Bogota, the capital of Colombia, with a population of around 8 million people is located at an altitude of 2,640 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest capital cities in the world!
It is not a coincidence that during my Latin American trip I spent more than a month in Colombia because, in my opinion, it’s just one of the best countries to travel to. For instance, there are countless things to do in Bogota! If you think you know beautiful landscapes, yummy food and friendly people, but you haven’t been to Bogotá, you HAVE TO head there immediately!
This is why I am so excited about writing this article for you; it is one of those countries that I just can’t stop talking about! I consider myself quite knowledgeable on things such as what to do in Bogota and the likes!
So, without further ado, let’s get straight into the best things to do in Bogota!
- 1. Explore La Candelaria
- 2. Hike Monserrate Mountain
- 3. Visit Museo Botero
- 4. People watch at Plaza Bolívar
- 5. Visit Paloquemao Market
- 6. Learn about Colombian history at the National Museum
- 7. Visit the Gold Museum
- 8. Relax at the Bogotá Botanical Garden
- 9. Marvel at San Francisco Church
- 10. Try Ajiaco and other typical Colombian dishes
- BONUS 1 – Fun things to do in Bogotá
- BONUS 2 – 8 Day Trips from Bogotá
- Bogotá’s tourism – Practical Information about the city
1. Explore La Candelaria
La Candelaria is the most iconic and historic district in Bogotá, pretty much the capital’s old town! You can find churches, old colonial houses and the most beautiful streets there.
You know me, I love a good walking tour! It’s the first thing I do when I get to a new city! Guides are super useful, all the questions that you have at the beginning of your trip can be answered by them and it will save you from having a headache later.
You can book a free walking tour of La Candelaria here. It lasts about 3 hours and the guides accept donations based on how much you enjoyed it!
Alternatively, you can either book this 3-hour walking tour around the picturesque Candelaria neighborhood or this 6-hour Bogota Tour, which takes you through the most important landmarks including Monserrate Hill (with all fees included), hotel pick up and drop off and transport by private vehicle!
On a different note, why not explore Bogotá on a bike? On this 4-hour bike tour, you can see the Colombian capital from a more unique perspective! It’s mostly flat, promise!
PRICE: $10 USD for the 3-hour walking tour
2. Hike Monserrate Mountain
Going to Bogotá and not seeing Cerro de Monserrate, it’s like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower, impossible! It is one of the main Bogota attractions!
Monserrate is one of the two hills that surround Bogota city. Because it is at an altitude of 3152 m you can enjoy the best views of Bogotá and its surroundings from there! You can either hike up the hill for an hour, take the cable car or take the funicular.
PRO TIP: My advice is for you to take the cable car as it gives a better view, however, if you’re heading there on a Sunday bear in mind that the cable car is quite busy and you might want to take the funicular instead!
Once at the top, you can check out the view, the souvenir stands, the two on-site restaurants and Monserrate Church, which has free entrance.
You can take a 3-hour tour of Monserrate that includes an informative tour guide that will take you through the church and to see the views, the cable car ticket, a coca tea and a typical snack.
Alternatively, check out this 3 in 1 7-hour walking tour that includes a visit to Monserrate, La Candelaria and several museums, such a steal!
FUN FACT: There is a Montserrat (without “e” at the end and with an extra “t”) mountain in Barcelona (also offering a great view to the city!), don’t mix up those two!
FUN FACT2: There’s an old superstition that says that couples that visit Monserrate together will never get married. I learned about that one too late. Haven’t broken the news to my boyfriend and not planning to! 😉
PRO TIP: Usually people take the cable car or funicular up the hill, and walk down the hill on their way back!
OPENING HOURS: Church opens from 6am to 5pm (except Mondays, when it opens at 11am)
PRICE: $20 USD for the tour. Alternatively, the price for cable car and funicular is the same, COP 12000 ($3.50 USD) one way from Monday to Saturday, on Sunday price is COP 6500 ($1.90 USD) one way. There is no entry fee for the church.
3. Visit Museo Botero
One of the biggest Colombian artists has got to be Fernando Botero, and visiting the Botero Museum is a must when heading to the Colombian capital!
