Bogota city

11 Best things to do in Bogota

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Bogota is one of the largest cities in South America and is usually the starting point for a trip through Colombia. Bogota is often skipped because people want to see other destinations in Colombia, which is a shame. As such, it’s worth taking some time to explore what things to do in Bogota before heading off elsewhere. In Bogota, there are many things to do. You can look at art and visit museums. You can see old buildings and eat delicious food. It is nice to have time to rest after a long flight. That way you don’t need to go somewhere else right away.

We are happy to share our experience in this article and hope to get you excited to get to know Bogota. In this article, you can read about what to do in Bogota, where to stay, eat, and many more tips.

museum bogota
bogota street

Things to do in Bogota?

Bogota is a vibrant and diverse city that offers visitors an endless array of things to do. From exploring the historic La Candelaria neighborhood to taking a cable car up to Monserrate for breathtaking views. Bogota is also known for its world-class museums, delicious food scene, and bustling nightlife. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or just soaking up the local culture, there are plenty of things to do in Bogota. Bogota is a great place to visit because it has lots of exciting things to do and see.

Tip: use the map of Bogota below to find out what to do in Bogota. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. To save this map to your Google Maps account, click the star symbol next to the title. In the folder, you can show or hide different categories. You can then use this map to navigate when you are in Bogota and discover the best places to visit in Bogota!

#1 Discover the best things to do in Bogota: the historic center

The best thing to do in Bogota is to discover the historic center. There are a lot of things to see, at least these five sights should you visit, namely: La Plaza de Bolivar, La Florida, La Casa de la Moneda, Iglesia de San Francisco, and La Candelaria.

Plaza de Bolivar was once the busiest spot in Bogota when the square was surrounded by colonial buildings and markets. Today, the square is a symbol of independence. In the middle of the square is a statue of Simon Bolivar, who was the liberator of South America. In this square, you can see the Cathedral of Bogota, the Palace of Justice, the Office Building of the Mayor, and the Congress Building (the White House of Colombia).

La Florida is the most traditional restaurant to visit in Bogota, a perfect place to get to know Colombia’s culture. They serve traditional drinks, various bread, pastries and so-called ‘onces’ which are a kind of snacks. We enjoyed tamales tolimenses, this is a stew wrapped in leaves. Try it yourself, it tastes delicious.

In the historic district La Candelaria you can visit La Casa de la Moneda. This is free to visit. Here you get to know how money has developed in Colombia. A fun museum to visit because you get a good understanding of how the economy has developed.

In the historic center, you can find many churches, but the church that you should have visited is Iglesia de San Fransisco. The great thing about this church is that a lot is still in original condition which is impressive to see. Especially the altar with the surrounding golden columns are beautiful to see. Even for people who don’t like to visit churches, it is still recommended to visit.

The best neighborhood to visit in Bogota is without a doubt La Candelaria. This is one of the most historic neighborhoods in the city. Located a few minutes from Bolivar Plaza, la Candelaria is a wonderful place to walk through narrow, colonial streets and see colonial houses. There is a lot to see in the La Candelaria district, you need an afternoon to see the majority of this neighborhood.

To discover the most important sights in Bogota in a relatively short time, it is recommended to follow a free walking tour. If you are interested, you need to reserve a spot in advance at Beyond Colombia.

Tip: do the tour in the morning so that you have time in the afternoon to get a better look at the places you saw.

In addition to the traditional tour to discover the historic center of Bogota, you can also follow a graffiti tour. In the neighborhood of La Candelaria, you can see the best graffiti art in the world. It is recommended to visit it with a guide, as many of these works deal with a social theme. The guide explains how freedom of expression in Colombia has developed in recent years through graffiti. Book your ticket for the graffiti tour here.

Historical center
Plaza Bolivar

#2 Follow a bike tour

A bike tour is a fantastic way to see the sights of Bogota and experience the city’s unique culture. One of the great things about a bike tour is that it allows you to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time, making it an ideal activity for visitors who want to make the most out of their stay.

