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Vibrant Bogotá leads the way in a newer, cleaner Colombia
Bogotá’s back in the saddle. After years of unrest, the Colombian capital has re-emerged as an exciting hot-spot of culture, business – and fun. Soak up the artistic vibe along La Candelaria’s cobbled streets, then wiggle to rumba and samba in Zona Rosa’s nightclubs. “Bienvenidos” (welcome)!
This square is prime for people-watching. Just look at the expression on legendary statesman Simón Bolívar’s statue, who has cast an eye over all and sundry from his plinth for over a century. Snap-happy tourists, stony-faced commuters, protesters, pickpockets and buskers – all members of the ever-entertaining dramatis personae of Bolívar Square. Sit back and enjoy the show.Accommodations near Bolivar Square
This church’s ceiling is pretty special. Its sweeping arc is studded with gilded flowers and royal-blue leaves, following the concave curvature from entrance to apse. Santa Clara is one of Bogotá’s oldest churches, but it’s now used as a gallery of religious artworks. As you go around, don’t forget to look at the exhibits – it’s all too tempting just to gaze upwards.Accommodations near Santa Clara Church
There aren’t many artists whose work is instantly recognisable. Fernando Botero is one of them. The Colombian’s trademark bulbous figures are just so him. This museum holds an assortment of Botero’s humorous paintings and sculptures, including a rotund Mona Lisa and various oversize nudes. Aside from Botero’s handiwork, there’s a smattering of Braque, Dalí and Picasso.Accommodations near Botero Museum
A golden oldie. This 16th-century church is Bogotá’s longest-standing house of worship. An unremarkable stone façade conceals an ornate space so full of gold leaf that it would make King Midas go weak at the knees. The colossal, gilded altarpiece stretches from floor to ceiling and contains a dream team of saintly statuettes in various holy poses. Impressive stuff.Accommodations near Church of San Francisco
What is it about gold that captures the human imagination? There’s a sense of cosmic mastery, that you can cradle the glowing sun in your very hands. The Gold Museum tells the story of our gold-fixation through myriad items from Latin America’s palaces, shrines and overgrown temples. Check out ceremonial paraphernalia from funky amulets to half-human, half-beast figurines.Accommodations near Gold Museum
Look no further for star quality. Take one small step into this planetarium, where the mysteries of the cosmos are unravelled. You’ll get an insight into the giant leaps in space travel, from the first Apollo missions right up to the present day. Interactive exhibits, explanatory videos and fun workshops complete the picture on this educational space odyssey. Blast off!Accommodations near Planetarium
History behind bars. This museum is set in a sturdy 19th-century prison. Today, the only inmates are the exhibits on display – three floors of Colombian miscellanea that lay bare the country’s turbulent history. Trace Colombia’s story through curiosities such as Simón Bolívar’s tattered will, golden ceremonial spoons and funky tribal crowns adorned with iridescent beetle wings.Accommodations near National Museum
Huff, puff, huff, puff, wow! Climbing this hill can be arduous, but it’s worth it for the views at the top. All Bogotá stretches out beneath you, tiny skyscrapers poking out above the cityscape like blades of grass. It’s a vista that’s best enjoyed over a glass of wine at one of the hilltop restaurants. If uphill treks aren’t your thing, pootle up on the cable car.Accommodations near Monserrate Hill
Plants and peace. This quiet botanical garden’s a place to breathe deep and find inner tranquillity. It brings together thousands of plant species from all of Colombia’s diverse ecosystems, from the cloud forests of the Andes to the frosty Páramo tundra. Once you’ve strolled among the orchids and bromeliads, enjoy the fruits of nature with a refreshing glass of juice at the café.Accommodations near Jose Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden
It can get a little hectic in the city, so this compact park provides urbanites with a welcome dose of greenery and fresh air. Lazing on sun-drenched lawns, kicking back on shaded benches – this is how Bogotá chills in 93. The streets around the park are a hot ticket for eating out – they’re packed with eateries from familiar fast food to funky foreign fare.Accommodations near Parque de la 93
