When you first arrive at Bogota, you probably will notice something different with your breathing. Not to fear, this is because Bogota is situated at 2,640 metres above sea level. You are probably feeling some of the effects of the altitude.
Unfortunately, I was troubled with food poisoning from my stay in Cartagena, so that didn’t help with my altitude sickness. Also, I had a short stay in Bogota so my tour around the capital was quite limited. Anyhow, I’ll blog what I observed in this city.
Where should you stay?
Bogota is a big city. If you have a limited amount of time, you may want to stay close to the main square – La Candelaria area. In this area, you are close to the Gold museum, the main square Plaza de Bolivar de Bogota, and Mount Monserrate etc.
What to do?
There are a few main attractions:
1. Mount Monserrate
There are two ways to go up Mount Monserrate. You can either take the cable car, or take the funicular.
On the weekdays, the funicular is available in the morning (7:45am to 12pm), and the cable car is from the afternoon to night (12pm to 12am). On Saturday, funicular rides go from 7:45am to 3pm, and cable car runs from 3pm to 12am; on Sunday, funicular rides go from 5:30am to 6pm and cable cars run concurrently from 9am to 5pm.
Each ticket costs around 14,000 pesos.
Oh right, you can also walk up the mountain – that is free.
You can visit this site to get exact information: https://www.colombiainfo.org/en-us/cities/bogota/monserrate.aspx
The mountain is about 400 metres high and stands at a height of 3,152 metres above sea level. At the top of the mountain, there is a statute of Jesus (“The Fallen Lord”) which has gained a lot of attention. This is like a small version of Christ the Redeemer in Rio. There is also a church and a market place.
2. Gold museum (Museo del Oro)
The Gold museum displays all of the gold artifacts originated from the pre-colonial times. Many of them were owned and worn by shamans of the past. Ticket price is 3,000 pesos per person.
You can spend a good few hours in this museum.
3. Botero museum (Museo Botero)
By far my favourite museum in Colombia. Fernando Botero is a famous artist/painter/sculptor who charismatically expresses his work through large and exaggerated fat objects or people. I quite like his work as he is so creative in transforming a traditional artwork into “fatness”. For example, the picture below of Mona Lisa is evidence of his work (who has now turned fat).
What impresses me the most is that this museum is free!
Not only does the museum display work of Botero, but also works of other famous painters, such as Monet, Salvador Dali and Picasso.
Fernando Botero is definitely the most influential artists in Latin America. His work has spread all over the world including North America, Europe and Asia. Many of his work are now on display in highly visible places around the world, and in famous museums such as the Louvre. He is now residing in Paris.
4. Plaza de Bolivar de Bogota
This is the main plaza of Bogota. It is the symbol of the city.
It is also surrounded by several important buildings such as the Palace of Justice, the Primary Cathedral of Bogota, the Liévano Palace and seat of the mayor of Bogota.
Of course, it is also the site of several public demonstrations and protests.
5. Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira
I must confess that I didn’t go to the Salt Cathedral.
The difficult part of this attraction is that it is located an hour away from the main plaza (La Candeleria).
It is an underground church built with a salt mine near the city of Zipaquira. Years before the church was built, salt miners carved a sanctuary as a place for their daily prayers for protection of their work. In 1950, construction of the church began and it was completed in 1954.
Anyhow, the salt cathedral looks very interesting and I would strongly encourage you to visit (that is if you don’t have food poisoning)
What to eat?
Below are some of the local must eat food in Bogota
Arepa is a daily food eaten by the people of Colombia. You can buy them in restaurants, supermarkets, cafes, or even street stalls.
It is made of ground maize dough, and can be added with cheese, cujada, or meat. There are just so many ways to make them.
2. Limonada de Cocoa
A delicious drink, popular in Colombia. It is basically a smoothie made from coconut and lime.
The drink should be served cold, perfect for beaches.
3. Shout out to Crepes & Waffles
My friends loved Crepe & Waffles so much that they went there for lunch and dinner (multiple days in a row). It is a chain restaurant but the main food attraction is their variety of crepes.
Until next time, see you again Colombia!