Visiting Bogota – 72 hours in a beautiful mess

This was my first time visiting Bogota……

I recently began learning how to trade with Marcello not so long after I moved to South America. We met for coffee at a local crepes & waffles restaurant in Medellin and the following week I traveled with him to Bogota for a Day Trading event he was hosting.

Visiting in bogota

Visiting in bogota for 72 hours, La Candelaria

Immediately what popped into my mind were all the negative things everybody had told me previously about Bogota.….

“It’s cold. It’s dirty. It’s dangerous. It’s chaos.”

After arriving in rush hour traffic, I still wasn’t convinced Bogota was all bad and my adventurous nature kicked in.

I quickly came to see that Bogota had a lot more to offer than what i had expected and my business trip quickly turned into a weekend of site seeing.

For a cosmopolitan city of over 10 million people, part of Bogota’s appeal lies in it’s gritty charisma, rawness and attitude. There’s a sense of rebellion and non-conformity to the mainstream idea of what a city should be.

The city’s character is somewhat defined by being a little rough around the edges.

graffiti when I was visiting bogota

The colourful graffiti art that caught my eye when I was visiting bogota

Whilst it’s one of the largest growing economies in the world and the central hub of business and finance for Colombia, Bogota is still bursting with Latino charm.

Whether you find yourself visiting Bogota for business, pleasure or both, there’s no shortage of places, things and attractions to entertain your time and delight the senses.

Upon first approach you’ll be captured by the way the stories of the city are hidden in the streets and written in the walls – quite literally.

The graffiti in Bogota is world class; thanks to local and international artists who have left their respected marks and memoirs to decorate neighborhoods and bring vibrancy to the walls of the city.

Visiting Bogota

A portrait of an indigenous Cuna woman by Bogotá street artist Carlos Trilleras,

Given the size, Bogota  is almost a world within itself and has something for everyone and every occasion.

In the central areas of La Candalaria and Zona Rosa you’ll find famous museums and cultural attractions mixed with the street performers, food stalls, historic buildings and markets.

Once the sun goes down live music on every street corner sets the atmosphere of Colombian culture and the trendy bars are quickly filled with locals, travelers and everything in between.

Visiting Bogota

Some locals enjoying a game of chess in La Candelaria

So what to do with 72 hours in Bogota:
Breakfast at Jacques in the Molinos Norte district.

If the stained glass windows, chandeliers or grand piano don’t make you feel like you’re in a 1940’s French restaurant, the pastries will.

The only things that aren’t Parisian about this place are the humble prices. Take my word for it: order the eggs benedict… and a croissant of course.

Visiting Bogota

Breakfast at Jacques

The Museo del Oro is one of the most popular Museums in all of South America.

Spanning over 4 levels the Museum will guide you through the significance of gold throughout history and the role it played in worship and rituals among ancient civilisations. Descriptions are interesting and easy to follow in both Spanish and English.

You won’t need to have found buried treasure to be able to afford it either. Entry will only set you back $3 USD.

Visiting Bogota

Stepping back in time at the Museo del Oro

If street art is more your thing, don’t miss the Graffiti tours led by locals who have grown up among Bogota’s thriving art scene, where you will gain a unique perspective on the history and meaning behind the stories scattered throughout the streets.

The tours are by donation and run daily at 2pm from Parque de los Periodistas in La Candelaria.

Visiting Bogota

One of the many streets we explored on the Graffiti tour

Andres Carne de Res is the kind of venue that you’ll be talking about long after you’ve been.

Totally worth the 45min drive North out of the city to the small town Chia, this place is an adventure you don’t want to miss out on.

Part restaurant, part bar, part nightclub, the atmosphere here is consistently exciting, outrageous, loud and unlike anywhere else in the world. Fitting somewhere between Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz, some would say Andres Carne de Res is more of a theatrical experience than a restaurant.

Don’t let the excitement take you away from your dinner; the food is delicious and served with spectacular flair, I would recommend the lomo al trapo (sirloin baked in salt).

Visiting Bogota

Somewhere between night and day at Andres Carne de Res

From wherever you are in Bogota , you cant miss Cerro de Monserrate, the mountains that look down over the city. The cable cart ride to the top of Monserrate has been taking locals and tourists up the mountain top since 1953.

A nice escape from the concrete jungle, the cable cars are open every day, taking roughly five minutes to get to the top and a return ticket is just $7 USD.

As one of the best places to get an overall view of this diverse and expansive city, you’ll also find a church and two restaurants at the top, great for some traditional food or a cold beer.

Visiting Bogota

The cable cart journey to Cerro de Monserrat

With such a short amount of time to explore this vast South American metropolis, I can firmly say that visiting Bogota for 72 hours is not enough time to fully immerse yourself in all this city has to offer.

Sure it’s dirty, and it’s cold, and parts of it can be dangerous, but to categorize this city as only these things fails to do justice to the beauty and depth and gritty soul of this vibrant and eclectic capital.

My last recommendation would be to go explore the mysteries of Bogota  for yourself.


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