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There’s a lot to love about Bogota. And we mean A LOT.
Creative, diverse, and lively, Bogota is one of those places that just oozes character and can’t help but put a smile on your face. If this vibrant city isn’t already on your travel bucket list, it definitely should be, and make sure you give our ultimate Colombia travel guide a read before booking your tickets!
Once upon a time, Bogota was seen as a no-go zone. In fact, some people still might flinch when you tell them you’re going there, but it’s time to do away with old stigmas.
These days, the Colombian capital is a thriving metropolis and one of the best places to visit in Colombia.
We absolutely LOVE Colombia. We quite literally can’t get enough of it. We spent months there and it’s one of our all-time favorite countries thanks to the countless fun things to do and see there. And if you let its (outdated) bad reputation stop you from visiting, trust us, you’re missing out. It’s not just us, either – every traveler we’ve met who has visited Colombia raves about its beauty, culture, and hospitality.
Bogota is the capital of Colombia and it’s where many travelers start their adventures. It’s a huge, urban city with so much to see and do that it’s pretty much impossible to get bored!
Many travelers only spend a day or two in Bogota before continuing to explore the rest of the country, but that’s still plenty of time to enjoy the city’s many restaurants, historical sites, and exciting attractions.
However, if you do have a little more time, it’s worth sticking around for a few extra days because there are a ton of amazing things to do. We’ve put together this guide to Bogota so that you can make the most of your time in the awesome Colombian capital.
- About Bogota, Colombia
- The BEST Things to do in Bogota
- 1. Graffiti tour
- 2. Museo del Oro
- 3. Ride the cable car up Monserrate Hill
- 4. Explore La Candelaria
- 5. Visit the Salt Cathedral
- 6. Have a cup of coffee
- 7. Botanical garden
- 8. Free walking tour
- 9. Lake Guatavita
- 10. Eat local food
- 11. See La Chorrera waterfall
- 12. International Emerald Museum
- 13. Create your own emerald ring
- 14. Shop at a local market
- 15. Parque Jaime Duque
- 16. Learn to dance!
- 17. Andres Carne De Res
- 18. Botero Museum
- 19. Simón Bolívar Park
- 20. Learn Spanish
- 21. Planetarium
- 22. Go horseback riding
- 23. Drink craft beer
- 24. See a show at the Teatro Colón Bogotá
- 25. Eat at La Puerta Falsa
- 26. Rock climbing
- 27. Chingaza National Natural Park
- 28. Take a weekend trip to San Gil
- 29. Cycle with the locals
- 30. Play Tejo
- Where to Stay in Bogota
- Thanks for reading!
About Bogota, Colombia
Bogota has a population of around 10 million people, making it the largest city in Colombia. To put this into perspective, that’s a similar population size to London, Bangkok, or Paris.
It’s also a very old city. It was originally settled by the Muisca people before being taken over by the Spanish in 1538, making Bogota as we know it almost 500 years old.
Bogota is nicknamed “The Athens of America” due to the city’s high volume of universities and libraries. It’s a hub of art, education, and culture, just like the original Athens!
It’s also a very diverse city, with over 68 ethnic groups and dialects. This makes for a fascinating melting pot of cultures, all coming together in one place.
The city is also known for its amazing music scene. In fact, in 2013, it earned the accolade of being a UNESCO City of Music. Over 60 music festivals take place every year and there are more than 400 live venues in the city, so you’ll never run out of new music to discover in Bogota!
Weather in Bogota
You might be surprised to learn that Bogota is regarded as a cold city, in South American terms, at least.
It’s located high up in the Andes mountains at an altitude of around 2,640 meters (8,660 feet), so the weather is moderate all year round, with temperatures averaging between 50-68°F (10-20°C).
While temperatures remain fairly consistent throughout the year, there are definite wet and dry seasons. The wet season runs from April to November, and the dry season from December to March. May tends to be the wettest month, with an average of 17 wet days and 7.8 inches of rainfall.
Visas in Bogota
Generally speaking, Colombia is not all that difficult to get into. Citizens from 98 countries are eligible for a 90-day visa on arrival. We won’t list them all, but these countries include:
- The USA
- New Zealand
- The UK
- All EU countries
If you want to stay longer than 90 days, it’s possible to apply for an extension online. As a tourist, you can stay in the country for a total of 180 days per calendar year.
You will need to have proof of onward travel to enter the country, but of course, you might not actually know where you’re heading next! If this is the case, you can create a dummy ticket online for as little as $5 USD. We’ve done this plenty of times and it hasn’t failed us yet!
It’s also a legal requirement that, as a foreigner, you carry your passport, or at least a copy of it, with you at all times in Colombia. You may receive random spot-checks from the police, so it’s always best to be prepared. If you don’t have your passport with you, you’ll either be fined or escorted to immigration.
The official currency in Bogota is the Colombian Peso (COP). Bogota is a mostly cash-based city, so make sure you always have some cash on you rather than relying on your credit or debit card.
