Welcome to our latest adventure on Roads Less Taken, where we’re diving into the vibrant heart of South America – Bogota, Colombia’s bustling capital. Known for its rich blend of history, culture, and modernity, Bogota offers an experience unlike any other. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or just looking to soak in new cultures, the vibrant city of Bogota caters for everyone. In this blog, we’ll journey through the best things to do in Bogota, unearthing hidden gems and well-loved attractions alike. Prepare to be enchanted by the colours, flavours, and rhythms of this extraordinary city!
Discovering the Heart of Bogota
Our tour begins in the vibrant city centre, each step uncovers a new layer. From the echoes of colonial history to the pulsating beats of modern-day Colombia, Bogota is a city that wears its heart on its sleeve. As we meander through the bustling streets, keep your senses alert – every corner has a story, every street an unspoken legend. Let’s discover what makes Bogota not just the political, but the cultural capital of Colombia.
Things To Do In Bogota
As we step into the cobblestoned streets of La Candelaria, Bogota’s historic district, the past comes alive. Each colourful building, adorned with intricate balconies and colonial shutters, tells tales of a bygone era. Don’t miss the Plaza de Bolívar, the beating heart of the district, surrounded by landmarks such as the Capitolio Nacional, Cathedral of Bogota and the Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen. This area is not just a feast for the eyes but also a hub for street performers and local artisans.
Museo del Oro
Next, we delve into the shimmering world of the Museo del Oro, a treasure trove of over 34,000 gold pieces. Each artefact, from tiny figurines to elaborate ceremonial masks, speaks of Colombia’s rich pre-Hispanic cultures. The museum’s crowning glory is the Muisca raft, symbolising the El Dorado ceremony and the legend that drew Spanish explorers to these lands.
A visit to Bogota is incomplete without ascending Monserrate. Standing over 3,152 meters above sea level, this mountain offers a sanctuary above the city. The church atop, a pilgrimage site for many, is steeped in spirituality and history. The panoramic views of Bogota from here are nothing short of spectacular, offering a perfect backdrop for reflection and photography.
Fernando Botero’s unique style is celebrated in the Museo Botero, housed in a charming colonial building. Botero’s voluptuous figures, whether in paintings or sculptures, offer a whimsical yet profound commentary on Colombian society. The museum also boasts works by Picasso, Renoir, and Dalí, making it a must-visit for art lovers.
Teatro Colón Bogotá
Our cultural journey takes us to the Teatro Colón, a gem of neoclassical architecture and the national theatre of Colombia. Attending a performance here, be it an opera or a ballet, is an experience in itself. The theatre’s opulent interior and world-class acoustics make for an unforgettable evening.
Plaza de Bolívar
Finally, we return to where much of Bogota’s history converges – the Plaza de Bolívar. This square, flanked by historic buildings and buzzing with daily activity, is the perfect spot to reflect on Bogota’s journey through time. The statue of Simón Bolívar, a nod to Colombia’s liberation, stands as a proud reminder of the nation’s resilience and spirit.
Artistic and Modern Bogota
As we step away from the historical, we dive into Bogota’s modern pulse. The city’s art scene, a vibrant tapestry of street art, contemporary galleries, and cultural festivals, paints a picture of a city constantly reinventing itself. A highlight is the street art tour, revealing stories of social change and identity through colourful murals.
Culinary Delights and Local Flavours
One of the most tantalising aspects of any city tour is the opportunity to indulge in local cuisine, and Bogota does not disappoint. The city’s culinary landscape is a vibrant mix of traditional flavours and innovative cooking, offering a taste of Colombia’s diverse regions. Although we’ve write an extensive blog about the best restaurants in Bogota, here are some must-try local dishes unique to Bogota:
This hearty soup is a Bogotano staple. Made with chicken, three types of potatoes, and the Galinsoga parviflora herb (locally known as ‘guasca’), it’s traditionally served with capers, cream, and avocado on the side. Ajiaco is not just a dish; it’s a comforting embrace of Colombian hospitality.
Unlike other Latin American tamales, the Bogotano version is larger and packed with a mixture of chicken, pork, carrots, peas, and potatoes, all wrapped in a banana leaf. It’s a fulfilling start to any day, often enjoyed as a breakfast dish.
A traditional breakfast soup, changua is made with milk, water, scallions, and eggs. It’s a simple yet nourishing dish, reflective of Bogota’s Andean heritage.
Arepa de Choclo
These are sweet corn cakes, often buttered and served with cheese. They make for a delicious snack or a light meal, showcasing the versatility of corn in Colombian cuisine.
A thick soup made from wheat, potatoes, and pork ribs. It’s a hearty and comforting dish, perfect for Bogota’s cooler climate.
A popular street food, fritanga is a mixed platter of grilled meats, sausages, potatoes, and yuca, usually accompanied by aji, a spicy sauce. It’s a flavourful glimpse into the local love for meat and social eating.
A unique Bogotano experience, this hot chocolate is typically served with cheese. Locals drop chunks of cheese into the hot chocolate and wait for it to melt – a delightful combination of sweet and salty flavours.
Green Spaces and Outdoor Activities
Bogota surprises with its array of green spaces and outdoor activities. The expansive Simón Bolívar Park offers an oasis for relaxation and recreation, from boating on the lake to leisurely walks amidst lush greenery. For the more active, a bike tour, especially during the Sunday Ciclovía when major streets are car-free, is a unique way to experience the city’s diverse neighbourhoods.
Ending our Journey with Unforgettable Memories
As our tour concludes, it’s clear why there are many things to do in Bogota. From historical marvels to modern-day delights, Bogota captivates with its multifaceted charm. Whether strolling through La Candelaria, marvelling at the treasures of the Museo del Oro, or experiencing the vibrant street art scene, each moment in Bogota is a memory in the making. As you leave, take with you not just souvenirs, but stories and experiences that epitomise the spirit of Bogota.
Loved this journey through Bogota? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below! Don’t forget to share this blog with your fellow travel enthusiasts and let them know where to stay in Bogota and where to find the best nightlife in Bogota.
For more travel stories and guides, follow Roads Less Taken. Next up, we’ll be exploring another hidden gem of South America. Stay tuned!