Whether you’re exploring Bogota for 1, 2, or 3 days, you’re in for a treat. Bogota, Colombia is a sprawling city with amazing neighborhoods all offering something the other doesn’t. The city is a perfect mix of modern and historic. It’s lively, diverse, and bustling, offering amazing views from Monseratte and Guadlapue, flavorful cuisines, local markets, and museums.
Bogota is often referred to as the melting pot of Colombia. Being a convergence point of people from all around the country, the impact this has had on the city’s food and entertainment is evident.
Regardless of what your plans are, our below list of the best things to do in Bogota will certainly fill whatever Bogota itinerary you are looking to create. From luxury to budget, Bogota is a wonderful stop during your visit to Colombia.
Planning Your Bogota Itinerary & Visit
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Why Visit Bogota
Sadly, many tourists use Bogota as only a means to fly into vs spending time exploring her. Yes, it is a big city and while some may like to void big cities, there are small moments you can find within the excitement that is Bogota.
We love Bogota. It’s beautiful, full of life, and has this contagious bustle and hum that the 9 million people of the city create. From its historic La Candelaria to its Sunday Flea Markets and Ciclovia and its more fine dining gastronomic neighborhoods, and not to mention the coffee shops, Bogota is a fantastic stop and jump-off point for your Colombian adventure.
You’ll find the Andes Mountains to the east and west, vendors selling fresh juices and empanadas, and different neighborhoods like La Candelaria, Chapinero & Usaquen. From street food to some of the best restaurants in Latin America, not to mention day trips to get outside of the city, Bogota is unlike any other place you’ll explore in Colombia and shouldn’t be missed.
What Is Bogota’s Weather Like?
One of the best things about Bogota is its weather. Sitting at 8,661 ft and being so close to the equator Bogota’s temperatures barely change. During the day, you can find temperatures in the 60s whereas, at night, temps fall to the ’50s and even high-40s.
The city feels like a constant spring/fall day. The sun is warm, so during the day it’s beyond pleasant and sometimes can be even a little hot to walk around the city, but at night it does get chilly, so you’ll want to make sure you bring a jacket with you!
How To Get Around Bogota
Bogota has public transportation like taxis and their public bus system, TransMilenio, but our preferred way to get around was either using our own two feet to walk or booking an Uber. There are also bike tours that you can book to have a guided tour around the city to see some of its best sights and attractions.
Tip: English is not widely spoken in Bogota, so if you choose to take public transportation be prepared and plan to use Google Translate to help navigate your conversation with a Cabbie or when buying a TransMilenio ticket.
How May Days in Bogota
If you are short on time and need to get to other destinations on your Colombia itinerary, one day in Bogota is doable. You can focus on a few of the must-see sights like La Candelaria, Monseratte, and eating the city’s delicacy, Ajiaco.
Our suggestion is 2-3 days in Bogota, especially if you can make your time fall over a Sunday. There are so many amazing things to do in Bogota that they can’t all fit into one day. Having 2-3 days allows you to not only see the “must-see” sights, but also explore Bogota’s various neighborhoods, coffee shops, and restaurants at a nice, non-rushed, pace.
La Candalaria: The historic center of Bogota and home to popular sites like Monseratte, Plaza Boliver, La Puerto Falsa, museums, and endless street art. We read that at night, the area gets a little sketchy, but we’d have to disagree. We stayed in La Candalra and spent many nights out at Plazoleta Chorro de Quevedo eating and drinking and never at any point felt unsafe. This area is fantastic and if you are looking to be close to popular attractions, La Candelaria is a great place to stay.
Chapinero: Definitely more modern and offers a wide variety of restaurants and bars than La Candelaria. This area neighborhood is one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Bogota. We spent a few nights out in Chapinero (playing Tejo at Tejo Turmequé, walking through Parque 93, eating at El Chato, and drinking at Huerta Coctelería Artesanal), Chapinero is a great place to stay if you want a more modern and amazing food experience.
