Cars, horns, people and more cars. This is what you hear from anywhere in Bogota. By living in a city with 7 million people, this would be the least expected, but beyond all the noise and commotion of the city, this is a place where diversity, culture and politics come together to form a great city to live in. Of course there is great cultural tourism, but there is also a local life that a tourist should ALWAYS experience to understand the satisfaction of living in Bogota.
Bogota is the capital of Colombia located at the heart of the country, in the Andes mountain range. Because of the high elevation of Bogota, that can reach 3,100 meters high, the climate is rather cold with an average range of 8º to about 18º. Just by wearing jeans and a jacket, you will be as comfortable as you need!
‘’El centro, el centro y el centro!’’ If you ask where to do tourism in Bogota, 9 out of 10 colombians will tell you that place. So, what is that place. ‘’El centro’’ translates to the center, which is literal in Bogota’s case, because it is where all the government buildings are, and all the national and important museums. First, there is the ‘’Plaza de Bolivar,’’ where you can see the house where the president lives! It is also a nice plaza to have a drink or a night walk in. Lots of history in this place!! In this plaza, you can also see the famous cathedral of Bogota, which is called ‘’Catedral Primada,’’ or Primatial Cathedral.
There are tons of museums in this part of Bogota also. Probably the most famous and most visited is the ‘’Museo de Oro,’’ or Gold Museum. Yes, it is a museum full of gold, and history!. Here you can see the glorious history of the Muiscas, which were the indigenous that habited Bogota before the Spanish came, conquered and took all of their gold. Legend says, in a nearby lake called Guatavita there are still tons of gold that could cost millions, but no one has ever been able to find it. Other museums that are worth the visit are ‘’Museo Botero’’ and ‘’Museo del 20 de Julio.’’ The museum of Botero is of a colombian artist and sculptor called Fernando Botero. His artworks became famous because of the large and exaggerated volume of his figures. He has painted and sculpted from women, children and men to animals such as horses. It is a very fun museum to visit regardless of if you a big artist fanatic or not. The museum of the 20th of July tells you the story of Colombia’s independence, and how it all started right in Bogota. It is a culturally enriched museum, and very inspirational.
Bogota also has some tourist sites outside of the center of the city. The most important, Monserrate! This mountain peak is famous because of its cathedral, and also because it is the highest peak, which reaches 3,152 meters (10, 341 ft). It offers a beautiful view of Bogota, a nice restaurant to dine and site where you can walk and gain a little bit more knowledge of the city.
Local Bogota! (The real Bogota)
The problem with tourism is that tourists always go to the tourist areas, and although this is the best way to know about the culture and history of a place, they miss out on the living experience! This city if filled with great dining, great markets to shop locally and fun plans! From having brunch to night experiences, Bogota is the best.
The Culinary Experience
From French, American and Italian restaurants, Bogota has it all, but the restaurants worth going to are the local ones, with pure Colombian chefs and a Colombian food experience that will leave wanting more.
A famous and delicious Colombian restaurant is called Club Colombia. From brunch to dinner, this restaurant offers the best Colombian plates you could have. If you want to eat a typical breakfast, order the arepa de huevo with suero costeño, which is a fried arepa with an egg inside, with a type of sour cream. It is typical from the coast of the country, and it is incredible. You can also share some carimañolas or empanadas. This are a sort of pastry turnover fried with a filling of cheese, meat or chicken. They are better with a little lime and hot sauce. For lunch or dinner, you can order one of the many typical plates that Colombia has. There is a famous soup called Ajiaco, which has potatoes, chicken and other ingredients to make it real savory. You could also order a Bandeja Paisa. This dish has it all. It includes ground beef, chicharrones (from pig), rice, plantain, arepa, chorizo (a type of sausage), egg, beans and avocado. It is an amazing lunch option!
Another restaurant worth going to, but a little expensive, is Harry Sasson. One of the top chefs in the country, this restaurant located in a beautiful house offers you a great culinary experience. Everything here is amazing, you can find from fish, beef, chicken to more elaborate plates. Desserts are also amazing, and if you go here you should try the ‘’postre de guayaba,’’ which offers a different alternative of sweet.
If you are on a budget and you are mainly doing tourism, Crepes and Waffles is the restaurant for you. A Colombian restaurant, it offers cheap breakfast, lunch or dinner plates that are amazing! Its main concept are the crepes and the waffles for desert, but there is a variety of food such as salads, bread bowls and pitas you can choose from.
Bogota has some really nice places to go out at night. From casual bars to nightclubs, there are various options to choose from.
If you are searching for the Colombian experience, you have to visit Andres Carne de Res at night. It has amazing food and drinks, and it offers the best party for both locals and foreigners. This place is filled with decorations that will show you its own environment. You can go eat at night and stay until late at night, or just arrive later and have a fun and wild party. There are two locations, Chia, about a half an hour from Bogota, or Andres D.C, which is in the city.
Many places to go out at night are located in Zona T or la 85. You can find here places like Black Sheep, El Fabuloso or many bars such as Bogota Beer Company or The Irish Pub where you can have a great night with your friends.
Bogota is a really spectacular city, where both tourist life and normal life offer you a true Colombian experience that you shouldn’t miss!