You’ll get the best bang for your buck by withdrawing cash from ATMs in Colombia. Use the BBVA ATMs for free withdrawals – other banks charge a ridiculous fee. Fortunately, BBVA machines are all over Bogota.
The only downside to using BBVA machines is that they’ll only let you withdraw 300,000 COP (~ $65 USD) at a time. Therefore, we recommend making a couple of withdrawals at once, otherwise, you’ll constantly be running back and forth from the ATMs.
You can also pay on a card at bigger businesses, such as supermarkets and department stores, but they’ll usually charge you an extra 3-5% for the privilege – and remember, this is in addition to any foreign transaction fees your bank may be charging you. Therefore, it’s best to use cash wherever you can.
Despite its reputation, Colombia is a relatively safe country to travel to. However, Bogota is one of its most dangerous cities, which makes sense as it’s the capital.
Just like when you visit any big city, you’ll need your wits about you when you visit Bogota. This doesn’t mean you need to feel scared all the time, but you should be aware that robbery, scams, and petty theft are all pretty common.
However, to put this into perspective, Bogota has a lower violent crime rate than several major US cities, including Miami. So as long as you take the usual precautions, like not walking around alone at night and being aware of your surroundings, you should be fine.
Full disclosure: we were robbed at knifepoint in Bogota. However, we were walking around in a quiet area at 11 pm which, in hindsight, wasn’t a very smart thing to do. The robbery wasn’t violent and we weren’t hurt. He also only wanted our cash, and allowed us to keep our IDs and credit cards and phones.
We don’t say this to scare you. Incidents like this happen all over the world, especially in major cities. On the whole, we felt very safe during our time in Bogota. It’s just important to be aware of the risks.
There’s a popular saying in Colombia: “no dar papaya.” It means “don’t give papaya” or, in other words, don’t give thieves the opportunity to rob you. Don’t wander around with your phone out, don’t walk around late at night, and don’t carry all your valuables with you. If you follow this advice, you should be fine.
The BEST Things to do in Bogota
1. Graffiti tour
A graffiti tour is a great way to kick off your time in Bogota. Not only will it enable you to get your bearings, but you’ll learn all about the history and culture of this incredible city through the artwork.
The art you’ll see on the tour isn’t just there to look pretty. It conveys the story of Bogota’s most significant political and historical events, and they’re a way for artists to express themselves without the constraints of government censorship.
Graffiti is decriminalized in Bogota but the artists are often punished by the police anyway. Despite this, they’re not exactly common vandals – they’re actually professional artists who are paid significant sums to decorate the city.
We HIGHLY recommend taking a graffiti tour in Bogota rather than trying to see it alone, because your guide will take you to places you’d probably never stumble across by yourself.
We took this free Bogota Graffiti Tour (and by free, we mean tip-based), which is actually the most popular one around. It was one of the best tours we’ve ever done. It was super well-organized and we really did learn a lot. Most participants tipped around 20,000 – 25,000 COP ($4.30 – $5.40 USD).
The only downside of a free walking tour is that group sizes are large so you don’t get a personal experience. If you’d rather pay a little more for a more intimate experience, this 4-hour walking tour is perfect and costs $50 USD. Group sizes are limited to 15 people and you’ll also get to visit some trendy bars and awesome vintage stores as part of the tour.
Related Read: To see more amazing graffiti art, touring around Comuna 13 in Medellin was one of our favorite experiences in that city!
2. Museo del Oro
Next up, we have the Museo del Oro. No self-respecting guide to Bogota would be complete without a mention of this iconic museum.
They say that all that glitters is gold, and that’s certainly true at the Museo del Oro, aka the Gold Museum. Not only is it one of the top Bogota attractions, but it’s also widely considered to be one of the best museums in all of South America.
This place is dedicated to the history, art, and culture of gold, and it’s home to the biggest collection of gold artifacts in the world. Its focus is pre-Hispanic gold, which means you’ll learn all about the Indigenous people of Colombia and how gold played a role in their cultures.
You’ll also get to see some of the most incredible gold artifacts you’ve ever laid eyes on, like jewelry, statues, and even a golden boat! It really is a spectacular collection, and one of the most famous things to see in Bogota.
To get the most out of the museum, you can join a small-group tour for a personalized experience that will give you an even deeper insight into the history behind the collection. This private museum tour includes one-way transportation from your hotel to the museum and a knowledgeable guide who will bring the exhibits to life. It lasts around 90 minutes and costs $39 USD per adult.
Alternatively, you can also visit the Museo del Oreo as part of a wider city tour. This scenic tour includes hotel pickup and drop off, as well as a walking tour of La Candelaria neighborhood, a visit to La Catedral Primera, and a cable car ride up to Mount Monserrate. It costs $76 USD per person, which is great value considering everything that’s included.
The museum is open from 9 am to 6 pm from Tuesday through Saturday. It closes at 4 pm on Sunday and does not open on Mondays.
