The Usaquen market is a weekly market held every Sunday in the Usaquen colonial district, where locals sell artisan products, handmade goods, souvenirs, and a variety of other products, all within a historic backdrop. San Victorinio is a daily market located close to the city’s La Candelaria neighborhood, selling everything imaginable, from foods, clothes and other products.
To step back in time in La Candelaria
La Candelaria is Bogotá’s historic center, with colorful, colonial, traditional buildings, and hidden restaurants and shops. This neighborhood is picturesque and unique, and is the home to many of Colombia’s ministry buildings, the presidential houses, and Plaza Bolivar. La Candelaria is steeped in history and gives visitors an insight into the past of the city and Colombia.
For the churches and cathedrals
The city has a large number of unique cathedrals and churches all varying in architecture, color and style. Many were built centuries ago and have been kept in good condition for all to see and appreciate. These sights are picturesque, one of a kind, and also give an idea of the city’s history and style when they were built.
To discover the architecture
Bogotá is a complete mixture and balance of old and new in terms of architecture, the old streets of La Candelaria contrasting with the skyscrapers of the business districts and hotels. As the city has dramatically transformed, so has the architecture; many famous architects have arrived in the city to help create unique and eyeopening buildings.
To participate in ciclovía
Every Sunday a major network of roads in the city are closed to cars, allowing residents to walk, cycle, or run in safety. Many stalls and activities take place in parks around these streets, with market stalls and food carts providing a great break from cycling or running. Each Sunday and public holiday, the roads are closed from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. to allow cyclists to take a tour all around the city, taking in the major sights and getting some much needed exercise.
To admire the spectacular views
Bogotá’s tall buildings and mountain ranges provide the city with some great views, with rooftop bars and restaurants showcasing these views to customers. The beautiful Eastern Hills can be seen from all over the city. The city is built on a large savannah in the Andes mountain range, meaning the hills – forming part of the Andes – can be seen from most of the city, along with the Monserrate’s whitewashed cathedral. Bogotá has some spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime views.
To discover the treasures in the Gold Museum
Bogotá’s Gold Museum contains over 55,000 pieces of carved, pressed, cut gold, melted and forged into objects or jewelry by Colombia’s indigenous communities. The museum showcases displays of gold, as well as explaining its origin and community’s background. Located in the city’s historic center, the museum is a great place to learn about Colombia’s history as well as witnessing beautiful gold pieces.
To sample the best coffee in the world
Colombian coffee is famous throughout the world, and is one of the country’s biggest exports. Even though the majority of Colombian coffee is exported, a small amount is kept within the country, giving Colombians the chance to sample some of the best coffee in the world. Bogotá has a large number of coffeehouses, shops and tours showcasing and teaching locals or visitors about the coffee’s origins and the process from bean to cup.
To experience Plaza Bolivar
Plaza Bolivar is Bogotá’s biggest plaza, which is home to a number of government buildings and the first cathedral in Colombia. Plaza Bolivar is often referred to as the center of the city, and hosts a number of events, protests or concerts in the area.
To sample the street food
Colombian street food is delicious, with everything from fruit, to dessert to breakfast served by street vendors. The vast majority of street food is prepared or cooked in front of customers, on grills, chopping boards, or blended in juicers. Street food is cheap, and can be found on many street corners.
For the shopping
Bogotá has a large number of shopping options. Its up-class mall, Andino, is home to designers and boutique stores. Unicentro or Titan Plaza have a more general shopping selection. Markets are also a great place to find unique, cheap products, many of which are handmade or created by the individuals selling the products.
For the eco-tourism
Located just outside of Bogotá you can find a large number of natural environments and countryside areas ideal for activities such as hiking, trekking, climbing, and wildlife watching. The cities surrounding mountains make for picturesque locations for eco-adventures and unique experiences.