For many travellers visiting Colombia, Bogota is a city that they will pass through on several occasions. Think about it: unless you’re backpacking through the country, there’s a good chance that you will fly in and out of Bogota’s El Dorado airport. Now, we here at See Colombia love Bogota, but it’s not the most obviously touristic city in Colombia, and many people assume that once they’ve walked around La Candelaria, visited the Gold Museum and been up Monserrate, that they’ve seen the best Bogota has to offer. So, if you have extra time in Bogota, or you’re back for a few days before you fly out, and are wondering what new things you can experience, here are some alternative destinations in Bogota to fill in for the most obvious ones:
You’ve been to Monserrate…try La Calera
Monserrate offers stunning panoramic views of the city, and is a must visit destination in Bogota; La Calera is far less well-known and offers equally beautiful views of Bogota. It’s a popular spot on the weekend for Bogotanos, who drive up for the views, the food and the gateway to the countryside that La Calera offers. Just a 15 minute drive from the city centre, once you’ve passed the viewpoint, you are in rolling green hills, full of BBQ joints, fresh fruit stalls and, more importantly, fresh country air.
You’ve wandered around La Candelaria…give Usaquen a visit
La Candelaria is Bogota’s beautiful old-town area, with stunning colonial churches and plazas; another must-visit. However, further north lies Usaquen, which has a rich history all of its own, and gorgeous colonial architecture to match. It has become much more modern than La Candelaria, with a proliferation of upscale restaurants and bars contrasting with its classical image. Visit on a Sunday, when the flea market brings Usaquen’s streets to life.
You’ve done a day-trip to Zipaquira and Guatavita…head out to Chingaza National Park
The most popular day-trips from Bogota are to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira and the beautiful Guatavita lake; if you’ve already checked these off your list, why not head out to Chingaza National Park, which lies just one hour outside Bogota. This stunning, wild place contains over 40 glacial lakes, as well as wildlife ranging from spectacled bears to pumas. With many hiking opportunities and photogenic vistas Chingaza is a great alternative day-trip from Bogota.
Marvelled at the gold and the Boteros…learn about Colombia’s modern history
Both the Museo del Oro and the Botero Museum are justifiably popular attractions in La Candelaria, but there are wonderful alternatives. The National Museum is Bogota’s largest and Colombia’s oldest museum, and houses paintings, artefacts…even a mummy! The Museum of Modern Art is located in the Parque de la Independencia, and is home to a remarkable array of exhibits. Or, for a glimpse into the root of much of Colombia’s recent turmoil, visit the Jorge Eliecer Gaitan Museum in Bogota’s Santa Teresita district: this small museums houses the liberal hero’s personal library, objects from his life, and a special complex, where his body remains, along with soil from all Colombian towns and water from both of Colombia’s oceans and the Magdalena River. This museum gives a real insight into Colombia’s turbulent modern history.
So, should you find yourself back in Bogota, wondering how you’re going to fill the next few days, check out some of these options. If you have any further questions about Bogota, or Colombia in general for that matter, please do get in touch with us. It’s a topic we never get bored of…