Want to get to know the real Bogotá, Colombia? I’ve worked to narrow down a list of things to 10 of the must-dos. Don’t worry if you can’t get to them all – you can always come back.
Bike the city
Bogotá is an incredibly bike-friendly city and it’s a great way to get around. I’ve been on the Bogotá Bike Tour twice and it’s the best first-day activity to get an overall feel for the city. I also love the types of spots they take you which include La Candelaria, a traditional fruit market, a coffee factory, viewing street art, and a game of Tejo, Colombia’s national sport.
Go to the top of Cerro Monserrate
Go to the top of Monserrate for a breathtaking view of the city. Once at the base of the mountain, there is a ticket booth where you can take a cable car to the top for 20K Pesos round-trip. You can also walk up the mountain for free between 5 am and 1 pm, except on Tuesdays. This is always one of my favourite stops in Bogotá because it makes you realize just how huge this city is. You can take your time walking around up top and there are plenty of vendors selling food, souvenirs, and coca leaf tea to help with elevation sickness. If it’s a clear day you’ll also be able to watch the sunset over the city at 6 PM.
Party at Andrés Carne de Res IN CHIA
Photo via Restorando Bogota
Andrés Carne de Res is the most legendary party you can ever attend in Bogotá. It’s kind of hard to explain what Andrés Carne de Res is because it’s something that you have to experience to understand. There are two locations, one in the city and one in Chia. If you are going to visit Andres Carne de Rés, you need to go to the one in Chia. The Chia location is around 50 minutes from the city so I recommend booking a spot on the Andrés Carne de Res Party Bus because they take care of the transportation both ways, entrance fee, you get free cocktails on the bus ride there, and have a fun group to party with. Once there you can order typical Colombian dishes, drinks, and dance on a table. I think after going you’ll have an understanding of crazy Colombian culture.
Eat Ajiaco soup
Ajiaco is a type of chicken soup that originated in Bogotá and it is perfect for the chilly weather. Most websites and guidebooks recommend trying Ajiaco at La Puerta Falsa, but I prefer to find a place that is off the beaten path and getting off the beaten path ended up being at a really nice place! I did a search in Spanish found that Hotel de la Ópera won a contest for the best Ajiaco in Bogotá a few years ago. The Ajiaco soup here did live up to its title, but the bonus was that I got to have it on a rooftop overlooking La Candelaria – and I was the only one up there!
Visit the Sunday flea market In Usaquén
On Sunday you have to spend the day in the Usaquén neighbourhood. This is an artistic neighbourhood with historical Spanish colonial architecture filled with trendy shops, restaurants, and bars. Every Sunday, artisans from around the city set up booths for the weekly flea market and it’s entertaining to walk around viewing handcrafts and trying delicious homemade foods.
Play with pigeons in Plaza Bolivar
Visit Plaza Bolivar for an iconic photo of Bogotá. Purchase a small bag of corn from one of the vendors for 1K Pesos, put a little in your hand, and hold your arm up and some of the pigeons may fly up to eat it out of your hand. It’s may be disgusting but playing with pigeons is surprisingly fun!
Visit the Gold Museum
Visiting Bogotá’s famous Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) was something that kept getting left out in during my trips to Bogotá and after finally visiting it recently, it is something I recommend you must do! The museum is filled with over 6,000 artefacts of Pre-Colombian gold and it was incredible to see the craftsmanship and reasoning for each piece. The cost to enter is 4K Pesos or FREE on Sundays.
Drink lots of coffee
If you’re going to be in Colombia you MUST try the coffee. It’s the third largest coffee producing country in the world, producing 1,785,744,000 pounds per year, and until somewhat recently, the good stuff has been exported. But now locals are embracing high-quality coffee and a number of speciality coffee shops, barista schools, and coffee tours are popping up. Here are my favourite coffee shops in Bogotá.
Shop at boutiques from local designers
Bogotá is an incredibly hip and edgy city where you’ll that the locals like to express themselves with what they are wearing. And where are they getting all of these cool clothes? Possibly from an emerging scene of their own local independent designers. In Bogotá, you can find one of a kind items to bring back home and I find that the prices are very reasonable for the quality you are getting. Plus when you shop local, you are helping to support the creative design scene in Bogotá rather than buying mass-produced items at the mall. Read my post on the best places to shop items from local Colombian designers.
Go on a food tour
The best way to get to know a city is through the food! Bogotá has an amazing gastronomic scene and the food is one of my favourite things about the city. And the best way to enjoy the food is to have a local take you around. During the Bogotá Bites: Walking Food Tour, you’ll be taken around to Bogotá’s best eateries by the bloggers of this website!
Where to stay in Bogotá
The Artisan D.C. Hotel: This is located in Bogotá’s Zona G neighbourhood (Gastronomic Zone) so you’re steps away from where the city’s most famous restaurants are currently opening. The design of the hotel is modern and quirky with industrial touches and breakfast included.
The Grace Hotel: Offers minimal, sophisticated design in the Zona G neighbourhood of Bogotá. The value of the hotel is also incredible with rooms starting around $60/night with breakfast included.
The Click Clack Hotel: A small boutique hotel known for its funky decor in the upscale Parque 93 area of Bogotá. On the weekend you’ll find locals at their bubbly brunch or enjoying drinks on the Apache rooftop of the hotel.
Chapinero Hills: Each bed has private curtains, lamps, plugs, and large lockers with a delicious breakfast included in the morning. Plus you’re in a really cool area of Chapinero filled with cafes, restaurants, and bars nearby.
Aurora Hostel: This hostel incorporates minimal design with common spaces to meet other travellers in the charming and safe Quinta Camacho neighbourhood. You can stay in a shared dorm for only $10/night or a private room for $30/night, making it great for travellers on a budget.
I’m Joey, a guy from Louisville, Kentucky that packed up and studied abroad in Panamá at the age of 20 and haven’t moved back since. What started as a semester trip to Panamá has turned into 7+ years of living in Latin America and becoming a full-time travel blogger. Follow me on Instagram @joeybonura for more updates on my life abroad.