Is Bogota Worth Visiting (Hero)

Is Bogota Worth Visiting? 14 Reasons Why You Can’t Skip It

Bogotá is Colombia’s capital city so it’s sprawling, busy and has lots going on. While it may not be the colourful laid-back Colombian city you’re probably expecting, there are still lots of great things to do with your time, so it’s well worth spending a few days here to soak-up all that the often-underrated city has to offer.

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Is Bogotá Worth Visiting?

Bogotá is well worth visiting, mainly as it will be the start of your Colombian adventure! It’s also got some of the best museums in the country and the nightlife is incredible.

 

Here’s a few reasons why you should consider Bogota:

 

 

  • Get into the Colombian vibe: Your journey will probably start here as it’s home to the country’s main international airport (El Dorado) , so it’s worth spending a few days acclimatising to the Colombian way of life here

 

  • Galleries/museums: Get to know Colombia’s rich history – both pre and post Columbus – at one of the city’s many museums or galleries.

 

  • Food: one way to learn about a Colombian culture is through its food and Bogotá offers so many of opportunities for this. 

 

Read on for some great recommendations for why you should visit Bogota next!

Is Bogota Worth Visiting (Hero)

14 Great Reasons to visit Bogotá in 2024

  • Cost: Entrance is free but the cable car costs 29,500 COP ($8) for a return ticket
  • Funicular Monserrate

For great views of the city, time for reflection at the church or a bit of lunch at one of the restaurants, this is a fun thing to do to get your bearings of the city. 

 

A two-way ticket is 29,500 COP and the funicular runs throughout the week but check timings before you travel.

 

If you’re feeling energetic there is a well-marked path but I’ll leave it up to you whether you use it to go up or down (or not at all!)…!

Funicular ride to Monserrate, Bogota (Colombia)

It can be hard to know where to start if you’re looking for good quality, authentic local food as a tourist, but don’t worry, I’ve done the hard work for you! 

 

La Puerta De La Catedral is an authentic Colombian restaurant just round the corner from Plaza de Bolivar.

 

Ajiaco santafereño soup is practically Colombia’s national dish (I even made one for my Colombian friend back in the UK after she had a baby) and this is a great place to try it.

 

It comes with a corn-on-the cob inside and slices of the biggest avocado you’ve ever seen, plus capers as an accompaniment. 

 

There are lots of other traditional dishes on the menu so if you don’t fancy soup you’ll be getting a true taste of Colombia with whatever you order

Museo Botero houses many artworks and sculptures by the renowned and proudly-celebrated Colombian artist-come-sculptor Fernando Botero. 

 

You’ll see his characteristic ‘chubby’ forms all over the country, particularly in Medellin which boasts 23 sculptures in one of its parks.

 

The building and courtyard are also a beautiful place to wander.

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4. Vintage shopping in Marly

Like much of South America, Bogotá clusters types of shops together in specific areas, which makes a lot of sense in a way! 

 

If you fancy getting some unique bargains, definitely visit Marly (accessed via the TransMilenio bus line), along Av. Caracas from Calles 50-60.  Or grab an Uber as it’ll be quicker!

 

You can find tons of great vintage gear here including hiking jackets and shoes.

TOP TIP:  Are you going hiking in Colombia or somewhere else in South America? Save yourself loads of money by waiting and buying a cheap waterproof jacket in Marly. You might not get the exact one you want or the right colour, but this is a great budget hack!

Vintage Shopping In Marley

5. Museo del Oro (aka the Gold Museum)

 

  • Cost: 4.000 COP / Free on Sundays
  • Opening Times:  Tuesday until Saturday from 9 .00 AM until 6.00 PM
  • Museo Del Oro

If you’ve seen the classic ‘90s animated film ‘The Road to El Dorado’ you’ll be familiar with the love that Latin America’s ancient people had for gold. 

 

This literal museum of gold (oro is gold in Spanish) is a feast for the eyes.

 

With gleaming hand crafted items displayed in brightly-lit cases you’ll want to wander lustfully in here for as long as possible!

See how you can spend a month travelling through Colombia with this epic one month itinerary:

 

 

6. Wander around Barrio La Candelaria

I stayed in La Candelaria as it’s one of the safest neighbourhoods (aka Barrios) in Bogotá which is always important for me as a solo female traveller. 

 

I stayed at Alegria’s Hostel which was clean and well appointed.

 

La Candelaria is beautiful and I enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere, with its colonial buildings, cobbled streets and stepped pavements to make the hills easier to walk up. 

 

There is a lot of street art in this area so either wander around and soak it up yourself or take one of the many guided street art walking tours. 

 

There are lots to choose from but here are some well-respected companies you might want to check out:

 

La Candelaria, Bogota (Colombia)
Best Backpack For South America (Osprey Farpoint)
Best Backpack For South America (Osprey Farpoint)

Is This The Best Backpack For South America?

I love the Osprey Farpoint 50-70L.

 

It’s reasonably priced and perfect for first timers visiting South America.

 

Read more here on why it’s so great or check it out on the official site below:

7. Find and eat some buñuelos

Buñuelos are cheesy doughy balls of happiness and I think about them often. 

 

I’ve even made a pilgrimage to Elephant and Castle in London (an area that houses many Latinos) to seek them out as I love them so much. 

 

They are sold all over the city, often from street vendors, so if you see what looks like hot fresh dough balls for sale, GO BUY SOME!

 

The best place to try them is at Kaba Parrilla (the corner of Carrera 7 and Av. Jimenez de Quesada). 

