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How to Spend THREE Days in Bogota, Colombia: An Ideal 3-Day Itinerary

How to Spend THREE Days in Bogota, Colombia: An Ideal 3-Day Itinerary

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Colombia is an incredible country and many of the best things about it are encapsulated in its capital city, Bogota. It’s a real melting pot of cultures, so it’s diverse, artistic, and very welcoming – even by Colombian standards, which are already pretty high. 

We lived in Colombia for several months, and Bogota was one of our favorite places. Most travelers kick off their Colombian adventure with a couple of nights here, which is why we decided to put together this 3-day itinerary. From salsa dancing to exploring the most historic neighborhoods, we’ve got you covered – and of course, you can use this as a base itinerary and add other fun things to do along the way! 

Personally, I could spend weeks in Bogota, but 3 days is enough time to enjoy the best of the city’s art, delicious food, and amazing coffee! 

Don’t have time to read the full article? It’s easy to fill three days in Bogota! Visiting the Salt Cathedral is a must, as is eating your way through La Candelaria on a food tour. Meanwhile, learning to salsa will help you take advantage of the city’s nightlife!

Day 1 

Breakfast – Go for a Colombian coffee 

Coffee brewing at Azahar Cafe 93 in Bogota
Photo credit: Azahar Cafe 93
Coffee fruit in Colombia
Colombian Coffee!

Colombia is one of the biggest coffee producers in the world, so grabbing a cup of joe really is the only way to kick off your time in the capital city. We’re sure you’ll be drinking plenty of coffee while you’re here because there are excellent street vendors absolutely everywhere, and a cup often costs less than $0.50 USD! 

However, for your first morning in Bogota, sitting in a cafe and people-watching is definitely the way to go. We went to Azahar Cafe 93 all the time when we were in Bogota. Their coffee is just what you need to get you going first thing, and they serve delicious empanadas if you fancy some breakfast. 

Meanwhile, if you’re feeling creative, head to Cafe Origami for some paper-folding fun alongside a hot, strong coffee! Or Bogota Store Cafe is a nice place to grab breakfast, and just a few minutes walk from where the free graffiti walking tour that’s next on our agenda leaves. 

And if you’re a true coffee fanatic, taking a coffee tour in Bogota is a must. On this tour, you’ll visit three coffee shops in a trendy part of the city, led by a local guide. Locals are passionate about coffee from the farm to the cup, so you get a unique insight into how coffee production has affected Bogota, and drink lots of good coffee of course! This tour departs at 9:30 am, so you will have to adjust the next item on the itinerary to fit it into your schedule – check the details and reserve your spot here.

Related Read: Medellin is another fantastic place to drink Colombian coffee! We did some amazing coffee tours in Medellin too.

Morning – Graffiti tour

A mural on a graffiti tour of Bogota
A cat mural on a graffiti tour in Bogota, Colombia
Can you spot the light post they also painted?

In terms of street art, Bogota is a very decorated city. Professional artists are paid handsome sums of money to decorate the streets despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that they often get punished by the police, even though graffiti was officially decriminalized here in 2011. 

Legal struggles aside, a graffiti tour is an awesome way to get to know Bogota better. The street art murals tell Bogota’s story, from political turmoil to famous historical events and social issues. It’s definitely better to take a graffiti tour instead of exploring by yourself. There’s safety in numbers and your guide will be able to show you places you’d never find on your own. 

We took this free Bogota graffiti tour and absolutely loved it. In fact, it was one of the best tours we’ve ever done. We were super impressed by how well-organized it was, and we found it very informative and engaging. Most people on our tour tipped around $5-$6 USD, which we think was well worth it. It leaves at 10 am, so you have time to fuel up with coffee first before you meet your guide in Journalist’s Park.

Since it was a free walking tour, our group was pretty large, so if you’d rather go for a more personal experience you can book this in-depth private walking tour at a time that suits you, as it departs every 30 minutes. Along the route, your guide will show you vintage shops, hipster bars, and niche stores, so you really get a feel for Bogota’s eclectic culture. 

I love private tours because it gives me a chance to talk with the guide and ask questions, getting a more in-depth look at the city. Throughout this three-hour tour, you will gain a great insight into Bogota and find some hidden gems you can return to! This walking tour is $59 USD and can be booked in advance here.

Lunch – La Puerta Falsa Restaurant

La Puerta Falsa in Bogota, Colombia
Photo credit: La Puerta Falsa

If you want a quintessential Bogotan dining experience, head to La Puerta Falsa. The name translates to “the False Door”, and it’s a tiny, hole-in-the-wall in La Candelaria. You’ll find it inside an adorable colonial-style house, and the menu hasn’t changed much since it first opened in 1816 (yes, 1816!), so it’s like stepping into a delicious time capsule! This is easily one of the best things to do in Colombia – it’s legendary!

La Puerta Falsa is known for having the best tamales in town, and its ajiaco soup. People often expect Bogota to be hot, but the temperatures tend to range between 50-68°F (10-20°C) all year round, so a hearty bowl of soup actually goes down very nicely in between sightseeing! 

