bogota travel guide - the top thing

The Bogota Travel Guide

Written: The Top Thing Staff | October 18, 2023


Top Attractions in Bogota

Exploring La Candelaria neighborhood and its landmarks

If you're planning a trip to Bogota, make sure to spend some time exploring the historic La Candelaria neighborhood. This charming area is filled with colorful colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and impressive landmarks.

Start your journey by wandering through Plaza Bolivar, the heart of La Candelaria. Here, you'll find important historical buildings such as the Palacio de Justicia and the Capitolio Nacional. Don't forget to visit the iconic Catedral Primada, one of the largest cathedrals in South America.

Continue your exploration by strolling down the famous Calle del Embudo, a lively street filled with local vendors, street artists, and delicious food stalls. Marvel at the vibrant street art that adorns the buildings, showcasing the city's rich cultural heritage.

Visiting the Gold Museum and other museums in Bogota

One of the must-visit attractions in Bogota is the Gold Museum, also known as Museo del Oro. This world-renowned museum houses an extensive collection of pre-Columbian gold artifacts, providing a fascinating insight into the country's indigenous cultures and their craftsmanship.

If you're interested in art and history, don't miss the Botero Museum, which features an impressive collection of artwork by Fernando Botero and other renowned international artists.

For a unique cultural experience, visit the Museo Nacional de Colombia, the country's oldest museum. Here, you can explore exhibits that depict Colombia's history and anthropology.

Bogota is also home to numerous outdoor attractions, such as Monserrate, a mountain that offers breathtaking views of the city. Take a cable car or hike up to the top and enjoy the panoramic vistas.

Remember to immerse yourself in Bogota's vibrant food scene, trying local delicacies like arepas and ajiaco soup.

Whether you're interested in history, art, or simply exploring the vibrant streets of La Candelaria, Bogota offers a wealth of attractions that will leave you captivated.


Outdoor Activities in Bogota

Hiking and biking in Monserrate Hill

If you're looking for an exhilarating outdoor adventure, head to Monserrate Hill. Rising 10,341 feet above sea level, this mountain offers stunning views of the cityscape and surrounding countryside. Lace up your hiking boots or rent a bike to explore the well-maintained trails that wind their way to the summit. Along the way, you'll encounter lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and maybe even some friendly wildlife. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking panoramic views once you reach the top.

Exploring Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park

For a more laid-back outdoor experience, visit Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park. Spanning over 1,800 acres, this park is a haven for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts alike. Take a leisurely stroll through the park's expansive gardens, or rent a paddleboat to explore the serene lake. If you're feeling active, join a game of soccer, go for a run, or try your hand at tennis on one of the many courts available. The park also hosts concerts and cultural events throughout the year, so be sure to check their schedule for upcoming performances.

So, whether you're seeking an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a peaceful retreat in nature, Bogota has plenty of outdoor activities to offer. Lace up your hiking boots, grab your bike, or simply take a leisurely stroll through the city's picturesque parks – the choice is yours.

Bogota's Nightlife and Entertainment

When the sun sets in Bogota, the city comes alive with a vibrant nightlife and an array of entertainment options that cater to all tastes and preferences. Whether you're looking for a night of dancing, live music, or theater performances, Bogota has it all.

Vibrant nightlife scene in Zona Rosa

Zona Rosa is renowned for its lively nightlife scene, attracting both locals and tourists alike. This trendy neighborhood is filled with bars, clubs, and restaurants that offer a diverse range of experiences. From salsa clubs where you can dance the night away to intimate cocktail lounges where you can enjoy a relaxed evening with friends, Zona Rosa has something for everyone. The atmosphere is electric, with music flowing from every corner and a contagious energy that will keep you going until the early hours of the morning.

Attending theater performances and live music shows

Bogota is also home to a thriving theater scene, with numerous venues showcasing a variety of performances throughout the year. Whether you're interested in classic plays, contemporary productions, or experimental theater, you'll find it all here. Additionally, the city boasts a vibrant live music scene, with concerts and shows taking place regularly in venues ranging from small intimate spaces to large arenas. From traditional Colombian music to internationally acclaimed artists, there is always something happening in Bogota for music lovers.

With its lively nightlife and diverse entertainment options, Bogota offers a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere that will not disappoint. Whether you're a party-goer looking for a night of dancing or a culture enthusiast seeking theater performances and live music shows, Bogota has it all. So, embrace the energy of the city and immerse yourself in the rich and exciting nightlife and entertainment scene that Bogota has to offer.