During the bike tour, you’ll get to explore some of Bogota’s most interesting neighborhoods, such as La Candelaria and Chapinero. You’ll also visit traditional fruit markets and see how coffee is made at a local factory. Along the way, your guide will share fascinating insights into Bogota’s history, culture, and daily life.

Another advantage of taking a bike tour in Bogota is that cycling is safe and easy in this city. The infrastructure for cyclists is excellent, with dedicated bike lanes on many streets. Plus, you’ll be accompanied by an experienced guide who knows the best routes to take and can ensure your safety.

Overall, a bike tour is one of the best things to do in Bogota if you want to get an authentic taste of this vibrant city while enjoying some fun exercise at the same time. Check actual prices and availability for the bike tour here.

Bike tour bogota sightseen
bike tour bogota

Are you looking for a nice place to stay in Bogota?

Option 1 Affordable and Cozy: Selina La Candelaria Bogota
Selina
is a lovely place to stay. The hotel is so beautifully designed that you will be amazed. Selina is perfect to meet other travelers as you have many places to relax. You can choose from a standard room to a very luxurious double room. For a small addition, you can enjoy their breakfast. In addition, Selina has a restaurant and a bar, so you don’t necessarily have to leave the hotel in the evening. It is located right in the La Candelaria neighborhood, one of the safest neighborhoods in Bogota.
Check actual prices and availability for Selina here.

Option 2 perfect for resting: Saint Simon
Saint Simon
is a great place to relax after a long flight. The hotel has nice rooms with fantastic beds. It is located in the Zona Rosa district, which is a safe and beautiful neighborhood. The hotel is located near a large shopping center which is convenient if you want to buy something.
Check actual prices and availability for Saint Simon here.

#3 Discover the local cuisine

If you want to get to know Colombia, part of this is getting to know Colombian cuisine. For this, you need to follow a food tour. During a 3-hour tour, you will try ceviche (raw fish cooked in lemon juice), empanadas (fried snacks with chicken, minced meat or cheese), arepas (grilled round sandwiches), palito (salty, elongated cheese rolls), and sancocho (traditional Latin American soup).

It is fun to visit the local places that are unknown to most tourists. During your visit to these local places, you will have a special encounter with the locals. The locals of Colombia are known for being extremely curious and always wanting to start a conversation. Because you are different, you will certainly have a fantastic conversation with the locals.

The food tours in Bogota are very popular, so be on time to reserve your spot. Check here for more information and availability.

food tour bogota

#4 Best museums in Bogota

If you wondering what to do in Bogota what you definitely should not skip, is visiting some of the most fascinating museums in South America, making them a must-visit for anyone looking for things to do in Bogota. Among the city’s many museums, two museums are worth visiting: Museo Botero and Museo del Oro.

At Museo Botero, you’ll have the chance to see artwork by Fernando Botero, one of Colombia’s most famous artists. His unique style features people with exaggerated proportions that are sure to catch your eye. The museum is free to enter, making it perfect for budget travelers.

Another museum worth visiting in Bogota is the Museo del Oro, which showcases Colombia’s rich history of gold mining and craftsmanship. As you walk through the exhibits, you’ll gain a better understanding of why Europeans were so eager to explore this part of the world in search of wealth. The entrance fee is 5.000 COP / $1.05.

Overall, visiting the museums in Bogota is a great way to spend your time in this vibrant city. Whether you’re interested in art or history, there’s something for everyone at these world-class museums.

bogota gold
Visiting Museo del Oro is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Bogota

#5 Visit Mount Monserrate

What to do in Bogota if you want to do an active activity, this is possible. You can visit Monserrate, this is a mountain near Bogota. A visit to Monserrate is literally and figuratively speaking a highlight. With a height of 3152 meters, you have breathtaking views over the metropolis of Bogota. Standing on the top of Monserrate in Bogota, you realize how big Bogota is.

