Colombia’s capital! Bogota is a place where you need to look beyond skin deep. It’s not the prettiest city, though once you learn its background, that becomes understandable. We gave it time, got to know locals and then the city started coming to life. Here are the things you must see when visiting.
You can also read our Bogota quick guide, giving you all you need to know before visiting.
What to do in Bogota!? Our top 13 day trips & nightlife spots:
1.Take a free walking tour
We always find this a great way to start our stay in a new city. The tours give you general historical knowledge, helping you to appreciate things more as you see them, get guidance on navigating around the city & useful info about where to visit / what to see. There are a few in the city, we did it with Beyond Colombia & recommend this one, located outside the gold museum with red umbrellas. Cost: donation usually around $10.
2.Wander around Candelaria
Our favourite area in Bogata, a really cool vibe with cobbled streets, really cosy cafe’s, great street art & a lot happening. This is definitely an area to head to, especially for coffee lovers! Cost: Free
3.Buena vista tour
This tour was our favourite activity in Bogotá, plus its only just started in 2018 so you can be a first! We were the only 2 on the tour & the first foreign visitors. Temi Choconta has spent her life in Buena Vista & fought for the government to support in giving free paint to locals, so the street art can transform this fairly dangerous community… it’s working! Temi & fellow guide Myriam showed us the different artists work, young to old and even let us do some of our own! The best part… at the end of the tour you see the 700+ houses that have been painted to great & moon & sun, it’s amazing. You will love this tour, real life & demonstrates the power of art. To book it message their Facebook page – Buenavista Sollunar, you can get there by Uber or bus where Temi will meet you. Cost: 30,000COP/$10
4.Visit the Gold museum
Everyone will mention this to you, it’s one of the top tourist attractions in Bogotá. The name says it all, a museum filled with 55,000 pieces of gold! It really depends if this is your thing or not, for us it wasn’t though we still went just to check it out. We loved the story of how all of this gold was found at the bottom of a lake, once used as a sacrifice to the gods in indiginous times. The fact that this collection only accounts for 1% of gold originally found in the lake is mind blowing! The rest of it?? When Spaniards conquered Bogotá, they drained the lake, took the gold & melted it all down 😢. The artifacts in the museum are quite facinating, though after 30 mins we were a bit golded out! Cost: 4000COP/$1 or Sunday it’s free! (Closed on Mondays).
We use the word climb metaphorically. Monserrat is a local mountain in Bogotá with a great view! You can’t miss it & great for a ½ day trip. Take the cable car up to the top, admire the views & there are also some nice coffee shops up there. Cost: 14,000COP/$4 Mon-Sat 8000COP/$2 on Sunday.
6.Do what the locals do – Mountain at night
Luckilly we made friends with a local who showed us this hidden secret & we absolutely loved it! At night, locals (zero foreigners) drive up to Calera view point, play music from their cars & admire the view over the city. There are people serving up a few warm alcoholic drinks & the atmosphere is great! We would advise you to do this with a local rather than on your own. Cost: Free
7.Chill in cosy coffee bars
Candelaria is definitely the place to go to find these! Make sure you find a caffe with ladders to climb up to a cosy area, its like being a kid & you could stay up there all day! Cost: A coffee
8.Track down the Emerald sellers
Did you know Colombia is the biggest emerald produce in the world!? This is a really easy & quick thing to do, something just to tick off the list & say that you have seen them. Guys will gather outside on corners outside Plazoleta del Rosario, it all looks a bit strange people hanging around on corners in small circles with white envelopes, though this is part of everyday life in Bogotá. These men trade emeralds with each other & also sell them to the public, its interesting to just sit and watch. Though our advise is… don’t buy! Unless you are an emerald specialist you could be buying a very pretty piece of glass! Cost: Free
9.Find the old tram lines
Another quick & easy one to tick off the list, one that you would just walk past & not even realise. Bogotá used to have a tram system that was destroyed in riots in 1948 known as Bogotazo. You can see the reminance of tracks in front of Iglesia de San Francisco & it’s good to just contemplate the history of what happened here, the walking tour will tell you much more. Cost: Free
10.Experience hipster life in Zona Rosa
Zona Rosa is an area that tourists are just starting to venture into & place where you’ll find most well off Colombians who live in Bogotá. A lot of cool beer bars & cocktail clubs, mixed with a hipster vibe. Cost: A few beers
11.Check out Chapinero
The area where most tourists stay in Bogotá & particularly well know for its LGBT bars, think a big Soho. Trendy restaurants, outdoor beer bars (we’d recommend BBC – Bogotá beer club) & no end of regetón music to dance the night away, if you want a night out this is the place to come! Cost: A few beers
12.Go back in time at the Sunday market
If you happen to be in Bogotá on a Sunday, this is an absolute must! Located in Carrera 7 by San Francisco church, it’s biggest street market we’ve ever seen, it feels nearly a mile long. The most interesting part is what’s being sold, it really feels like you’re going back into the 90’s with flour balloons, records on USB’s & snail slime as face cream… really! There is a great buzz to the market, though it comes with a Word of caution, this is definitely where we felt the most vulnerable with so many eyes on our pockets. So be aware, avoid reallly crowded parts & don’t have everything on display. Cost: Free
13.LGBT out out 🏳️🌈
One word… Theatron. There comes a time in every LGBT persons life when they have to visit the largest gay club in Latin-America. Completely open for any sexuality, Theatron is a great night out! With 13 different rooms of music, 5 floors & holding 5000 people on a Saturday night… the best part – you pay for entry then it’s free drinks all night! You can start to imagine the buzz of this place, regatón & salsa your night away, enjoy! Cost: 50,000COP/$16
We hope this gives you inspiration ready for your visit to Bogotá! If there’s anything you’ve found that’s not on this list we’d love to hear about it. Or if you have any more questions about Colombias capital city just drop us a message & we’ll help you out!
Shay & Iban 👬