Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and home to roughly 8 million people. It’s a South American city with a powerful combination of history and modernism and with world class restaurants and museums.
I stayed in Hotel Continental in the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria (around 65 USD per night). The location is ideal because is very close to Monserrate, Plaza Bolivar and many great museums that the city has to offer.
The first day started with an early morning walk to Plaza Bolivar (a few blocks away from my hotel). This beautiful plaza has some of the most important buildings of Bogotá; the Cathedral of Bogotá, the Palace of Justice, the National Capitol and Lievano Palace (Bogotá’s city hall). Of course, admission to the plaza is free! Duh!
Next stop: Monserrate. One of Bogotá’s top touristic attractions, this hill is a pilgrim religious destination that includes a church, restaurants and souvenir shops. There are 3 ways to access the hill; by a funicular, a cable car and by a pedestrian trail. I chose the funicular which depending on the day (Sundays and Holidays) can cost from 10.000 to 17.000 Colombian pesos or around 3 to 5 USD. Once you get to the top, you’ll find amazing views of the city! At the top, I had lunch at Casa Santaclara Restaurant and ate the traditional “Ajiaco con Pollo” for 24.900 Colombian pesos or about 8 USD as well as the local beer “Club Colombia” for 5.900 Colombian pesos or 2 USD. I highly recommend this restaurant!
When the night came, I went to Zona Rosa or Zona T. An area of many fancy restaurants, shops and cool bars. Going to Andres Carne de Res is a must! The most legendary Andres Carne de Res is in Chia, about 40 minutes away from the city by car. But I can say that the one in Bogotá is definitely worth visiting! I finished the night with a couple of London Pride pints at the Irish Pub (open until 2:30am).
The next morning started with a visit to the Botero Museum, one of Colombia’s finest artists. The museum is free and it hosts a collection of Botero’s work throughout his lifetime as well as the work of some of the world’s most renowned artists including; Francis Bacon and Willem De Kooning.
Later in the afternoon, I took private transportation provided by the hotel (most hotels provide this service) to visit the Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá (about 45 minutes away from Bogotá). This underground church also serves as a pilgrim religious destination in an abandoned mine. Depending on the tour you’d like to take, fees may vary and you can look at them here.
I ended my day at the already mentioned Andres Carnes de Res Chia (reservations before going there are recommended). This restaurant filled with amazing decorations not only serves as a food place but also as a place to drink and party all night long! Try the traditional “Bandeja Paisa” or just settle with some world class beef tenderloin for 49.800 Colombian pesos or about 16 USD.
My last day in Bogotá included a visit to the famous Gold Museum (on Sundays the museum is free). The museum has a broad collection of gold work from the Pre-Columbian period and is definitely a place to stop by in the city.
In the afternoon, my last stop was at El Campín stadium in Bogotá. If you ever visit any South American country, experiencing the passion in a soccer or football match is an experience that everyone should have! I saw one of the local teams (Santa Fe) play against Atlético Huila. Finally, my trip ended with a fine dinner at Club Colombia restaurant (main dishes around 15 USD).
During my 3 days in this city, I was able to cover some important places and I hope you now have a better understanding of Bogotá as this city is worth visiting.
Next Stop: Cusco.