What are the five best things to do in Botoga?

Home to world-class museums, outdoor splendors, inspiring shopping and fantastic markets, Bogota teems with options for travelers. Here are five that should be on the top of your itinerary:

Gold Museum. One of the most famous museums in the city (and the country, really), the Gold Museum (or Museo del Oro) boasts incredible exhibits of pre-Hispanic art, culture and more than 55,000 pieces of gold artifacts. Nearly all of the artifacts were excavated and found in Colombia when the Spanish came in search of El Dorado.

Spend at least two hours perusing the museum. Guided tours and headsets are available to help you get the most out of your visit.

Museo Botero. Paying homage to one of Colombia’s most famous artists, Fernando Botero, the Museo Botero houses one of the most impressive collections of his rather unique artwork. The style, dubbed Boterismo, depicts large, exaggerated or overweight features and people.

Botero’s sculpture provides a whimsical respite to the museum’s more classical art collections from Dalí, Degas and Picasso. Admission is free, and you can also book a guided tour with a Botero expert.

Monserrate. Rising 10,300 feet above sea level, Cerro Monserrate touts the best views of the city and the surrounding Andes mountains than any other spot in Bogota. Atop is a church, which was founded in the 17th century to honor the Fallen Lord and still hosts daily services.

To get up, take the funicular or tram, or hike there. The hike is moderate and can take up to an hour. At the top, you’ll also find a market selling handicrafts and snacks like empanadas and bandeja paisa (a hearty plate of chorizo, chicharrones, steak, egg, fries, beans and rice).

Simón Bolívar Park. Larger than New York’s Central Park, Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park has more than 890 acres of lush green space. Ample walking and biking trails, public libraries, stadiums for concerts and performances, and many lakes make it a great place to enjoy a breath of fresh air in the bustling city.

If you can, plan your visit with the annual Rock al Parque, a free rock concert that brings in more than 120,000 visitors a year.

La Candelaria. Wander the cobblestoned streets of this historic neighborhood to take in its Spanish colonial architecture, wrought-iron balconies, elaborate painted doors and brightly painted homes that date back more than 300 years.

The area is home to restaurants, bars, boutiques, bohemian cafés and quirky art galleries. Plus, it’s home to most of the city’s main attractions, like Museo Botero.

  • On February 18
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best day trips from Bogota?

    There may be plenty to do in Bogota, but if you’re seeking fresher air and added adrenaline, opt for one of these day trips.

    La Chorrera and El Chiflon Waterfall Hike. Situated about three hours from the bustling city in the lush forests of La Chorrera and El Chiflon is this breathtaking hike. The strenuous walk takes you through the majestic countryside up to Colombia’s highest waterfall, La Chorrera.

    There are ample outfitters that will lead you on this hike, but opt for one that also provides an authentic Colombian lunch to refuel after the hike.

    Chingaza National Park. Head to Chingaza National Park, which is one of Colombia’s biggest natural reserves. The drive through the countryside to get there is beautiful, especially if you stop at some of the many roadside stands to buy a savory empanada or a soft arepa (griddled corncake).

    There are plenty of hiking trails within the reserve, but one of the most popular is the three-hour option to Lagunas de Buitrago, which will bring you up and over a variety of terrain — from rugged mountain treks to river crossings. The walk will also introduce you to some of the park’s indigenous 1,000 plant species and more than 180 species of birds.

    Golfing. You don’t have to venture far to swing a club in Bogota. The city’s premier course, Country Club de Bogota (par 72), is just a few miles from Unicentro Shopping Center and lies in the actual city limits.

    A course not far from downtown is Club El Rincón de Cajicá, another par 72. It’s just outside the small town of Cajicá, about 15 miles north of Bogota. A little farther from the city center is La Cima, a par 70 course that’s near La Calera. Not nearly as manicured as the others, this mountainside course gives you sweeping views of the city and the rolling hills below from nearly 1,000 feet above sea level.
  • On February 18
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best day trips from Bogota?

    There may be plenty to do in Bogota, but if you’re seeking fresher air and added adrenaline, opt for one of these day trips.

    La Chorrera and El Chiflon Waterfall Hike. Situated about three hours from the bustling city in the lush forests of La Chorrera and El Chiflon is this breathtaking hike. The strenuous walk takes you through the majestic countryside up to Colombia’s highest waterfall, La Chorrera.

    There are ample outfitters that will lead you on this hike, but opt for one that also provides an authentic Colombian lunch to refuel after the hike.

