Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia in South America. Bogotá offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
- Monserrate cable car
- La Candelaria
- Many museums such as the Gold or Botero musuem
- Plaza de Bolívar with Capitolio Nacional and Capilla del Sagrado
- Nightlife at calle 85
- Modern shopping malls
- Colpatria tower
- Santander Park
As you can see from the image above Bogotá is a huge city! Most tourists that visit Bogotá stay in the historic center which is called La Candelaria. There are lots of good value hotels, hostels and more tourists than you’d imagine, you’ll feel very safe. Having said how safe it feels, I wouldn’t recommend that you’re in quiet streets or areas alone.
Bogotá is situated at an altitude of 2,644 meters so although it’s in Colombia it can get quite cold, especially at night and at Monserrate.
One of the most popular things to do in Bogotá is to take the cable car to Monserrate which gives you great views of the city. Make sure you go on a clear day just before sunset and you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the city. It’s also possible to walk up to Monserrate, be warned though, it’s quite far and steep but does make for a great workout.
There are many things you can see and do in the Candelaria area. The building pictured above is the Capitolio Nacional on Plaza de Bolívar, there is also a very old Cathedral opposite it called Capilla del Sagrado. As you can see there are many pigeons in this large plaza which is typical of most South American plazas. Plaza de Bolívar is patrolled by police and is very safe, as is most of the Candelaria.
Just off Plaza de Bolívar is the infamous Calle Del Divorcio, or Divorce street. It’s called this because many years ago, a couple who were supposed to have arranged marriages ran away to be together here. They then lived together for 20 years, unhappy, fighting and screaming but never got divorced. This street is named as it is because the option of divorce should be there instead of a lifetime of unhappiness. Make sure you get a photo next to the Calle Del Divorcio street sign, I did, it’s on Instagram!
Another infamous place on Plaza de Bolívar is the Palace of Justice. Those interested in Colombian history will have read about the Palace of Justice Siege which happened in 1985. It was a terrible situation and nearly half of the 25 Supreme Court Justices were killed.
Also in the Candelaria you’ll find the Botero Museum. At the Botero museum you’ll find artwork by the same artist who created Botero Park in downtown Medellín, Fernando Botero. In the museum they have lots of larger than life Botero statues and huge paintings of the oversized people. Right next to the Botero museum is the coin museum which is also very interesting.
You should take the time to visit another part of Bogotá, Calle 85 which offers the best nightlife in Bogotá. If you’re homesick you could visit TGI Fridays, Hooters, Krispy Kreme or one of many other western chains. A bar I recommend is BBC, this is not the TV channel, but the Bogotá Beer Company, they have great beers that come in liter size steins.
Taxis in Bogotá are cheap and the driver usually puts the meter on without asking, so this is a viable method of getting around. Another way to get around is by the Transmilenio (pictured above). This is a bus service with enclosed bus stations which you need a ticket to get into, it’s easy to use and the maps help a lot. There are several different routes available with route changes included in the ticket price. I wouldn’t recommend the Transmilenio at peak hours, it gets very overcrowded with long queues to get in the stations. The buses run in private lanes so traffic is not a problem.
Most buses leave Bogotá from Terminal Bogotá which is also known as the Terminal de Transportes de Bogotá. Be aware that there is also a south terminal mainly serving destinations to the south of Colombia. I turned up at Terminal Bogotá without a ticket, and I decided 90,000 pesos for a 22 hour overnight luxury Copetran bus leaving within the hour was good value. Unless it’s a major holiday in Colombia, there should always be available seats on the bus and therefore you should be able to get better than advertised prices.