3. Ride the cable car up Monserrate Hill
Monserrate Hill is one of the most popular Bogota attractions, and for good reason. This is one of the best places to get a bird’s eye view of the city.
There are two ways to get up the hill – you can either hike or take the cable car. If you ask us, the latter is definitely the way to go.
The cable car journey only takes around 4 minutes, and it offers incredible views of Bogota as you zip up to the top. Once you’re at the top, you can explore the Catholic sanctuary, walk around the gardens or visit one of the three restaurants.
The cable car runs from 12 pm to 11:30 pm from Monday to Saturday and 10 am until 4:30 pm on Sundays.
We recommend taking the cable car up the hill at sunset so that you get to see the city in all its glory, bathed in the warm light of the setting sun. Then, after dark, you can visit one of the restaurants and grab some dinner if you like, or stay and watch the skyline start to twinkle as the lights come on.
Return cable car tickets usually cost 23,500 COP ($5 USD) but on Sunday there’s a reduced rate of 14,000 COP ($3 USD). However, due to limited operating hours, you won’t be able to catch the sunset on Sundays.
If you’d like to learn more about Monserrate Hill, discover the history of the church and try some authentic Colombian food, then this small group tour is perfect. It includes a local tour guide and the price of your ticket, plus a walking tour of the hilltop. For $24 USD per person, it’s not badly priced, either.
4. Explore La Candelaria
A visit to La Candelaria should definitely be on your Bogota to-do list because this historic neighborhood is one of the most interesting areas of the entire city. It’s also very quaint and charming – most visitors fall in love with it straight away.
To give you a little background on La Candelaria, this is actually the place where Bogota was founded in 1538. So as you can imagine, there’s a whole lot of history here.
Get acquainted with the neighborhood by spending some time walking around the area to admire the colorful buildings and eclectic mix of architectural styles.
There are many beautiful colonial buildings in La Candelaria, including many important churches. You should definitely make a beeline for the Santuario Nuestra Señora de El Carmen, which is also known as “The Candy Cane Church” due to its red-and-white striped walls and beams. It’s definitely one of the most unique and eye-catching churches we’ve ever seen!
There are several other notable churches in La Candelaria, including Iglesia de San Francisco, Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, and Iglesia de Santa Clara.
Other important Bogota attractions in La Candelaria include the presidential palace, which is known as the “Casa de Nariño”, and the Plaza Bolivar, which is the neighborhood’s main square.
To ensure that you cover all of the highlights of La Candelaria, you might want to think about taking a guided tour.
This bike tour costs $12 USD and will allow you to cover a lot of ground in 3.5 hours, ensuring that you really get to know this historic area.
Alternatively, this walking tour covers all of the essentials of La Candelaria in three hours so that you can get your bearings and continue to explore by yourself after the tour has ended. Again, this tour costs $12 USD per person.
One thing to note is that you should only walk around La Candelaria during the daytime. It’s perfectly safe during the day but at night there are many muggings and robberies.
This actually happened to us during our time in Bogota – we were robbed in the Plaza Bolivar. We weren’t hurt and we were there late at night when we probably shouldn’t have been, but it still wasn’t a pleasant experience and we don’t want the same thing to happen to you!
Related read: To make sure you’re prepared for your trip, check out our South America safety tips before you go.
5. Visit the Salt Cathedral
The Salt Cathedral is one of the most incredible things to see in Bogota, although technically it’s about 45 minutes outside of the city in the small town of Zipaquirá.
It’s a working cathedral that has been carved inside an old salt mine, and it really is an incredible feat of engineering.
Despite its grandeur, the cathedral has humble beginnings. In the 1930s, miners carved out a sanctuary in the salt mine where they prayed each day before work. In 1950, this small sanctuary was turned into a much bigger cathedral, which stayed open until the early 1990s, when it was shut down over safety concerns.
However, that wasn’t the end for the Salt Cathedral. Instead, work began on a new cathedral, 200 feet (60 meters) below the original. The new church opened in 1995 and has since become one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Colombia.
As mentioned, the Salt Cathedral is a super popular attraction so it’s best to purchase skip-the-line entry if there’s room in your budget. The usual entry price is $15 USD but for $24 USD you’ll be able to skip the queues, which can get pretty long.
Alternatively, you can take a guided tour of the cathedral, which is something we definitely recommend doing. You’ll be able to learn all about the history and construction of this incredible place and gain a deeper insight into Colombian culture and how life has changed since the days when the salt mines were in operation.
For $80 USD, this tour will really open your eyes to all that the Salt Cathedral has to offer. It also includes round-trip transport from Bogota, so you won’t need to worry about any logistics.
When you’re figuring out what day to visit, just remember the Salt Cathedral is a working church and as many as 3,000 visitors attend mass on Sundays. For that reason, Sunday is probably not the best day to visit.
6. Have a cup of coffee
Colombia is known for its coffee and the capital city is the perfect place to enjoy a cup (or two… or three!).