    Chingaza National Park. Head to Chingaza National Park, which is one of Colombia’s biggest natural reserves. The drive through the countryside to get there is beautiful, especially if you stop at some of the many roadside stands to buy a savory empanada or a soft arepa (griddled corncake).

    There are plenty of hiking trails within the reserve, but one of the most popular is the three-hour option to Lagunas de Buitrago, which will bring you up and over a variety of terrain — from rugged mountain treks to river crossings. The walk will also introduce you to some of the park’s indigenous 1,000 plant species and more than 180 species of birds.

    Golfing. You don’t have to venture far to swing a club in Bogota. The city’s premier course, Country Club de Bogota (par 72), is just a few miles from Unicentro Shopping Center and lies in the actual city limits.

    A course not far from downtown is Club El Rincón de Cajicá, another par 72. It’s just outside the small town of Cajicá, about 15 miles north of Bogota. A little farther from the city center is La Cima, a par 70 course that’s near La Calera. Not nearly as manicured as the others, this mountainside course gives you sweeping views of the city and the rolling hills below from nearly 1,000 feet above sea level.
  • On February 18
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Bogota in one day?

    If one day is all you have to explore Bogota, you will still be able to experience quite a bit.

    Unlike other cities in Colombia, you don’t need a car to get around Bogota and see its biggest attractions. Its public transportation system is one of the best in South America, so you can zip to and from the parks, neighborhoods, museums and pedestrian streets with ease.

    Start your morning with a visit to one of Bogota’s best breakfast eateries, Pastelería Florida. Nosh on succulent chicken tamales, cornbread stuffed with white cheese and a warm santafereño (a hot chocolate).

    Afterward, head to Plaza de Bolivar, the city’s central square. Flanked by the Palacio de Justicia (the supreme court), Palacio Liévano (city hall) and Capitolio Nacional (house of congress), you’ll get a bearing for the country’s political system in one spot (not to mention the facades of the buildings are a beautiful mix of neoclassical and Parisian styles).

    Next, take a cab or the metro to Mercado de Paloquemao, which sits on the northwest corner of Calle 19 and Carrera 27. Dubbed the heart of the city, this bustling market is stocked with everything you might need, from fresh fruit to vibrant blooms to seafood and meat.

    When you finish perusing all of the goods, linger over a leisurely lunch at Salvo Patria, a neighborhood bistro known for its fried calamari and amazing daily specials. If it’s on tap, order the carbonara with asparagus and chorizo or the chatas with chimichurri and mashed cassava.

    When you’re done refueling, catch the cable car or funicular or hike up to Monserrate. The hike will take about an hour and is a bit strenuous, so only tackle it if you’ve got the right walking shoes.

    This mountain boasts a beautiful church at the top and offers sweeping views of the sprawling city grid. Atop Monserrate, you’ll also find shops and another market with snack stands selling Colombian favorites, like jugo de tamarindo (tamarind juice).

    The afternoon is best spent exploring the city’s cultural side. Head to the famous Museo del Oro, which sits on Carrera 6. The gold museum depicts the journey of the Spanish to Colombia in search of el dorado (gold) and features sparkling artifacts recovered from their explorations hundreds of years ago.

    On Calle 11 is another can’t-miss museum, Museo Botero. Here, you’ll find rooms filled with the paintings and sculptures of Fernando Botero, one Colombia’s greatest living artists. His work is iconic — with the pieces depicting curvy, exaggerated shapes in both people and animals.

    Another art museum with a more contemporary flair is Museo de Art Moderno (Modern Art Museum), which sits on Call 24. It showcases the art of other famous Colombian artists, like Alejandro Obregon, Edgar Negret and more.

    If you’re ready for dinner, go to Gaira Café Cumbia House, an inspiring local establishment that’s part salsa club, part restaurant and part museum. The walls are plastered with live music paraphilia and the inside feels a bit like a dingy dive bar.

    However, don’t let the looks fool you — the food is incredible. Order the grilled steak with coconut rice, the patacones (fried green plantains) with pork and cheese or spiced chorizo served with cheese. Wash your bites down with a mojito or a Club Colombia, the unofficial beer of the city.

    Stay for the live music shows or head to Casa Quiebra Canto or Armando Records, two of the city’s premier salsa clubs, to cap off your day in Bogota.
  • On February 18
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Bogota in one day?

