Bogota is Colombia’s capital and home to more than 9 million people. It is situated 2640m (8,660 feet) above the sea level in the Andean Region. For most foreign travelers Bogotá is the main gateway inside the country as the capital is served by the El Dorado International Airport. Bogota is a city full of contrasts with very busy areas such as the city center and other areas with parks that are calm and peaceful.
The capital has many cafes, nightclubs, shopping centers, and restaurants with traditional and international cuisine. One of Bogota’s traditional dishes is the Ajiaco, a potato soup with creme, avocado and capers. Other typical food in Bogotá is Tamal, Arepas and Empanandas. Bogota is a fascinating lively urban destination with a welcoming hospitality. The Spanish spoken in this city is one of the clearest in the world. With some basic Spanish it is easy to travel through the city and experience Colombia’s capital. Places
There are about 20 districts in Colombia’s capital. The interesting parts of the city are mainly situated in the center as well as the north where most new developments take place. Besides all the attractions within the city, Bogotá is also a hub to visit other places of interest in the surrounding as well as the more remote places such as the Amazon jungle in the South of the country.
One of the most popular places among tourists is La Candelaria which officially belongs to the Santa Fé District. Here you can find the Plaza de Bolívar and many historical buildings built about 400 years ago by the Spanish. La Candelaria is a picturesque colonial part of Bogotá with narrow streets and it is easy to reach from the city center. There are universities, libraries, and museums such as the famous Gold Museum. The Gold Museum has more than 35,000 pieces made of gold and other materials. La Candeleria has also some museums with free entrance such as the Casa de Moneda where you can find a large collection of Colombian coins from the past.
One of the main attractions is the hill Monserrate, a pilgrim destination 3,150 meters above sea level. An aerial tramway brings you up to the hill from where you can enjoy excellent views on the city and the beautiful hills on the other side. On top of the hill is a beautiful church from the 17th century.
Situated in the north of Bogotá is the district Chapinero which is a quite new and rather modern part of Bogotá. Between the streets 72 and 100 is the central business district with fantastic restaurants and boutiques. Chapinero has historically always been an upper-class neighborhood and has architecture influenced by European style of the early 20th century. In this area you can also find the Zona T and Zona Rosa with its bars and clubs as well as the Zona G known for its fine dining. Zona T and Zona Rosa get very crowded on the weekend when locals and tourists enjoy their time in some of the best bars and clubs Colombia has. Also the Park of 93 is worthwile visiting as it has a park with many restaurants and bars visited by Bogota’s jet set and business people. Here you can get some of the finest food and drinks for relatively cheap prices compared to European or North American restaurants and bar. A must is Bogota’s own brewery, Bogota Beer Company, which offers many different types of beers. Chapinero is also known for its gay community with more than 100 bars focusing on this target group.
For those who want to experience a rather unusual part of Bogotá, La Macarena is the right place to go. This neighborhood has many international influences from all over the world and is popular among artists. It has a bullring and a number of international cafes, bars and restaurants where you can find food from many different countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Serbia.
Around Bogotá are many towns and villages which are interesting for tourists. The Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira is an underground church built inside a salt deposit. The town of Zipaquirá itself has many Spanish Colonial buildings. Bogotá has several recreation parks such as the Simón Bolívar Park which offers a large choice of sports and entertainment. Also known as ‘The lungs of Bogotá’ the Park is situated in the heart of the capital and hosts concerts and festivals. With 970 acres of land, the park is larger than the Central Park of New York. There is also an Amusement Park called ‘El Salitre Park’, with amusement rides, rollercoaster, a roof covered water park and its popular Ferris Wheel. The ‘Los Novios Park’ has soccer fields, BMX tracks, places for barbecue and you can rent pedal boats on the Park’s lake.
Simón Bolívar Aquatic Complex has swimming pools, a gym, sauna and offers enough space for 1500 visitors. No matter if you enjoy, tennis, bowling, swimming, volleyball, jogging, biking, kite-flying, amusement rides or relaxation. Bogotá’s recreation parks have everything you need to have some fun time with your friends, family or the partner.
In such a large city like Bogotá orientation can be quite difficult. However, the city has a street number system which allows you to get to the right place by telling the taxi driver the numbers of the streets. Botgotá has a bus system called Transmilenio. These large red buses connect many places within the city with each other and sometimes it can be much faster than going by car because these buses have their own lane and don’t need to go through all the traffic. However it can be very quite crowded during peak times. You can also take ordinary buses which will stop for you when you signal them that you want to take the bus.