There are many great cafes all around Bogota, but often the best coffee comes from street vendors. There’s one on pretty much every corner, and you can grab an excellent cup for less than $0.50 USD.
With that being said, sometimes you just can’t beat sitting in a cafe and people-watching.
We adored Azahar Cafe 93, which has three locations around the city. Not only is their coffee hot, fresh, and strong, but they also serve amazing empanadas that make a perfect snack in-between bouts of sightseeing!
And if you’re a real coffee lover, then don’t miss this awesome specialty coffee shop tour which will take you to some of the best cafes in the city. You’ll get to try different brews from all over Colombia and be served by some of the best baristas around.
At $34 USD per person, this is a super entertaining way to gain insight into Bogota’s coffee culture and learn about the bean-to-cup process.
Related read: See where all this amazing coffee comes from by wandering through coffee fields. It’s one of the best things to do in Salento, Colombia!
7. Botanical garden
The Botanical Garden Jose Celestino Mutis is one of the coolest places to visit in Bogota.
Founded in 1955, this huge park contains flora from all over Colombia. At 5,000 pesos (a little over $1 USD) for admission, this is a very budget-friendly activity in Bogota.
The botanical garden is open every day of the week but closes on the first Monday of every month. It’s open from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays and opens at a slightly later time of 9 am on weekends.
These beautiful gardens are located centrally, around a 15-minute drive from the Candelaria neighborhood. Spending some time here is definitely worth doing while you’re exploring Bogota.
8. Free walking tour
A walking tour is a fun way to get acquainted with a new city. Bogota has a few different walking tour options, but Beyond Colombia is one of the most reputable companies around.
Their tours are technically free, but you’ll be expected to tip at the end. Again, around 20,000 – 25,000 COP ($4.30 – $5.40 USD) is a decent amount. There are three different walking tours on offer, which can all be booked online.
The first free walking tour offered is an introduction to Colombian culture and the city of Bogota, so we recommend doing one early on during your stay. It leaves at either 10 am or 2 pm from the Museo del Oreo each day.
There’s also the free war and peace tour, which takes you through the history of conflicts, drug wars, and political assassinations in Colombia. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. You’ll also learn about the peace process and how the country is working towards a brighter future. The war and peace tour leaves from the Museo del Oro every day at 10 am.
Last but not least, there’s a food tour that departs from the same spot at 2 pm each day. You’ll visit many of Bogota’s culinary hotspots and sample some of the best local food and drink around, including Arepa Boyacense and of course Colombian coffee. You’ll need to tip for this tour and cover your own food costs, which should come to around $8 USD.
9. Lake Guatavita
Lake Guatavita is a sacred lagoon located around a 1.5-hour drive from Bogota. This lake is famous for being the setting of the legend of El Dorado and is a popular spot for both locals and tourists alike.
El Dorado is a mythical city that was rumored to be full of gold, and the legend goes that the Indigenous people of Colombia used to cover themselves in gold dust and dive into the lake as part of a religious ritual.
The lake is much more than a beautiful natural feature – it’s steeped in culture and history, and a guided tour is the best way to make the most of it. This Lake Guatavita tour will teach you all about the lake’s formation, the El Dorado legend, and the Indigenous people who used to live in the area.
You’ll also get to enjoy a guided hike where you’ll spot fascinating local wildlife and you can take a tour of the nearby village, with lunch at a local restaurant if you wish.
Taking a tour also means you won’t have to worry about transportation to and from the lake since it’s included in the price. The tour guide will regale you with stories and interesting facts about Lake Guatavita throughout, which was personally our favorite part of this tour.
The tour costs $97 USD per person and lasts around 7 hours, so it’s a full-day activity. For active and adventurous travelers, it’s a must!
10. Eat local food
One of our favorite things about traveling is trying out the local cuisine, and Bogota definitely did not disappoint in that department.
In fact, there are so many delicious things to eat in Bogota that you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice!
You just have to try buñuelos while you’re in Bogota. Different versions of buñuelos exist all over the world, but in Colombia, these deep-fried dough balls are filled with curd cheese and served with custard.
You can find buñuelos all over the city, but the ones at Kaba Parilla, a simple fast-food restaurant in the La Candelaria neighborhood, are especially good.
Obleas are another must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. They’re basically giant wafers that are filled with arequipe, which is a kind of dulce de leche made from sweetened condensed milk. There’s a famous obleas cart in the Plaza Bolivar where Mick Jagger famously tried this sweet treat. You’ll spot it easily because there’s a giant picture of his face on the front!
Another thing we loved about Bogota was the fact that there were fresh fruit juice stands everywhere. Colombian fruits are incredibly sweet and flavourful, and we loved trying out all the different combinations on offer. Our favorite was a juice made with lulo, mora, lime, and sugar cane – it was absolutely delicious.