Variety is the spice of life in Chapinero. Young and old, rich and poor – all walks of life can be seen in “Chapi”. Duck into Lourdes Church, then grab a pastry from San Fermín Bakery. The extra energy will help with the trek up Monserrate Hill, which has unbeatable Bogotá views. Cap it off at Theatron Nightclub, among revellers of all persuasions.Accommodations in Chapinero
A place to nourish mind and body. Bogotano bookworms head to Virgilio Barco Library, a stunning, circular repository of hefty tomes. Casa Tomada Café fuses coffee and culture with its busy programme of poetry, film and more. Afterwards, tickle your taste buds with a freshly cooked “arepa” (flatbread sandwich) from a local street stall.Accommodations in Teusaquillo
History comes to life in Usaquen. This district is perfect for a Sunday stroll around its grand colonial architecture. Sit a while in Usaquen Square, where Santa Bárbara Church’s whitewashed tower peeks through eucalyptus fronds. If you’re in the market for souvenirs, mosey down to Hacienda Santa Barbara’s weekend flea market to find a bargain.Accommodations in Usaquen
Keep it chic in Chicó. These tree-lined streets are home to Bogotá’s well-dressed, well-paid and well-to-do. Grab your parasol and promenade around Parque de la 93, then stock up on posh designer threads in the Zona Rosa shopping area. At night, don your best frock and cut a rug in Penthouse or Dlirio, where rumba rhythms sound till late.Accommodations in Chicó
Bogotá’s Old Town fizzles with charisma. Colonial-era churches and palaces are interspersed with tumbledown studios, and the streets buzz with performance. In Bolívar Square, gawp at governmental power wrought in brick. Head to vibrant Septimazo Market for a taste of Bogotá’s Bohemian street life, with buskers, artists and food aplenty.Accommodations in Candelaria - Centro Historico
Keen dancer Diana has been in Bogotá since 2002 and still loves discovering new corners of the city.
Parque Nacional is located right in the heart of the city and was one of Bogotá’s first ever parks. It’s great to visit on Sundays, when you’ll find it packed with people picnicking and enjoying activities from rollerblading and skateboarding to capoeira or even meditation.Accommodations near Parque Nacional
A Bogotá native, Nury is passionate about her city and loves showing visitors around.
Why not explore the colonial centre on foot? As well as historic buildings and museums, La Candelaria’s streets are full of quiet corners and cosy cafés where you can try a traditional santafereño hot chocolate. Just be sure to take an umbrella: you never know when it’s going to rain!Accommodations near Walking tour of La Candelaria
Dog-lover Marcela is always keen to absorb the culture and music of each new place she visits.
I love this cosy café’s chilled terrace, open fireplace and live music. It’s located right in front of the Chorro de Quevedo fountain in La Candelaria, and it’s a perfect place to spend a romantic afternoon over a few drinks, some delicious food or a strong Colombian coffee.Accommodations near El Gato Gris Café Restaurante
Globetrotter Ibeth has been in Bogotá for a couple of years and loves rocking out at karaoke bars.
Rock fans will love this bar in Bogotá’s Zona T district. It plays videos of classic rock concerts by artists like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, and it’s a great spot to listen to legendary tunes while tucking into cold beers and tasty German sausages!Accommodations near Drunken Fox Bar
Easygoing Pedro is a proud Colombian who always tries to live life to the max.
You can’t beat this beautiful park for spending a relaxing day playing sports or just chilling out with friends. It’s surrounded by excellent cafés and restaurants, and frequently plays host to open-air concerts and food festivals.Accommodations near Parque Virrey
A frequent traveller, Adriana learns from each new place she visits but her heart lies in Bogotá.
My job has taken me to Mexico many times, and I’ve become a huge fan of Mexican food. Agave Azul is a genuine slice of Mexico in the heart of Bogotá – it’s hidden away and you’ll need to book in advance, but it’s well worth it for the authentic Mexican cuisine and Aztec-inspired décor.Accommodations near Agave Azul
Diana loves being in the open air, whether visiting parks or cycling through town on Sundays.
This pretty colonial town is just an hour’s train ride from Bogotá, making it ideal for a day trip. Zipaquirá is most famous for its Salt Cathedral – an underground church carved out of a salt mine. It’s also close to El Abra, thought to be the oldest human settlement in the Americas.Accommodations near Zipaquirá
Jairo enjoys getting out of the city and discovering new places through food, music and culture.
