Answers from Our Experts (1)
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.