Located in the beautiful La Candelaria neighborhood, the museum with Botero’s paintings should not be missed and are quite a curious thing to observe. It is definitely a fun and artsy thing to do when in Bogota’s city center so do not miss the museum of someone who could be considered the father of the worldwide plus size movement!
If you are just spending one day in Bogotá, check out this 6-hour layover private tour. They pick you up from the airport and take you visiting all the most famous landmarks + the Botero Museum and you’ll be back in time for your next flight!
NOTE: You will learn a lot about Botero and his art if you are going to Medellin, his birthplace. Here is my extensive guide on Things to do in Medellin!
OPENING HOURS: From Wednesday to Monday from 9am to 7pm.
4. People watch at Plaza Bolívar
The epicenter of the Colombian capital and one of the gems of Bogota sightseeing, Plaza Bolivar is home to the Palace of Justice, the Cathedral and the Capitol Building. Make sure you also check out Casa Nariño, the presidential palace located just a couple of minutes walk from Plaza Bolivar!
Named after Simon Bolivar, the revolutionary that helped most of the Latin American countries become independent from Spain, Plaza Bolivar is one of the most important landmarks of the city!
The plaza has seen the most key moments of Colombian and Bogota history, such as important funerals, protests and presidential ceremonies. It is a must visit when in Bogota!
5. Visit Paloquemao Market
I always recommend heading to the local market when travelling, and Bogota is no exception! Paloquemao market is one of the most colorful markets in all Colombia! Paloquemao literally means “burned stick” and you can pretty much buy anything you want there. It is one of the coolest places to visit in Bogota!
From produce to cleaning products, prices are a bit higher than those in less famous Colombian markets but reasonable nonetheless!
OPENING HOURS: Monday to Saturday from 04:30 am to 04:30 pm and on Sundays from 5 am to 2:30 pm
6. Learn about Colombian history at the National Museum
If you’re passionate about history you should check out the Museo Nacional de Colombia. In there, you will learn everything about Colombian history from before the Spanish colonization, during that time and even the most recent historical events.
Dating back to 1823, it is one of the oldest museums in America and it provides a great learning experience that will give you an amazing background before you start exploring the rest of the country!
OPENING HOURS: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm
PRICE: Entry fee COP 5000 ($1.50 USD), Free every Sunday
7. Visit the Gold Museum
Another must when in Colombia is The Gold Museum in Bogota! It displays beautiful jewelry and ornaments used by indigenous Colombians before the arrival of Colón.
Most of these ornaments had or have some sacred value to the indigenous communities so if you thought it was just a display of jewelry, you couldn’t be more wrong! These ornaments depict the original history of Colombia and it’s a way to learn about Colombian culture before the arrival of the Spanish.
If you can only go to one museum in Bogota, make it this one because it is extremely interesting (and, well, pretty!).
OPENING HOURS: From Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm, Sunday from 10am to 4pm
PRICE: From Tuesday to Saturday COP 3000 ($1 USD), Sunday free entry
8. Relax at the Bogotá Botanical Garden
We all need a bit of a break from sightseeing in Bogota once in a while, and I find that heading to the Botanical Gardens is always a good way to relax without feeling like you’re being lazy!
It is also a way to connect with nature without ever leaving the city! A little oasis in the city, you can easily spend a couple or more hours here with a snack break at the café!
OPENING HOURS: From 8am to 5pm
PRICE: Entry fee COP 3000 ($1 USD)
9. Marvel at San Francisco Church
Right in front of the Gold Museum you will find this gorgeous colonial church. The “Iglesia De San Francisco” is a catholic church that was built around 500 years ago after the arrival of the Spanish in what is now Colombia and that makes it Bogota’s oldest surviving church!
It is a beautiful working church that from the outside might not look that magnificent, but it is definitely worth a visit as the inside is full of frescoes and it depicts the strong faith that Colombians possess nowadays.
You can see very valuable religious adornments that make this church a living museum!