There are three ways to reach the top of Monserrate: by funicular, train, or by walking. If you are in good shape and you enjoy hiking this option is recommended. We did the hike ourselves and enjoyed it. It is great if you hiked for 60 minutes and eventually arrive at a church with a view of this enormous city.

If hiking isn’t your thing, you can buy tickets for a cable car or train at the foot of the mountain. Reservations are not necessary.

In addition to the view, you can visit the church and enjoy nature. It’s nice to get out of the city for a while and have some nature around you.

Bogota city

#6 Buy an emerald in Bogota

One of the most unique things to do in Bogota is to visit the Emerald Market in the city center. This bustling market is a great place to walk around and go shopping for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

What makes this market particularly special is that it’s located in one of the world’s best places to buy emeralds. Colombia is known for producing some of the finest emeralds in the world, and since many of these natural resources are located near Bogota, prices here tend to be lower than in other parts of the world.

For those looking to purchase an emerald, you should visit The Emerald Store, which is a certified jeweler. This ensures that you’re getting a high-quality product that’s been ethically sourced. And if you’re not in the market for an emerald, there are plenty of other jewelers in the building selling a variety of pieces.

Overall, visiting the Emerald Market is one of the best things to do in Bogota if you’re looking for a unique shopping experience. With its wide selection of jewelry and gemstones at affordable prices.

Looking for an itinerary through Colombia? Read more.

#7 Comuna El Paraíso

What to see in Bogota that is not visited by most travelers, a visit to the picturesque neighborhood of Comuna El Paraíso just outside the center is recommended. During your visit, you can see how local activists express themselves and how street art enchants the neighborhood. Following a tour is recommended because you get all the information from a local guide.

Start your visit with a ride in the funicular where you get a view over the neighborhood, it’s beautiful to see all the colored houses. After this walk through the neighborhood and see several colorful houses up close. Check availability and current prices here.

Comuna El Paraíso

#8 Discover the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá

If you’re looking for what to do in Bogota as a day trip outside of Bogota, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is a must-see attraction. Located just an hour’s drive from Bogota, Zipaquirá is a charming colonial city that’s worth exploring. Its main square features old Spanish buildings, including an impressive church, and there are plenty of side streets that are worth discovering.

But the real highlight of visiting Zipaquirá is the Salt Cathedral. This underground was built inside a salt mine and features stunning blue lighting that creates a magical atmosphere as you walk through the tunnels. During your visit, you learn about the history of the salt mine and can admire the unique architecture and design.

When you are in Zipaquirá, you can visit small stores that sell things made by hand like jewelry and other products.

Visiting the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is one of the best things to do in Bogota if you’re looking for a great day trip outside of the city. With its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and charming surroundings, it’s loved by travelers to visit. Are you interested? Check more information about the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá tour here.

Zipaquirá

#9 Visit a local coffee plantation

When you are in Colombia you immediately notice one thing: Colombians love coffee. The quality of the coffee is extremely good. When you are in Bogota and you enter different cafes you often see that they sell bean shops that you can use at home to make your Colombian coffee. What could be more fun than visiting the place where these beans come from?

Visiting a traditional farm is recommended if you want to learn more about the process of making coffee. If you are interested read more information here. The advantage is that you can buy coffee beans cheaply at this place.

#10 Discover the beautiful nature outside Bogota

Outside of Bogota, there are two places you can visit if you want to discover more of Colombia’s nature. These are the Andean Forest and Chingaza National Park.

The best day trip for hiking is to visit Chingaza National Park. In this park, you hike in the Colombian Andes. The best thing about the park is that you visit two lakes called Buitrago and Siecha. You can also walk up to the mountain to eventually have a fantastic panoramic view of the area. It is advisable to walk in this area with a guide because you can quickly get lost. Check availability here.

The Andean Forest is known for the El Chiflón and La Chorrera waterfalls. this is the highest waterfall in Colombia. You can easily combine a visit to the Andean forest with a city trip to Bogota because it is just 3 hours away from Bogota. In addition to the waterfall, you have a beautiful view of the region on the mountain. The hike is not difficult, you just have to climb 590 meters to reach the waterfall. Read more information here.