If you’d like to take a food tour of Bogota, this traditional food tour will take you to seven culinary hotspots in the La Candelaria neighborhood. You’ll sample a range of treats from authentic, family-owned businesses and get a chance to chat with the owners. Come hungry for this tour! It’s only $28 USD too.
11. See La Chorrera waterfall
La Chorrera is the tallest waterfall in Colombia and is located inside the Parque Aventura La Chorrera Ecopark, which is around 80 minutes outside of Bogota.
It’s a steep hike to the top of the waterfall and, unfortunately, you’re not allowed to swim in La Chorrera but the views are rewarding enough.
You can visit La Chorrera on your own or as part of a tour. To visit by yourself, head to the Terminal Transoriente in La Candelaria neighborhood, then buy a bus ticket from the office. It costs around $1.75 USD each way. Once you arrive in the park, you can either walk from the bus station or take a taxi to the park entrance.
If that sounds like too much hassle, there are guided tours available that will arrange transportation for you.
This small group tour includes private transportation and a professional tour guide who will help you spot wildlife and explain the history of the park. You’ll get to hike to see the best views of the waterfall and enjoy a delicious included breakfast and lunch for the $80 USD tour cost.
12. International Emerald Museum
Colombia is actually the emerald capital of the world! In fact, the country accounts for 70-90% of the global emerald market.
Colombian emeralds are known for their clarity and deep green hue, and the country has been producing these precious stones for centuries.
The International Emerald Museum is the perfect place to learn all about the Colombian emerald trade. It’s a private museum located inside a skyscraper, and it’s mere meters away from the Museo del Oro.
The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday and closes on Sundays. They offer guided tours, which last 30 minutes. You can book your tickets in advance via Whatsapp.
13. Create your own emerald ring
After you visit the Emerald Museum, why not go one step further and make your own emerald ring?
This hands-on workshop is not only interesting and a lot of fun, but it will also leave you with a beautiful souvenir from your trip to Bogota.
An experienced designer will guide you as you create a bespoke piece of jewelry using Colombian emeralds. You’ll have the chance to try out different setting techniques and design your ring exactly the way you want it.
The workshop costs $100 USD per person and includes a small emerald and a silver ring. You can also upgrade to a larger stone or a gold ring for an additional fee, which you can arrange directly with the workshop.
14. Shop at a local market
The bustling, vibrant markets of Bogota are one of the city’s top attractions. They’re the perfect place to find souvenirs, try local food, and soak up the atmosphere of this awesome city.
Paloquemao Fruit Market
The Paloquemao Fruit Market is an amazing place to buy succulent local fruit, as well as flowers.
You’ll see fruit here that you’ve never seen before, and often vendors are more than happy to let you sample their wares. Definitely try the grenadilla, which is a Colombian version of passion fruit that’s sweeter and juicier than the typical variety. It’s my favorite fruit!
The market doesn’t just sell fruit, although that is the main draw. You’ll also find meat, vegetables, and rice, as well as stalls selling hot food. In fact, this is a great spot to grab a cheap and tasty local breakfast before a big day of sightseeing.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try caldo, a chunky, meaty, broth that often contains hooves. If that’s a bit much for you first thing in the morning, then opt for calentao instead, which is a mix of reheated rice, beans, meat, and eggs.
The fruit market opens every day from 4:30 am until 4:30 pm, except on Sunday when it’s open from 5 am until 2 pm. If you can bear to get yourself there before the sun rises, watching the market come to life is a really cool experience. However, we won’t judge you if you don’t make it!
Usaquén Flea Market
The Usaquén Flea Market takes place in Usaquén park every Sunday from 10 am until 6 pm. With live music, amazing street food, and lots of handmade goods on offer, it’s easy to see why this market is so popular.
If you’re looking for somewhere to pick up authentic souvenirs, this is the place to do it. And even if you don’t buy anything, it’s definitely worth wandering around and soaking up the bohemian atmosphere.
Just be prepared to haggle – it definitely helps if you know a little Spanish (See #20 on our list)!
15. Parque Jaime Duque
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Disneyland and the Taj Mahal had a baby?
Honestly, us neither, but Parque Jaime Duque is exactly that.
This bizarre theme park is located on the outskirts of Bogota, around 35 minutes from the city center by car. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for something quirky or a fun activity to do with kids.
The park was founded in 1983 with the intention of teaching the people of Bogota about various international landmarks by creating replicas of them. Here, you can visit the Red Square of Russia or the Temple of Zeus. However, by far the most notable recreation is the full-scale replica of the Taj Mahal.
On top of that, there’s also a zoo, theme park rides, a dinosaur garden, and a fashion exhibit chronicling over three millennia of style.
Parque Jamie Duque is definitely a great day out if you’re traveling with kids but honestly, it’s a lot of fun for adults, too. What’s great about this place is that not that many tourists tend to visit, so you’ll get a more local experience.
The park opens from 9 am to 5 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On weekends, it opens from 10 am until 6 pm instead, and it closes on Mondays and Tuesdays. This park is popular with local families, so visit during the week if you can to avoid the crowds.