OPENING HOURS: Opening hours are from Monday through Friday from 6:30am to 6:30pm. Saturday from 6:30am to 12:30pm and from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. Sunday from 7am to 1:30pm and from 4:30pm to 7:30pm
10. Try Ajiaco and other typical Colombian dishes
Food is one of my favorite things about travelling! You get to discover such different flavors and dishes and it is one of the most important intangible parts of a culture.
I arrived with no expectations and after eating so many frijoles in Central America, I didn’t know that Colombian food was going to be one of my favorite foods in the world!
Find below the dishes that you HAVE TO try when heading to Bogotá; keep this list close to you and tick them off as you try them:
- Ajiaco – The most typical dish in Bogota! It is white soup with chicken, potatoes and corn, served with rice and avocado. These Colombians know how to cook their soups so well that they made me addicted to it!
- Bandeja Paisa – Colombia’s national dish. A combined dish of rice, fried plantain, chorizo, fried egg, avocado, beans, minced meat, etc. will make all your culinary dreams come true!
- Arepas – If you go to Colombia and you don’t try arepas, we are not friends anymore. It’s what bread is in Spain, you just have it every day! It can be a meal by itself when it’s filled with cheese or other delicious fillings, or you can eat it as an accompaniment!
- Sancocho – This typical Colombian soup varies a lot by region, so if you travel around Colombia, make sure you try one sancocho in each place; it’s my favorite Colombian dish!
- Empanada – One of the most typical Colombian dishes are the empanadas. It’s like a corn arepa filled with meat or cheese and folded in half, then it is fried.
- Hormigas culonas – A delicacy in the Bogotá area but only for the bravest ones! Hormigas culonas or “Bigbutt ants”, are exactly what you think they are!
- Papa Rellena – A very typical street food, papas rellenas are stuffed baked potatoes, Colombian style; make sure you try them in Bogotá!
By the way, you can find my restaurant recommendations where you can try all these dishes in the Bonus sections below!
You should know that doing food tours is my favorite thing; you’ll see food culture through the eyes of a local and instead of getting one meal you get several!
A must in your Bogota itinerary is this 3-hour Food Tour where you get to try 7 different traditional tastings. You’ll also get to visit a market and a chocolate store, and get to try one of the most delicious coffees in the Colombian Capital!
Another option is checking out this 4-hour Food Tasting experience in which you get to try the most typical meals in a traditional Colombian home, just like a local!
PRO TIP: Take a food tour at the beginning of your stay in Bogota, that way you can go again to the places you loved!
PRICE: $23 USD for the tour
BONUS 1 – Fun things to do in Bogotá
For those of you who are not visiting Bogota the first time, or for those looking for activities off-the-beaten-track, here are some unusual things to do in the capital of Colombia:
1. Have fun at Salitre Mágico
This iconic amusement park located in Bogota is a super fun activity to do while in Colombia! In Salitre Mágico you can find bumper cars, roller coasters and even a house of horror!
If you’d like to do something out of the ordinary, this is the place; locals love enjoying it with their families! It is really a hidden gem in Bogotá, and not something many tourists know about!
Depending on how many rides you’d like to try, you can buy different tickets.
OPENING HOURS: Opens Wednesday to Sunday at 10am. On Wednesday it closes at 6:30pm, on Thursday and Friday it closes at 5pm and on Saturday and Sunday it closes at 7:30pm
PRICE: COP 5000 ($1.50 USD) entry to the park, COP 30000 ($9 USD) entry + rides
2. Visit a boxing ring
Another super fun thing to do in Colombia involves punching and fighting. No, it’s not a normal night out, Bogota is reasonably safe! It involves attending a boxing match!
Boxing is a sport that’s practiced mostly in the Caribbean region of Colombia; however, you can definitely find it in Bogota and locals love spending a night watching the fights! It’s one of the most fun things to do in Bogota at night!
In this Colombian Boxing Night Experience, you’ll spend 5 hours enjoying watching the fight with a local! You can get a feel for an alternative sport, while making new friends and having some beer and snacks. Sounds good, right?
PRICE: $38 USD
3. Salsa Dance the Night Away
Going to Colombia and not trying your hand at salsa dancing would be a terrible mistake! It is probably the first question you’ll get when you come back home and you don’t want to disappoint!
