The graceful and carefully planned Spanish colonial city center, known as La Candelaria, is the oldest part of Bogotá; it’s a vibrant hub of activity for young artists, Bohemian university students, and hip indie businesses. At the heart of it all is Plazuela del Chorro del Quevedo, the spot where the city was founded in 1537.
This historic and hip neighborhood sits at the heart of Bogotá, and most sightseeing tours pass through these historic streets. A typical tour of the capital’s old town will include stops at Plaza de Bolivar, Chorro de Quevedo, the Botero Museum, Teatro Colón, and Casa de Nariño, where the Colombian president works and lives. Tours of La Candelaria can be combined with excursions to Mt. Monserrate or the Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral in the Colombian countryside.
Things to Know Before You Go
- La Candelaria is a must-visit for art lovers, history buffs, foodies, and all first-time visitors.
- Wear sturdy shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces; the neighborhood is full of cobblestone streets.
- Leave valuables at your hotel and be aware of your surroundings.
- How to Get There
- To get to La Candelaria on public transportation, take a TransMilenio bus to Museo del Oro Station. The neighborhood can get a bit seedy after dark, so plan to take a taxi for evening visits.
When to Get There
Plan to visit the neighborhood during the day, when museums, restaurants, churches, and shops are open for business. Though police regularly patrol the streets of La Candelaria, it’s not recommended to walk around the neighborhood after dark.
Canelazo, the Signature Beverage of La Candelaria
During your explorations of the old city center, be sure to stop into one of the cool little cafés for a taste of La Candelaria’s signature beverage, a traditional Andean canelazo. This warming drink is made with sugarcane liquor, cinnamon, and panela sugar, and is served steaming hot.