Nestled high in the Andes, Bogota is a vibrant and engaging city to explore. It’s Colombia’s capital and South America’s third highest city at 2,650m. Blending an eclectic mix of old and new, the city is filled with cobblestone streets, world-class museums, colonial buildings and trendy restaurants - it is blissfully alive and a melting pot of history and culture.
Downtown La Candelaria is the historical heart of Bogota and the very birth place of the city. The streets are decorated with cobbled stones, elaborately decorated churches and carefully preserved colonial buildings. At the core of La Candelaria is the Plaza de Bolivar, the city’s main square and country’s political centre. From the Palace of Justice, the Parliament of Colombia and the 17th Century Cathedral, each of these buildings flaunt different architectural styles and are rich in history, providing a glimpse into Colombia’s somewhat murky past. Locals gather around the square, children chase pigeons around the bronze statue of Simon Bolivar and vendors congregate selling local delicacies.
Sprawling out from the square is a plethora of excellent museums; the most famous is the Museo Del Oro, which showcases Colombia’s golden past and is home to the largest collection of pre-Hispanic gold in the world. Another excellent choice is the Botero Art Museum, which is bursting with robust paintings and sculptures, donated by Colombia’s most famous artist - Fernando Botero, where his pieces portray figures to be excessively large. Outside of the museums, La Candelaria is an artistic hub, where the country has embraced graffiti as an artistic expression. Winding through the narrow streets, vibrant pieces adorn the walls of Bogota, the Banksy of Bogota; DjLu has a number of pieces which are widely recognised for depicting thought provoking messages about the current country’s politics and are a fascinating way to get to know todays Colombia.
The best way to soak up the city is on a walking or bike tour. Cycling around the city is a safe and excellent way of getting off the beaten path where you can explore the outer neighbourhoods, mix with friendly locals in the open-air markets and even master the art of Tejo, an explosive and traditional sport in Colombia.
Shadowing the city is Montserrate hill, accessed by funicular railway or cable car; it boasts the best sweeping views of the entire city and perfectly combines with a city tour. Surrounding Bogota, there are many day trips, including the popular and unique salt cathedral of Zipaquira. Built 180m below the surface in a salt mine, this catholic sanctuary is revered as one of Colombia’s greatest architectural achievements, and exploring this wonder and its varying salt sculptures is a fascinating experience.
Bogota is a thriving and upcoming city to experience. With its array of colonial treasures, fantastic restaurants and luxury boutique hotels, it is a city not to be missed.
Please read our blog to find out about our top five things to do in Colombia.