If you are already a salsa dancer or you are just fearless and want to try your hand at salsa dancing, check out the Quiebracanto Club or the Sandunguera Salsa Bar, the best local spots to get a drink and start moving your body like the latin god/goddess we all know you have within you!
You can learn how to salsa dance with two local aficionados in this 7-hour Salsa Night Tour where you’ll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the best salsa clubs in the Colombian capital! Bring comfy shoes. Learning to dance salsa is fun, hard work!
PRICE: $170 USD for the tour
4. Have fun around Usaquen District
A visit is not complete if you haven’t visited the trendiest neighborhood, Usaquen in Bogota!
If you are into food, cute cafés, street music and antique stores, this is the place to go! Located in the northern part of the city, this upper-class neighborhood is the playground for Colombian hipsterism which is always great to see!
Make sure you pop in there on a Sunday and visit the “Mercado Buendía Usaquen”, a super popular flea market where you will find artisan jewelry and crafts, second hand goods and lots of handmade ornaments!
OPENING HOURS: Sundays from 10am to 5pm (flea market)
5. Enjoy Bogotá’s Street Art
Did you know the Bogotá street art scene is huge? It is partially thanks to Diego Felipe Becerra, a 16-year-old kid that was killed by the Bogota police after being caught spray painting. The event was such a shock to Colombian society that it only improved their views on graffiti and street artists!
You can find a lot of this art in the La Candelaria neighborhood, in places such as “Parque de los periodistas”, “El Embudo” Street or “Calle 26”, but the artwork is all throughout Bogota!
You can enjoy this fun 3-hour Street Art and Graffiti tour that will take you exploring the coolest street art spots in the Colombian capital, one of the most street art friendly cities in the world!
BONUS 2 – 8 Day Trips from Bogotá
Here are some other great places you can check out in case you have some more time Colombia:
1. Salt Cathedral and Nemocón Mine
On the one hand, the Salt Cathedral is one of the most popular day trips from Bogota. It consists of a church located in an underground salt mine near Zipaquirá. It used to be a place of worship for the indigenous culture before being turned into a Catholic church. Now there is even a little shopping mall inside the mine!
You can get on a bus to Zipaquirá that leaves every 30 min from Portal del Norte Bus terminal for COP 4800 ($1.40 USD). Entrance fee is COP 50000 ($15 USD).
On the other hand, the Nemocón mine, is a salt mine that is at least 2000 years old. While it doesn’t have an underground church, it is such an impressive structure that is has been the set for several hollywood movies! It is not as popular with foreigners as the Salt Cathedral, so it is definitely less crowded!
You can get on a bus to Nemocón that leaves every hour from Salitre Terminal for COP 6300 ($1.80 USD). Entrance fee is COP 22000 ($6.50 USD).
You can definitely see both in one day. If you first stop at Zipaquirá, once you’ve seen the Salt Cathedral, you can get a bus to Nemocón for COP 2800 ($0.80 USD)
Alternatively, you can get someone else to organise everything for you! In this 2 for 1 8-hour Salt Cathedral & Nemocon Mines Tour, you get to explore the Nemocón Mine and Salt Cathedral and visit the beautiful colonial town of Zipaquirá; lunch is included, as well as pick up and drop off! Such a good value! Alternatively, you can book this private tour of the Salt Cathedral in which you’ll be picked up by your private tour guide and get to spend 6 hours enjoying this natural and cultural wonder!
PRICE: $75 for the private tour
2. Taste Real Colombian Coffee at a Farm
Another real treat when heading to Colombia is their delicious coffee! Famous worldwide for its quality and taste, trying Colombian coffee is a must when heading to this country!
And is there any better way to learn about coffee than going to the place where it grows? I don’t think so! That’s why this 5-hour Coffee Farm Tour is such a good activity when in Bogota!
During this tour, you’ll get to experience daily life on a coffee farm in the small town of Choachi, in the mountains of Bogota. You’ll get to have breakfast with the farmers, you will be taken on a guided tour around the farm and you will enjoy a traditional lunch. You won’t leave without trying some yummy coffee and taking some home, too!
