Welcome to Bogotá! Where do you start? Here. I’ve compiled a 48-hour itinerary for one of my favorite cities to date.
You’ll stay in North Bogotá, just six miles outside of the city center, in a safe and lush area of the city. Your Airbnb (or hotel) will be near Parque El Virrey, a location optimal for people (and dog) watching — and working out, thanks to a mile-long running loop and multiple (free) outdoor gyms.
8 am Breakfast at Les Amis Bizcocheria. Ring the doorbell and be buzzed into a gate, then follow the stairs to the second floor. Open the door to an apartment with mismatched comfy couches, funky chairs and antique tables. People will be happily perched around small tables, enjoying their pastries and exceptional Colombian coffee.
9 am Transmilenio Bus: You’re here to test out the city, live like a local. And while the easy thing to do would be to take an Uber into the central part of the city, opt for the public transit. A typical one-hour taxi ride is only about 30 minutes on the bus, thanks to an express bus lane.
10 am One of my favorite tours in this city is the Bogotá Graffiti Tour. Started by a Canadian Graffiti writer and an Aussie street artist, this 2.5 hour, twice-a-day tour was thought up over beers in Bogotá and takes you through La Candelaria neighborhood. By the end of the tour, you’ll understand how Justin Bieber made a difference in legalizing the Street Art scene in this now-colorfully painted city, how many artists highlight the destruction of Colombia’s indigenous culture, and how politically charged this society is.
1:30 pm Sant Just: The tour ends and it’s time to grab lunch. This favorite French/Colombian fusion restaurant is just one block from the end of the tour on Calle 16a #2-73. Average cost is 45,000 pesos, or $13USD, for three delicious courses and a drink.
2:30 pm Museo del Oro: The Gold Museum is a must here in Bogotá. The largest collection of gold in the world, this metal plays a huge role in Colombia’s history, both with natives and the Spanish colonists. The museum is four stories high and gives you the history of gold—how it’s mined, how it’s molded, and how it influenced Colombia’s indigenous population and the Spanish invasion. Cost: 4,000 pesos, $1.30USD.
4:30 pm Museo Botero: Across the street from the library and in the heart of La Candelaria is one of Latin America’s most important art collections. Fernando Botero, a native of Medellin and cherished in all of Colombia, is known for his unique “chubby” art. The museum houses 123 pieces from Botero in addition to 85 other artists, including Picasso, Matisse, Dali and Monet. At Botero’s demand, the museum is free, and worth at least a peek.
6:00 pm Transmilenium back to Zona T. 6pm (rush hour) is a little tight on the T bus, so zip up your wallet and phone and expect to stand.
8:00 pm Andrés Carne de Res: Dinner tonight is at the hottest ticket in town—Andrés, a steakhouse in Chia. Sometimes described as a carnival, this two-level restaurant is filled with dancers, bands, entertainers and has a book for a menu. A cherished Bogotá restaurant, ask any local and they will tell you this place is not to miss.
8:00 am Today is reserved for a tour of the Salt Mines Cathedral and Lake Guatavita. Sit back while your tour company (recommendation: Uncover Colombia) does the work today. You’ll be picked up at your door at 8 am and dropped off at 5 pm after seeing a unique tour of a salt-mine-turned-cathedral one hundred feet below the surface, and, separately, spectacular views from a lake that inspired a massive Spanish gold quest.
7 pm Dinner in Bogotá’s Usaquén neighborhood at 80 Sillas for ceviche and fresh, cooked fish will cap off your spectacular time here in Bogotá and convince you to extend your trip.
Colombia is a country of unusual biodiversity and beautiful people. On your next visit, visit the Amazon to walk amongst toucans and monkeys, explore Cartagena’s Old Town and fort, dance in Barranquilla during Carnaval, or take in Medellin to experience eternal spring and the most beautiful view in the world. I’m convinced Colombia will capture your heart as it has mine.
Heading to Colombia? This one is for you:
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