Everything You Need to Know About Bogota, Colombia

Bogotá, Colombia is located high in the Andes at 2,620 meters or 8,646 feet. It is a city of contrasts: tall buildings near colonial churches, universities, theaters, and favelas.

Bogotá is also a mix of influences: Spanish, English, and Indian. It is a city of great wealth, material well-being, and abject poverty. Wild traffic and quiet oases lie side by side. Here you will find futuristic architecture, graffiti, and traffic, as well as restaurants, bookstores, and street vendors selling emeralds. Thieves, beggars, tramps, and drug dealers call the old city center home.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about Bogota Colombia Travel Guide


Bogotá economy

Besides being the capital, Bogotá is the largest economic center in Colombia. Most of the companies in Colombia are based in Bogotá because it is home to most of the foreign companies that do business here. It is also the center of Colombia's main stock market. Here are the main offices of most coffee companies, exporters and florists. The emerald trade is big business in Bogotá. Millions of dollars in rough and cut emeralds produced in the country are bought and sold daily in the city center.

The city

Bogotá is divided into zones, each with its own characteristics:

  • Zone 1 North: it is the most modern and noble zone. The highest-income neighborhoods, major shopping centers, and the best restaurants, shopping centers, and nightlife are located in Zona Rosa.
  • Zone 2 Northwest: The city is growing in this direction.
  • Zone 3 West: This western sector contains industrial areas, parks, the National University and the El Dorado Airport.
  • Zone 4 South: Industrial zones and large labor districts are located in the south.
  • Zone 5 Downtown: The central sector is the main and most important commercial, cultural, governmental and financial area of ​​the city.
  • Zone 6: This zone covers the surrounding areas.
  • Zone 7: This zone includes other cities.

The Mountains

Most of the places of interest for visitors are in the center and north of Bogotá. The city expanded from the colonial center, where most of the great churches are located. The mountains provide a backdrop to the east of the city.

The most famous peak is Cerro de Montserrat at 3030 meters or 10,000 feet. It is the favorite of Bogota citizens who go there for the spectacular view, the park, the bullring, restaurants and a famous religious site. The church here with its statue of the fallen Lord Christ is considered a place of miracles. The top of the peak can be accessed by climbing hundreds of stairs; not recommended. You can also go up by cable car, which operates from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm. every day, or by the funicular that runs only on Sundays between 5:30 am and 6:00 pm

The Churches

Most of the landmarks are in La Candelaria, the oldest neighborhood in the city. The Municipal Palace of the Capitol and several churches are worth a visit:

  • San Francisco: Built in 1567, this church is elaborately decorated with a huge wooden altar and columns covered in gold leaf.
  • Santa Clara: Built in the early 17th century, this single-nave church has wonderful frescoes that have been completely restored. It is now a museum. Its old nunnery has been dismantled, but the church has an exceptional canvas that concealed the nuns' choir.
  • San Ignacio: Inspired by the Church of San Jesús in Rome, this sumptuously decorated church has soaring naves, baroque altars and a sculpture of Pedro de Laboria.
  • San Agustín: Built in 1637, it is one of the oldest churches in Bogotá and has been restored. Its characteristics include the baroque altars, the choir and the beautiful proportions.

The churches La Tercera, La Veracruz, La Catedral, La Capilla del Sagrario, La Candelaria la Concepción, Santa Bárbara and San Diego are worth a visit if time permits.

The Museums

The city has several excellent museums. Most can be viewed in an hour or two, but it leaves plenty of time for the Gold Museum, which houses more than 30,000 pre-Columbian jewelery objects. The museum is like a fort that protects the treasures here, including the small Muisca boat that describes the ritual of throwing gold into Lake Guatavita to appease the gods. The museum also displays emerald and diamond-studded crosses from the colonial period.

Other museums of interest include:

  • Colonial Museum: located in the old Jesuit monastery built around 1640, this museum shows the life and times of the viceroyalty.
  • Museum of Religious Art: Exhibits include a collection of popular religious art from the colonial era.
  • Museum of Modern Art: This museum houses the work of contemporary artists.
  • Quinta de Bolívar: Located at the base of Cerro Montserrate, the magnificent country house of Simón Bolívar exhibits furniture, documents and personal belongings of the Liberator and his lover Manuela Sáenz. Don't miss a stroll through the lawns and gardens.

Other notable museums include the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, the 19th Century Museum, the Numismatic Museum, and the Children's Museum.

Archaeological and historical treasures

You may be interested in the model of Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City of Taironas that was found near Santa Marta in 1975. This discovery of a city larger than Machu Picchu is one of the most important archaeological finds in South America. The Gold Museum is the strong room, where small groups of visitors can enter a dark room and sigh audibly as the lights reveal the 12,000 pieces kept here.

The National Museum of Colombia has a wide range of exhibits of archaeological, ethnic and historical importance. This museum is located in a prison designed by the American Thomas Reed. Cells are visible from a single point of view.

The Zipaquirá Cathedral or Catedral de la Sal is not in the city itself, but it is well worth the two-hour drive north. The cathedral was built on a salt mine that was in operation long before the arrival of the Spanish. In the 1920s a huge cave was created, so large that the Banco de la República built a cathedral here, 23 meters or 75 feet high and with capacity for 10,000 people. Colombians will say that there is still enough salt in the mine to supply the world for 100 years.

Bogotá has enough to see to keep you busy for days. When you get tired of museums and churches, the city offers an active nightlife with restaurants, theaters, and more. Plan to visit the elegant Teatro Colón during a performance, it is the only time the theater is open.


Getting around the city is simplified by the way the streets are named. Most of the older streets are called races and they run from north to south. The calls go from east to west and are numbered. Newer streets can be circular or cross avenues.

Bus transportation is excellent in Bogotá. The big buses, the smaller buses called busetas and the minibus or collective van travel the streets of the city. Modern articulated Transmilenio buses operate on select major routes, and the city is dedicated to adding routes.

Bicycles abound in the city. Cyclorutas is an extensive bike path that serves all the cardinal points.

Take Precautions

Although the level of violence is decreasing in Bogotá and other large cities in Colombia, there is still the potential outside the city limits for acts of terrorism by various factions rebelling against the government, reducing drug trafficking and aid. to the citizens. The USA in the eradication of coca Campos. Fielding's Hazardous Location Guide says:

“Colombia is currently the most dangerous place in the Western Hemisphere and perhaps in the world because it is not considered a war zone ... If you travel to Colombia, you can be the target of thieves, kidnappers, and murderers ... Civilians and soldiers are routinely detained in the roadblocks, torn from their cars and summarily executed in the department of Antioquia. Tourists are drugged in bars and clubs and then robbed and murdered. Expats, missionaries, and other foreigners are the favorite targets of terrorist groups. the millions of dollars. "

If you travel to Santafé de Bogotá or anywhere in Colombia, be very careful. In addition to the precautions you would take in any big city, take the following steps:

  • Let your consulate know you are there and what your travel plans are.
  • Carry your passport with you at all times. You can be asked to do this at any time. If you have questions about the person requesting to see your documents, call any uniformed police officer for assistance.
  • Carry only the amount of money you need and keep it close to your skin.
  • Do not wear valuable jewelry or watches.
  • Don't walk alone at night or in slums. Avoid all doubtful areas. Women should not get into taxis alone.
  • Do not accept sweets, cigarettes, drinks or food from strangers. They may be drugged with burundanga, which takes away their will and memory and makes them unconscious. An overdose can be fatal.
  • Stay on top of local news and events. Stay away from trouble spots.
  • Do not hike to Cerro Montserrate.

Stay tuned, be cautious, and be safe to enjoy your trip!

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