PRICE: $64 USD for the tour
3. Páramo de Sumapaz
If you have seen enough of the city and its culture, why not spend a day in the countryside for a breath of fresh air?
Spend a day at the Páramo de Sumapaz, a place that has played an important part in the Colombian culture from precolonial times and where in 12 hours you can learn about local flora and fauna, do some hiking and swim under a refreshing natural waterfall!
PRICE: $79 USD for the tour
4. La Chorrera Waterfall
When it comes to nature, Colombia has it all. Lush landscapes, gorgeous beaches, the greenest mountains…and the most amazing waterfalls!
Very close to Bogota, you can find a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city called Cascada La Chorrera, or La Chorrera Waterfall.
On this 1-Day La Chorrera Hiking Tour you can enjoy a roundtrip 3-hour hike and explore the beautiful La Chorrera and El Chiflón waterfalls. And you’ll get to taste the yummiest traditional Colombian meals along the way. Could it be better?
PRICE: $60 USD for the tour
5. Tequendama Falls
The Tequendama Falls are likely to be one of the most beautiful falls you have ever seen, because when they’re at their fullest and you can see them falling through the green, rocky gorge; it’s such a treat for the eyes!
If you’d like to learn a bit about Colombian country culture while you explore Bogota’s surrounding nature you should go ahead and book this 8-hour Tequendama Falls & Coffee Hacienda Tour.
During this tour you’ll get to visit these stunning waterfalls and one of the most famous traditional coffee plantations, enjoy typical Bogota food and try the best coffee!
PRICE: $92 USD for the tour
6. Lake Guatavita
Another great day trip from Bogota is the beautiful Lake Guatavita. Inspired by the Legend of El Dorado and sacred to local indigenous communities, Lake Guatavita offers beautiful and diverse flora and fauna.
You can do this trip on your own, however be mindful that there is an entrance fee as well as a parking fee.
Alternatively, go ahead and check out this 7-hour Guatavita Lake and Nemocon Salt Mines Tour, where you’ll get to explore this sacred lake as well as learn how rough miners had it in the Salt mines!
PRICE: Entry fee is COP 17000 ($5 USD), Parking COP 3000 ($1 USD). $95 USD for the tour.
7. Chicaque Natural Park
Just 30 min away from Bogota lies the beautiful Chicaque Natural Park, famous for its scenic trails and cloud forests.
It’s the perfect place to hike through the mist and cool natural areas located on the outskirts of Bogota. You can either do it as a day trip or spend 1 or 2 nights in one of the tree houses available as accommodation!
If you decide to do it as a day trip, the easiest thing for you to do is to book a tour such as this 8-hour High Andean Forests Tour. They will take you to the park in private transportation and guide you through the forests while you learn about its typical wildlife and vegetation and you will get to see the most gorgeous waterfalls and landscapes!
PRICE: $55 USD for the tour. Without the tour, entry fee is around $5 per day.
8. Chingaza National Park
As if we didn’t have enough hiking options, we couldn’t forget Chingaza National Park! An oasis for nature lovers, it will make you forget that you are just two hours away from the country’s capital! After all, it’s where most of Bogota’s water comes from!
Because it is at least a two hour drive from the city, the best way to see it in just a day is getting a tour such as this 6-hour Chingaza National Park Tour where you’ll embark on a 3-hour hike to the Laguna de Buitrago while learning about Colombian nature from the most experienced guides!
PRICE: $58 USD for the Tour
Bogotá’s tourism – Practical Information about the city
Now that you know what you’ll be doing while in Bogota, we have to get to the not-so-fun (but extremely useful!) part : the practical information!
I have gathered all the most important things you should know while travelling through Colombia’s capital so keep this post very close to you as it will come in quite handy before and even while you are travelling!
Where to stay in Bogota
One of our first questions when we head somewhere is where to stay! Staying in a nice place, a place that you enjoy, makes all the difference when experiencing a new area. That’s why I have created this short list of places to stay when in Bogota, ranging from budget to luxury!
UPDATE: I have just written a detailed blog post all about accommodations in Bogota. It is not only sorted by price, but also broken down by areas!