Usaquen: To the north of Chapinero lies Usaquen, an upper-middle to an upper-class neighborhood of Bogota and a foodie hotspot. Home to the Sunday Usaquen Flea Market, where local artisans sell crafts, Usaquen is a much more modern and chic area of the city with great bars, restaurants, and nightlife.
Best Time To Visit Bogota
Bogota, like many other places in the world, has a dry season and wet season. The best time the visit Bogota, is during the dry season which is from the months of December to February and then June through September. The rainiest months are the months of October, April, May and November.
We explored Colombia for one month and we experienced very little to no rainfall during January and February. So our recommendation is to focus your trip around the dry months so all activities are open to you!
What To Do In Bogota, Colombia
1. Don’t Miss The Museums in Bogota
Bogota is a historic city, so it only makes sense that it’s home to several museums. If you’re a history buff or a museum enthusiast, visiting one or a few museums in Bogota is a great way to experience the city and learn more about Colombia’s history and culture.
- Museo del Oro (Gold Museum): Contains the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world
- Museo Botero: Home to Colombia artists, Fernando Botero, art collections
- Mueso De Bogota: History of the city of Bogota
- Museo Nacional de Colombia: Housing collections on Colombia’s history, art, and culture, this museum is the biggest and oldest museum in the country.
- Museo Santa Clara: This former church now turned museum is home to paintings of Colombia’s Baroque artists.
2. Join A Bogota Free Walking Tour
One of the best ways to explore a new city is to walk. You get a much more intimate feel of the place you’re in by exploring it with your own two feet. Beyond Colombia offers a free 3-hour daily walking tour that starts at 10 am that will take you to some of the more popular places in Bogota.
3. Take A Cable Car or Hike To Cerro Monserrate (Mount Monserrate)
One of our favorite things to do in Bogota was visiting Monserrate. Monserrate is a mountain that towers 10,000 ft high over the city of Bogota. Rising 1,034 ft (3,152 meters) above sea level, the views from the top of Monserrate are spectacular (on a clear day).
Sitting atop Monserrate is Basílica Santuario del Señor de Monserrate, a church serving the community with masses. You’ll also find the stations of the cross, a few places to eat, and several gift shops selling souvenirs for you to peruse through.
To get to the top of Monserrate, you have three options:
1. Hike Up The Walking Path
The hike to Monserrate is free, but strenuous and should only be attempted by those in relatively decent shape. If you choose to hike, understand the path is a steep 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) paved trail. From the trailhead to the top, you will gain 1,968 ft in elevation and climb 1,500+ steps. It’s a great workout and if you go in the morning, you’ll be among the many on the trail getting their morning workout in.
The path is open every day, except Tuesdays. To go up, the trail is open from 5:00 am to 1:00 pm, and to go down, the trail is open from 5:00 am to 4:00 pm.
2. Take The Funicular
Costing 12,000 COP one way and 21,000 COP two ways, the Funicular is open Monday to Friday from 6:30 am to 11:45 am, Saturdays until 4:30 pm, and Sundays until 6:30 pm. It is recommended to buy your tickets ahead of time.
3. Ride The Cable Car
Another option to avoid hiking is the cable car. Costing 12,000 COP one-way and 21,000 COP two ways, the Cable Car is open Monday to Saturday from 12:00 pm to 11:30 pm and Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. On Sundays, the cable car costs 6,500 COP one-way and 12,000 COP two ways. It is recommended to buy your tickets ahead of time.
Tip: You can also opt to include a tour with your ticket if you would like to learn more about Monserrate.
4. Explore The Historic La Candelaria Neighborhood
Located close to Monserrate is the historic and graffiti-filled neighborhood of La Candelaria. Home to some of the most popular museums and attractions in Bogota, La Candelaria should be on your “do not miss” list when visiting Bogota.
La Candelaria is colorful and lively. Typical Spanish colonial architecture line rustic cobblestones streets and unique graffiti murals can be found everywhere. The neighborhood is hilly with Monserrate and Bogota’s rolling hills ever in view. Popular places like La Puerta Falsa and Plaza Boliver are found here along with fantastic Colombian coffee shops and restaurants.