Day Trips from Bogota

Visiting the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira

If you're in Bogota, a visit to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is a must. Just a short drive away from the city, this underground masterpiece is a marvel of engineering and spirituality. Descend into the depths of the Earth as you explore the vast network of tunnels and chambers adorned with stunning salt sculptures.

The main highlight of the cathedral is the monumental cross carved out of salt, standing at an impressive 16 meters tall. As you wander through the dimly lit passages, you'll come across various chapels, each representing a different aspect of the Catholic faith. The cathedral is not only a religious site but also a testament to human creativity and ingenuity.

Exploring the colorful town of Guatavita

Another great day trip from Bogota is a visit to the charming town of Guatavita. Located about an hour's drive away, Guatavita is known for its colorful colonial architecture and picturesque surroundings. The town is set against the backdrop of a beautiful lake, which is believed to have inspired the legend of El Dorado.

Stroll through the cobblestone streets and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of Guatavita. Visit the local market to sample traditional Colombian delicacies and buy handmade crafts. Don't miss the opportunity to hike to the viewpoint overlooking the lake, where you can take in the breathtaking scenery.

Both the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira and the town of Guatavita offer unique experiences that are worth exploring. So, if you have a day to spare during your visit to Bogota, make sure to add these day trips to your itinerary.


Safety Tips for Traveling in Bogota

Traveling to Bogota can be an exciting and enriching experience. As a visitor, it's important to prioritize your safety and be aware of common scams that can occur in the city. By taking necessary precautions, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

Important safety precautions and common scams to be aware of

  1. Stay Vigilant: While Bogota has made significant progress in improving safety, it's advisable to remain vigilant, especially in crowded places and tourist areas. Keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious of pickpockets.

  2. Avoid Flashy Displays of Wealth: It's best to avoid wearing expensive jewelry or displaying large amounts of cash. These can attract unwanted attention and potentially make you a target for theft.

  3. Use Reliable Transportation: Stick to authorized taxis or ride-sharing services like Uber. Avoid hailing taxis on the street, as there have been reports of fraudulent drivers. It's also recommended to stay away from unofficial transportation options.

  4. Beware of Common Scams: Like in any tourist destination, be cautious of common scams. These may include fake police officers, counterfeit currency, or overcharging at restaurants or shops. Stay informed about the typical scams in Bogota and be wary of suspicious situations.

Recommended neighborhoods and areas to stay in Bogota

  1. La Candelaria: This historic neighborhood is known for its charming colonial architecture, museums, and vibrant street art. It's a popular choice for tourists due to its central location and easy access to major attractions.

  2. Zona Rosa: If you're looking for a lively and upscale area to stay in, Zona Rosa is the place to be. It offers a variety of high-end restaurants, bars, shopping centers, and vibrant nightlife.

  3. Chapinero: Known for its trendy cafes, restaurants, and boutiques, Chapinero is a great option for those seeking a more hip and bohemian atmosphere. It's also well-connected to other parts of the city.

By following these safety tips and choosing the right neighborhoods to stay in, you can have a memorable and worry-free visit to Bogota. Enjoy the local culture, explore the sights, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this dynamic city



Your trip to Bogota is sure to be a memorable one. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, the diverse attractions and vibrant culture of Bogota will captivate you. Here's a recap of the highlights you won't want to miss and some useful resources and travel tips to make the most of your trip.

Recap of the highlights of Bogota

  1. Cultural gems: Explore the historic La Candelaria neighborhood with its colorful colonial architecture and visit the iconic Plaza de Bolivar. Don't miss the impressive art collections at the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum.

  2. Food and drink: Indulge in delicious Colombian cuisine, from traditional dishes like bandeja paisa to mouthwatering street food. Don't forget to try the local coffee and explore the trendy cafes and bars in the Zona Rosa.

  3. Natural beauty: Take a cable car up to Monserrate for stunning panoramic views of the city and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding mountains. Explore the lush greenery of the Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park and discover the enchanting biodiversity of the Bogota Botanical Garden.

Useful resources and travel tips for a memorable trip to Bogota

  • Transportation: The TransMilenio bus system is an affordable and convenient way to get around the city. Taxis are also readily available, but make sure to use authorized services.

  • Safety: Like any major city, it's important to stay vigilant and take precautions. Avoid displaying valuable items and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places.

  • Climate: Bogota has a cool and mild climate due to its high altitude. Pack layers and a rain jacket, as the weather can change throughout the day.

  • Language: Learning a few basic Spanish phrases will greatly enhance your experience and interactions with locals.

  • Tourist information: Visit the Bogota Tourist Information Center for maps, brochures, and guidance on the city's attractions and events.

Navigate the vibrant streets of Bogota and immerse yourself in the rich culture and history this fascinating city has to offer. Happy travels!