Discover Colombia: Things To Do and Amazing Places to See in Bogota
Bogota is the capital city of Colombia known for its deep history and is inhabited by the Muisca Tribe. It’s a beautiful place where locals and tourists can see nature while enjoying city life. It’s not hard to take notice that Bogota is heavily influenced by their Spanish conquistadors. The old buildings, churches, and cobblestone paths make it obvious, but in a way, it made Bogota what it is today; extremely rich with its heritage and a superb place to visit at least once in your life. The well-developed city is also popular with tourists offering one of the best things to do in Bogota, Colombia, from art and history appreciation to cultural exchange.
Here are some of the amazing things to do and places to see in Bogota, Colombia.
Every Sunday, a couple of the main streets in Bogotá are closed to make way for walkers, runners, and bikers to enjoy their workouts uninterrupted. This is a 40-year event that everyone can participate in, and the best part is that there are also street foods everyone can try after their workouts.
Schedule: 7:00 am-2:00 pm
The Churches of Bogotá
The churches of Bogotá have dramatic facades with interiors that show meticulous craftsmanship. Their churches are old but wait until you see how stunning they are in person. Some of the churches you have to visit are Inglesia de San Francisco and Iglesia de la Tercera which stands side by side and Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen which is a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
A famous landmark for its uniquely striped paint scheme and also located at La Candelaria is the beautiful church of Santuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen. Constructed in 1926, the Florentine Gothic Style church was designed by Salesian architect Giovanni Buscaglione that is well-loved by tourists for its unique façade and interiors.
A lot will agree that going to a new place is made better when you visit a flea market/s, and you’ll find there’s a lot in Bogotá.
Mercado Internacional is a second-hand shop where you can buy men’s clothes while La Gran Bodega is a women’s shop. Don’t mistake the two for being dingy as their items are in mint conditions. Artesanias de Colombia is a gift haven. You’ll find all sorts of brand-new items there like textiles, ceramics, jewelry, ornaments, masks, and so much more. Their items are more expensive, though, but these are high-quality crafts we’re talking about.
- Mercado Internacional, Avenue Caracas #49-94, Bogotá, Colombia
- La Gran Bodega, Avenue Caracas #51-18, Bogotá, Colombia
- Artesanias de Colombia, Calle 86a #13a-10, Bogotá, Colombia
Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold)
For history and art enthusiasts, don’t miss the chance to visit Museo del Oro or the Museum of Gold. People tend to gravitate towards shiny things, and in Museo del Oro, you can have a feast because gold is their main attraction. The museum is one of Bogota’s top tourist attractions exhibiting pre-Columbian gold and other metal alloys collections. Established in 1939, the museum holds the largest collection of gold artifacts globally.
They have other artifacts in the museum, but people can’t wait to see it’s their gold collection. The collection dates back to pre-Hispanic Colombia, with many of their pieces coming from Laguna de Guatavita, which is just outside the city. This Museum is definitely one of the most amazing places to see in Bogota.
Today, the museum holds over 55,000 gold, metal alloys, stone, pottery, wood, and textile pieces.
El Cerro Monserrate
A must stop for any traveler is the Mountain of Monserrate, offering a scenic view of Bogota. The locals considered it sacred in the pre-Colombian era when indigenous people called Muisca lived there.
Besides its breathtaking view, the famous tourist attractions also have a church, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Monserrate is reachable by a cable car ride or trekking up to the mountain and is considered one of Bogota’s most peaceful tourist attractions.
Today, it’s popular with pilgrims and tourists. It can be accessed through climbing, funicular, and cable car. The tourist spot, which shut down due to drought, wildfires, and landslides, reopened in 2017. This is good news because you can see the city’s beauty, especially at night from the mountain.
Art Scene: Museo Botero
Bogotá has a diverse art scene. You can take on a Graffiti tour that aims to teach joiners what Bogotá truly means for the locals. You can expect to see the works of famous street artists. You can also visit Museo de Botero, which houses the works of Fernando Botero and other famous artists. What set the works of Botero apart are his subjects. He likes to portray “fat” people and animals, which makes his work unique.
Situated in La Candelaria, Museo Botero is another must-visit tourist attraction for tourist who wants to immense in art. The museum holds one of Latin America’s most prized collections of international arts. Museo Botero exhibits 123 works of Fernando Botero and 85 other art collections from various artists. The museum’s notable collection consists of La llanura de Gennevilliers, Mujer en el baño, and Botero sculptures.