5. Take a Day Trip to Salt Cathedral or Lake Guatavita (or both!)
The Salt Cathedral is an underground Roman Catholic church making up 660ft (200 meters) of tunnels in a nearby Bogota mountain. Located 600 ft below ground, the salt cathedral is known for its biblical and religious ornate carvings hand-carved directly into the rock wall as well as its active Sunday services. Located around 1-hour from Bogota, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá makes a great option for a day trip.
Lake Guatavita is located 1 to 1.5 hours north of Bogota and is rumored to be the site of the legend of El Dorado, the city of gold. The legend has it that the Muisca people offered gold to their god by dumping their treasures into the lake. Today, visitors can take in the beautiful views of a lake-filled crater that is surrounded by lush jungles and see if they can find a golden treasure or two.
You can visit both The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá and Lake Guatavita in a day if of interest. There are day tours that can accommodate that! For more day trip options, be sure to check out our guide to unforgettable day trips from Bogota!
6. Wander Through Plaza de Bolívar
Located within the La Candelaria neighborhood is Plaza de Bolívar, a vast main square home to the Capitolio Nacional (National Capitol), the Palace of Justice, and Catedral Primada de Colombia (a large beautiful church). With construction started in 1539, today you can wander through the square, sampling food from local vendors, and taking in the architectural sights. And if you feel so inclined, pay for some corn seeds to feed the many pigeons that call the Bolivar Plaza home.
7. Play Colombia’s National Sport, Tejo
No trip to Colombia is complete without giving Tejo a try! Known as the national sport of Colombia, Tejo is played with friends, and some cold Aquila lights and even a shot of Aguardiente are encouraged (as always, have fun but drink responsibly!).
Similar to the American backyard sport of cornhole (also known as “bags”), but with gunpowder. The game of Tejo goes like this. First, find a Tejo Bar. For us, we played Tejo in the Chapinero neighborhood at Tejo Turmequé.
Throw a metal ball (the Tejo) and aim to hit a clay board at the end of a “runway”. Depending on where your Tejo hits, varying amounts of points are awarded to you. The goal is to try and hit small little triangles of gunpower on the clay board, and when the Tejo hits those gunpowder triangles, BANG! You’ll get a reverberating bang and the crowd will cheer. To say a night playing Tejo in Colombia is fun is an understatement.
8. Eat Ajiaco at La Puerta Falsa
Two things that could not be more quintessential to Bogota are Ajiaco and La Puerta Falsa. Ajiaco is a hearty and simple, but oh-so-delicious chicken soup made with potatoes and half a corn on the cob. It’s considered the soup of Bogota. And the place that has been serving it up since 1816 is La Puerta Falsa. The establishment barely sits 20 people and they don’t take reservations, so get here early for lunch and be prepared for an amazing meal.
9. Experience The Usaquen Sunday Flea Market
Located in the neighborhood of Usaquen and right along Parque Usaquen (Usaquen Park), you’ll find Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquen, a Sunday flea market that has become renowned in the city of Bogota.
The Usaquén Flea Market takes place every Sunday from about 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Shop the street stalls, listen to live music, and grab a bit to eat at one of the many stalls or restaurants that line Carrera 6a. If you have time, we highly recommend Sunday brunch at Abasto before you hit the Usaquen Flea Market.
10. Enjoy Ciclovia Sundays
Happening only on Sundays from 7 am to 2 pm, the city of Bogota shuts down more than 75 miles of main thoroughfares throughout the city to make them pedestrian-friendly. More than one million people partake in Ciclovia by either biking, skating, walking, or running the once-car-packed streets.
You can bike from one end of the city to the other passing by local markets and vendors who line the streets. It was one of the coolest, local experiences we’ve had in all of Bogota and one of the best ways to explore different areas of the city.
Tip: If you can’t make Ciclovia on Sunday, you can still rent a bike and take a tour of the capital city of Bogota!
11. Explore Paloquemao Fruit Market (Mercado de Paloquemao)
Paloquemao Fruit Market (Plaza de Mercado Paloquemao) is a large local indoor market and a real treat for your senses! You can find vendors selling fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, and flowers (just to name a few things).
