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Things to do in Bogotá

Things to do in  Bogotá

Welcome to Bogotá

A city of contrasts—and one of South America’s most exciting capitals—Bogotá is a sprawling metropolis steeped in history and cosmopolitan cool. Hit the old town of La Candelaria for world-class museums and street art. Further north, the neighborhoods of Chapinero and Zona Rosa are centers for nightlife and fashion, while the Usaquén district is the go-to destination for food lovers. Walking tours and guided bike rides are a great way to see and feel the many atmospheres around, as well as to create an appetite for local food and nightlife. For farther-flung Colombia highlights, day trips take travelers to Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, coffee plantations, the sacred ground of the pre-Colombian Muisca people at Guatavita Lake, and La Chorrera and El Chiflón waterfalls.

Top 15 attractions in Bogotá

Plaza de Bolivar

Bogotá’s main square is built on a grand scale, from a landmark statue of Simón Bolívar to the 16th-century La Catedral Primada. In between is a colorful crowd of vendors, travelers, and downtown workers. A starting point for exploring the historic La Candelaria neighborhood, the Plaza de Bolivar is a key stop for visitors to Bogotá.More

La Candelaria (Historic Old Town)

The graceful and carefully planned Spanish colonial city center, known as La Candelaria, is the oldest part of Bogotá, Colombia. Now a vibrant hub of activity for young artists, bohemian university students, and hip indie businesses, La Candelaria centers on Plazuela del Chorro del Quevedo, the spot where the city was founded in 1537.More

Mt. Monserrate (Cerro de Monserrate)

Towering 10,341 feet (3,152 meters) tall at the edge of Bogotá, forested Mt. Monserrate (Cerro de Monserrate) can be spotted from across the city. Set like a pearl on the summit is the Monserrate Sanctuary, a 17th-century church whose shrine is a major pilgrimage place for Colombian Catholics.More

Zipaquira Salt Cathedral (Catedral de Sal)

This spacious cathedral is carved into a warren of salt mines 600 feet (183 mt) below the ground. Venture into the Salt Cathedral to see chapels and altars carved directly into solid rock, learn about the mine’s history, and see intricate statues in chapels representing the Stations of the Cross.More

Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)

Gold Museum (Museo del Oro) is one of the city’s most popular attractions. It sparkles with more than 55,000 priceless archaeological and artistic treasures. Only a fraction can be displayed at any one time, laid out to tell tales of pre-Colombian mining, manufacturing, and metallurgy of pre-Hispanic Colombians.More

Botero Museum (Museo Botero)

While the plump proportions of Fernando Botero’s sculptures have earned him international acclaim, it’s his generosity that’s made the artist Colombia’s favorite son. At the peak of his fame, the artist donated more than 150 pieces worth $200 million to the Colombian government—you can enjoy all of this art for free at Museo Botero.More

Bogotá Mint Museum (Museo Casa de la Moneda)

Aside from the thrill of “discovering” new lands, the Spanish conquistadoreswere endlessly driven by thoughts of discovering gold. Here at the Bogotá Mint Museum (Museo Casa de la Moneda), walk amidst the spot where gold was first minted in Colombia, having stood in this spot since 1622 when the King of Spain ordered the production of gold coins in Bogota. Since money and power seem to go hand in hand, this museum that’s based around Colombian currency has many political undertones, where the type of currency that’s been minted through the years shows fascinating parallels between the political era and Colombia’s historical events. From the initial barter of ceramics and pots that was used by indigenous tribes, the currencies weave a chronological tale as viewed through production of money.More

Lake Guatavita

Conquistadors dreamed of a golden city called El Dorado, and modern-day archaeologists find traces of that myth in historic practices at Colombia’s Lake Guatavita. Here, the Indigenous Muisca people are believed to have made offerings to the gods by casting gold figures into the crater lake—a scenic and popular day trip from Bogotá.More

International Emerald Museum (Museo Internacional de la Esmeralda)

As Colombia is the world's largest producer of emeralds, a trip to the International Emerald Museum (Museo Internacional de la Esmeralda) in Bogota comes highly recommended. Located on the 23rd floor of the Avianca Building, here you’ll get the chance to learn about the history and processes of emerald mining in Colombia, as well as admiring some of the country’s most prized pieces. This small museum boasts in the region of 3000 of the finest emeralds in the world. On the museum tour, you’ll enter a 27 ­square ­meter tunnel with samples of the emerald deposits, plus real veins extracted from real mines. In the workshop, you’ll learn about the process of how an emerald is created, and observe the different qualities and characteristics of the collections on display. The gift shop is a big draw for those interested in taking some of Columbia's finest gems home with them, with a range of jewellery and cut emeralds for sale. Those particularly interested in emeralds and their history in Columbia should join a dedicated Bogotá emerald gemstone tour, which includes visiting the attractions of Parque Santander, a stroll through the center of the emerald market, and a trip to theGalería de Artesanías y Esmeraldas de Colombia.More

Quinta de Bolívar Museum

Simon Bolivar is an absolute legend in much of Latin America. Considered “The Liberator” for much of the continent, he fought tirelessly for numerous nations to gain their independence—and lived here, in Quinta de Bolivar, between his political conquests. Set in Bogota’s eastern hills, Quinta de Bolivar Museum is a humble home that’s rung by spectacular gardens, and riddled with history on South America’s most notorious and popular son. When visiting the small, but fascinating house, hear the tales of how Simon Bolivar would relax and rest between battles, and five flags now fly in the garden that mark the modern, Latin American countries where Bolivar brought independence. Aside from the history of Bolivar himself, the house is a look at Bogota life in the 18th and 19th century, with antique furniture, clothing, and weaponry displayed throughout the home. Though the building is nowhere as near grandiose as the story of Bolivar himself, it’s a laidback, calming, and fascinating look at Bolivar’s moments of peace. To maximize what you can learn at the site, visit as part of a guided historical tour of greaterBogota, or as part of a private Bogota tour that’s catered around its best sites.More

