A Solo Traveler’s Guide to Bogotá

Bogotá is a vibrant city with so much to offer solo travelers
Bogotá is a vibrant city with so much to offer solo travelers | © Heeb Christian / Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Carrie Back

At first glance, the cobblestone streets in the sprawling capital of Colombia seem sleepy and strangely quiet, but under the surface, Bogotá is a bustling city with various districts and lots of things to do and enjoy if you know where to look. For solo travelers, the nightlife is a revelation, accommodation is diverse, and meeting people is a breeze.

What’s the vibe for Bogotá solo travelers?

Sometimes overlooked in favor of sister city Medellín – the second-largest city in Colombia – Bogotá is a must on your itinerary. The hip capital is celebrated for its coffee-shop scene, innovative cuisine and diverse, vibrant neighborhoods, all set against an epic Andes backdrop.

Where to stay in Bogotá

1. W Bogotá

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

A glamorous gold-and-eggplant lounge area in a suite at W Bogotá, with curving seating and city views
Courtesy of W Bogotá / Booking.com
Take your stay up a notch at the boldly designed W in the Usaquén neighborhood. Urban and edgy, it has a restaurant with Latin American cuisine, a spa and a funky local brewpub. Rooms are snazzy with over-the-top decor and in-room vinyl menus, featuring records and a curated music playlist paired with cocktails.

2. Bogotá Plaza Hotel


An elegant sitting area at Bogotá Plaza Hotel, with marble walls, tan and coral leather seating and a patterned rug
Courtesy of Bogotá Plaza Hotel / Booking.com

In northern Bogotá, the five-star Bogotá Plaza Hotel has luxury amenities at an affordable rate. The rooms are clean and contemporary, but the real star of the show here is the lavish spa on the fifth floor, overlooking the skyline. Before you head out on the town, pamper yourself – this tranquil space has a Turkish bath, a hot tub, a sauna and many massage and spa services.

3. Selina La Candelaria


A hip sitting area at Selina La Candelaria, with yellow and black armchairs, gray chesterfields, art and knick-knacks
Courtesy of Selina La Candelaria / Booking.com

Wake up to views of the Andes at the sociable Selina La Candelaria, housed in a neo-colonial building. The sociable hostel has a cozy cafe with locally sourced coffee, a shared kitchen, a library lounge, an on-site restaurant and a movie room. It’s easy to meet dorm-mates – events take place at the bar, and you can sign up for salsa classes, cocktail-making lessons and lettering workshops.

What to do in Bogotá

4. Visit the unique Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen


The eclectic interior of Santuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen, with red-and-white-striped columns and sky blue walls
© COLOMBIA Landmarks and People by Vision / Alamy Stock Photo
Rarely mentioned in guidebooks, this Florentine-Gothic Catholic church is mightily impressive. Its Byzantine-style architecture and red-and-white-striped exterior make it easy to find in the La Candelaria neighborhood. With its candy-stripe columns and arches, the interior is just as mesmerizing – peek inside when services aren’t taking place.

5. Admire the eclectic street art in La Candelaria

Historical Landmark

Colorful building facades in La Candelaria adorned with vibrant murals, with brick-lined sidewalks and roads in front
© Devasahayam Chandra Dhas / Alamy Stock Photo

In the heart of Bogotá, the historic La Candelaria neighborhood is a mix of pastel-painted houses and head-turning graffiti. Get lost in the cobblestone streets to find plazas, the Botero Museum – among other popular sights – and a lively craft-beer scene at night. Take a walking tour to learn about the history.

See street art when you take part in Culture Trip’s Discover Colombian Andes adventure. The eight-day trip, led by a Local Insider, takes you through the vibrant cities, coffee culture and spectacular Colombian Andes.

6. Hike the Cerro de Monserrate

Hill Station, Historical Landmark, Church, Shrine

Whitewashed buildings with tile roofs, with Cerro de Guadalupe in the background, as seen from Cerro de Monserrate
© Juergen Ritterbach / Alamy Stock Photo
For spectacular city views, take a pulse-quickening hike up this mountain and visit the picturesque church of Monserrate. On a clear day, you’ll get unparalleled views of the skyline. Not up for that degree of exertion? Take a funicular or cable car from Monserrate station, then walk down.

Eating and drinking in Bogotá for solo travelers

7. Leo Restaurant

Restaurant, Authentic

Named after its chef, Leonor Espinosa, the upscale Leo Restaurant is like a gastronomic journey through the regions of Colombia. Choose an eight- or 13-course tasting menu with contemporary dishes that reflect lesser-known ingredients, such as plants and seeds from the Amazon. Even the cocktail menu is based on the country’s diversity, so you can taste national specialties without leaving the city.

8. Andrés DC – Bogotá

Bar, Restaurant, South American

The whimsical Bogotá branch of Andrés Carne de Res specializes in grilled meat, with a biblical-length cocktail menu. The iconic steakhouse is loved for its fiesta-lively atmosphere – expect dancing and live music. It’s a great alternative to the original restaurant in Chía, a 45-minute drive away, especially on the weekends when tables are at a premium.

9. La Puerta Falsa

Restaurant, French

People dining on the second floor of La Puerta Falsa, with people ordering at the deli counter below
© Lucas Vallecillos / Alamy Stock Photo
Near Plaza de Bolívar, La Puerta Falsa offers doughy tamales, chocolate completo (a traditional Colombian hot chocolate with bread and a biscuit) and almojábanas (a traditional cheese bread). This unassuming colonial-informed restaurant has been serving practically the same menu for nearly 200 years. It’s especially popular in the morning, but if you head there for lunch, try the Ajiaco santafereño, a much-loved soup of chicken, corn and potatoes.

Stay safe, stay happy in Bogotá

You’ll find yourself at ease and welcome in this vibrant capital. However, like any major city, Bogotá has its fair share of crime, so exercise the usual precautions. For example, don’t wear flashy jewelry, keep expensive phones and cameras concealed, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash. To be super safe, instead of hailing taxis on the street, use one that’s been vetted by your accommodation, or opt for ride-sharing apps that track your whereabouts.

Getting around in Bogotá for solo travelers

The least-confusing options are taxis, especially if your Spanish is limited. Like cycling? Every Sunday, the city bans motorized transport between 7am and 2pm. Ask your accommodation if there are bikes available for the Ciclovía program. There are also bike-sharing stations around the city; check major parks, such as Virrey Park and Santander Park, and Plaza de Bolívar, where you can borrow bikes if you register online.

Link up with a small group of like-minded travelers and a Local Insider on Culture Trip’s eight-day adventure From Bogota to Medellín: Traverse the Colombian Andes, which includes river rafting down the Río Negro, a hike in the Cocora Valley and a stroll through a Medellín neighborhood once influenced by Pablo Escobar.

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