Don’t miss Usaquén – a beautiful colonial town within the city. As well as being full of great bars and restaurants, it’s a hotspot for cultural events. I’d recommend going on a Sunday to visit the bustling flea market and watch the famous ‘cuenteros’ act out stories in the town square.Accommodations near Sundays in Usaquén
Travel-mad Jennifer loves a good meal and is always ready to hit the dance floor.
Also known as Parque El Lago, this park is an oasis of green in the heart of the city. It’s a lovely spot to go jogging or to paddle around the lake in a pedalo or kayak. If all that sounds like too much effort, bring some food and charcoal and take advantage of the public BBQ facilities!Accommodations near Parque de los Novios
Food and music are Juan’s passions in life, and he’s constantly on the lookout for new experiences.
Named after the vintage Italian film, Cinema Paraíso is a magical place with a constant exhibition of movies which you won’t find in any multiplex. It’s a great place to catch a classic film while enjoying a tasty meal or a nice glass of wine.Accommodations near Cinema Paraíso
Booking.com asked travelers...What did you discover about the museums in Bogotá that wasn't in the guidebooks?
They were free for over 60 or very cheap for others. They were a nice size and not overwhelming. Extremely well designed with cafes for coffee and a snack.See all 7 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Which fine art museums should a first-time visitor to Bogotá start with?
Gold MuseumSee all 4 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Why is the atmosphere in Bogotá something people rave about?
Lovely friendly peopleSee all 3 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What is it in Bogotá that makes history come to life?
MonserateSee all 3 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What makes Bogotá one of those classic city-trip experiences?
A lot to seen and to doSee all 3 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is Bogotá the place to have a meal to remember? Tell us why.
Ajiaco is the perfect food after a long flight. At Andres Carne de Res close to the Zona T.See all 2 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's your best advice for enjoying the mountains in Bogotá?
Montserrat is a nice place to visitSee all 2 answers
It’s easiest to take a taxi from El Dorado International Airport to the city centre: just head to the taxi ranks outside the main terminal. Journey time is 35–90 minutes, depending on traffic, and you can expect to pay about COP 25,000. Alternatively, take the airport’s free ‘alimentador’ shuttle to connect to the TransMilenio bus network. You can buy a single ticket (COP 1800) or top-up card (COP 2000) at the bus stop, and you should be in the centre within 1 hour.
A car can be handy for visiting nearby towns, but driving in Bogotá isn’t recommended. Traffic is always intense, and especially from 05:00–09:00 and 16:00–19:00. Car rental is available at the airport, but it’s best to book online. Paid parking can be found all over the city, while on-street parking is possible in residential areas. Don’t park on streets in business districts – your car may get towed away – and beware of wing mirror thieves who lurk at red lights!
With 300 km of bike paths, Bogotá is an ideal city to explore on two wheels, but its public bicycle service isn’t available to visitors as yet. Instead, you’ll need to rent a bike or book a cycling tour: popular companies include Bogotravel and Bogotá Bike Tours, which both use English-speaking local guides. Sunday morning is a particularly good time to ride around, as most of the city’s main roads are closed to traffic and reserved exclusively for cyclists.
In contrast to Bogotá’s regular bus network, the TransMilenio system is highly efficient. Operating out of 7 hubs around the city, these modern buses use their own reserved lane to avoid traffic and only stop at designated bus stops. Tickets and smartcards can be bought at each stop: a single trip costs COP 1800 at peak times (06:00–08:29, 09:30–15:29 and 16:30–19:29) or COP 1500 off-peak. Buses run from 05:00–23:00, but some routes may start or finish earlier.
Bogotá has an extensive bus network but don’t expect timetables, route maps or even bus stops. Instead, you’ll need to check the routes and final destinations written on bus windscreens and flag down the one you want. Most routes operate from 05:00–23:00 daily and each trip has a fixed price of COP 1550, which should be given directly to the driver or his assistant (in exact change if possible). Buses are often very crowded, so keep a close eye on your belongings.
Taxis in Bogotá are popular and affordable, but hailing one in the street is seen as risky: if you do it, stick to busy areas during daylight hours. All taxis are black and yellow and have metered fares, with a minimum fee of COP 3800. For extra safety, download a free app like EasyTaxi or Tappsi to order taxis with detailed information about the car and driver. You can also ask your accommodation to call you a cab, but this may be significantly more expensive.
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