Colombia’s capital city of Bogota is a vast, sprawling place with a population of over 8 million people, and concrete as far as the eye can see. It’s a great city to visit, but even the most hardcore urbanites will soon find themselves needing a break from the city. Luckily there are some diverse and wonderful day trips to be taken from the city. Here are the very best ones.
Often visited as a combined day trip with nearby Zipaquira, Guatavita Lake is famous for being the birthplace of the Legend of El Dorado, a tale originating during the Spanish conquest of South America regarding an ancient lost city of gold. The Muisca indigenous people who once inhabited this region used the perfectly round mountain lake to make offerings of golden figures to their gods and, in one especially remarkable ceremony, a priest covered in golden powder would immerse himself in the lake. Stories of these ceremonies at Guatavita supposedly gave birth to the El Dorado legend, and no one with an interest in Latin American history can afford to miss the chance to see this legendary spot with their own eyes.
Colombia’s highest multi-step waterfall, with a total height of 590 metres (1,936 feet), La Chorrera is reached by a lovely hike through pretty rural scenery and stunningly preserved cloud forest. Getting there involves a lovely drive of less than two hours over the eastern mountains of Bogota, passing through surreal paramo high-altitude moors; it’s amazing how abruptly the mountains curtail the development of the city and give way to small rural dwellings and farmland. The hike is moderately difficult, but is a wonderful way to experience nature on a day trip from the city. Lucky visitors can spot toucans, and the waterfall itself is stunning, falling from a high, misty mountain into the jungles below. Bogota & Beyond offer excellent day trips to the falls and come highly recommended.
Zipaquira and Nemocon Salt Mines
These two huge salt mines to the north of the city are very similar but distinct at the same time. While both are cavernous, underground salt mines, Zipaquira is far more well known and contains giant religious figures, which has given it the name of Salt Cathedral. It is closer to Bogota and easier to visit, but a touch pricier than nearby Nemocon, which is stunningly illuminated and much less popular with crowds of tourists. Either trip can be arranged easily through any Bogota tour company.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
This magical little garden in the warm town of San Francisco to the west of Bogota is a wonderland for hummingbirds. The owner of the house has been feeding the magical little birds for years, and now counts over 50 different hummingbird feeders in her gardens, which are visited by at least 10 species of hummingbird, including the gorgeted woodstar, one of the world’s smallest birds at just 6 centimetres (2 inches), and the sparkling ruby topaz. It’s easy to get to the town by bus, and there is a pleasant main plaza where you can enjoy a cold beer after some peaceful birding.
Bogota-based tour company Andes Ecotours offer this excellent full-day tour to the coffee region south of the city, an excellent opportunity for coffee enthusiasts to discover the culture of Colombian coffee if they don’t have time to visit the more famous Coffee Triangle. But this tour is far from a consolation prize: a fully immersive experience, it gives visitors the chance to learn firsthand from a pioneering coffee collective, dedicated to environmentally friendly coffee, in the stunning environs of the Quinini Hills and surrounding cloud forest. The area is also home to numerous indigenous petroglyphs, so this trip will please history buffs as well. This tour is definitely one of the most recommended day trips from Bogota.
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