Wanderlist Discover: Bogota, Colombia
Perched high in the Colombian Andean peaks, the first things that hits you about Bogota is the marked difference in the air. At almost 2600 mtrs above sea level, Bogota is the third highest capital city in the world. It is above the 'altitude sickness’ line, and some people may need a day to adjust to the thinner air and shortness of breath. Once you are acclimatised to the weather, you will realise that the the city is a vibrant mix of engaging people, multiple cultures and brilliant colonial architecture. Home to over 8 million people, the energy of the city is fuelled by thousands of great dining spots that serve authentic Colombian delicacies, great wines and food and cultural festivals that seem to take place all year round. One of the best things to do in Bogota is to take a walk along the classy and crowded - and safer - districts of the town, and appreciate the tons of street art and graffiti walls that envelope the city. For those with more refined sensibilities, the historic downtown area of La Candelaria is filled with cobblestone pathways and well-preserved churches, convents and museums, that add a distinctive look to the city. If you want to walk on the wild side, explore the gritty side of the town in the entertainment district of the city. Just make sure you make your way back to the ‘safe’ side of town, well before evening.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Lake Guatavita: A sacred place for ancient Colombians, legend has it that this was the location of a ritual, where the ruler of ancient Bacata (as Bogota was known as then), was covered in gold dust, before he dove into the lake to wash away the gold. The ruler was known as “El Dorado” and this Lake, with the gold washed out from the bodies of the rulers, is considered as source of the legendary city of El Dorado, the famed City of Gold.
Nemocon Salt Mines: Located about an hour from Bogota, these Salt mines which run almost 1600 meters are situated 80 meters underground. Over a span of 150 years, almost 8 million tons of salt was extracted from these mines, and the brine mirrors in the dissolved salt rocks create an eerier, yet visually stunning display for those brave enough to walk inside the belly of the earth.
Enjoy the local cuisine : The most authentic dish in Bogota is a potato, corn and chicken soup called the ajiaco, a perfect comfort food. However, the city has a lot more to offer than a soup. Try a combination of tamales with hot chocolate and bread. Try the Corrientazao - which literally refers to an electric current - but often refers to a high energy meal comprising of rice, meat, potatoes and plantain. There are hundreds of small favourites and good restaurants that offer excellent snacks and meal options, without burning a hole in your wallet. Take a food and city walk with one of the local tour guides, to make the most of your day in the city
Best Time To Go: December to March
The best time to visit Bogota is between December to March, when the weather is relatively dry.
Where in the world:
Bogota lies in the Colombian Andes mountain range.
Fun Fact: There are 20 districts in the city, with most of the mainstream entertainment and tourist friendly activties situated in the North & North-eastern side of the city. The streets of Bogota are based on a fairly easy grid to follow, starting with 0, which is located at the Plaza Bolivar, the main city square. Streets that run from North to South are named as Carrera followed by a number, whereas streets that run West to East are called Calles. Street numbers increase from South to North, and from the West to East. If you understand these cartesian coordinates, getting from one point to another in Bogota is a breeze.
Currency: Colombian Peso
How to Get Around: Bogota has Uber taxis, and although they are not official, they seem to run most times, nonetheless. Public transport is not something which is great in Bogota, so walking or hiring a cycle to get around the city seems to be the best option of travel. To get out of town, and nearby places, the hotel where you are staying should be able to arrange a good taxi or rental car for you.
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.