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Things to do in Bogotá

Things to do in  Bogotá

Welcome to Bogotá

A city of contrasts—and one of South America’s most exciting capitals—Bogotá is a sprawling metropolis steeped in history and cosmopolitan cool. Hit the old town of La Candelaria for world-class museums and street art. Further north, the neighborhoods of Chapinero and Zona Rosa are centers for nightlife and fashion, while the Usaquén district is the go-to destination for food lovers. Walking tours and guided bike rides are a great way to see and feel the many atmospheres around, as well as to create an appetite for local food and nightlife. For farther-flung Colombia highlights, day trips take travelers to Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, coffee plantations, the sacred ground of the pre-Colombian Muisca people at Guatavita Lake, and La Chorrera and El Chiflón waterfalls.

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Top 10 attractions in Bogotá

La Candelaria (Historic Old Town)
#1

La Candelaria (Historic Old Town)

You might want to start your exploration at tiny Plazuela Del Chorro Del Quevedo, where this city was supposedly founded in 1537, by Spanish Conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada. (Of course it is much, much older; Jimenez merely renamed the ancient indigenous town of Bacata “Bogota.”) However, this plaza—now the epicenter of Bogota’s hipster scene, with plenty of tattoos, Chucks, handmade jewelry and fire dancers—doesn’t really get going until dusk. Be sure to stop into one of the cool little cafes for the Candelaria’s signature beverage, a traditional Andean canelazo, made with sugarcane liquor, cinnamon and panela sugar, served steaming hot for the chill altitude. But begin instead at sprawling Plaza Bolivar, surrounded by picturesque streets lined with more tejas-topped adobes, interspersed with the city’s finest museums, coolest casas cultural, and most ornate churches....
Mt. Monserrate (Cerro de Monserrate)
#2

Mt. Monserrate (Cerro de Monserrate)

Mists permitting, you’ll be able to see the gleaming white Basílica del Señor de Monserrate high above the city, beckoning from the thickly forested mountains that form Bogota’s spectacular backdrop. Originally built as a monastery in 1657, it is no wonder that this glorious spot has been a site of pilgrimage ever since. The original stone path marked by statues depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross still leads from the colonial Candelaria district up to the sanctuary. It is a steep climb to a chilly 3152m (10,339ft) still used by pilgrims (and exercise buffs), particularly on weekends and religious holidays. Most tourists take advantage of either the funicular, a steeply pitched train, or teleferico, a cable car system, which both make the trip inexpensively throughout the day. If you do choose to walk, note that there have been muggings, so it might not be the best choice if you’re alone with an expensive camera....
Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)
#3

Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)

Among Bogota’s most popular and spectacular attractions, the Museo del Oro sparkles with more than 55,000 priceless archaeological and artistic treasures. Only a fraction can be displayed at any one time within the main edifice, itself a work of art, ensconced in elegantly and eloquently designed displays of Colombia’s dazzling bounty. There are four floors of exhibits, signed in both Spanish and English, with audio guides available in a handful of other languages. From delicate filigree nose rings to carefully crafted containers for coca leaves to the famed “Muisca Raft,” depicting the legend of El Dorado, the “Golden Man,” these objects have been innovatively arranged to tell tales of pre-Colombian mining, manufacturing and metallurgy....
Botero Museum (Museo Botero)
#4

Botero Museum (Museo Botero)

The sensuous silhouettes and deliciously plump proportions of his subjects have become famous the world over. His presidents and prostitutes, bullfights and firefights, capture the Colombian experience with a whimsy that belies otherwise serious scenes shattered by earthquakes, war and relationships. All are instantly recognizable as Botero. While Fernando Botero’s unparalleled talent across multiple mediums—from sculpture to watercolor to charcoal—has earned him international acclaim, it is his generosity that has made the artist Colombia’s favorite son. At the peak of his fame, the artist donated 208 pieces to the government of Colombia including 85 pieces by other masters including Chagall, Renoir and Monet. The entire collection was valued at US$200 million; you are invited to enjoy it all for free....
Plaza de Bolivar
#6

Plaza de Bolivar

Enormous and austere, Bogota’s broad, bricked central plaza was designed in 1553 to be the gathering place for tens of thousands at the hub of the federal government. Once known simply as the Plaza Mayor (Main Plaza) and serving as home to the city market, the plaza is a classic example of monumental Spanish civil engineering. Some of Bogota's most important edifices sit in the area: the soaring neoclassical national cathedral; the appropriately federalist capitol building; French neoclassical Edificio Liévano, seat of city government; and the ultra-modern stylized arches of the imposing Palace of Justice, most recently rebuilt after a 1985 terrorist attack. At the center of it all is the statue of Simón Bolívar, erected in 1846 to honor the man who liberated so much of South America from the Spanish....
Bogotá Mint Museum (Museo Casa de la Moneda)
#7

Bogotá Mint Museum (Museo Casa de la Moneda)

Aside from the thrill of “discovering” new lands, the Spanish conquistadores were endlessly driven by thoughts of discovering gold. Here at Bogota’s Casa de Moneda, walk amidst the spot where gold was first minted in Colombia, having stood in this spot since 1622 when the King of Spain ordered the production of gold coins in Bogota. Since money and power seem to go hand in hand, this museum that’s based around Colombian currency has many political undertones, where the type of currency that’s been minted through the years shows fascinating parallels between the political era and Colombia’s historical events. From the initial barter of ceramics and pots that was used by indigenous tribes, the currencies weave a chronological tale as viewed through production of money....
La Catedral Primada
#9

La Catedral Primada

The original foundations for Bogota’s Catedral Primada, more properly called the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, were laid in 1538 when Spanish conquistadores first christened the old indigenous city, “Bogota.” Then a simple thatch-roofed hut on a muddy market plaza, it was gradually rebuilt into a sturdier adobe structure in the 1590s. As the spiritual center of a city prone to earthquakes and social upheavals, it is no wonder that the national cathedral has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1823. Despite a long history of disasters, today’s neocolonial beauty, with its tasteful echoes of mission revival style, remains the final resting place of Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada, the city’s Spanish founder. The elegant whitewashed interior, with its stately rows of gilded Egyptian columns, isn’t the city’s most ornate by a long shot. But these arches overlook Colombia’s most important masses, and the place is packed on Sundays....
Colombian National Museum (Museo Nacional de Colombia)
#10

Colombian National Museum (Museo Nacional de Colombia)

This massive stone-and-brick structure—built originally as a prison—houses Colombia’s first museum, founded in 1823. The imposing structure is now home to more than 20,000 objects that represent the Colombian experience, displayed in revolving exhibits that fill 17 permanent galleries where there were once only cells. An excellent exhibit of aesthetically and archaeologically important pre-Colombian artifacts, tells the story of ancient Colombia. But it is the Spanish Colonial collection, featuring everyday objects and impressive works of art, which really dazzles. Oil paintings, beautifully constructed furniture, religious icons and other well-preserved pieces offer insight into a bygone era. An immense art gallery features the most famous works of Colombian artists past and present, with an emphasis on the experimental and modern. An impressive Afro-Caribbean collection illuminates the culture of Colombia’s coasts....

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How to Spend 2 Days in Bogotá

How to Spend 2 Days in Bogotá

Top activities in Bogotá

Bogota City Tour

Bogota City Tour

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Bogotá Bike Tour

Bogotá Bike Tour

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US$20.00
Bogota • Private City Tour

Bogota • Private City Tour

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Bogota Local Pal

Bogota Local Pal

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Full-Day Guatavita and Salt Cathedral Group Tour from Bogotá

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Full-Day Guatavita and Salt Cathedral Group Tour from Bogotá

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