Visitors to Bogotá are often surprised how vibrant, modern and engaging the city feels. Bogotá offers world class nightlife, amazing museums, excellent hotels and hostels, endless activities, shopping, beautiful natural settings outside the city, and much more. Many visitors come through Bogotá to get to other areas of Colombia, but end up staying longer then they originally planned.
Must Visit Attractions
Among the countless places to visit and things to do, there are many locations and activities that are highly suggested. The following is just a small list:
- Cerro de Monserrate
- Plaza de Bolívar
- Museo Nacional
- Museo Historico de la Policia
- Iglesia Santa Clara
- A tour of the city with Bogotá Bike Tours
- The Septimazo (every Friday night on Carrera 7)
El Parque de los Periodistas
When visiting Bogotá there are factors to consider:
Bogotá has gained a reputation as crime ridden and dangerous, but this perception is changing with the years. There is no question Bogotá still has its share of problems with remnants of its violent past and crime. Bogotá can be compared to any other big city of the world. Think of using the same precautions you would use while visiting Chicago or New York.
Many of the problems tourists encounter can be attributed to the following reasons:
- Wandering into the wrong area
- Displaying wealth and possessions (flashing cash, big cameras, purses, bags, and electronics)
- Under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairing their judgment and awareness
- Finding oneself in a “wrong place at the wrong time” (it’s sometimes hard to dodge bad luck…)
The danger can be lessened by taking the necessary safery precautions and by being diligent and aware of your surroundings. Bogotá also offers many tourist quarters to visit with many options for hotels and hostels. Travelers need to research Bogotá before they visit to determine the best area for them.
Tourist should stay within defined tourist areas. These districts can be narrowed down to two large areas with different sections. Each area has popular tourism sections that offer different aspects for different types of travelers.
The following information is from the Bogotá section of Explore Travel Guides Bogotá and North Coast Colombia travel guide.
El Centro contains the historic district of Bogotá also known as La Candelaria. There are several other identified sections within El Centro.
These sections can be broken down into:
Travelers usually choose to stay in the La Candelaria area, in part because this is where the majority of Bogotá's hostels can be found. It also holds the main cultural attractions. It has an energetic feel to it with many university students and with lively streets. La Candelaria has a tough reputation, but it's danger can be greatly reduced when you use precautions.
Eje Ambiental has unique boundaries that run from Carrera 7 to the mountains near Monserrate Avenida. Jimenez runs through Eje Ambiental. Avenida Jimenez is used as a main walkway and includes many good restaurants.
Las Nieves is an area with many businesses, restaurants and bars. The busy intersection of Carrera 7 and Calle 19 is located in Las Nieves.
A few important museums and sights are found in Centro International.
The Macarena area is a short walk from La Candelaria and the Centro Internacional and is filled with high-quality restaurants; its unique feeling makes it worth a visit.
Many tourists like to stay in the modern and safer feeling North Bogotá area. This area includes the Zona G, the Zona Rosa and the Parque 93 areas. These areas begin around in the north of Chapinero.
This neigborhood is north of Macarena and is filled with students and theatres, as well as many gay bars and nightclubs.
Many nice restaurants can be found in Zona G; the “G” stands for “Gourmet”.
High-end clubs, bars, restaurants, malls and a more elegant feeling can be found in this area.
Many restaurants and drinking spots surround this lovely park that is popular with families and people wishing to relax in a more up-scale environment.
Restaurants, bars, a large mall, a small park and a church can be found in this charming North Bogotá area. Usaquén hosts an interesting flea/artist market every Sunday as well.
Catedral Primada - El Centro
Our next article on Bogotá will contain information and photos of many of the museums and cultural attractions that can be found throughout the city.