It’s easy to fall in love with Bogotá– even before you catch a glimpse of the beautiful Andes Mountain. The art, food, and architecture tells a vibrant story of Colombia’s capital. On a typical afternoon, the center of town is packed with Colombians and foreigners alike gathered to enjoy and share the charm of local traditions topped with modern marvels. Take a deep breath with me and let’s capture the mystical aura of Bogotá, Colombia!
Bogotá’s neighborhood of Chapinero is an up and coming district nestled between the colonial architecture of the old city (La Candelaria) and the cosmopolitan scene of Bogotá’s elite crowd in Zona T. Chapinero is filled with many bars and restaurants (Crepes & Waffles and Patacones being two of my favorite) outlined with high-rise apartment buildings with beautiful views of the mountains. The area is very safe and the perfect starting point for exploring the sights of Bogotá.
Below is the duplex I rented via Airbnb: 3 nights for $235 USD
There’s nothing more exciting than climbing a mountain in the middle of the afternoon and looking down on perfected beauty. Located 3,000 meters above sea level, Mount Monserrate offers the best, unrivaled views of Bogotá. You can take the funicular or cable car up to the top, or test your endurance by hiking the steep trail to its peak (approximately an hour). The views are well worth it.
Cost: Varies by day and mode of transport – click here for detailed pricing.
Tip: Walk with a light jacket. Beauty at this height brings frequent cold winds!
Casa Santa Clara
When I first heard of Mount Monserrate, the picture below was the first image I came across. Naturally, I was eager to know what was inside and how to gain entry! Casa Santa Clara is one of two restaurants perched at the edge of Monserrate. The lush landscape and views of Bogotá springs Casa Santa Clara to the top of most dinning list for “best places to eat.” It’s well worth a visit.
Tip: Arrive early to ensure you get a table with a view!
Catedral de Sal
Zipaquira’s Salt Cathedral is known as one of the most amazing artistic achievements of Colombian architecture. The mine’s interior is decorated with tunnel lights bringing to life the last stage that Jesus walked before crucifixion. It’s truly one of the most impressive sights I’ve encountered!
Lunch at Brasas Del Llano
During your visit to Zipaquira, break bread with the locals and enjoy a typical Asada lunch, loaded with potatoes and succulent beef!
Laguna de Guatavita
The Legend of El Dorado comes to life in Guatavita Lagoon, an ancient territory that fascinates all those who encounter it. It’s truly a mystical place!
Cost: I highly recommend arranging a full day tour of Zipaquira and Guatavita through Hansa Tours. The guides are knowledgeable, friendly, and will go above and beyond to ensure you enjoy your visit. Many thanks to Eric and Oscar! A full day tour costs $279 for one person including lunch, entrance fees, private guide and round-trip private transfer (price reduction for 2 or more people & if multiple tours are booked)
Historic City Center
No trip to Bogotá is complete without visiting the historic city center of La Candelaria – this is where it all began. A stroll around the stoned paved streets, listening to local chatter throughout the squares, and relishing in the marvels of colonial architecture and street art makes La Candelaria a true gem and the perfect place to get lost and explore. Note: Like any major city center, take caution when venturing off into seedy areas.
Botero Museum has the largest collection of original pieces created by the popular Colombian artist, Fernando Botero. There are a few gardens within that are perfect for “being lazy in a civilized manner.” Enjoy!
Tip: You can easily navigate your way through La Candelaria by participating in a FREE walking tour via Bogota Free Walking Tours. Walking tour duration is 3-3.5 hrs
PARQUE 93/ZONA T
Just north of Chapinero lies the beautiful district of Zona T & Parque 93. This is the city’s hot spot where there are no shortage of restaurants, lounges, bars and the elite crowd of Bogotá. This is one of the best areas to spend the day or night out on the town.
El Bandido Restaurant
Do yourself a favor, ignore the bad reputation that once plague the nation of Colombia and come see first hand why Bogotá is slowly becoming the next big metropolitan city for travel!
Until next time, cheers to the Vagabonding Life!