Top 10 Things to do in Bogota Colombia

Since I unfortunately haven’t been everywhere (yet!), I asked my friends over at Divergent Travelers to fill me in on a capital city that gets overlooked more so than not – Bogota, Colombia.  After reading through these suggestions, I would love to check out some of the markets and ride the cable car to the top of the Monserrate Mountain with it’s impeccable views of the city.

Bogota is a place that is most commonly met with uncertainty and a poor reputation. However, the country is on an upswing of tourism and looking to improve that reputation and invite visitors into their city. Who’s with me!?!  There are just so many things to do in Bogota Colombia!

What to do in Bogota, Colombia |

1. Candelaria District

The Candelaria sits in the historical center of Bogota. Here you will find Spanish colonial buildings, quaint alleyways and cobblestone streets.  A mesh of the old world with the new world will show you amazing pieces of street art on the facades of the colonial city, in addition to squares and old, wooden cathedrals.

2.  Markets

A visit would not be complete without checking out one of the many markets that this city has to offer. You make these visits for the cultural experience, more so that the shopping since they are local markets. You can partake in just about anything that is offered though, including sampling! The merchants are more than happy to share tastes with you and allow photos.
What to do in Bogota, Colombia |

3. Museums

There are several museums in Bogota that tell the story of its history. You could easily spend a week in the city just browsing museums but there are two that you shouldn’t miss. The first is the Museo del Oro. This museum is quite popular and houses most of the gold collection from the Musica tribes that inhabited the area prior to the Spanish conquest. Many of these items were collected from the Laguna de Guatavita that was the inspiration for the Legend of El Dorado.
The second on the list is the Botero Museum. You don’t have to be an art lover to appreciate the works of Botero, as he saw everything is a larger than life way. You will enjoy many sculptures and painting of his work as you wander the halls, all of which come with some sort of contemplation or at least a good laugh.
What to do in Bogota, Colombia |

4. Santamaria Bull Ring

Bogota’s Santamaria bullring was built in 1931 and sits in the center of the city. Like many Latin American countries, bullfighting is a celebrated sport. This bullring holds 14,500 people, which makes for a pretty rowdy crowd when it’s a full house. Although bull fighting is controversial, it is seen as a cultural celebration among this culture.

5.  Monserrate

If you are looking for a view that is unrivaled in this city, you will want to take the cable car to the top of the Monserrate Mountain. From this overlook you can gaze down upon all of Bogota. It really gives you a feel for the size of the city and the natural beauty that surrounds it.  One you are finished taking in the views you can check out the stone cathedral that is built on the edge of the cliff and shop the tourist market, here you can purchase souvenirs and purchase a cup of the famous cocoa tea if you are experiencing any soroche  (altitude sickness) from the elevation.
Just one of the many great things to do in Bogota Colombia! 🙂
What to do in Bogota, Colombia |

6.  Zona Rosa

If there is one area in Bogota that you want to visit outside of the normal attractions, then this is it. The center of the area is a nice, modern shopping mall. The area is loaded with shopping attractions and many name brand stores and restaurants. Including the famed Hard Rock Café.

7. Chia

Not too far outside the city is the small town of Chia. As far as tourist attractions go here, there is only one worth visiting. This is the delightfully entertaining Andres Carne de Res restaurant. Plan an evening here with friends and enjoy a wonderfully tasteful meal, attentive service and wild entertainment. The experience will leave you raving your time spent there and eagerly anticipating your next visit.

8. Zipaquira

You can find Zipaquira about 30 minutes outside of Bogota. The main draw to this town is a visit to the Cathedral de Sal, originally a salt mine that was later converted into an underground cathedral. You will follow tunnels upon tunnels on your visit; stopping at various alters throughout the system. All of which contain stone carved crosses and neat formations from the salt on the cave walls. It is a little dank and dreary, so prepare yourself, and if you are claustrophobic, I would pass.  After your visit to the mine, leave some time to check out the small town square of Zipaquira and climb to the overlook for a fantastic view of the valley and cathedral.
What to do in Bogota, Colombia |

9. Villa de Leyva

A visit to Villa de Leyva is probably the most executed day trip on a visit to Bogota. It can be done in one day, but I highly suggest an overnight stay- if not two- to really take in the area. This is another Spanish town, however it has been left by time. There has been no modernization here and you will experience original buildings and cobblestone streets throughout the entire town. The square is the most popular attraction, with a small fountain and a white cathedral that sits against an amazing backdrop of the Colombian Highlands.

10. Laguna de Guatavita

To round off your stops outside Bogota you will want to schedule a stop at the Laguna de Guatavita. This is a deep pool of water set up in the mountains. This is the very lake that the Musica tribes performed their ceremonies that involved adorning their chief with gold, floating him to the center of the lake and then dropping him in the water. Leaving the gold to float to the bottom as an offering to the gods. For this reason, the Spanish drained and irrigated this lake for many years in search of the gold.  The lake itself is the sole inspiration for the Legend of El Dorado. Prepare yourself for about an hour hike to the lake.

This guest post was written by Lina from Divergent Travelers. We have been traveling for 12+ years, solo and together, WHILE working full time jobs! Between the two of us we have already visited 31 countries!  You can follow our adventures on our blog at Divergent Travelers (  Follow us on Facebook ( )and Twitter ( ).

One Comment

  • Nice. I live in Mexico City now so I have been thinking about visiting Colombia. I'm not scared of cities that other people find frightening (hence my move to Mexico City) and so a trip to Bogota could well be on the horizon. Thanks for the tips.

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