Afternoon – Make your own emerald ring 

Emerald artifact at the Emerald museum in Bogota, Colombia

Colombia may be known for its coffee, but did you know that it’s the emerald capital of the world?

No, neither did we until we visited, but between 70-90% of the world’s emeralds come from Colombia, and they’re known for their superior quality. So make your own emerald ring with this jewelry-making workshop and take home the ultimate souvenir.

You’ll work under the tutelage of an experienced designer to create a beautiful piece of jewelry that’s totally unique to you! This will allow you to learn about and try out different setting techniques as you craft your piece, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never made jewelry before. 

The workshop costs $110 USD per person, which includes a silver ring with a small emerald. However, on the day you’ll be able to choose a larger stone or upgrade to a gold ring for an additional fee. The class runs from 2-6 pm from Monday to Saturday and will take about 3 hours. This is a unique experience and you’ll get a beautiful piece of Colombia to take home with you! Book your emerald jewelry workshop in advance here, with free cancellation.

If the timing for the workshop doesn’t work out, you can visit the International Emerald Museum instead (which is also worth a stop!).

Night – Have dinner at Seratta Gourmand Market 114

When you think of food markets in Bogota, you probably have something fairly rustic in mind, but Serrata Gourmand Market 114 is a seriously bougie indoor food market – in fact, it’s probably the most glamorous one that we’ve ever seen! With a creative concept, art deco design, and a very fancy menu, this place is most definitely upscale.

This place was designed to be Disneyland for foodies, and the main dining space has an open kitchen and a menu designed by a Michelin-star chef. There’s also a wine cave where you can find some of the finest Colombian wine, although we definitely recommend ordering at least one cocktail. The drinks here are among the most creative we’ve ever seen. One of them is even served in a modern sculpture bust!

To say that Seratta Gourmand Market 114 is aesthetically pleasing would be a bit of an understatement, so we predict that it will be blowing up on social media very soon. For that reason, be sure to make a reservation.

Related Read: After 3 days in Bogota, take a trip to Cartagena! There is so much to do in Cartagena, it’s one of my favorite places to visit!

 Day 2

Morning – Visit the Salt Cathedral 

The Salt Cathedral in Bogota Colombia
Although I’m not religious, this was a cool place to visit!

Located 45 minutes outside of Bogota, the Salt Cathedral is a must-see while you’re here. This remarkable place of worship was originally carved underground into a salt mine by workers in the 1930s, who wanted somewhere to pray each morning before work. The first iteration was closed in the early 90s due to safety concerns but a new version opened in 1995. It’s now one of the most visited attractions in the entire country and one of the best places to visit in all of South America!

The Salt Cathedral is still a working cathedral and around 3,000 people attend mass here each Sunday, so we recommend going on a different day of the week if possible. Once you arrive, you’ll get a guided tour of this unique building and enjoy a light show! 

If you’re renting a car, you can drive out to Zipaquirá and either pay for entry on the day or purchase skip the line tickets in advance. As we said, this place is busy! Fast-track tickets are about twice as expensive as standard ones at $31 USD, but they save you a lot of time and frustration, so we think it’s worth it. 

Nativity scene in Zipaquira Salt Cathedral in Bogota, Colombia

Alternatively, you can make things easy by booking this private tour, which includes transport to and from the Salt Cathedral. You get to explore the Cathedral with your knowledgeable guide and visit the historic center of Zipaquirá and learn all about its culture and heritage. Along the way, you’ll also stop by local restaurants for coffee, empanadas, and almojábanas – aka traditional Colombian cheese bread. Sounds pretty good to me! 

This tour is $105 USD but is so worth it if you’re keen on learning the history of this unique place. You’ll truly be blown away, so book this tour in advance here!

When booking the tour, it’s best to choose the 8 am or 9 am departure, which will get you back to Bogota at around 3-4 pm. This way, you’ll get a chance to rest and recharge before tonight’s activity: salsa dancing! 

Night – Learn to salsa 

Salsa is huge in Bogota, so embrace the culture by learning this fun, fast-paced dance. It’s the perfect way to spend a night in the Colombian capital, and we promise you’ll be smiling from ear to ear by the end of it. 

Of course, learning a dance (especially one as energetic as salsa) can seem a bit daunting at first, especially if you’re not much of a dancer, but don’t fret. This private class in La Candelaria is perfect for beginners. The instructor, José, is super patient and makes you feel really comfortable, so you’ll be grooving in no time. Plus, at only $20 USD per person, it’s a total bargain for a private 2-hour lesson so secure your spot in advance here!

If you’d prefer a group class over a private lesson, this group salsa class is a great way to meet new people. It’s a laid-back class and you even get a free drink to share with your dance buddies, and you get a USB of popular salsa music to take home and practice with! This 1-hour group class can be booked for $25 USD, but it has more inclusions than the private class, so the cost works out. It starts at 7 pm and lasts for an hour, so afterward you’ll be ready to hit the city’s salsa clubs with your newfound friends.

Speaking of which, there are tons of places around to show off your salsa skills after class! Quiebracanto is one of the best around. It’s always pumping and stays open until 3 am, so it’s the perfect place to party. It’s also just a few minutes away from both of the above salsa classes, so it’s a convenient choice, too. Zokalo Bohemio is also pretty well known, and it’s just down the road.

