BogotáTravel Guide

Travellers to South America often choose Bogotá — Colombia’s capital and largest city — as base for day trips and exploring other destinations, but we want to tell you: stay a while! Because this sprawling, buzzing metropolis is a South American hidden gem with loads to offer.

Bogotá is a multi-cultural hub where art and music, old and new, skyscrapers and green spaces come together. Located in the Andean Region, the city has become a popular destination for digital nomads, but as a visitor, you’ll enjoy that it’s not overly touristy, allowing you to experience Bogotá’s authentic self.  

Equally famed for its vibrant street art as it is for the historical neighbourhood of La Candelaria, and for being a party city packed with nightclubs, Bogotá offers a sweet spot for every kind of traveller.

If you love the outdoors, Bogotá has numerous parks and offers outdoor activities such as hiking and rock climbing. Foodies will love the city's gastronomic scene of traditional Colombian, fusion and street food. 

So, have we convinced you to stay in Bogotá? Good! 

Explore Bogotá

Where to stay in Bogotá?

Bogotá has various zones that cater to different aspects of urban life. Because Bogotá has become such a popular destination for remote work in recent years, there’s a wide selection of Airbnbs, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and communal house shares to choose from. These offer mid-ranged accommodation and more affordable options, if you’re looking for a longer-term stay.  

This is the entertainment hub of Bogotá and a trendy neighbourhood for luxury and boutique hotels. One of the best luxury hotels close to Zona Rosa is the Sofitel Bogotá Victoria Regia. Combining French art and flair with Colombian influences, the hotel offers gorgeous rooms, upmarket dining and an on-site gym.

Another top hotel is Hotel GHL Collection Hamilton. The rooms are stylish and comfortable. Plus, there’s the on-site Cook’s Restaurant, three meeting rooms and a business centre, as well as other services and amenities — making it the perfect choice for both leisure and business trips. 

This is Bogotá’s historic district and UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re on a hostel budget and keen to learn more about Bogotá’s past, the Arche Norah Hostel is ideal. Situated close to all the tourist hot spots, this hostel is quaint and small with a variety of rooms. Enjoy the rooftop terrace, free breakfast and free all-day coffee! Yessss!

The LGBTQ-friendly and trendy Chapinero is another excellent area to stay in Bogotá. Our top pick is the classy Hotel El Dorado Bogotá, with its 76 cosy rooms, Colombian-style restaurant Origen and Asian-influenced Mai Tai, as well as a gym.

Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • Aerial trams carry visitors up a hill and its park in central Bogota
    • Colourfoul buildings in colonial old town La Candelaria in Bogota, Colombia
    • Gay couple trying on hats at a street market in Bogota
  • Aerial trams carry visitors up a hill and its park in central Bogota
    Aerial trams carry visitors up a hill and its park in central Bogota
    Aerial trams carry visitors up a hill and its park in central Bogota
  • Colourfoul buildings in colonial old town La Candelaria in Bogota, Colombia
    Colourfoul buildings in colonial old town La Candelaria in Bogota, Colombia
    Colourfoul buildings in colonial old town La Candelaria in Bogota, Colombia
  • Gay couple trying on hats at a street market in Bogota
    Gay couple trying on hats at a street market in Bogota
    Gay couple trying on hats at a street market in Bogota

Things to do in Bogotá

Whether you love art and music, history and culture, or outdoor activities, this Colombian city has it all. The northern part is considered a safe area so go ahead and enjoy! 

Plaza de Bolívar is Bogotá's central square, a meeting place for locals and a popular tourist attraction. Admire historical landmarks here and enjoy free cultural activities. Established in the 1500s, the square got a makeover in 1960 to commemorate Colombia's 150th year of independence. 

Bogotá was named a Creative City of Music by UNESCO in March 2012 because of the diverse genres found here, including traditional, popular and avant-garde. The city hosts over 50 annual music festivals and some 500 live music venues. Among the most popular is the Festivales al Parque (Festivals in the Park). This free, annual event hosts open-air concerts with performances from rock and jazz to opera. 

