In the mountains of Colombia, over 8,000 feet above sea level lies the massive capital city of Bogota. It’s a place that I’ve visited three times in the last seven years and it holds a special place in my heart. It was the first city I ever visited in South America. I filmed one of my first travel videos there.
Unlike other cities where the top things to do tend to be too touristy to ever repeat on your second or third visit, like Times Square in New York City, I find myself enjoying Bogota’s iconic experiences over and over again. I never tire of these top five things to do:
For the best views of Bogota’s sprawling network of neighborhoods, take the cable car up Monserrat mountain, 10,407 feet in altitude. Sit on the steps of the 17th century cathedral that pierces the sky as you take in the most breathtaking panoramas of Bogota. While a day time visit gives you the clearest views of the city, Monserrat is open until midnight so take advantage of the late night hours to see the magic that is Bogota by night.
Ajiaco for Lunch
When you are this high in the mountains the weather can be unpredictable. Temperatures can drop and sudden rain storms can have you craving a warm and hearty lunch. The perfect antidote is Colombian ajiaco. It’s a traditional soup with chicken, corn, potatoes avocado, capers, and a drizzle of sour cream. Need I say more? You can find it all over Bogota but especially in the oldest quarter of Bogota, La Candelaria. One of the best ajiaco‘s I’ve ever tasted comes from La Puerta Falsa. It’s one of about three things on the menu. Sit upstairs in the loft for a typical Bogotano experience.
Shopping at Artisan Markets
Also in the neighborhood of La Candelaria, you’ll find several artisan market where you can shop for authentic Wayuu Mochila bags, alpaca ponchos, and handmade jewelry. Most of the vendors accept credit cards, however some charge an additional fee to use them so it’s best to negotiate with cash!
While there are many museums to explore in Bogota including the famous Museo del Oro, Gold Museum, my particular favorite is the Botero Museum. It’s a celebration of Colombia’s most famous artists, Fernando Botero. It’s your change to have an intimate look at his collection of voluptuous sculptures as well as iconic Botero paintings. On your way over to the museum, don’t miss a stop in Plaza de Bolivar.
Viewfinder Tip: Entry to Bogota’s Botero Museum is free!
Andres Carne de Res
Imagine a circus, a steakhouse, a theater and a nightclub all under one roof. That’s sort of how it feels to be at Andrés Carne de Res. While there is a location in the heart of Bogota, the original Andres Carne de Res is about an hour outside of the city in a small town called Chia. If you have the time, it’s worth the trip. Make a reservation for a Friday or Saturday night and let your sense be dazzled.
What are your favorite things to do in Bogota, Colombia?