    If one day is all you have to explore Bogota, you will still be able to experience quite a bit.

    Unlike other cities in Colombia, you don’t need a car to get around Bogota and see its biggest attractions. Its public transportation system is one of the best in South America, so you can zip to and from the parks, neighborhoods, museums and pedestrian streets with ease.

    Start your morning with a visit to one of Bogota’s best breakfast eateries, Pastelería Florida. Nosh on succulent chicken tamales, cornbread stuffed with white cheese and a warm santafereño (a hot chocolate).

    Afterward, head to Plaza de Bolivar, the city’s central square. Flanked by the Palacio de Justicia (the supreme court), Palacio Liévano (city hall) and Capitolio Nacional (house of congress), you’ll get a bearing for the country’s political system in one spot (not to mention the facades of the buildings are a beautiful mix of neoclassical and Parisian styles).

    Next, take a cab or the metro to Mercado de Paloquemao, which sits on the northwest corner of Calle 19 and Carrera 27. Dubbed the heart of the city, this bustling market is stocked with everything you might need, from fresh fruit to vibrant blooms to seafood and meat.

    When you finish perusing all of the goods, linger over a leisurely lunch at Salvo Patria, a neighborhood bistro known for its fried calamari and amazing daily specials. If it’s on tap, order the carbonara with asparagus and chorizo or the chatas with chimichurri and mashed cassava.

    When you’re done refueling, catch the cable car or funicular or hike up to Monserrate. The hike will take about an hour and is a bit strenuous, so only tackle it if you’ve got the right walking shoes.

    This mountain boasts a beautiful church at the top and offers sweeping views of the sprawling city grid. Atop Monserrate, you’ll also find shops and another market with snack stands selling Colombian favorites, like jugo de tamarindo (tamarind juice).

    The afternoon is best spent exploring the city’s cultural side. Head to the famous Museo del Oro, which sits on Carrera 6. The gold museum depicts the journey of the Spanish to Colombia in search of el dorado (gold) and features sparkling artifacts recovered from their explorations hundreds of years ago.

    On Calle 11 is another can’t-miss museum, Museo Botero. Here, you’ll find rooms filled with the paintings and sculptures of Fernando Botero, one Colombia’s greatest living artists. His work is iconic — with the pieces depicting curvy, exaggerated shapes in both people and animals.

    Another art museum with a more contemporary flair is Museo de Art Moderno (Modern Art Museum), which sits on Call 24. It showcases the art of other famous Colombian artists, like Alejandro Obregon, Edgar Negret and more.

    If you’re ready for dinner, go to Gaira Café Cumbia House, an inspiring local establishment that’s part salsa club, part restaurant and part museum. The walls are plastered with live music paraphilia and the inside feels a bit like a dingy dive bar.

    However, don’t let the looks fool you — the food is incredible. Order the grilled steak with coconut rice, the patacones (fried green plantains) with pork and cheese or spiced chorizo served with cheese. Wash your bites down with a mojito or a Club Colombia, the unofficial beer of the city.

    Stay for the live music shows or head to Casa Quiebra Canto or Armando Records, two of the city’s premier salsa clubs, to cap off your day in Bogota.
  • On January 23
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best family-friendly activities in Bogota?

    Not just a city for partyers and hipsters, Bogota is a great place to visit with kids of all ages. If your kids are a little older, book the Bogota Graffiti Tour, which takes place daily and brings you around to some of the city’s most inspiring works of street art. The guides are all locals (mostly art students) who spend about three hours showing you the incredible murals all over the city.

    Another great way to appease older kids is to rent bicycles from Bogota Bike tours and pedal around to some of the city’s other popular attractions, like the Children’s Museum, the Botanical Gardens and 93 Park.

    For a mix of activities for any age, head to Multiparque, the city’s main amusement park.
  • On January 23
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the food scene like in Bogota?

    Move over Lima — the food scene in Bogota is quickly becoming one of South America’s best. A unique blend of Latin, Spanish, French, Italian and Asian influences, the food is as varied as you can get — with some of the top restaurants serving dishes you wouldn’t expect in a South American city.

    There is a newfound push for farm-to-table, locavore cuisine. The food at Salvo Patria, for example, is bright and beautiful, with dishes like grilled calamari, quinoa salad with local produce and freshly made pasta served with spiced chorizo.