Paloquemao Fruit Market is a great place to go to feel like local. Try some local cuisines or buy something to make dinner with (we did!). The market is one of the main markets in the city and is open on weekdays from 5 am – 4:30 pm and on weekends from 5 am – 2 pm.
12. Enjoy The Nightlife at Plazoleta Chorro de Quevedo
Plazoleta Chorro de Quevedo is located in La Candelaria a great place to grab dinner and drinks. We spent many nights here trying Chicha (fermented corn drink), eating at one of the surrounding restaurants like El Gato Gris and Benito Gastrobar, and taking in the outdoor vibe that is Plazoleta Chorro de Quevedo. Performers like rap groups, dancers, poets, and even comedians fill the square as locals fill the seats around the square as they share food and drink.
13. Drink a Beer or Two at Bogota Brewing Company
One of the biggest breweries in Colombia is the Bogota Brewing Company. With many locations around the city, Bogota Brewery is a great place to enjoy the night. Grab a table, enjoy some craft beers and bar bites and if there is a football game on, you’ll find a packed house of Colombian football fans.
14. Take A Bogota Food or Coffee Tour
If you are wanting to experience the cuisine and coffee scene of Bogota, consider a city food tour or coffee tour. Learn about the cuisine and its flavor profiles and devours some of the essential eats that are known throughout Bogota.
If a tour isn’t for you, there are loads of coffee shops all over Colombia where you can easily sample a signature Colombian coffee. Some of the best coffee shops in Bogota are:
- Azahar Café 93
- Colo Coffee
- Café Cultor
- Café del Mercado
15. Sample Bogota’s Local Cuisine
Whether you opt to take a food tour or want to sample on your own, below is your “hit list” of foods to try while in Bogota.
- Aguardiente: No trip to Colombia is complete without a shot of Aguardiente, the national drink
- Arepa: Made of ground maize dough, Arepas are a savory, round corn cake
- Ajiaco: Hearty chicken soup made with potatoes and half a corn on the cob
- Chicha: Fermented corn drink
- Buñuelos: Fried dough fritter filled with cheese
- Obleas: Wafers that come with a spread of caramel, jam, grated cheese, or chocolate sprinkles
- Tamales: Maisa dough cooked with meat in a banana leaf
- Chocolate Completo: Hot chocolate with melted cheese (yes, it’s a thing)
- Grilled Street Corn: You can find this from any vendor on the street and they’re damn good
- Freshly Squeezed Juice: Fresh and full of flavor, definitely order one
Other Places To Visit In Bogota:
While the above are the things we consider the best of the best Bogota has to offer, there are of course other things we wanted to include on our “what do to in Bogota itinerary planning guide”.
- See Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen
- Visit Jardín Botánico de Bogotá (Botanical Gardens)
- Stroll Through Parque Central Simón Bolívar
- Visit Parque 93
What To Do In Bogota Map
For a visual of where the best things to do in Bogota fall on a map, check out and navigate through the below.
Nightlife in Bogota
While there are bars all over the city that could easily accommodate a late night for you or just a few drinks, there are certain areas or Zonas of the city that is known for nightlife and food.
- Zona Rosa: Also known as Zona T, or the nightlife and nightclub neighborhood of the city.
- Gay-Friendly Bars: Chapinero is a gay-friendly area within Zona Rosa that is home to a lot of gay-friendly and lesbian-friendly bars.
- Zona G: The G in Zona G stands for “gourmet” and is the foodie district of Bogota that is dotted with many of Bogotá’s swankiest restaurants and bars. Zona G can be found in Chapinero and it’s a fun place to spend an evening eating and bar-hopping.
Is Bogota Safe?
Bogota is not the city it used to be in the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s. It’s transformed for the better. However, that’s not to say you should let your guard down. Like other major cities around the world, crimes like pickpocketing and theft are among the top two encounters for tourists.
When walking around Bogota, just bear in mind your belongings. Keep your items in your front pocket (never in your back), wear a cross-body bag, be aware of your phone, and avoid walking during the wee hours of the morning down unpopulated streets or alleys.
Just be smart, be aware, take precautions, and you shouldn’t run into any issues.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)