Luxury ($160 USD and up):
If you’re looking for a 5-star experience during your Bogota trip, you should stay at BOG Hotel! Located in the trendiest Zona T, the design is exquisite and it was inspired by the Gold Museum! Alternatively, you can book a luxury studio at Casa Real 93. The studio is spacious and the beds are big and comfy! You will feel like you are in a home away from home!
Middle Price (from $54 USD to $160 USD):
As a middle priced option you can choose to stay at the NH Bogota Boheme Royal, located right in the city center; the rooms are spacious and extremely neat. Alternatively, you can stay at the 93 Luxury Suites and Residences for a more homey feeling! Surrounded by lots of restaurants and cafes, the location is amazing! And the décor is so elegant and classic; after all, you’re in a 5 star hotel for such a good price!
Budget (up to $54 USD):
If your budget is a bit tighter, you can stay at the Arche Noah Boutique Hostel. With colonial style rooms, high ceilings and wooden floors, it is the cosiest hostel you will find! Another choice would be Hotel Cristal. With its clean-cut décor and straightforward rooms, it will make your stay super comfortable! All guests think their stay was exceptional!
How to get from the airport to Bogotá city
Bogotá El Dorado Airport (BOG) is one of the most important airports in Latin America and also one of the safest! Most of the international flights enter the country through this airport, which is why connections to the city are so important!
Check down below for the best ways to get from the airport to the city of Bogota and vice versa.
The Transmilenio system is a very efficient way to travel through Bogota, and it even takes you to the airport!
For just about COP 2500 ($0.70 USD), you can get a bus from Universidades, which is the closest stop to “La Candelaria” or the city center, and get off right at the airport!
In order to use Transmilenio, you need to buy a Tullave Card for $1.50 USD and recharge it, which you can do so at stations and other stores.
By Taxi or Uber
Taxis are obviously another mode of transportation from the airport to the city. Make sure you don’t hail a taxi; book it at the airport taxi booth at the airport exit and you will be safe!
It is one of the best ways to travel to the city if it’s late at night. Expect to pay around COP 50000 ($15 USD) for the city center or La Candelaria (you will need to bargain!).
Uber is such a good choice when you haven’t planned how to get from the airport to the city and vice versa. It’s also quite safe (at least they have seatbelts huh?) and super straightforward. Moreover, it is way cheaper than taxis!
To book it, you’ll need to use wifi or data; you can check Bogota free wifi spots here. You can take advantage of the airport free wifi and book an Uber for around COP 40000 ($12 USD) to the city center, perfect if you’re travelling with friends! You can download it here.
Transportation in Bogotá
When I was in Bogotá, I was pleasantly surprised by its public transport system. Being such a big city, that received many migrants from the countryside in such a short amount of time, you would think it is chaotic, but it’s not!
Let’s check out all the modes of transportation below!
By Transmilenio bus
When the Bogota government was faced with building a metro system, they hesitated. And after years of discussions and planning, they decided not to, and instead they built the Transmilenio system!
The Transmilenio is a network of buses that work as a Bus Rapid Transit system; you’ll recognise them straight away as they run in the middle of the road and do not share their road space with cars (which means no traffic!). This makes it almost as efficient as a metro would be! Buses are quite frequent and affordable, running from 4:30 am to midnight and fares are around COP 2500 ($0.70 USD) per trip.
In order to use it, you need to buy a Tullave Card for $1.50 USD and recharge it, which you can do at stations and other stores.
By public bus
In addition to Transmilenio, Bogota also has a full range of normal public buses. They run on the roads, just as cars do, so they’re more likely to get stuck in a traffic jam than a Transmilenio bus.
However, more often than not, these buses serve as an extension of Transmilenio. So there is a chance your route will combine a Transmilenio bus and a public bus.
You can use your Tullave Card that we explained above in order to get on these public buses; fares are around COP 2500 ($0.70 USD) per trip.
By taxis and Uber
On the one hand there are taxis, just like every other city! Getting a taxi in Bogota is quite safe and reliable. It is very convenient when it’s peak hour on Transmilenio when the bus can get quite full or if you don’t have Internet for an Uber.
