10 Reasons to Visit Bogotá Now

Here’s how to make the most of a trip to Colombia's capital city.

By Eric Rosen
Published 14 Aug 2018, 10:29 BST
The Andes mountains provide a stunning backdrop for downtown Bogotá.
The Andes mountains provide a stunning backdrop for downtown Bogotá.
Photograph by Erika Skogg, National Geographic Creative

Colombia’s crime rate has hit a four-decade low, the government made peace with FARC rebels, and tourism has doubled in the last 10 years. The country is finally becoming the major destination it deserves to be. Here’s how to make the most of a trip to its capital city.

Fare Game: British Airways, Iberia, Aeromexico, Lufthansa, United, Avianca, Delta and more fly from London starting from around £500 return.

Hotel with History: Many global chains are here, but the city’s most distinctive property may be the Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogotá, set in a 1946 edifice that’s a registered national landmark.

Higher Ground: Though Bogotá’s motto—2,600 metres closer to the stars—is poetic, the altitude can be a challenge for some visitors. Skip rigorous activities the first few days, and stay well hydrated.

View from the Top: Towering above the city, the mountain of Monserrate offers an invigorating hike. If you don’t feel like making the climb, get whisked to the summit via funicular or cable car.

Skip the hike and enjoy a quick cable car ride to the top of Monserrate for great views of the city.
Photograph by Stephen Álvarez, National Geographic Creative

Keeping It Real: For authentic souvenirs, browse student works at the Santo Domingo School of Arts and Crafts or fair-trade wares from indigenous communities at Artesanías de Colombia.

One of the city's most popular museums, The Gold Museum, provides three floors of shine.
Photograph by Alex Treadway, National Geographic Creative

Caffeine Buzz: Colombia is famous for its coffee, but not (yet) its café culture. Arte y Pasión Café is changing that with beans sourced from around the country and a training programme for baristas.

Tempting Tables: Foodie capitals Lima and Mexico City claim the glory, but Bogotá also has chef-driven restaurants. Harry Sasson and Leo regularly rank on lists of South America’s best.

Culture Crawl: Visit the Botero Museum, dedicated to Colombia’s most-celebrated artist, plus the next-door Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia (MAMU) and the nearby Casa de la Moneda currency museum.

Large-scale artwork in the "Graffiti District" hopes to encourage responsible graffiti practice on city walls while celebrating both local and international artists.
Photograph by Juancho Torres, Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Take It to the Street: Some of the city’s most eye-catching art is outside. Join a Bogotá Graffiti Tour to check out the colourful creations along the lanes of downtown neighbourhood La Candelaria.

La Vida LGBTQ: Bogotá may not have the rainbow culture of cities like Buenos Aires and Rio, but the scene thrives in hot spots such as Theatron, one of the continent’s biggest gay nightclubs.

Eric Rosen is a freelance travel writer and loyalty-program expert who contributes regularly to National Geographic Traveler, the Los Angeles Times, The Points Guy , and more. He is also the founder of ClusterCrush.com , an insider’s guide to the world of wine from grape to glass. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

This story was originally published on NationalGeographic.com  


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