    If you’re craving Colombian fare, visit celebrity chef Leonor Espinosa’s beloved Mercado. Here, you’ll find national favorites, like pollo campesino (braised chicken) or ajiaco (chicken and potato soup) served with a fresh twist.

    The best way to get acclimated to the incredible bounty of Colombia’s farming industry is to shop at the markets — so spend ample time wandering through Paloquemao. At this market, you’ll encounter an incredible assortment of fruits, vegetables, flowers, cheeses, meats and fish.

    The smells are overwhelming, the narrow alleyways between stalls chaotic and the fresh fruit tantalizing, but it’s absolutely worth a visit to see how the locals shop for their groceries. Try the local roasted ants from one of the many vendors or, for the less adventurous, a fresh-squeezed fruit juice.

    No trip to Bogota is complete without a meal and a drink at Andrés Carne de Res, a local institution that sits about 40 minutes outside of the city. This sprawling restaurant, bar and adult playground is known the country over for its succulent assortment of grilled meats, from steak to lamb to chicken. The cocktails are served big and strong, so nosh on plenty of hearty fare to sop up the alcohol.
  • On January 23
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the food scene like in Bogota?

    Move over Lima — the food scene in Bogota is quickly becoming one of South America’s best. A unique blend of Latin, Spanish, French, Italian and Asian influences, the food is as varied as you can get — with some of the top restaurants serving dishes you wouldn’t expect in a South American city.

    There is a newfound push for farm-to-table, locavore cuisine. The food at Salvo Patria, for example, is bright and beautiful, with dishes like grilled calamari, quinoa salad with local produce and freshly made pasta served with spiced chorizo.

    If you’re craving Colombian fare, visit celebrity chef Leonor Espinosa’s beloved Mercado. Here, you’ll find national favorites, like pollo campesino (braised chicken) or ajiaco (chicken and potato soup) served with a fresh twist.

    The best way to get acclimated to the incredible bounty of Colombia’s farming industry is to shop at the markets — so spend ample time wandering through Paloquemao. At this market, you’ll encounter an incredible assortment of fruits, vegetables, flowers, cheeses, meats and fish.

    The smells are overwhelming, the narrow alleyways between stalls chaotic and the fresh fruit tantalizing, but it’s absolutely worth a visit to see how the locals shop for their groceries. Try the local roasted ants from one of the many vendors or, for the less adventurous, a fresh-squeezed fruit juice.

    No trip to Bogota is complete without a meal and a drink at Andrés Carne de Res, a local institution that sits about 40 minutes outside of the city. This sprawling restaurant, bar and adult playground is known the country over for its succulent assortment of grilled meats, from steak to lamb to chicken. The cocktails are served big and strong, so nosh on plenty of hearty fare to sop up the alcohol.
  • On January 23
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where is the best shopping in Bogota?

    If there’s one thing you’ll learn as you wander down the streets of Bogota, it’s that the shopping is equal parts abundant and varied.

    For some of the best local handicrafts, visit Carrera 15, between calles 74 and 77, which is home to the International Center, the Historic Center and La Plaza de los Artesanos. Among the plentiful shops, you’ll find ruanas (ponchos), natural oils and hats, and shoes and handbags made from toquilla, a tough native fiber.
    Another great shopping spot for crafts is the Pasaje Rivas market, which is nestled in La Candelaria on Calle 10. Here, you’ll find negotiable prices on authentic souvenirs.

    For the best in flea market goods, head to Mercado de Pulgas San Alejo. The huge outdoor market carries just about anything you could possibly want or need. It’s a treasure hunt to uncover finds, but it’s worth a visit — if just for the people watching.

    For more high-end Bogota shopping, visit the Andino, Atlantis and Retiro shopping malls, which sit in the Zona T district. You’ll encounter all those labels you covet, like Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Coach and more. Other popular shopping malls include Titan Plaza, Hacienda Santa Barbara, Gran Estación and Unicentro, which also sits in the upscale Santa Barbara district.
  • On January 23
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best hotels in Bogota?

    Because so much of Bogota is undergoing a revival, there city’s top hotels aren’t located in just one area. JW Marriott Hotel Bogota, one of the city’s nicest, sits in the financial district on Calle 73; Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota, the brand’s first hotel in the Colombian capital, is nestled in the trendy Zona G neighborhood; Sofitel Bogota Victoria Regia can be found in the Zona T area; while the trendy W Bogota Hotel, which was modeled and inspired by the legend of El Dorado, is at home in the city’s post-Santa Barbara neighborhood.