La Catedral Primada

With a grand perch by Plaza de Bolívar, Bogotá’s biggest cathedral is a neoclassical landmark with centuries of history. A chapel houses the tomb of Bogotá’s founder, and paintings deck the walls and the dome’s interior. While not as elaborate as some Colombian cathedrals, this historic place remains one of Bogota’s top attractions.More

Nariño Palace (Casa de Nariño)

Bolivar. Nariño. Santander. Many of Colombia’s most prominent names have all had ties to Casa de Nariño, Colombia’s Presidential Palace. Built in a Neoclassical style, the palace is located in La Candeleria—Bogotá’s popular historic district—and decorated with furniture, paintings and sculptures that date back to second century Rome and Renaissance era treasures. Even without visiting inside the palace, travelers are treated to an architectural treat outside, where fountains, sculptures and the Plaza de Armas all add to the regal exterior. Noticeable, of course, are the many guards who vigilantly stand watch by the palace, where their crisp uniforms and colorful hats form a festive, though serious, atmosphere. While the President no longer lives in the building, it’s still the site of executive offices and Colombia’s top politicians, and is the frequent site of ceremonies welcoming groups of visiting dignitaries.More

La Chorrera Waterfall

Hidden away in the mountains outside of Bogotá is La Chorrera, a slim cascade that tumbles 2,000 feet (590 meters into the jungle. This waterfall is Colombia’s tallest and among it’s most striking natural attractions.More

Colombian National Museum (Museo Nacional de Colombia)

The country’s history and heritage are on display in the Colombian National Museum, whose vast collections include more than 20,000 objects. Permanent exhibitions range from golden treasures to colonial-era artwork, paintings, sculpture, and ethnography. It’s easy to see why Colombia’s first museum remains a top destination in Bogotá.More

93 Park (Parque 93)

93 Park (Parque 93) is so much more than a grassy square in the center of Bogotá—it’s one of the cultural centerpieces of the city. Located in El Chicó, a well-to-do neighborhood within the city’s Chapinero district, the park is often frequented by Bogotá’s wealthiest. If you plan to take a stroll through here, be prepared to be surrounded by the local jet-set crowd.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Bogotá

Guatavita and Salt Cathedral - Group tour and daily departure
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Create Your Own Colombian Emerald Ring
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Andes Mountains Horseback Riding

Andes Mountains Horseback Riding

The Bogotá Food Experience

The Bogotá Food Experience

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All about Bogotá

When to visit

Because of its high altitude, Bogota remains refreshingly cool year-round, but it can be prone to downpours—visit December through March to reduce your chance of rain. Highlights of the Colombian capital’s calendar include Festival Centro, a celebration of Latin music in April, and free Festivales al Parque, which sees open-air concerts of different musical genres in the city’s parks throughout the year.

Getting around

Bogota doesn’t have a subway, but the TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit is the quickest and most cost-effective way to get around outside of rush hour, when it’s best to avoid hitting the road altogether. Historic areas such as La Candelaria and La Plaza de Bolivar are best explored on foot, while cycling is also a great option—the capital boasts more than 300 kilometers (190 miles) of dedicated cycle lanes.

Traveler tips

Colombia’s capital is rife with hidden gems, if you know where to look. The arty and bohemian barrio of La Macarena is a creative hub with quaint parks and a planetarium, and it’s far less crowded than La Candelaria. While Zona G is an off-the-beaten path spot that’s considered Bogota’s premier dining destination. A visit to this ritzy enclave might even result in you rubbing shoulders with a Colombian celebrity.

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People Also Ask

Is Bogota worth visiting?

Yes, Colombia’s vibrant capital city is certainly worth visiting. Highlights include the cobblestone historic center of La Candelaria and its street art, world-class museums such as the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum, and some of Colombia’s best nightlife, fueled by the rich rhythms of salsa music.

What is Bogota famous for?

Bogota is famous for the grand architecture in the historic center of La Candelaria and for its vibrant street art scene, which is present in all parts of Colombia’s sprawling capital. It's also renowned for its salsa-dancing nightlife and coffee culture—Colombian coffee is held in high regard worldwide.

Is 3 days enough in Bogota?

Yes, with three days in Bogota you can cover the highlights, including La Candelaria, home to Plaza de Bolívar and Teatro Colón; Mt. Monserrate, topped by a 17th-century church; and the Gold Museum. You could also take a day trip to Villa de Leya or Zipaquira's Salt Cathedral.

Should I visit Bogota or Medellin?

Bogota is much larger than Medellin, and therefore it has much more to see and do—top picks include the Gold Museum and the historic center of La Candaleria. However, Medellin is considered safer and offers a warmer climate—it's known as the city of eternal spring.

Is Bogota a party city?

Yes, Bogota is a party city. Indeed, Colombia’s capital is famous throughout Latin America for its nightlife. The best places are Zona Rosa, with plenty of places to salsa dance and drink cocktails, and Zona T, with its nightclubs. La Candelaria sees backpackers enjoying a beer or two.

When is the best time to visit Bogota?

Because of its elevation at 8,800 feet (2,700 meters) above sea level, Bogota can be chilly and rainy regardless of when you visit. However, you’re least likely to experience downpours and icy winds in the South American summer months of Dec.–Feb.


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