Tickets cost 23,000 pesos per person, which is around $5 USD. Or, you can purchase an upgraded ticket for 30,000 COP ($6.50) that includes a pony ride and some free drinks!
Related read: Another spectacular hidden gem is Las Lajas Cathedral. It’s located on the Colombian side of the Colombian-Ecuador border near the small city of Ipiales. Believe me, it’s incredible and well worth the trip.
16. Learn to dance!
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to dance but never had the chance, Bogota is the perfect place to do it. Salsa is huge here, and there are plenty of studios offering classes for all levels.
Even if you’ve never danced a step in your life, don’t worry. This private Latin dance class is perfect for beginners and gives you the choice between several different styles. The instructors are friendly and create a positive environment where you’ll feel comfortable learning the steps. It’s only $20 USD and the individual attention means you’ll actually be dancing by the end!
Not only is this a great way to meet new people and learn about Colombian culture, but it’s also great exercise!
After class, it’s time to hit the bars and show off your newfound salsa skills. There are plenty of clubs around the city where you can dance the night away. Quiebracanto is one of the best around, and you can strut your stuff until 3 am if you’re feeling up to it!
17. Andres Carne De Res
If you’re looking to party in true Colombian style, then a night out at Andres Carne De Res should be at the top of your Bogota to-do list.
This restaurant/nightclub is just as well known for its crazy party atmosphere as it is for its incredible steak.
This isn’t a place for a romantic candlelit dinner; instead, grab a bunch of friends and get ready to stay out really late. We’re talking shots galore and dancing on the tables.
Unsurprisingly, this place has been a huge success and there are now multiple locations across Bogota, as well as other Colombian cities. However, the one in Chia is considered the real deal, so it’s worth the 35-minute trip from the city center.
To start your evening off in style, why not take a party bus tour? You’ll start with a frozen cocktail at a local bar in the north of Bogota at around 9:30 pm – remember, things kick off late in Colombia!
Then, you’ll climb aboard a party bus (with an open bar!) and head to Andres Carne de Res for a fun-filled evening. You also don’t need to worry about transport home after all those drinks, either, since your trip home is taken care of, too. It’s a fun night for only $36 USD.
18. Botero Museum
One of the best free things to see in Bogota is the Botero Museum, which is dedicated to the works of Fernando Botero. This Colombian artist is world-renowned for his unique, bulbous style and you’ll see plenty of examples of his work on display here.
In addition to Botero’s work, you can see pieces by other world-famous artists including Picasso and Monet – not too shabby! The fact this is totally free is amazing.
The art is housed inside a beautiful mansion with a gorgeous courtyard where you can capture some excellent shots to make everyone back home super jealous of your travels!
19. Simón Bolívar Park
This huge park is the perfect place to visit with kids. Simón Bolívar Park is located smack dab in the middle of the city with plenty to do, including renting a paddleboat and exploring the lake, scenic walking routes, and a big playground for children to enjoy.
If you need a little breather from Bogota’s hustle and bustle, this is the perfect spot to do it.
20. Learn Spanish
Even a basic knowledge of Spanish is super helpful when traveling around South America. Not only does it help with the language barrier, but locals really appreciate the effort, too, and will be more receptive to helping you out.
There are plenty of language schools around Bogota offering group and private classes for all levels.
This Spanish school offers 1:1 classes, which are tailored to your level. Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply need to brush up on your skills, you’ll be able to do so here. It costs $36 USD for a two-hour class.
Alternatively, if you’re in Bogota for a little while, then group classes offer great value for money.
For $260 USD you’ll get 20 hours of instruction and the chance to take part in a volunteer program at a public market, where you’ll be able to practice your Spanish in a real-life setting.
Another fantastic place to learn Spanish is the Spanish World Institute. It costs $25 USD per lesson, although if you buy 11 or more classes in advance you’ll get a discount.
Related read: Knowing some Spanish is a big help if you want to see all the best cities in Latin America!
Located in Parque de la Independencia, the Planetarium is an ideal place for families visiting Bogota. Kids can learn all about the night sky with light shows, interactive displays, and interesting exhibits.
At around $5 USD for adults and $3.50 USD for kids, this is one of the most affordable Bogota attractions for families.
It’s definitely worth catching a laser show here. The usual show is in Spanish and lasts around 30 minutes. It’s designed to teach young ones all about planets, constellations, and more.
On top of this, the Planetarium sometimes hosts special shows which you’ll need to buy tickets for, such as a laser show inspired by Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album.
The Planetarium is closed on Mondays and is open from 9 am until 6:30 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. On Fridays and Saturdays, it stays open until 8 pm.
22. Go horseback riding
Bogota is home to some truly beautiful trails which you can ride along and enjoy amazing mountain views.
This horseback riding tour will take you along some of the prettiest routes and allows you to ride past traditional small farms in the Andes.