8. Walk through Plaza de Bolívar de Bogotá

This is a large square built to commemorate Simon Bolivar who led Colombia to independence in the early 19th century. 

 

There’s not much to do here but you can tick it off your visit-list on your way to something else, which is what I did!

 

Or visit it on a walking tour of the city to learn more about Bogota’s history. 

 

This top rated tour will take you there along with many of the other best sights in Bogota. 

 

Or if you prefer something more active, why not try this bike tour instead:

Plaza De Bolivar, Bogota (Colombia)

9. Feast on tropical fruits at Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao

If beautifully displayed exotic fruit and veg is your thing, then this is for you.

 

The fruit I had in Colombia is like nothing else I’ve had so don’t miss your chance to try something new here. 

 

One of my favourite fruits is granadilla. It’s a bit like a passion fruit but the outside is yellow and the inside is much less sour! 

 

Or if you prefer a guided food, this 5 star rated experience is worth checking out!

Whilst Bogota is a great place to experience the tastes of Colombia, the Carribean coast is even better. Make sure you visit Cartagena too:

 

 

  • Cost: 3500 COP (just over a dollar)
  • Timings: Monday to Friday from 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM, and from 9.00 AM to 5.oo PM at the weekend.
  • Bogota Botanical Gardens

Boasting more than 5,000 specimens, this is a real oasis of green away from the bustling city. 

 

The organisation’s focus is protecting and nurturing the flora of Bogotá and Colombia as a whole. 

 

Take a breather and relax amongst the well-maintained gardens, familiarising yourself with some of the plants and flowers you are likely to encounter throughout the rest of Colombia.

11. Tejo

Tejo is a popular sport originating from rural Colombia, which involves throwing iron disks at clay-covered boards adorned with gunpowder-packed triangles. 

 

Hit the centre of a triangle for a small explosion and  extra points.

 

Tejo is widely enjoyed for fun in Bogotá, with popular venues like Tejo La Embajada in the San Felipe neighbourhood. This spot offers craft beers, finger food, and turns into a lively venue later in the night.

 

You can reserve a lane through their website or book this Tejo and craft beer tour if you prefer a guide.

Colombian Flag

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12. Salsa

Another must in Bogota is learning to salsa!

 

You can see locals showcasing their dance moves at salsa clubs throughout the city, where individuals of all ages and skill levels are dancing away.

 

In downtown Bogotá, try El Goce Pagano, a venue where DJs have been spinning classic salsa tracks from Cuba, Colombia, and beyond for the past three decades. 

 

For live performances, don’t miss Quiebra Canto, a revered Bogotá establishment that has hosted local salsa, champeta, and tropical pop bands before they achieved widespread recognition.

13. Visit Lake Guatavita

Lake Guatavita is a beautiful natural wonder on the outskirts of Bogota steeped in legend and history.

 

The lake is part of the legend of El Dorado, where apparently indigenous tribes performed rituals involving gold offerings.

 

If you want to escape from the busy city into nature, this stunning landscape provides the perfect opportunity. 

This highly rated tour will take you to the lake and the salt cathedral 

14. Hike to El Chiflon and La Chorrera Waterfall

The Andean Jungles outside of Bogota are perfect for trekking. 

 

Parque Aventura La Chorrera Bogotá is open from 8 am to 5 pm every day.

 

You can go trekking in the park and visit two amazing waterfalls –  El Chiflón and La Chorrera.

 

La Chorrera, a 1,936-foot wall of cascading water, is Colombia’s largest waterfall. 

 

This is a full day out and requires driving an hour outside of the city and then around 4-5 hours in the park trekking and enjoying the sights.

 

This top rated tour includes transport to and from the park. 

La Chorrera Waterfall, Bogota (Colombia)

Why Skip Bogota?

There are a couple of reasons you might want to skip over Bogota for more time in other places in Colombia. 

 

 

  • Altitude –  At 2,625m above sea-level, the thin air of Bogotá takes a bit of getting used to. If you suffer from altitude sickness easily, you may want to give it a miss but if you take it easy you’ll soon be hoofing around taking in the sights and sounds of the city within a couple of days.

 

  • Climate – as it’s high up, Bogota is cold and the weather is erratic. If you’re visiting Colombia for the Carribean weather, then best to skip over Bogota and spend more time on the coast in Cartagena for example.

 

  • Activities – whilst it’s a great city worth exploring for a day or two, places like Medellin and Santa Marta offer a whole host of adventure activities that you can’t get in Bogota. If you are looking for adventure and excitement head to Medellin instead.

How Many Days Do You Need In Bogotá?

In my opinion, three days is more than enough in Bogota to get it all done, especially if you’re on an extended tour of the country and have other places to visit. 

 

I didn’t rush around and managed to get most of it done within three days, but if you want to take it even more leisurely, spread your time over five days and take in even more sights at your own pace. 

Head to the post below for fully planned 3, 5 and 7 day itineraries:

 

 

Where's The Best Area To Stay In Bogota?

La Candelaria is the safest neighbourhood for travellers and tourist.

 

Here are a some great hostels to check out:

 

  • Casa Dreamer – the chain of ‘Dreamer’ hostels is one of my favourite in all of South America. Their original hostel was in Santa Marta and then they expanded to Palomino and now Bogota. These hostels are always done to such a high standard – it feels like flashpacking but for budget prices
  • Masaya – the ‘Masaya’ chain are another great chain with hostels in Medellin and also in Ecuador.  Private bunks 

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