Bogotá is a culturally diverse, gastronomically exciting, and bustling capital city, but it can definitely be cold and rainy, sitting at 2,600 metres (8,530 feet) above sea level in the Colombian Andes! Luckily, within just a few hours of the city are some lovely little towns with much hotter climates, along with swimming pools and holiday retreats. So, here are the best sunny weekend escapes from Bogotá.
The capital city of the Eastern Plains department of Meta, Villavicencio is a classic Bogotá long-weekend destination and offers something quite different from many of the other towns on this list. There’s a great mix of city fun and rural activities on offer in Villavicencio, and visitors can spend their Friday night at one of several huge outdoor discos, before spending the rest of the weekend horseback riding and enjoying outdoor BBQs with Colombia’s best meat!
At just over 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Bogotá, with a pleasant climate and easy access on a good road, the little town of La Vega is a perpetual favourite of Bogotanos looking to escape the chill of the capital. With lots of lovely hotels and holiday homes with swimming pools available, as well as easily accessible nearby rivers and the beautiful Tabacal Lake Ecological Park, La Vega is a perfect quick weekend escape from Bogotá.
Honda is one of Colombia’s most important historic cities and is part of the network of Colombian Heritage Towns due to its great cultural significance throughout the country. It lies on the banks of the Magdalena River, and it was once one of the most important river ports in the country. Now it’s a beloved weekend escape from Bogotá – it gets really, truly hot in Honda – and visitors can enjoy a unique combination of chilling out by the swimming pool and wandering around the cobbled streets of the old town.
Just over two hours from Bogotá, La Mesa – so-called because it sits atop a plateau, and mesa means table in Spanish – is a small town with a pretty main square and a pleasantly warm climate (it’s located at just over 1,700 metres [5,577 feet] above sea level). The surrounding hills are home to plenty of small houses for rent and places where visitors can pitch a tent and enjoy the clear night skies, and warm days.
Perhaps the quintessential long-weekend party retreat from Bogotá, Girardot also sits on the banks of the Magdalena River and is as punishingly hot as Honda by day. It’s a favourite spot for a finca weekend – the practice of renting out a house with a pool for a long weekend – and is home to several great nightclubs, including one with a pool on the roof! Girardot is the best destination for a sunny weekend escape with a party twist.
Located just off the main road to La Vega, San Francisco is one of the lesser-known sunny weekend retreats on this list, but no less worthwhile for that. A charming little town, with a pleasantly laid-back attitude and plenty of houses for rent in the surrounding hills, San Francisco is also home to some great coffee plantations, hiking trails, and Colombia’s coolest hummingbird observatory, the Jardin Encantado, or Enchanted Garden.
Known as Colombia’s ‘Sweet City’ due to its position as one of the most important producers of sugar cane – known as panela in Colombia – Villeta is arguably one of the prettiest sunny weekend destinations near Bogotá. It’s also an excellent spot for a more active weekend getaway, with rafting, hiking, rappelling, and rock climbing all available, as well as trips to swim in some lovely nearby waterfalls.