You’ll be taken out to La Calera, a small town that’s roughly 1.5 hours outside of Bogota. You’ll enjoy a 2 hour horseback route through the mountains and have the chance to try homemade arepas (traditional cheesy flatbreads) and drink sugarcane juice along the way.
This tour is suitable for riders of all levels, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, and the guides are super patient and helpful. The price varies depending on how many people you book for, so it’s $125 USD per person for 2 people or $110 USD each for 4 people.
23. Drink craft beer
We love craft beer and so Bogota was like heaven for us. The craft beer industry is growing fast in the Colombian capital – so fast, in fact, that in some neighborhoods there’s basically a brewery on every corner.
The Bogota Beer Company (BBC for short) was our favorite. The BBC is all over Bogota – in fact, they’re almost as omnipresent as Starbucks or Mcdonald’s! But their popularity is well deserved. We highly recommend heading to one of their pubs and enjoying a cold beer with one of their delicious pizzas.
Another great choice is Madriguera Brewing Co. It’s a fun, hipster brewery that’s decorated with quirky cartoon animals. They have a great range of beers, ales, and ciders, as well as a good cocktail list for anyone who’s not a big fan of beer.
If you really want to delve deep into Bogota’s craft beer scene, then a craft beer tour will teach you how to drink like a local! You’ll visit local favorites rather than the super touristy bars and breweries, and learn more about how the city’s brewery scene exploded. The tour cost of under $40 USD includes all the tastings!
24. See a show at the Teatro Colón Bogotá
The Teatro Colón Bogotá is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. Just a five-minute walk from Plaza Bolivar, it’s a beautiful neoclassical theater that was built in 1885.
It has hosted some of the biggest names in opera, ballet, and classical music, and it’s truly spectacular both inside and out.
If you’re a fan of the opera, then a show at the National Theatre should be on the top of your list of things to see in Bogota. You can check out which shows are on while you’re here and buy tickets via the website.
25. Eat at La Puerta Falsa
La Puerta Falsa is a historic restaurant that has been making the best tamales in town since 1816. It’s a beloved Bogota institution and hasn’t changed all that much since then, which is precisely what makes it so great!
It’s known for its amazing ajiaco soup, which is a hearty Bogota specialty consisting of chicken, potatoes, and guasca, a South American herb.
The restaurant is inside a small, colonial-style house around the corner from the Plaza Bolivar in La Candelaria, behind La Catedral Primada.
It’s popular with both tourists and locals, so be prepared for a bit of a wait if you visit during peak times. Try and visit for an afternoon snack if you can to avoid long queues.
The name “La Puerta Falsa” translates to “The False Door”. This is because the restaurant was originally a nameless hole-in-the-wall, but it was opposite a false door to the cathedral. People began to refer to the spot as “the place near the false door” and over time, it simply became known as “La Puerta Falsa”.
26. Rock climbing
Climbing fans are in for a treat in Bogota. The Suesca region, which is about an hour from the city center, is home to the best rock climbing in Colombia.
The rocks of Suesca have heights of up to 140 meters (459 feet) tall.
This small group tour is perfect for both beginners and those looking to improve their rock climbing skills. The guides are experienced climbers who will help choose a route based on your skill level and will be alongside you every step of the way. It costs $43 USD per person and all of your equipment is included, as well as insurance.
You will need to get yourself to Suesca, which is easy enough to do on the public bus. Head to Terminal Satelite del Norte and take the bus to Suesca, which takes around an hour. The meeting point can be found here and is a few minutes before getting to Suesca town.
27. Chingaza National Natural Park
Although it’s outside of the city itself, this amazing national park is one of the best things to do in Bogota – but we’ll be honest, visiting can be kind of a hassle.
However, it is worth the effort because this park is breathtaking. It’s home to an incredible variety of plant and animal life, including some endangered species. Tapirs, toucans, jaguars, and wooly monkeys are just a few of the animals that call this park home.
You have to book your visit to Chingaza National Natural Park at least 15 days in advance by calling or emailing the park’s tourism board, or visiting their office in person.
There are limits on the number of people allowed on the trail at any one time. There is also no public transport to the park, and you can only enter through one of the three authorized access points.
If this all sounds pretty strict … well, that’s because it is. To be honest, it’s far easier to take a tour than to try and sort it all out by yourself.
For $109 USD, this half-day tour takes care of everything for you – permits, transport, the lot! The price also includes snacks, a local guide, and the entrance fee.
Your guide will lead you on a trek across the park’s many different terrains and help you to spot unique flora and fauna. You’ll also visit the Laguna de Buitrago, a peaceful lake that’s surrounded by hills.
What’s also great about taking a guided tour of the park is that you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance and receive a full refund. However, if you arrange the permit on your own, things aren’t as flexible – and as we know all too well, plans can change very quickly when you travel.
28. Take a weekend trip to San Gil
San Gil is the adventure capital of Colombia!
This town is known for its adventure sports, including paragliding, river rafting, and bungee jumping. There are also some great waterfalls to climb, explore, and swim in. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you can’t pass up the chance to visit this awesome town.
