Things to Do Near Bogota
Bogotá is Colombia’s sprawling capital city. As the country’s capital, it has the best museums in Colombia and a variety of historic and cultural sites. It’s also got tons of great restaurants and is the cultural center of Colombia. However, there are some neat things to do in the vicinity of Bogotá as well. Learn about some of the best things to do near Bogotá here!
Go Hiking the Guatavita Lake
The Guatavita Lake is a small lake enclosed by hills northeast of Bogotá. Geologists once believed it was a crater from an asteroid but now believe it may have formed as a sinkhole.
The lake was sacred to the indigenous Muisca people. Legends say that whenever a new chief was chosen, an elaborate ritual was conducted at the lake with offerings to the gods of gold thrown into the river. One of Bogotá’s Gold Museum’s most famous pieces, a golden raft, is a reference to this legend.
This legend, in turn, gave rise to another, the legend of El Dorado. The Spanish attempted to drain the lake in search of gold several times. While you won’t find any gold here today, a visit to the lake is a neat way to get outside of the city for a nice day trip with some fresh air and activity.
You’ll take a short hike up the hills (the altitude makes it more difficult than you might expect!) to the lake. Along the way, a local guide will tell you more about the legend and indigenous culture as well as point out some of the trees you pass and their traditional uses.
Once you reach the top, you get a gorgeous view of the lake as well as the surrounding hills, valleys, and plateaus. After seeing the lake, you can see the charming streets of the town of Guatavita nearby and enjoy a tasty lunch. A visit here can also combine well with the next thing to do near Bogotá on this list. *Interested in a full-day tour to Lake Guatavita and learning about the culture of the Musicas Indians? Click here to book now
Visit the Salt Cathedral at Zipaquirá
Ever wanted to see an underground cathedral?
You can at the town of Zipaquirá not far outside of Bogotá. This was a working salt mine for years. In the 1950s, the miners built a small underground church, and by the 1990s, it had become a bit of a local tourist attraction.
A new, larger church was built in 1995, and it was named the First Wonder of Colombia in 2007. No longer a working mine, it is just a tourist attraction today, known as the Salt Cathedral.
As you head down the underground tunnels, you’ll walk along the stations of the cross, each with elaborate carvings into the rock. You eventually come to a rock dome-like what you might see in a cathedral. Inside, you can see the largest cross carved from stone in the world. There are several other chapels under the ground and a light show to see too.
After seeing the mines, take some time to walk the town and see the main plaza and church in Zipauirá. It’s quite charming and is a great place to enjoy some lunch, some fresh hot chocolate, and arepas, or just a cold beer. It is possible to arrange tours that take you just to the Salt
Cathedral and town of Zipaquirá or longer tours that go to Guatavita and Zipaquirá, combining two of the best attractions near Bogotá. *Interested in combining these two tours? Click here for more information
Take a Day Trip to Villa de Leyva
If you just want a charming colonial town, consider a day trip to Villa de Leyva. This town has the largest plaza in all of South America with a picturesque church and cobblestoned streets.
Villa de Leyva is the definition of quaint colonial charm, and walking its streets with its pretty architecture is like walking back in time.
There are a number of neat attractions nearby as well, including a Terracotta House of clay, and paleontological centers where you can see marine dinosaur bones, vineyards, and convents. Located about 3 hours east of Bogotá, seeing the town and its surroundings is possible on a day trip or you could also opt to spend a night or two and take in the charm of town in the evening. A multi-day tour that includes stops here and at some other pretty nearby towns like Raquira is also a great experience if you have the time. *Learn more about this unique town Villa de Leyva near Bogota.*
*Interested in a package tour including Bogotá, Villa de Leyva, Barichara, and more? Then be sure to view our fully customizable 7 Days, Bogotá, and the Andes Package Tour!
Visit a Coffee Farm
Everyone knows Colombia is world-famous for its coffee. While a visit to the coffee region is the absolute best way to enjoy Colombia’s coffee culture, if you’re short on time, visiting a coffee farm is another fun thing to do near Bogotá.
At the Hacienda Coloma, just outside of the town of Fusagasugá approximately an hour from Bogotá, you’ll be able to learn all about the process from bean to cup. You’ll get to see coffee plants growing, learn how they are cultivated, see how the beans are picked and processed, and of course, you’ll get to taste plenty of freshly brewed goodness!
This is a great way to spend a day doing something outside and different near Bogotá and gets in touch with Colombia’s most well-known export. *Interested in having a coffee tour while you visiting Bogota? Click here and book now
Things to Do Near Bogotá Conclusion
There are 4 fun things to do near Bogotá that will get you out of the big city and experience some fresh air and culture. At BnB Colombia, we can arrange all of these tours as day tours or as part of a larger package that includes them and lots of other things to see in Bogotá and the rest of Colombia. Fill out the form here to get some help planning your trip.