However, when getting a taxi in Bogotá is important that you follow certain non-written rules:
- Never hail a taxi from the street. You can either call a taxi or even get your hotel receptionist to call one for you.
- If you don’t have the taxi’s number plate beforehand, make sure you write it down as soon as you can. It can make things easier just in case any problem arises.
- Wear your seatbelt (if there’s any); Colombian taxi drivers are a bit more…passionate!
Minimum fare is around COP 5000 ($1.50 USD) and each km is COP 5000 ($1.50 USD) more. There is also a small $0.20 USD surcharge for booking a taxi.
On the other hand, Uber is always my first choice when I travel! It is extremely convenient and Bogota has a large fleet of Uber drivers, so you’re likely to get a ride in just a few minutes. With an agreed upon fare, you get the car’s number plate and it’s just really safe and trustworthy. You can download it here. The only con is that you need to have internet access to book your Uber (more info about SIM cards in Colombia below).
Great restaurants and cafés in Bogotá
Choosing a place to eat might sound like a daunting task, because it is! At least it is for me, and when I am travelling, the least decisions I have to make, the better! Planning ahead makes time more enjoyable!
Check out below my list of favorite Bogota restaurants to go to when in Bogotá:
- Andrés Carne de Res – This historic restaurant is probably the most famous one in all Colombia! You get all the typical dishes while you enjoy shows and traditional music. You really shouldn’t miss this Colombian landmark; it’s as compulsory as heading to a museum!
Check out this 3-hour Andrés Carne de Res Experience in which you get a transfer and to skip the line! A life saver!
- Azahar – If you’re looking for great coffee during your Bogota travels, you must stop by Azahar! They work with only the best of the best of Colombian coffee just to give you an unforgettable coffee experience for your taste buds!
- Quinua y Amaranto – If you are vegan, vegetarian or just want to incorporate more veggies in your diet after so much bandeja paisa and empanadas, make sure you visit Quinua y Amaranto! You can check their delicious daily menu on their website and enjoy the best traditional meals with a vegetarian twist!
- La Puerta Falsa – Possibly one of the most famous restaurants in Bogota and the oldest restaurant in the whole country, it’s a must visit! Packed with locals and tourists, you can enjoy the best Colombian snacks and meals here.
- Matiz – On the higher end, we’ve got Matiz Restaurant. Slightly pricey compared to other restaurants but worth it because it is one of the best restaurants in Bogotá! Probably the best fine dining experience you’ll have in Colombia.
- Mini Mal – A super trendy restaurant in Bogota that serves organic and local produce. If you want to taste Colombian flavors in a unique menu, make sure you don’t miss this one of a kind gastronomical experience!
Money and Prices in Bogotá
Prices in Colombia vary depending on where you are located and the type of experience that you’d like to have. The bright side is that you can experience Bogota on the cheap, but also you have plenty of luxurious or middle range options if that is your thing!
The type of currency used in Colombia is the Colombian peso, which, if you’re travelling from Europe or from a country that uses the USD currency, it’s usually good news! Whether you like to spend a little more or hold on to your pesos, you will have a delightful experience, I assure you!
- A meal in an inexpensive restaurant for 1 person – COP 14000 ($4 USD)
- Dinner for 2 in a restaurant – COP 85000 ($25 USD)
- A night in a hotel (very approximate) – COP 200000 ($60 USD)
- Taxi – COP 5000 ($1.5 USD) per km + COP 5000 ($1.50 USD) initial charge
- A bottle of water – COP 2000 ($0.60 USD)
- Domestic beer – COP 3500 ($1 USD)
- Average price for a museum – COP 3000 to 17000 ($0.80 to $5 USD)
- 1 l of gas (1/4 gallon) – COP 3000 ($0.80 USD)
These are the average prices in Bogota, but as I said above, your budget won’t be a problem as you’ll have lots of establishments that will cater to your needs! Let’s not forget that Bogota is the capital city which makes it a greatly diverse city!
Tipping Culture: Tipping is not usually expected. In high end restaurants they will include it in the bill, otherwise it is totally optional, but very appreciated!