Museo de Botero is located at Museo de Botero, Calle 11 #4-41, Bogotá, Colombia
Bogota Food Scene
So after shopping and touring, you’ll get hungry that you must visit Leo or La Escuela Restaurante. Leo is a mother and daughter tandem (chef-sommelier) restaurant offering exotic cuisines. Be fearless and try their lemongrass-scented rainforest ants and smoked rabbit. Their ingredients are mostly found in their natural surroundings. Those succulent dishes are paired with guava wine, coca wine, or corozo fruit wine.
If you’re a bit apprehensive, you can try La Escuela Restaurante, which has a menu of 60 various types of potatoes. Imagine all those colors! You also must try chicken and potato soup served with avocado, which is famous throughout the city.
- Leo- Pasaje Santa Cruz de Mompox, Calle 27b, No 6-75, Bogotá
- La Escuela Restaurante- Casa iregui, Bogotá, 110321, Colombia
Jardín Botánico de Bogotá
An absolute place to go if you want to get closer to nature is Bogota’s Botanical Garden, also known as Jose Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden. Established in 1955, Bogota’s Botanical Garden is considered the largest botanical garden in Colombia, housing over 19000 live pants and 2346 cultivated plants. Some of the 130,000 plant species found in Colombia can be seen here. Greenhouses with temperature-controlled climates can be found in the vicinity where plant species from different parts of Colombia, Guajira, Páramos, Colombian Andes, and Amazon Rainforest are housed. The garden is dedicated to 5 special collections which aim to conserve endangered Andean plants. You could continue the learning experience by checking out medicinal plants, aquatic plants, xerophytic plants, cacti, and their arboretum.
Location: Ac 63 #68-95, Bogotá, Colombia
Don’t sleep just yet. Go to Céntrico, located on the 41st floor of one of the tallest buildings in Bogotá. You’ll be amazed at their tapas dishes and cocktails but other than that, the picturesque view of the city at night is another reason to go there. There’s also a dance floor if you’re feeling groovy.
Location: Ak. 7 #32-16, Bogotá, Colombia
Simon Bolivar Central Park (Parque Simon Bolivar)
This is the largest green space in Bogotá, located right at the heart of the city. It features 400 acres of lake, lush greens, and events arenas. Fitness enthusiasts can choose from an array of activities like swimming at the Olympic pool and motocross. Those who are stressed out can relax at the sauna or the amusement park. The place is huge, so there are still a lot of activities to try for all ages. The park can accommodate 140,000 persons.
Location: Av. Calle 53 y Av. Esmeralda #s/n, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Plaza De Bolivar
A national monument and one of the major tourist attractions in Bogota is the Plaza de Bolivar or Bolivar Square. The square was the former inhabitance of indigenous Muisca during the pre-Columbian times. It is an excellent place to visit to feel the city’s vibes and appreciate the historical architecture constructed from 1539 to 1846.
If you want to have a unique and memorable travel experience, head to the historic neighborhood of Bogota, the La Candelaria. The oldest neighborhood of Bogota is popular with tourists for its old houses, churches, and other structures with Spanish Colonial and Baroque designs. It is also famous for its street art murals and is home to Bogota’s tourist attractions, such as the Museo Botero and Museo del Oro.
When visiting another country, it is a must to visit a local market, and the Paloquemao Market of Bogota should not be missed. The large local farmer’s market sells vegetables, meats, flowers, and Bogota’s wildest fruits. Tourists can also go on a food tour where a local guide recommends Bogota’s rare fruits produce.
Try to play Colombia’s Nation Sport Tejo when visiting Bogota for thrill-seekers into explosives and other extreme activities. The traditional throwing sport of Colombia uses gunpowder, beer and is played by throwing a metal disc called Tejo to a distance of 18.5 meters and aiming at a pitch filled with clay.
National Museum of Colombia
Situated in Downtown Bogota is the oldest and largest museum in Colombia, the National Museum of Colombia. The facility was originally built as a prison in 1823, and in 1984 converted as a museum. The National Museum of Colombia exhibits both artistic and historical collections. The museum holds over 20,000 pieces, including 10,000 BC Colombian artifacts and 20th-century afro-Columbian art and culture.
These are just glimpses of what you can do and see in Bogota. It’s a wonderful place, and who knows, you may just be walking by yourself, and you discover a hidden gem because that’s not impossible when you’re in Bogotá.
Have you been to Colombia? Can you recommend other places to see in Bogota? Please help us improve this travel guide by sharing your inputs in the comment section below.
- Pete, (2021), Top 10 Things To Do In Bogotá, Bucket Listly Blog
- Bri, (2021), 10 Things To Do In Bogotá, Colombia, Bucket List Bri
- Yulia, What to Do in Bogota, Colombia – 10 Best Things to Do in the City, Miss Tourist
- 2020), 20 THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN BOGOTÁ, Nomadic Matt
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