Bogota is the capital of Colombia and the third largest city in South America with over 8 million inhabitant and is located at 2,640m (8,660ft) above sea level. Bogota is a diverse city rich in history with its colonial streets, cathedrals and museums, as well as being one of the fastest growing modern cities in South America. Bogota has it all.
There is something welcoming about the city, the buildings are bright (some with street art), the people are friendly and happy, there is a large amount of open space and everyone loves to be outside. It’s a completely different feel from a city like London with exactly the same amount of people.
Bogota has its fashionable malls and upscale apartments as well as areas which residents wouldn’t visit. I quite happily walked around different parts of the city without feeling unsafe and I am from North Norfolk in England where nothing major happens.
Bogota has lots of different things to see and do, some of the major tourist attractions are as follows:
Monserrate – A Cathedral on top of the mountain with fantastic views of the city, you can walk up the mountain to get to the top or take a gondola or train. The cathedral is beautiful and they have a section where locals can set up stalls and sell products they have made.
Museo del Ore – The Gold museum in downtown Bogota is one of the most famous museums in Bogota and is home to over 55,000 individual pieces of gold, all made in different shapes and patterns. All of the items were found in different regions in Colombia.
Lake Guatavita – Lake Guatavita is located 35 miles north east of Bogota and is a lake hidden in the top of a mountain. The lake is sacred for tribes, who use the lakes in ceremonies and is thought to be the base of the legend El Dorado. The leader of the tribe would be covered in gold or gold dust and float onto the water in a raft and then dive into the water washing off the gold. Members of the tribe would then throw in any gold as an offering by worshipers. Some of the gold artefacts from Lake Guatavita are displayed in the Museo del Ore.
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira – Also known as Catedral de sal de Zipaquira, is an old salt mine which has been turned into a Cathedral underground, it is located 30 miles from Bogota. Everything in the cathedral is made from salt- the floors, walls, sculptures and steps. When you first walk into the cathedral there are 14 small chapels representing the stations of the cross, which illustrate the events of Jesus’ last journey, that lead into the main cathedral area. The details and the inside of the church are beautiful and it’s still a working cathedral.
Guasca – Around 30 miles north east of Bogota and is a quant farmers town located in the countryside, with beautiful mountains and landscapes.
Chia – Another town, located around 14 miles outside of Bogota. Chia used to be a small countryside town which has steadily grown over the last few years into a fairly large city, but it still holds the feeling of a small city.
Andres – Andres Carne de Res is a must go for any trip to Bogota or even Colombia. It’s located in Chia and is a 2.76 square mile restaurant with 11 dinning areas and 5 kitchens. A road runs in the middle of the restaurants and it truly is a one of a kind place. They have thought of everything, on one side of the road is the restaurant and on the opposite side of the road is the car park. There is another dining area of traditional Colombian ‘hang over’ or fast food for your journey home and they have a company who, for 25,000COP, will drive you and your car back to Bogota. They even have an area where you can drop off your ‘too drunk to stand up’ friends in return for a ticket and they can sleep in hammocks until you are ready to pick them up and leave. They have truly thought of everything!
Shopping – Bogota is home to a number of large indoor malls, Andino, Centro and Centro Comercial Atlantis are three high end malls. Andino has a large variety of stores, including American brands such as Aeropostale, Adidas, Zara, Gucci and Prada. This is definitely a good place to do some shopping, keep in mind though foreign brands tend to be a little on the expensive side in Colombia, due to import costs etc, whereas Colombian made products are very cheap in comparison.
Bogota is a great city with a mixture of everything- history, culture, modern society and traditional life, definitely a must see city.