9 cool things to do in Bogotá, Colombia
Not many travelers stay in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. However, against all my expectations, I think it’s a really fun and diverse city. For anyone who wants to give Bogotá a chance I have made a list of the best activities in the city.
1. Jardin Botanico
Make sure you bring a camera, because Jardin Botanico, or Botanical Gardens, in Bogotá is a really photogenic place! If you want to escape the chaos of the city, this is the place to be. The entrance fee is 2700 pesos (less than 1 euro) and the restaurant offers tasty lunch for a few euros.
2. The district Usaquén
Usaquén lies in the north of the city. In this district you will find numerous restaurants and bars, so you will not starve. Every Sunday there is a nice market. You will not only find souvenirs to bring back home, but also plenty of food stalls and street performers. Order here a waffle with arequipe, a kind of caramel syrup. The tastiest one I’ve eaten so far in Latin America!
3. Maloka Science Museum
From communication to the human body: you learn all about it in the Maloka Science Museum. The museum is very interactive, always fun! I played with plasma and electricity, I tested my reaction with various games and I figured out how many kilos I would weigh on other planets. It is useful, if not necessary, to speak and understand some Spanish, because all the information is in Spanish and just a few staff members will speak English.
4. The salt calthedral in Zipaquira
Zipaquirá is situated approximately 50 kilometers north of Bogotá. It is a quiet town with a pretty central square. It is worthwhile to stroll around the village, but most people usually come to Zipaquirá for the amazing salt cathedral. This church was built in a salt mine and is for sure impressive. Do you remember that scene from Lord of the Rings where the group is chased by a Balrog in the Mines of Moria? That picture was on my mind as I stood in the huge, almost empty hall. Remember that it’s more quiet on weekdays than in the weekend.
5. Bike tour through the city
Once a Dutchy, always a Dutchy. In Bogotá, it is possible to explore the city by bike with Bogotá Bike Tours. The tour lasts approximately 4 hours and shows different sides of the city. You are going to a market to taste exotic fruits, visit the red light district, drink coffee at a local coffee factory and will see the special graffiti art in the city. You also have the chance to play tejo, a popular sport in Colombia. Simply explained : there is a board with squares filled with gunpowder and you have to throw rocks to the squares. It’s kind of a combination of bowling and bocce. What I really liked about the tour was the contact moments with the locals. The tour costs 35.000 pesos (about 10 euros) and starts daily at 10:30 and at 13:30.
6. A trip around the world in Museo el Chicó
Bogotá has many museums, but one of the best is Museo El Chicó, for sure. The museum is housed in a beautiful colonial house in the north of the city. Here you’ll find a collection of stuff from different countries. The Colombian woman who lived here traveled around the world. After her death her private collection was exhibited for visitors. Even Delft Blue from the Netherlands can be found here! Also the building is really impressive.
7. Natural Park Chicaque
Southwest of Bogotá you’ll find the natural park Chicaque. Because of the altitude and the cold air you will often find some mist hanging in the valley, so it is often called a cloud forest. You will see a lot of butterflies, squirrels and various birds. It is possible to visit Chicaque in one day, but it’s definitely worth it to spend the night in the park. Just some quality time with Mother Nature. Moreover, the sunsets here are breathtaking.
8. Torre Colpatria
A big city is not the same without some nice viewpoints. In Bogotá there is the Torre Colpatria. This skyscraper is one of the tallest buildings in Colombia and even in South America. From the 48th floor you will have an amazing view over the city, from different angles. Remember that the building is only open for visitors at Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.
9. Panoramas of Bogotá: Monserrate
Another great viewpoint is at the top of the mountain Monserrate. Wherever you are in Bogotá, you will see this mountain. You can go hiking to the top, though this is not the safest option. There are a lot of stories about tourists getting robbed during this hike. The best and fastest way to go to the top is by cable car. It will only take you a few minutes to go to an altitude of 3100 meters above sea level. Amazing panoramas are waiting for you here. Also take a look inside the church on top of the mountain.