The final destination on our Colombian adventure this summer was Bogota.
The city’s not so great reputation originally left us considering a one day stop over however after hearing the rave reviews from other travelers we decided to extend our visit to a full weekend and it turned out to be such a great decision. Though Bogota can be a dangerous city if you don’t keep your wits about you, it is also artsy and colorful, with graffiti covering the buildings, creative restaurants, boutique shopping and cool culture. The streets are bustling with vitality and the abundant architecture, museums and city life means there is so much to discover.
Morning… Gold Museum & Colonial Architecture.
Begin your Bogota adventure at the ‘Museo del Oro’. Voted one of the continents best museums it houses a collection of thousands of beautiful gold jewellery, animal carvings and trinkets all dating back to Colombia’s per-colonized indigenous period.
Afterwards, head up the main street ‘Carrera 7’ until reaching Plaza Bolivar. This pigeon filled square houses four important architectural buildings: the Houses of Congress, City Hall, the Supreme Court and Cathedral Primada. Afterwards stroll around the twisting streets of La Candelaria which are filled with colonial and cultural buildings, artsy plazas, cool shops and student bars. Be like a local and stop for a glass of Chica (an indigenous beer made from corn) in one of the student bars on ‘Calle del Embudo’.
Lunch… Try one of the local eateries dotted throughout La Candelaria. We loved the set lunch menu of Cafe Cultural Tres Gatos which served filling, tasty, home cooked food.
Afternoon… Bogota Graffiti Tour
Most of Bogota’s buildings are covered in colorful murals and the city has is a huge street art culture so taking the Bogota Graffiti Tour is a must. The tour is free (donations recommended) and guides, involved in the graffiti art scene, take you on a two and a half hour walk around La Candelaria, pointing out work from a selection of top artists and explaining political and historical references and technical details. Make sure to bring your camera because their is so much to see!
(bogota graffiti mural)
After the tour stop off in Ricardo Corazón de Papel, a book binding studio and shop who hand make beautiful, creative notebooks and diaries. A must souvenir shop for stationary lovers!
Dinner… Local Beers and Tasty Steaks
Beer lovers have to visit La Candelaria’s ‘Bogota Beer Company‘ for pre-dinner drinks to sample their selection of locally brew beers. Afterwards head down the street to T-Bone to try incredible steaks and red wine in a candle lit setting.
Morning… Paloquemao Market
Spend the morning strolling around the sprawling Paloquemao Market where exotic fruits, vegetables and flowers are sold by local vendors. Be prepared to discover colorful fruits we never even see in Europe and try some of the exotic offerings at one of the markets juice bars.
(exotic fruit market)
Afternoon… Monseratte & Botero Museum
Take a break from the city’s chaos by climbing up to visit the Monseratte Church, perched on a 10,000 foot mountain overlooking the city. It is possible to walk the 1.5 mile pilgrimage path leading up to the church or take a cable car. From the top you can see incredible views of the city sweeping into the distance.
(views from monseratte church)
Afterwards head back into La Candelaria and visit the Botero Museum in the free General Bank Museum Complex. The museum houses a huge collection of chubby statues and paintings by Colombia’s most famous artist Fernando Botero.
Dinner… Andres Carne de Res
Finish up your Bogota experience with the cities most incredible site – the restaurant of Andres Carne De Res. Think Alice in Wonderland and Moulin Rouge combined into an indescribable dream like world where costumed characters dance on tables, theater shows happen in the lifts, live bands and confetti throwers perform around the restaurant and anything really can happen. It’s a magical atmosphere and the food is incredible! The menu is a 70 page magazine offering Colombian cocktails, cheeses, wines and streaks so be sure to go hungry and stay until the early hours for a party like no other.
(performer at andres carne de res)