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Bogota, perfect start of your cultural trip in colorful Colombia?

Updated: Apr 23

When visiting Colombia, the capital Bogota is where most people arrive. Other main airports are to be found in Cartagena and Medellin. I visited all three of these cities, but I think starting your trip in Bogota is a good idea to adapt to this beautiful country and indulge into its culture. There are a few areas that are a good choice to stay as it’s important to choose a safe district in this big city. Most travelers stay in La Candelaria, the oldest neighborhood of Bogota, Zona Rosa or Chapinero, the best area for hipsters with beautiful English-style architecture and known for its nightlife.

In the past Bogota was marked as an unsafe city for travelers. This has changed a lot due to the efforts of the government to attract more people. Bogota is very colorful thanks to the street art and the many-colored houses.

Temperature in Bogota

Keep in mind you need to take warmer clothes as Bogota is situated at an altitude of 2600 meters. Average temperature is around 18 degrees. Check the best time to travel here.

We spent about 3 days in Bogota and that was enough to visit the main things to do.

Top things to do in Bogota

We spent about 3 days in Bogota and that was enough to visit the main things to do.

Get a view on Bogota from the top of Montserrate

view on Bogota from Montserrate

To have a stunning view over the city of Bogota, a visit to Montserrate Mountain at a height of 3000 meters is a good choice. There are about 7,5 million people living in Bogota, from the top you can see how big this city is. Going up with the funicular or cable car takes about 5 minutes and will cost 5 € for a return ticket. If you have time and like hiking, you can get there in about one hour.

Tip: look at the weather before going up to Montserrate. Because of the height it is often surrounded by clouds.

Opening hours:

Monday-Saturday: 6.30 am till 11.30 pm

Sunday: 05.30 am till 5.30 pm

Last admission: 2 hours before closing. If you can avoid the weekend.

Check out the Free graffiti tour and discover the amazing street art

street art in Bogota

The free graffiti tour is highly recommended by most people. Unfortunately, our guide didn’t show up although we made a booking in advance. This tour has always been very accurate and popular, but due to a change in the management it might be better to look at other options as well. Graffiti in Bogota is amazing, during the tour you get more information about the history of Colombia, corruption and the stories behind the street art.

Taste the variety of tropical fruits during a Fruit tour in Bogota

As you might know Colombia is known for its amazing fruit varieties, there are so many to choose from: Lulo, maracuya, guanabana, mora, the pineapple has an amazing taste as well. It’s a true fruit paradise. The fruit tour will take you to Paloquemao market in central Bogota. Here you can start tasting all the exotic fruit you can imagine. Certainly, one of the healthiest options for a tour in Bogota.

Dive into history at the Museo del Oro

This museum is one of the most interesting in Bogota. The exhibition will learn you more about how gold and other metals were used by the pre-Hispanic societies who lived in Colombia.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm, on Sunday: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm

Admission: free on Sundays (but very crowded) on other days: 1 €, closed on Mondays.

Enjoy the atmosphere on Plaza Bolivar

Plaza Bolivar in Bogota

Try to visit this place around sunset if you can, the colors are amazing and it’s the time the locals are coming here to just walk around or eat at one of the many food stalls. One of the main buildings on plaza Bolivar is ‘Palacio de Justitia’, known form the Netflix series: Narcos. During the time of Pablo Escobar, he paid the guerilla group M-19 to attack this palace with a lot of violence as a result.

Where to stay in Bogota?

Selina La Candelaria

As mentioned, La Candelaria, the old city center, is a safe neighborhood to stay and very close to the main attractions: Montserrate, start of the Graffiti tour and Plaza Bolivar. As traffic can be a real problem in Bogota it’s a good choice to stay at walking distance of good restaurants and nightlife possibilities.

Our favorite place to stay in this part of Bogota was Selina Candelaria. The interior in combination with this old property is amazing. The atmosphere is great, especially at the bar. People at the reception desk are very helpful and you can book all kind of tours.

Tip: book a taxi in advance to pick you up from the airport, you can easily book it with the concierge at Selina.

You can choose between deluxe bedrooms or a bed in a dorm, which is cheaper of course. Breakfast is very good as well. Another option for breakfast is Café Origenes in the same street only minutes away. They serve delicious juices.

At the end of our trip, we stayed one night in Chapinero, another safe district in Bogota.

HAB hotel is recently renovated and opened in 2021. It’s situated in one of the old English houses. You will be surprised how big it is inside but still preserving a very cozy atmosphere. There was even a fireplace at the bar.

Getting around In Bogota

In La Candelaria most places are at walking distance but when you need to go to the other districts of Bogota, taking an Uber is a very good idea. It’s also quite cheap and in many cases safer than taking a taxi. The public transport system TransMilenio is also well equipped. It’s the biggest BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) in the world.

Some tips for dinner: these were our favorite restaurants

Madre restaurant in Bogota

Madre in the district of La Candelaria serves amazing Italian food in a very nice venue.

Another good restaurant in the same neighborhood at walking distance from Selina is ‘El gato gris’ Ask for a nice spot on the rooftop, you will have an excellent view on the old city center.

Close to Chapinero I would recommend Primi. But the food in HAB hotel is very good as well.

 *Disclaimer: This post contains affiliated links which means that purchases made through these links reward Destination Explorer a small commission without any additional charge for the purchaser. 

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