Day 3 

Morning – Explore La Candelaria

Colombian Flag in Bogota, Colombia
Colombian flag on a historic building in La Candelaria neighborhood in Bogota, Colombia

La Candelaria is the birthplace of Bogota. The city was founded here back in 1538, so this charming neighborhood is steeped in history. We fell in love with it immediately, as does pretty much everyone who comes to Bogota! 

Some of the previous activities and restaurant recommendations on this itinerary will have you venturing into La Candelaria, but it’s worth taking an entire morning to explore it in-depth. The colorful buildings and eclectic architecture will capture your heart, especially “The Candy Cane Church”

You can wander around La Candelaria independently but to be honest, there are some affordable tours available so you might as well do one of those! This way, you’ll learn so much more and won’t miss any of the top spots. Plus, it’s so interesting to hear about life in this colorful, historic neighborhood from a local.

This bike tour is 3.5 hours long so you cover a lot of ground in that time and can explore La Candelaria properly. You get plenty of time to check out the most important sites and explore a few other areas of the city like Parque Nacional. It’s only $12 USD per person, so you can’t go wrong! 

Or if you’re not much of a cyclist, you can take this walking tour for $13 USD, which will take you on an in-depth exploration of La Candelaria. You’ll discover the stories behind major landmarks like the Colón Theatre and find out where all of the best museums are. At the end of the tour, your guide will give you a map to take home so that you can always come back later and check out some of the places that captured your interest.

Not only are these tours cheap, it’s also a safer way to explore South America. We were robbed in La Candelaria, and although it happened late at night when we probably shouldn’t have been wandering around by ourselves, it still never hurts to take extra precautions! 

To add an extra level of safety, you can book the bike tour or reserve the walking tour before you go!

Related Read: Continue your Colombia adventures by getting off the tourist track in South Colombia!

Lunch/Afternoon – Go on a food tour 

local cuisine in Bogota, Colombia
Photo credit: The True Colombian Experience

Bogota is home to so much delicious food, from deep-fried goodies to fresh fruit and plenty of sweet treats. And yet another thing that we love about La Candelaria is that it’s the perfect place to sample a smorgasbord of Colombia’s best traditional dishes, which is why this food tour comes highly recommended.  

Arrive hungry, because your guide will take you to seven different family-run restaurants, where you’ll chat with the owners and learn more about Colombian food. From Caribbean-style fried fish to fried plantains and dulce de leche, this food tour ticks all the boxes! 

The tour leaves at 1:30 pm, so it’s just in time for lunch and costs $39 USD per person. I think that that’s pretty good value given how much food you get – you’ll only want a light snack in the evening after your seven-course lunch! Don’t worry, it’s a walking tour so you’ll be able to walk it off in between courses.

Click here to book your food tour, with free cancellation up to 24 hours beforehand!

Night – Ride the cable car up Monserrate Hill

city view from Monserrate Hill in Bogota, Colombia

We’ve saved one of our favorite Bogota activities until last: riding the cable car to the top of Monserrate Hill! You get aerial views of the city from up here, and there are also gardens, three restaurants, and a Catholic sanctuary to explore. 

You can hike up to the top, but since Bogotoa sits at such a high elevation, this can be pretty tough going. We love to hike but honestly, we prefer taking the cable car up to the top of the hill. You get beautiful views the whole way and it only takes 4 minutes!

We highly recommend timing your cable car ride so that you go at sunset if possible. Seeing the city bathed in golden and orange light is really beautiful, and then you can watch the skyline light up after dark and even go for some dinner at one of the restaurants. Casa San Isidro is particularly good if you’ve got room after that giant lunch! 

You can take the cable car up Monserrate Hill at sunset every day of the week except Sundays when the last upload is at 4:30 pm. A return ticket costs around $7.50 USD and you can just buy it at the kiosk on the day. 

Where to Stay in Bogota

the outside of Click Clack Hotel in Bogota
This hotel is super modern! Photo Credit: Click Clack Hotel
bathtub at a window at Click Clack Hotel
Click Clack Hotel is luxurious too! Photo Credit: Click Clack Hotel

Bogota is a HUGE city, so naturally, there are a ton of options when it comes to picking a place to stay – whether you’re in Bogota for only a day or planning to be here for a while. 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!

Luxury – $$$

The Click Clack Hotel Bogotá is a luxury pick, but still affordable starting at $123 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. Book Click Clack Hotel here!

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! Book a suite online in advance with Booking.com.

Mid-range – $$

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 and can be booked online with Booking.com or Hostelworld.com.

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 (I find the best prices are typically 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!

Budget – $

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. You can book on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.com.

Bendito Hostels is another top choice with clean rooms and shared spaces – including some fun hammocks to use while relaxing in the garden. It has stellar reviews that you can read (and book your own room) on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.com.

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. Book your room here for under $100 USD including breakfast!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey in a tuk tuk in Colombia
Thanks for reading!

Hopefully, our guide to 3 days in Bogota, Colombia has been helpful. This city is so big and vibrant that 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!

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