However, San Gil is also just a really nice place to hang out and explore, which we weren’t expecting.
It’s full of beautiful architecture and charming cobblestone streets, and it’s also really cheap compared to Colombia’s major cities. The locals are super friendly, too, and they really make you feel like part of the community.
It’s a true hidden gem – although we have a feeling that it won’t stay hidden for long.
San Gil is in Santander, about a 6-hour bus ride from Bogota. You can book your tickets via Bookaway for under $20 USD.
Related read: After all those high-adrenaline activities, relax with a beachy getaway to Taganga, Colombia!
29. Cycle with the locals
You might be surprised to learn that Bogota is a cyclist’s city. In fact, it’s home to the largest cycling network in Latin America, covering over 600 kilometers (372 miles) in total.
The locals love to cycle, and it’s also a convenient option due to Bogota’s complex traffic rules, which we won’t get into because, well, we’d be here forever!
On Sundays from 7 am until 2 pm, around half of the city’s main streets are closed off to cars, making them safe and enjoyable for cyclists. This is known as Ciclovia, and as you cycle around you’ll see people of all ages out and about on their bikes.
Ciclovia is a big deal in Bogota. Along the cycle routes, you’ll see lots of stalls selling food and drink, as well as plenty of street performers putting on a show. There’s a lively, joyful atmosphere and this is a fantastic way to get a feel for what life in Bogota is all about.
30. Play Tejo
Last but not least, you can’t come to Colombia without playing a game of Tejo, so why not get started in Bogota?
Tejo is a traditional Colombian game that’s played with metal pucks and gunpowder. The aim of the game is to throw the puck at the target, and if you hit it, it explodes!
It’s definitely a little crazy, but also a lot of fun. We came to Bogota to do awesome things, and it doesn’t get much better than this game.
In fact, we played it several times throughout our travels across Colombia and found it to be a great way to meet new people and have a good time.
There are several Tejo bars in Bogota, and they usually have their own little playing areas.
We went to Club de Tejo 76, which was a great place to learn this wacky pastime. The staff were super friendly and showed us how to play properly, which is very important when you’re messing around with gunpowder!
It’s open from 10 am until 11 pm daily, so definitely head there for a game during your time in Bogota.
Where to Stay in Bogota
Bogota is a HUGE city, so naturally, there are a ton of options when it comes to picking a place to stay. Plus, where you decide to stay can have a big impact on the activities you want to do – especially if you’re traveling on a budget. I’ll give you my top recommendations for a variety of hotels, so you can find one that fits!
If you’re traveling on a budget, Bogota has some fantastic hostels that you can stay at for as little as $12 USD per night if you don’t mind a bed in a dorm room or around the $30 USD mark for a private room.
Spotty Bogotá Centro is a great hostel with a rooftop pool! It’s perfect for a working holiday with co-working spaces and an excellent restaurant. Bendito Hostels is another top choice with clean rooms and shared spaces – including some fun hammocks to use while relaxing in the garden.
You know how much I love the historic La Candelaria neighborhood, so staying at the Selina La Candelaria Bogotá puts you right in the middle of it! Selina is a well-known hostel chain, but honestly, this place feels more like a funky art gallery. Private rooms run around the $55 USD mark.
In the central Bogota area, Hotel San Francisco de Asís puts you close to a lot of the top sights and within walking distance of the historic parts of the city. The rooms are around the $40-50 USD mark (but I find them even cheaper on Booking.com) and have a great city skyline view and the staff is known for being super helpful. Plus, the breakfasts here are so good, there’s always a line!
The Click Clack Hotel Bogotá is a luxury pick, but still affordable starting at $80 USD nightly. You’ll be struck by the hotel’s unique and stylish design – both inside and out. The rooms have big windows, high ceilings and feature cool extras like rain showers and electric black-out curtains. The location is awesome too with restaurants, cafes, and bars all nearby.
For stunning downtown views from every (huge!) room, Tequendama Suites by DOT Premium has value for money down. Every room is a suite, so you have tons of space to lounge in with a seating area and comfy bed. You can easily walk to most of the top attractions and enjoy a rooftop bar!
Best airport option
If you’re not staying long in Bogota and want to stay close to the airport, the Hilton Garden Inn Bogota Airport is only five minutes away. Plus, they offer free shuttles to and from the airport every hour! The rooms are really spacious and the breakfast is amazing. It’s a popular spot for work trips, but also nice for a relaxing stay in the middle of your trip.
Thanks for reading!
Hopefully our guide to Bogota, Colombia has been helpful. This city is so big and vibrant, you won’t run out of things to see and do on your trip, even if you complete everything on our list! If Bogota is where you start your South American adventure, make sure you spend a few days in the city before venturing further. You won’t regret it!
We’ve traveled all around South America and have lots of tips and destinations to explore if you’re headed here soon. Browse around our blogs and leave a comment if you have any questions!