#11 Visit Usaquen

Usaquen is a charming colonial town that has been absorbed by the city of Bogota. It is located in the northern part of the city and can be easily reached by public transportation or taxi.

There are many things to do in Usaquen. One of the main attractions is its Sunday flea market, where you can find artisanal crafts, clothes, jewelry, and much more. The market also offers a wide variety of food options, from traditional Colombian dishes to international cuisine.

In addition to the market, Usaquen has many restaurants and boutiques worth exploring. The neighborhood’s cobblestone streets and colonial architecture make it a picturesque place to walk around and take photographs.

Visiting Usaquen is worth it because it offers a glimpse into Colombia’s history and culture while being just a short distance from Bogota’s bustling center. It’s an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city but still within easy reach.

To fully enjoy things to do in Bogota, we would recommend spending at least half a day visiting Usaquen. There are plenty of things to keep you occupied here, from admiring the colonial-style architecture to shopping for souvenirs, browsing the local artisan markets, and trying traditional Colombian food.

How many days in Bogota?

We recommend that you rest for one day in Bogota during your arrival before continuing your journey. You probably have a return flight from Bogota, which means that you will also be in Bogota on the last day. Because of this, it is recommended to stay two days in Bogota so as to experience all the things to do and see in the capital. So 1 day on arrival and 1 day on departure.

If you want to do a day trip from Bogota, such as visiting El Dorado, it is recommended to stay in Bogota for three days. We do not recommend staying longer than three days because Colombia has many other beautiful places to discover.

Where to stay in Bogota?

It is highly recommended when looking for accommodation in Bogota that you try to find one that is in a quiet location. For many, Bogota is the destination where they arrive after a long flight, so a good night’s sleep is very important.

It is also important to stay in a tourist area for safety reasons. Zona Rosa and La Candelaria are the safest areas with many dining and entertainment options. The safest area is La Candelaria, as it is the busiest here. Zona Rosa, on the other hand, is something more beautiful.

Tip: be on time to book the accommodations in these neighborhoods, because they are fully booked quickly.

Affordable and cozy:
Selina La Candelaria Bogota

bogota v1

Selina is a lovely place to stay. The hotel is so beautifully designed that you will be amazed. Selina is perfect to meet other travelers as you have many places to relax. You can choose from a standard room to a very luxurious double room. For a small addition, you can enjoy their breakfast. In addition, Selina has a restaurant and a bar, so you don’t necessarily have to leave the hotel in the evening. It is located right in the La Candelaria neighborhood, one of the safest neighborhoods in Bogota.

More information

Perfect for resting:
Saint Simon

Bogota v2

Saint Simon is a great place to relax after a long flight. The hotel has nice rooms with fantastic beds. It is located in the Zona Rosa district, which is a safe and beautiful neighborhood. The hotel is located near a large shopping center which is convenient if you want to buy something.

More information

Where to eat in Bogota?

While walking through the historic center, a visit to La Florida is a must, as this is the most traditional restaurant in Bogota. This restaurant has been serving up recipes from all over Colombia since 1934 and offers an authentic insight into the culture of Colombian cuisine. There are various things to try like tamales tolimenses – a stew wrapped in leaves – with delicious drinks, fresh pieces of bread, and pastries known as ‘onces’.

For dinner, is Andrés Carne de Res recommended. This eatery provides an unforgettable experience, thanks to its vibrant atmosphere and top-notch cuisine. Their most popular dish is the parrilla – a combination of grilled meats, potatoes, and vegetables.

Vegan travelers should visit Herbívoro Cocina Vegana. They specialize in plant-based dishes which are not only healthy but sustainably sourced too! We recommend trying their red cabbage burger with fries.

