Bogotá is an interesting starting point for a trip in Colombia but no need to plan to stay there for more than 2-3 days. There are only very few areas that are worth a visit. The must is La Candelaria, the historic colonial district.
I flew with KLM from Brussels via Amsterdam. Decent flight and not too long.
I reached the old center with a Transmilenio bus (K86 or M86) from the airport. If you’ve got the same idea, you need to know that you first have to buy a card at the terminal and charge it. Other option : taxi or Uber ! But more expensive than the bus, which is only around 2 €.
I crashed into bed, completely jetlagged and woke up feeling quite bad because of the altitude (2 640m!) The coca tea at breakfast definitely saved my life !
Hostel: I stayed in one of the best hostel in my life – Masaya Hostel Bogota. I was in the room the furthest away so it was super quiet! The bed was very comfortable, with a warm cover and curtains for privacy.
And there’s more: the breakfast was … just WOW! Fruits, pancakes, avocadoes, cereal, tea, jams. The bar makes very nice cocktails and has a happy hour!
- Before leaving your hostel, remember to put sun cream on. Even if it’s not super warm, you will get burn easily. I speak by experience.
- Stay in the areas recommended by your guide book/your hostel!
- Avoid walking alone after the sunrise. If you do go out, don’t walk around holding your phone.
Things to do in Bogotá:
- Free tour in La Candelaria: I joined the Heroes tour on Plaza Bolivar on my first morning in Colombia. It really made me understand the troubled past of the country. I’m really glad I did it. We visited all the landmarks in the centre, tasted some nice local fruits and even played tejo. Tip whatever you would like at the end!
- Botero Museum: jetlagged and whilst waiting for the free tour, I visited the Botero Museum in a very nice colonial house in the centre. Many sculptures and paintings from Fernando Botero but also artwork from international artists (Picasso, Dali, Degas, Bacon…). And good news, it’s free!
- Gold museum: and after the free tour, I escaped the burning sun to visit the biggest museum dedicated to pre-Columbian gold. Entrance is only around 2,5€. More than 50 000 pieces, from diadems to ceremonial objects, spread on 3 floors. Don’t miss the circular room at the end!
- Nature Trail San Francisco – Vicachá : Got a super tip from an employee in the hostel for the second day: a nice hike on the hill behind the Candelaria and not far from Montserrate. Plan several stops as you European heart is probably not used to so much exercise so high up!
- Cerro de Monserrate: you can reach the basilica at the top of this sacred hill by foot, cable car or funicular. Beautiful view from 3 152m! Cute website!
Tip 1 : for a nice view and some calm go have a lemonade and a cake at the Cafe Santa Clara!
If you have time, you can also stop at the Quinta Museo Bolívar, a house that was offered to El Libertador Simón Bolívar by the Colombian government to thank him for freeing the country.
- Street art in La Candelaria : lots of amazing street art everywhere, just open your eyes !
Other areas if you are there for more time: Chapinero, Usaquén, La Macarena.
An excursion I would have loved to do: Caño Cristales.
But instead I flew straight into the clouds to go to the caliente city of Cali.