Bogotá is the ideal springboard for day trips, such as to the Salt Cathedral Zipaquirá — which, as the name implies, is a church carved into an underground salt mine. Far from being just a fascinating historical relic, church services (including weddings) are still held there! You can get to it from Bogotá via bus, train or taxi.

Recommended for nature lovers is exploring Chicaque, a cloud forest featuring several ecotrails, or visiting Colombia’s highest waterfall, La Chorrera. Tours for both can be booked departing from Bogotá. 

Zona Rosa’s nightlife is legendary! From salsa clubs and live music venues to rooftop bars, your perfect party place awaits. La Candelaria’s party vibes are steeped in history, while Chapinero also has some great party zones.

Learn about Colombian coffee cultivation by going on a guided tour of a coffee plantation. Tours leave from the city’s various hotels, and some even let you participate in picking, grinding and roasting the beans. Coffee tastings are included — a real bean-to-cup experience! 

Bogotá boasts over 50 museums and more than 60 galleries showcasing Colombia’s diverse cultural heritage and world-class art collections. Some of the city’s best museums include the Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá and the National Museum of Colombia. The dazzling Gold Museum, or Museo del Oro in Spanish, houses the world’s largest pre-Hispanic goldworks collection — about 34,000 gold pieces (yes, you read that right)!  

Street art lovers are equally spoilt for choice thanks to Bogotá’s street art culture. The best-known districts include La Candelaria — the downtown area — Distrito Graffiti, Los Puentes, El Consuelo and Buenavista. Book a tour to learn about the city’s leading graffiti artists and see as many murals as possible! 

The historical hot spot of Bogotá is La Candelaria, with its cobblestone streets, colourful colonial architecture, 19th-century eaves and striking churches. It's abuzz with all kinds of people, from businesspeople and students to tourists like yourself. It's also home to around 500 institutions, including Bogotá's finest museums, libraries, universities, theatres and research centres, as well as trendy cafés and shops. 

Bogotá, like any major city, struggles with noise pollution and traffic jams. But the locals have used this as an opportunity to create the tradition of the car-free Sundays known as Ciclovía.

Many roads are closed and made into pedestrian-only zones (cyclists and skateboarders remain welcome). Street entertainment includes games and dancing and there are pop-up markets to enjoy.

Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Bogotá food and drink

Bogotá is a gastronomic capital, and its cuisine is influenced mainly by Colombian, Spanish, Arab and African cultures. Among its iconic dishes are bandeja paisa (beans, rice, plantains, avocado, one or two kinds of meat and an egg) and lechona (suckling pig served with rice and beans).  

While Bogotá offers a range of international dishes, the local fare is considered among the best in Latin America, and you can also enjoy local beers and specialty coffee. From casual eateries to five-star dining it’s all here for the tasting! Bogotá also hosts popular culinary festivals like Alimentarte Food Festival, allowing you to savour local and international foods in green spaces or at cultural venues.

Head to Zona Rosa, Zona G, Usaquén or Parque de la 93 for top-notch dining experiences.  

To try local dishes, you can’t beat La Candelaria, where you can tuck into ajiaco (a local soup made from chicken and potatoes), tamales (dough and fillings, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed), Santa Fe chocolate and almojábana (Colombian cheese bread). 

The plaza in Usaquén features excellent eateries, such as 80 sillas. Its menu features seafood dishes like crab ravioli, as well as dishes for carnivores like grilled pork steak — all served in a stylish setting. Also recommended is La Mar Cebichería Peruana, a Peruvian restaurant.  

A must-visit for both gastronomy and the experience, is the Monserrate sanctuary in the eastern hills of Bogotá. Its 17th-century white church, Basilica del Señor de Monserrate, is visible from anywhere in the city, and a four-minute cable car ride takes you to the top – around 3,152m above sea level, so you can imagine the panoramic views! Here, you can taste your way through fast food and street food like empanadas to fine dining menus and bistro fare — it’s a one-stop culinary adventure!

