48 Hours in… Bogota
I come from Colombia, and will always have a soft spot for its capital Bogotá. The city boasts a world-class museum dedicated to gold, a colonial core and a vibrant night-life, plus there's a giant subterranean cathedral made out of salt if you're looking for something more unusual!
First things first, I always try to time my stays in the larger cities of Latin America to coincide with a weekend, when the main attractions are full of locals relaxing and enjoying the city. Bogotá is no exception.
On Saturdays the streets in downtown La Candelaria are not as crowded, and the morning is a good time to walk around exploring the colonial area of the capital. This is where the majority of events happened during the struggle for independence and a short wander through the cobbled streets will reveal plenty of little gems of colonial architecture.
Next, visit two of Colombia's best museums: the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum (if time permits and you are interested in Colombian history, the National Museum is another good pick).
For lunch I recommend trying Colombia's national dish, ajiaco in one of the many small local restaurants around La Plaza Bolivar, where the Presidential Palace and Palace of Justice are located. Ajiaco is typical of the cuisine of the Colombian Andes: a filling soup of potatoes, corn, chicken and herbs, served with cream and capers.
After a long day visiting the cultural sights, the best way to spend the evenings is in one of the main entertainment areas: take a taxi and head to the north of Bogotá to explore some of the best international restaurants and bars in either La Zona “G” (best for gourmet food), La Zona “T” in Chapinero, Parque de la 93 or Usaquen. If you're in the mood for dancing, the night is still young - you can join the party-loving bogotanos salsa-ing away in the nightclubs of these areas until the early hours.
On Sundays, the city is quiet and it is a good time to head up to the hill top of Monserrate, a pilgrim destination as well as a tourist attraction. The best way to reach the top is by aerial tramway or funicular and from the top it is possible to enjoy the best panoramic views of Bogotá or to travel a little way out of the city to pay a visit to the unique salt cathedral of Zipaquirá, which for many is a highlight of the region.
For a late lunch head to the district of Chia and spend the afternoon in one of the most colourful and kitsch restaurants in the capital: Andres Carne de Res. Time flies here, and you can spend hours not only eating but dancing and enjoying the lively ambience of the restaurant/bar/club because once the music starts, bogotanosstart dancing is as if nothing can stop them...
For more advice about visiting Colombia, or any other destination in Latin America, contact me by emailing email@example.com