The Best Things to Do in Bogotá
Bogotá is Colombia’s sprawling capital city. Being the capital, there are lots of cultural attractions and historic sites to see here, including some of the best museums in the country. Here you can learn about the best things to do in Bogotá and why you shouldn’t miss seeing it on your Colombia trip.
Colombia’s Capital City
Bogotá is Colombia’s capital and largest city. Set in the Andes Mountains, it’s the third-highest capital city in the world and is surrounded by gorgeous mountainscapes. Dating to its founding in 1538 by Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, it is full of history and culture.
While it often takes a backseat to more well-known destination cities like Medellín and Cartagena or to the gorgeous countryside in the coffee region or jungles of the Amazon, Bogotá is worth including on any trip to Colombia. Spending some time here lets you get better plugged into Colombia as a nation and also lets you see some of the best museums as well as some neat historic sites. Finally, it’s not far from some neat outdoor attractions either, meaning there is a little something for everyone here.
Things to Do in Bogotá
There are a number of things worth seeing in Bogotá.
Tour the Historic Candelaria District
The historic heart of Bogotá remains the center of the city today. You’ll find the impressive Plaza Bolívar where the National Cathedral, Supreme Court (or Palacio de Justicia), and the Capital building dominate this huge public square today.
Just a few blocks away, you’ll find the Plazoleta Chorro de Quevado and the church of La Ermita San Miguél Principe. This small plaza was where the city was originally founded. Nearby, you can walk down the Callejón Embudo, where you’ll find some of the most famous street art in Colombia nestled among coffee shops and dive bars.
Exploring this historic district in a guided tour will help you understand the history behind Colombia’s largest city and learn more about its culture.
Visit the Monserrate Hill and Chapel
Atop one of the hills that rise above the city, you’ll find one of Bogotá’s best attractions. To reach the top of Monserrate Hill, you can take a cable car or, for those looking for a bit of exercise, walk up the hill. Once at the top, you’re treated to some terrific views of the city and the surrounding mountains. It’s an impressive sight!
There is also a pretty chapel and shrine here. If you happen to be visiting around the holidays, the Christmas lights here are as pretty as anywhere in the country. You can warm up in the cool mountain air with some fresh hot chocolate or a tasty arepa.
Visit the Gold Museum
Bogotá’s Museo del Oro is one of the country’s most famous attractions. This museum displays thousands of examples of the intricate gold work Colombia’s pre-colonial indigenous peoples created. It was this impressive work that inspired the legend of El Dorado.
In addition to seeing some of the neatest examples of gold work, the museum is also a great way to learn a bit more about Colombia’s indigenous cultures and their history. It’s an impressive collection and no visit to Bogotá is complete without a visit here.
Visit the Botero Museum
Another can’t miss thing to do in Bogotá is the Botero Museum. Devoted to the life and work of Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist, this museum has a large collection of his paintings and sculptures. It also has several pieces from Botero’s personal collection on display, including paintings from both Dali and Picasso.
Visit the Salt Cathedral
Outside of Bogotá in the nearby town of Zipaquira, you’ll find a unique attraction. In a former salt mine, a cathedral was built deep into the mine for the miners to worship. Today, it is one of Colombia’s most popular tourist attractions. You’ll find a pathway with the stations of the cross carved into the walls of the cave along with a huge inner sanctuary and altar. It’s a neat way to get out of the city, see some of the surrounding countrysides, and take in a unique attraction.
Hike to the Sacred Lake of Guatavita
Also outside the city is the Lake of Guatavita. This lake was sacred to the indigenous Muisca people, and according to legend offerings of gold was made here when a new chief was crowned. Today, the short hike up to the lake is a great way to see the rolling hills of the surrounding plateau, and the lake itself is gorgeous.
Enjoy the Great Cuisine, Shopping, and Nightlife
There are tons of great restaurants in Bogotá. No visit to the city is complete without sampling the famous Ajiaco chicken and potato soup. Served with cream and avocado, it’s perfect to warm up at lunchtime on a nippy Bogotá day. You can find it served in countless restaurants in La Candelaria. There are tons of other fine dining options as well.
Bogotá is also a shopping mecca and the malls here are the largest in the country. Finally, Bogotá has a large craft beer scene along with fun nightclubs in the Zona Rosa or Zona T and Parque 93 areas. There are also great restaurants and cafes in these areas.
Planning Your Trip to Bogotá
Bogotá has a wide variety of temperatures during the day. Sunny days can border on idyllic Spring weather, while windy evenings and rainy days can get quite chilly. So, you’ll want to make sure you have a good jacket, scarf, and hat with you. With unpredictable weather, it’s also a good idea to have an umbrella or rain jacket with you just in case.
Bogotá is part of several of the tour packages we offer at BnB Colombia Tours. For a great introduction to Colombia, our 7-day tour of Bogotá and the Andes includes Bogotá’s highlights as well as visits to several gorgeous towns nearby such as Villa de Leyva. To see some of the best of Colombia’s interior, consider the 12-Day Colombia Coffee and Culture Tour. For those looking for an even more immersive experience, our 19 Day Bogotá to Cartagena Tour or our 23 Day Ultimate Colombia Experience takes you to some of the finest destinations in the country. You can also always contact us to build a custom trip that includes only Bogotá or as much more of Colombia as you’d like to see!
Like to create or customize a fantastico package tour of Colombia? Then contact us through the Get a Quote Page for Free Tour Videos, a Free Itinerary Creation, and an Obligation Free Quote!