In trendy Zona G, try Café Bar Universal — popular for its lively atmosphere, bistro menu and cocktails — or the home of French pastries in Bogotá: Grazia. The latter offers delectable gluten-free treats, sublime cakes and tarts, and savoury pastries.

Finding street food in Bogotá is easy. On street corners and in alleys, street-food vendors set up their stalls or grills early in the morning; some even get fancy and whip up crêpes. You can also enjoy pizza done the Columbian way from food trucks (Did you know pizza restaurants are plentiful in Bogotá?!). The vibey and busy La Perseverancia Market is the place to go to sample street food from different regions all in one place. It’s situated in the neighbourhood of the same name, one of the oldest in Bogotá. 

Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Bogotá through your eyes

When is the best time to travel to Bogotá?

Bogotá is surrounded by mountains and is just over 2,600m above sea level. Temperatures generally range from 8–20°C (46–68°F) throughout the year, with highs of 20°C (68°F) during the dry season, and lows of 9°C (48°F) during the wet season. The high altitude can take some getting used to.  

What you need to know is that it rains a lot in Bogotá! And throughout the whole year. The subtropical mountain climate means it’s mostly cool and overcast, but the weather is better from late May to late September, and again from early December to late February or early March. These are the city’s two dry seasons, and its two wet seasons are in the remaining months. The best time to travel in Bogotá is during one of the dry seasons.  

High season is from December to March, peaking around the end of December through to the middle of January. Prices are naturally higher during this time. Low season runs from October to November and this is when you can take advantage of fewer tourists and better prices. 

Don't miss out. Book your flight today!

How to get around Bogotá

Navigating Colombia's capital city is convenient due to a combination of public and private transportation options. The city's Integrated Public Transport System (SITP) features the popular TransMilenio rapid bus system, allowing you to plan your routes on their website. Alternatively, download the free Moovit app from the Apple and Google Play stores.

Taxis are among the safest, convenient and most reliable choices for getting around the city, exploring its diverse neighbourhoods (especially at night), or for visitors keen on a day trip. There are also plenty of e-hailing services to choose from: Easy Taxi, Taxis Libres, Cabify and Uber.  

Bogotá just happens to be bicycle-friendly city — it’s won numerous awards for its sustainable transportation network — so why not hire a bike to discover the city at your own pace?  

Exploring a new city on foot is also a great way to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds, and to mingle with the locals. There are safe areas to go walkabout in Bogotá, just do your research and ask your hotel/accommodation for advice before you head out.

Let us help you organise your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.


What are the best parks in Bogotá?

Bogotá is known for its many green spaces and gorgeous parks, offering an escape from the frenetic city, just for a while.  

Parque Simón Bolívar in the Teusaquillo neighbourhood is one of the most popular parks in Bogotá. Often referred to as Bogotá’s answer to Central Park, this vast green space has a lake, an open-air concert area and even the Virgilio Barco library — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can enjoy running, cycling and picnicking on the lawns.

A great option for nature lovers is Parque El Virrey — home to 60 bird species and 100 tree species, and just a 10-minute walk from the Andino Shopping Mall.

Parque de la 93 in the El Chicó neighbourhood of Chapinero showcases many species of trees and flowers and is a delight to explore along the pedestrian walkways. It’s conveniently surrounded by cafés, restaurants and nightclubs, so you get the best of all worlds: time spent in nature followed by retail therapy, dinner and dancing!

Around 62 kilometres (38.5 miles) out of Bogotá, the Chingaza National Park showcases the páramo – a unique mountain ecosystem of fascinating plant species that exists nowhere else in the world. Resident wildlife includes jaguars, ocelots, bears and mountain tapirs. Camp or explore the trails, but you’ll have to email a request to visit ahead of time as this is a carefully protected biodiversity area. We highly recommend hooking up with a tour guide. You’ll get fascinating insights into the park while also supporting the local economy.

Getting from park to park is so much better with your own wheels. Hitch your ride now!

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