Is Bogotá safe?
Even though Colombia (and Bogota in particular) has a bad reputation due to being gun and drug ridden all throughout the 1990s, the scene has changed quite a lot.
Nowadays it is quite safe to travel all throughout Colombia as terrorism had been pretty much erradicated and kidnappings have dropped by around 95%.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious as there are still some robberies and pickpocketing happening, so always be a bit alert, don’t show your valuables and don’t be in places you don’t know at night.
Bogotá has very efficient tourist police and they’ll be super helpful if you ever need something!
SIM cards in Bogotá
If you’d like to be able to Skype your family from Plaza Bolivar or book an Uber literally whenever and wherever you want, you should get a Colombian Sim Card!
There are three big mobile providers in Colombia and they have really competitive prices; they are always updating their plans and improving their services so it is quite hard to choose the best one!
Based on coverage and prices, I believe that Claro is the best sim card provider to choose. For around COP 60000 ($17 USD) a month you can get 12 GB of data plus unlimited calls. It is very reliable and prices are the most competitive in the market!
Claro is so convenient because you can buy it in many different stores, such as the Oxxo convenience store. If you’d like to buy it at the airport, you can find it at the airport convenience store.
PRO TIP: Make sure you get a plan that covers you for your whole Colombia trip; it will save you the hassle of having to top up all the time! Also, make sure your phone is unlocked before you leave your home country! You don’t want to buy a sim card and then discover it is not accepted by your phone.
Best time to visit Bogotá
Colombia is a tricky country when it comes to weather! It is located in both the Northern and the Southern Hemisphere, and the weather can be tropical or even cold, depending on where in the country you go.
If you’re visiting Bogota, which is in the Northern Hemisphere, the best months to visit are from December to March as it the dry season. This will allow you to travel through other areas of Colombia that are a bit more affected by whether it is the rainy season or not.
I personally travelled through Colombia in November and December and it was great! Due to its altitude, Bogota is quite cool and quite refreshing when you are coming from other tropical countries or areas; I really loved that!
In regards of the number of tourists, Bogotá is never extremely busy at all! But if you really want to make sure, I would say to avoid summer holidays for both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres! So why not head to Bogota in November? I believe it would be the perfect month, at least it was for me!
Visa for Colombia
If you’re travelling to Colombia and you hate paperwork and bureaucracy, you’re in luck! For most European countries, Australia and the US, the Colombian government offers a 90 day stay without a visa required!
For further information I advise you to get in touch with your embassy or consulate as they’re the best ones out there to help you!
Insurance in Colombia
When travelling to Latin America, or really when travelling anywhere where you are not covered for medical costs in case of an emergency, you should definitely get travel insurance. It can really save you from a few pesky situations!
World Nomads is a very popular insurance company chosen by all types of travelers when travelling to Latin America. It is super reliable and it can cover you literally anywhere. Have a look at their reviews, they’re usually fantastic!
Thank you for reading up until the end of this super informative Bogota travel guide! (If I may say so myself!)
I loved writing about one of my favorite countries on earth! I hope I relayed my love for Bogota through this article, and you are as excited to visit it as I was!
We have seen the best things to do in Bogota, especially if you’re a foodie! And even though we have seen so many fun things that you can do in Colombia’s capital city, I have also explained some practical information about traveling to sights close to Bogota to experience such a beautiful and culturally rich country.
I really hope this guide will be of help when you travel to Bogota; hopefully I made things a little easier for you!
P.S. If you are traveling to more destinations in Colombia (and you should!), please check out this section as we have quite some great content on other cities in Colombia too!
Let me know in the comments below if there’s anything you’d like to add, or even tell me about your experience when you come back! I can’t wait to hear about it!
- Best Bogota Hotels – From Luxury Accommodation to Budget
- Top 15 Unmissable Things To Do in Medellin (With Prices!)
- 7 Things You Should Know About Choosing the Best Car Rental in Bogota
- Things to Do in Cartagena, Colombia – 15 Attractions not to be missed
- Where to stay in Cartagena? Here are Your Best Options
- Your Colombia Bucket List – 10 places you cannot miss
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