Bogota is a big city and there are plenty of places to visit, but as you may not have enough time to visit everything, we have prepared our top 10 of the most important attraction in Bogota.
The ciclovia is a weekly closure of some of the principal streets in Bogota to open a safe space for walkers, runners, bikers, and the like to enjoy some outdoors every Sunday from 7am to 2pm. Not only is participating in the almost 40 year-old event a good way to see the city, it’s also a chance to try some wonderful street food and get to see a more relaxed side to the busy and sometimes wrongly stereotyped Bogotanos.
9. Parque Simón Bolivar (Simon Bolivar Park) and Jardin Botánico (Botanic Garden)
The Simon Bolivar Park is slightly larger than New York’s Central Park. It is a nice spot with lakes, bike paths, walkways and a public library. West of the park is the Botanical Garden Jose Celestino Mutis, it has a variety of national flora from different climatic zones, some in gardens and others in greenhouses.
8. Flea markets
In Bogota you can find many handicraft markets offering an extensive collection of original and unusual objects. These eclectic spaces where entrepreneurs, artisans and vendors exhibit their products, are great places to spend the weekend. If you are not exactly an antiques enthusiast or a handicraft fanatic, you might still be able to have a good time in the flea markets. There is always something for everyone. For example your walk among the stalls could coincide with some street artist performance (music, acrobatics, etc) or if you are a bit peckish there is no shortage of typical snacks on offer (empanadas, pudding rice, exotic fruit juices, arepas, etc). The flea markets are ussualy on Sundays. The two main markets are the San Alejo in Las Aguas – La Candelara and the Usaquen Market.
7. Northern Bogota
If you are looking for good restaurants, cafes, shop or clubs, Bogota’s north offers endless options. The main areas are: Zona G (between Calles 69 and 70, east of carrera 7), Zona Rosa ( Calles 82 and 15, and Carreras 15 and 11). A 10 minute walk north from Zona Rosa, you will find the Parque 93 with a tidy patch of green lined with nice restaurants. 30 blocks north of Parque 93, you will find Usaquen, once a pueblo outside Bogota, but now enveloped in the metropolis, the atmospheric neighbourhood of Usquen still lives like a village with a central plaza surrounded by stylish antique shops, bars and restaurants.
6. The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira
The Sal Catedral of Zipaquira is not in Bogota but we decide to include it in the top, because it is worth to visit it. Located just one hour away from Bogota, Zipaquira is a historic town very famous for its salt mines and the cathedral carved inside the extensive caves of an old salt mine. The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is ranked as one of the most visited tourist and religious sites in all of Colombia. Serving as a functioning church on Sundays to thousands of Catholics, the cathedral also receives an incredible amount of visitors from Monday to Saturday who come to marvel at the architecture and ingenuity of its existence.
5. Paloquemao Market
Paloquemao Market is one of the most traditional and oldest markets in Bogotá. In Paloquemao, you can find everything from fruits and vegetables to fresh flowers and freshly cut meats. Paloquemao is an excellent place to see and experience the incredible flavors of Bogotá and Colombia. You will most assuredly be shocked and awed at the diversity of exotic fruits and indigenous vegetables available in this market. The selection of fresh flowers is no less amazing. Colombia produces an incredible amount of beautiful and diverse flowers, and Paloquemao may just be the best place to see this variety of Colombian flora.
4. Historic churches in the city centre
Although the historic churches in Bogotá are not often highlighted as “must-see” destinations in the city, Bogotá is home to some magnificent and impressive churches rivaling those one might find on the European continent. Each church boasts a unique style both in architecture as well as artwork, due to the art style(s) in favour during the construction of each church. Particularly worth a visit are the Iglesia de San Francisco and Iglesia de la Tercera. These two churches are right beside one another, but offer any tourist an incredible glimpse into the artistic and architectural contrasts of the colonial churches in Bogotá.
3. Gold Museum (Museo de Oro)
The Gold Museum in Bogotá is a must see for any traveller passing through. The Gold Museum boasts an incredible collection of pre-Hispanic gold pieces as well as other artifacts from various time periods. The gold collection, however, is what is most impressive in this museum, hence the name. According to the museum, it all started with one single piece—the poporo quimbaya—and from that one piece, the museum has developed into the recently restored masterpiece that it is today. Even if you’re not a fan of pre-Hispanic collections, consider making an exception. You won’t regret a visit to this iconic museum, and are sure to be amazed by the intricate and exquisite gold collection on display.
2. El Cerro Monserrate (Monserrate Peak)
The mountaintop el Cerro Monserrate is an iconic symbol of the city of Bogotá and offers, by far, the best view of the city’s landscape, limits, and distribution. To get to Monserrate, you can take a cable car that will quickly transport you to the mountaintop. Once at the top, there are many ways to enjoy Monserrate; you can visit the church, have a hot chocolate and a delicious Tamal, buy some handicrafts at the small market, or simply take in the amazing view of Bogotá from many of the charming garden area
1. La Candelaria
La Candelaria is the historic neighborhood in the city. Located a few minutes walk from Bolivar Plaza and home to la Casa de la Moneda, the Botero Museum, and the newly opened Gabriel Garcia Marquez Cultural Center, among other important museums and landmarks, la Candelaria lends you, possibly, hours of walking down narrow, colonial streets lined with colonial style houses and buildings. Once home to Spanish colonizers and their criollo descendants, La Candelaria has, in recent times, become known as the bohemian sector of Bogota with artist shops, off-the-beaten-path cafes and artisan shops, museums, and libraries.
Enjoy exploring the best of Bogota!
The Uncover Colombia Team