    Before you book any hotel, do a quick search to see where it’s located to ensure you’re staying in a central location and that it is safe (the city’s south and southwest corridors are still pretty rough and tumble, so avoid them at night).
  • On January 23
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where is the best nightlife in Bogota?

    Home to a vast number of late night salsa bars, trendy bars with mustache-clad bartenders and pulse-pounding nightclubs, Bogota’s nightclub scene is undeniably vibrant.

    Zona Rosa. Undoubtedly Bogota’s party central, Zona Rosa (or Zona T) has a dizzying collection of high-end nightclubs and bars that are often open until close to 4 a.m.

    For a mix of Cuban and Colombian salsa music, electric beats and trendy pop and non-stop dancing, head to La Villa. For something a bit more low-key, head to the Bogota Beer Company, which has dim lighting, less mind-pounding music and a great selection of locally produced beers.

    Whatever you do, dress to impress if you’re going out on the town in this neighborhood — men and women often don slick dresses, sport coats and trendy outfits.

    La Candelaria. One of Bogota’s most popular neighborhoods for both tourists and locals, La Candelaria is more bohemian and alternative than Zona T, so you’re more likely to find dive bars, tiny cafés and art galleries serving wine and beer than trendy cocktail bars.

    The main square, Chorro de Quevedo, comes alive at night with street performances, backpackers, artists, musicians and students (thanks to the proximity to many of Bogota’s universities). One of the coolest spots here is Quiebra Canto, a quirky bar that plays a mixture of Latin, reggae, funk and alternative music.

    Parque 93. Just north of Zona T is Parque 93, one of Bogota’s more upscale neighborhoods. Here, you’ll find an older, more sophisticated crowd that the ones at Zona T or La Candelaria, and most of the people flocking here opt for dinner first.

    The area’s restaurants are often packed with people from 6 p.m. on, so it’s often best to make a reservation ahead of time. After the dinner crowd dissipates, the restaurants turn up the music and rearrange the interior to allow for more cocktail sipping and mingling.

    Some of the area’s best bars are El Sitiio and one of the city’s biggest salsa clubs, Galeria Café Libro.
  • On January 23
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to do in Botoga?

    Home to world-class museums, outdoor splendors, inspiring shopping and fantastic markets, Bogota teems with options for travelers. Here are five that should be on the top of your itinerary:

    Gold Museum. One of the most famous museums in the city (and the country, really), the Gold Museum (or Museo del Oro) boasts incredible exhibits of pre-Hispanic art, culture and more than 55,000 pieces of gold artifacts. Nearly all of the artifacts were excavated and found in Colombia when the Spanish came in search of El Dorado.

    Spend at least two hours perusing the museum. Guided tours and headsets are available to help you get the most out of your visit.

    Museo Botero. Paying homage to one of Colombia’s most famous artists, Fernando Botero, the Museo Botero houses one of the most impressive collections of his rather unique artwork. The style, dubbed Boterismo, depicts large, exaggerated or overweight features and people.

    Botero’s sculpture provides a whimsical respite to the museum’s more classical art collections from Dalí, Degas and Picasso. Admission is free, and you can also book a guided tour with a Botero expert.

    Monserrate. Rising 10,300 feet above sea level, Cerro Monserrate touts the best views of the city and the surrounding Andes mountains than any other spot in Bogota. Atop is a church, which was founded in the 17th century to honor the Fallen Lord and still hosts daily services.

    To get up, take the funicular or tram, or hike there. The hike is moderate and can take up to an hour. At the top, you’ll also find a market selling handicrafts and snacks like empanadas and bandeja paisa (a hearty plate of chorizo, chicharrones, steak, egg, fries, beans and rice).

    Simón Bolívar Park. Larger than New York’s Central Park, Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park has more than 890 acres of lush green space. Ample walking and biking trails, public libraries, stadiums for concerts and performances, and many lakes make it a great place to enjoy a breath of fresh air in the bustling city.

    If you can, plan your visit with the annual Rock al Parque, a free rock concert that brings in more than 120,000 visitors a year.

    La Candelaria. Wander the cobblestoned streets of this historic neighborhood to take in its Spanish colonial architecture, wrought-iron balconies, elaborate painted doors and brightly painted homes that date back more than 300 years.

    The area is home to restaurants, bars, boutiques, bohemian cafés and quirky art galleries. Plus, it’s home to most of the city’s main attractions, like Museo Botero.