Oct 19

Bogota: The London of South America?

Here at Colombia Travel Blog we’re pleased to be announcing the collaboration between See Colombia Travel and Footprint Travel guides. Both are uniting to offer subscribers to See Colombia’s Newsletter (click here for more information) a massive 55% off Footprint Travel Guides. It’s great for me since I’m British, Footprint are British, and we all want to promote my adopted country: Colombia. In fact, we’re only following a trend that’s already beginning since tourism from Britain to Colombia rose 40% last year. Jolly good, chaps. It’s in this spirit that I welcome fellow Brits to Colombia, in the most British of fashion…

If you can find Paris on the streets of Buenos Aires, then on the opposite side of the South American continent surely rests its counterpart – the London of South America: Bogota.

The London of South America?

While Londoners may not boast the strange familiarity of the people in Bogota, a Londonphile will surely find their home away from home on the bustling streets of Colombia’s vibrant capital. The size, population and weather are the same, but the similarities don’t stop there. The similarities are so numerous, in fact, that I’ve managed to concoct ‘a thoroughly English day in Colombia’; a guide for those who love travel, but miss a cup of tea and a good old chinwag about the weather when they’re on holiday in Colombia.

Firstly, you’ve checked yourself into the BH Tempo Hotel, located on Kr 7 with Cll 65. Head downstairs in the morning to sample the delicious buffet breakfast. Yes, there’s cereal and yes there’s tea. Moreover, china plates decorate the walls and the wooden design recalls classic English hotels of years past. Be sure to pick up the City Paper from the reception desk to complete your breakfast experience.

Cuppa tea?

Leave the hotel and start speculating about the day’s weather. Bogota’s mornings are usually sunny which will fill you with hope, but look out into the distance and you’ll see clouds. Frankly, anything could happen, but that’s what will make this chat so rewarding and durable. Take a walk to an area known as ‘Zona G’, or the Gourmet Zone. Here you’ll find a shop called Authors (Cll 70 with Kr 5) that sells a large selection of English language books. Not only that, but you can have your morning coffee in the cafe next door as you rummage through your new purchases (including Colombian cookbooks).

Once you’ve finished supping, leave Authors and note that the clouds are coming ever closer, and this could mean rain is on the way. Rue that you forgot your umbrella. Consider going back to the hotel before reasoning that ‘a bit of rain never hurt anyone’ and continuing your journey. Walk back to Kr 7, where you can wander among the spectacular British-style housing that dominates the area. There’s a few notable pockets of English architecture in Bogota (in Parkway and near La Macarena, too), but this area has perhaps the most typical buildings, as ivy crawls up the walls from the elegant front gardens.

Having enjoyed that dose of English-ness, head to Nick’s cafe for your lunch. Nick offers the best selection of sandwiches in Bogota, seemingly influenced by the trendy cafes of London or New York (for our purposes, let’s say London) and also does a bloody good cuppa, so be sure to top up your tea levels at this point in the day.

A thoroughly British fare

Lunch over, step outside. Take a walk (or taxi, but definitely not a bus, they’re distinctly un-English in Bogota) to Parque Chico, located on Kr 7 with Cll 93, and have yourself a throroughly English stroll through a thoroughly English garden. There may not be a pub in the park, but we’re coming to that later.

Once you’ve finished your stroll, had a sit down to relax in the park and done something like discussed the merits of monarchy, you can visit the museum located on the premises before leaving the park for dinner time in Parque 93. To get there, walk directly across Cll 93. Take a pre-dinner drink in the London Routemaster found on Kr 11a with Cll 93.

Next up it’s the masterpiece of Bogota’s Englishness: Fish ‘n’ Chips.

Fine, they don’t come wrapped up in yesterdays news and the fish is actually chopped up in small pieces, but nonetheless at London Calling you’ll find some of the finest fish ‘n’ chips in South America. Top it off with one of the house-brewed beers and before you know it you’ll be transported back to good ol’ blighty.

To wrap up the night head to Zona T (Kr 80 with Cll 15) and enjoy a home-brewed beer in one of the Bogota Beer Companies that dot the area. You can finish up dancing in La Villa, where they play music typical of a dance-club in England, or head to Latora Cuatro Brazos (Kr 8 with Cll 40) to finish your night somewhere distinctly more Shoreditch.

Hungover next day? Get yourself a good old fashioned English Breakfast or Roast Dinner washed down with a shandy at El Ingles (Kr 11 with Cll 69).

You can find more about differences and similarities between British and Colombian culture in the following posts:

5 Differences Little Differences Between English and Colombian Culture

5 (More) Little Differences Between English and Colombian Culture

5 Things I Didn’t Know About Colombia Before I Moved Here

3 Colombian Phrases You Shouldn’t Translate



15 thoughts on “Bogota: The London of South America?

  1. gringaColombiana on

    Thanks for the tips! Yes I am British and yes I am Colombian too, but sometimes all I want is a good cup of tea and a sandwich.

    I will be trying out Nick’s Cafe very soon!!

    Yum yum yum.


  2. Kevin Howlett on

    Cool article. As a Brit here in Bogota I’d have to agree – to me parts of Bogota are like Dickensian London, though…Even in London these days you don’t see the contrasts that Bogota offers. A morning in the south followed by an evening in the north – a tale of two cities, indeed.


      Paul on

      Haha you’re right about it being Dickensian, good observation. I’m from Britain too (just north of London), so it’s pleasant to have all those home comforts should you need them. Excellent blog, by the way.


  3. Capitan Justicia on

    There’s no need to insult Bogota like that.


      Paul on

      Haha, they’re both great cities that have a special place in my heart.


  4. richard on

    Statistically it rains more in Bogota!


      Didier de la Rochefaucauld on


      While it is true that in Bogota has rained more than in London over the past couple of years due to the unusual weather patterns set forth by Global Warming, the truth is that statistically, London, which has experienced dryer than usual weather, has actually been usually a bit rainier than Bogota.

      The figures below (most current from Wiki –per city listed) show Miami as being far rainier than Bogota, and London bring unusually drier in the recent past. But these past months have been far from the norm.

      Miami: 1,572 mm (61.92 inches)

      Mexico City: 820 mm (32.3 in)

      New York: 1,268.2 mm (793.7 inches)

      Vancouver: 1,199 mm (47.2 in)

      Brussels: 821 (32.32 inches)

      Bogota: 793.7 mm (31.248 inches)

      Moscow: 707 (27.83 inches)

      Paris: 649.6 (25.575 inches)

      London: 601.5 mm (23.681 inches)

      Further below is a more accurate record for Bogota’s weather for the first 4 months of the selected very rainy recent years (and if you multiply those figures by 3, you will see that Bogota was still dryer than London’s previous years –if you do the research).
      “Muy por encima del mismo período en años anteriores. A 2011 le siguen 2006 con 234,1 mm, 2000 con 212,3, 2002 con 208 y 1999 con 206,7. El año más seco fue 2001, cuando el acumulado de precipitación fue de 83,3.”
      From: http://www.secretariadeambiente.gov.co/sda/libreria/php/noticias08.php?id=1548

      In any case, Bogota was indeed always known for having gentlemen dress much like Londoners; with dark wool suits and trench coats, so yes, there is a great similarity between Bogota and London (and not just because of the architecture they sometimes share in common), but I personally would never trade the healthy, wonderful year-round temperatures of Bogota for any other city in the world.


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