Finally, for a delicious breakfast or afternoon snack we recommend Al Agua Patos. Here you can enjoy French toast with fresh fruit. Whether you’re looking for an authentic Colombian meal or something modern and vegan, things to do in Bogota are definitely not hard to find.

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How to get to Bogota?

Most travel to Bogota by plane. At the terminal, it is recommended to order a taxi from one of the stables before you step outside. These are the official taxis, so you can be sure it’s safe.

If you are already in Colombia and you want to travel to Bogota, the best way to do this is by bus. If it concerns long distances you can take a night bus, for shorter distances you can use the normal bus. It is best to go to the bus terminal of the relevant location and buy a ticket to Bogota. All bus companies are fine to use. During our trip, we used Bolivariano, Expreso Palmira, Velotax Expreso Brasilia, and Ochoa. When arriving in Bogota you can take a taxi to the accommodation.

You can find all the transport tickets here at Bookaway. We used Bookaway to book all our bus tickets. They’re easy to use and book with, and we’ve explored the best destinations in Colombia with their buses.

If you prefer not to sit on the bus for long, you can also book internal flights to travel to Bogota. The advantage is that you are on location faster, but this costs more money.

If you travel to Colombia by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.

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What is the best period to travel to Bogota?

Colombia has a tropical climate. Because it is close to the equator, the temperature is the same all year round and there are few temperature fluctuations. Colombia has a rainy and dry season.

The rainy season for Bogota is between May-July and October-December. The dry season is between December-March and July-August.

Colombia can be roughly divided into three seasons:

  • High season (December-February): driest period, best period to visit Colombia. The disadvantage is that prices are the highest during this period;
  • Moderate season (March-September): wet period, good time to visit Colombia. The disadvantage is that the large cities can suffer from a lot of rainfall in April and May;
  • Low season (October-November): period of flooding in the Andean region. Due to the low water level you can make good hikes in the Amazon. Prices are lowest during this period.

Bogota is a great place to visit all year round. The best period is during the moderate season when prices are lower.

Bogota things to do FAQ

1. Is Bogota safe to visit?

Yes, Bogota is safe to travel to, you just have to take a few things into account. First of all, you should choose your accommodation that is located in the Zona Rosa and La Candelaria districts because these are the safest areas. As a tourist, you can easily walk on the streets in these neighborhoods all day long.

In addition, you should of course use common sense. For example, do not walk in strange streets in the evening. Also, only use official taxis. If you want to use a taxi you can always ask the reception if they can arrange a taxi for you.

2. How much does a taxi cost to the center from the airport?

A taxi from Bogota El Dorado Airport to Santa Fe / La Candelaria (the center of Bogota) costs +/- 30,000 CO / $6.34.

3. Is Bogota worth visiting?

Yes, Bogota is definitely worth visiting! This vibrant city offers a rich cultural experience with its world-class museums, historic landmarks, and delicious cuisine. Bogota is a great place to stop and rest if you have just landed.

The city is also surrounded by natural beauty like mountains and parks, making it an ideal destination for those who love outdoor activities. So if you’re looking for a unique travel experience, be sure to add Bogota to your list of must-visit destinations!

Want to see more of Colombia?

We hope this article gave you a clear picture of things to do in Bogota, where to stay, and other useful tips.

From Bogota, you can visit different destinations. If you follow our Colombia itinerary Salento is your next destination. In Salento, you can make a great hike and see the tallest palm trees in the world in Valle de Cocora.

If you don’t follow our itinerary but are still curious about which places you can travel to from Bogota, those are San Gil, Medellin, and Cartagena. San Gil is a village located between the mountains where you can do many outdoor activities. Medellin is the best city in Colombia to visit and Cartagena is the city where you can see many colonial influences in the historic center. No matter where you go, there is something unique and interesting to discover in Bogota and its surroundings.

What do you think of Bogota? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Disclaimer: the prices mentioned in this article may differ from the current situation. We regularly update our articles. Would you like to help us to provide to best possible insights to help other travelers leave a comment with the latest information. Thanks!

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