Ah, the sweet glory of a “puente” (long weekend). In Colombia there are far more than we get back in Europe, the States or in Australia, and at certain times of the year it can feel like you’re on full-time vacation.
Luckily for those of us living in Colombia, the major cities have a wealth of options for weekend-long trips when you’re looking to get out the city. Today we’re focusing on Bogotá, but soon we’ll bring you highlights from Cali, Medellín, Cartagena and Barranquilla.
So, what to get up to on a long weekend in Bogotá? Here’s the lowdown.
A Finca in Tierra Caliente
Fincas in Colombia are extremely popular. Kind of like country houses, you’ll find that many of the country’s more affluent citizens own fincas that are dotted around the main cities. Bogotá residents are particularly fond of them since the city can be quite cold. Nearby Tierra Caliente (Hot Land) solves that problem and it’s just 2 hours away.
If you get in there with some locals whilst in Bogotá there’s no doubt you’ll be invited to a finca and, even if you’re not, it’s easy to rent one.
Drink beers, admire the views, listen to loud music, swim in the pool. It’s great.
Tatacoa Desert is roughly 5-6 hours from Bogotá, so it’s quite a trek. If you leave early on Saturday, however, you can be there by the afternoon and enjoy a hike around the moon-like landscape that makes up this natural wonder. At night you can camp out in the desert and admire the stars, which come out in force thanks to the remoteness and position of Tatacoa.
We’d recommend renting a car to get there, but plenty of buses will take you to nearby Neiva where you can organise a taxi to complete the journey.
Villa de Leyva
One of Colombia’s prized colonial towns, Villa de Leyva is an essential visit for those spending a long time in Bogotá. Charming cobbled streets and white-washed buildings add to the crumbling charm of the place, while the locals only help make this one of the country’s most relaxing places to visit.
Villa de Leyva is about 4-5 hours by bus from Bogotá, and organising your trip can be made a lot easier by using a certain Colombia Travel Agency.
Riding horses, swigging Aguardiente and catching rays. That’s what Villavicencio is all about (unless, of course, you’re looking for one of the biggest clubs in Colombia – because that’s here too). The never-ending plains of Villavicencio’s surrounding area (Los Llanos) makes it the perfect place to get your cowboy on and, at the same time, get to know Colombia’s rural side.
Getting to Villavicencio is easy by bus (but depending on traffic can take 2.5 – 5hrs) and once you’re there you can either stay in the main city or rent a finca. The fincas are typically surrounded by great views and come with swimming pools. I know which one I’d choose.
These are tied in together since neither will take longer than a day. Take your time strolling around the pristine village of Guatavita and enjoy the stunning views of Guatavita lake, where the legend of El Dorado originated (yup, in Colombia, not Mexico).
In Zipaquira you can enjoy some high quality asado before or after exploring the mysterious and ominous Zipaquira Salt Cathedral. It’s one of the most unique cathedral’s in the world, and well worth a Sunday stroll.