Bogotá wasn’t my favorite city, and it was an anticlimactic end (dare I say a downer ending?) to my year of travel. It wasn’t a bad city by any means; in fact, I loved a couple of sights. I don’t have many vivid memories of my time there, though, so writing this post was a struggle. If I had to choose between Bogotá and Medellín, it’s no contest—Medellín wins by a landslide. That said, I was also wiped from constant travel, so it might have been for the best that my last stop was low-key. I spent a total of seven nights in Bogotá: two nights as a buffer between San Gil and Manizales and another five nights to close my trip.
During my stays, I walked around areas such as Zonas G and Rosa and Parques El Virrey and 93. While these places were perfectly fine, none of them made much of an impression on me. Travelers like to say certain locations are “just like any other big city,” and I sometimes disagree with them. (For instance, I liked Kuala Lumpur, Lima, and Santiago, even though I met a bunch of travelers who didn’t care for them.) Bogotá, however, fit the bill as “just another big city” for me. It felt a bit sterile, and I had no real connection to it.
One of my first activities in Bogotá was taking a free (tip the guides) walking tour with Gran Colombia.
During the three-hour tour, we tried chicha, a few fruits (including lulo), and juice. (My inner lawyer kinda hates that I linked to Wikipedia twice in that last sentence. Oh well—I’m no longer a practicing lawyer, so screw citing to reputable sources! Take that, Bluebook!)
We also stopped by Plaza de Bolivar to see the Capitolio Nacional (where Colombia’s legislature is housed) and Catedral Primada.
We ended the tour at Maria Café, where we had a coffee sample. It was awesome that a free tour included a bunch of samples; I was a happy camper.
Both of the museums I visited in Bogotá were excellent. After the Gran Colombia walking tour, I visited Museo Botero with one other tour group member. There’s no mistaking Botero’s distinctive style, even for a philistine like me.
I was especially fond of “Pájaro Pequeño.” (This Google image really doesn’t do justice to how adorable the bird was. Considering how much of a kick I got out of the painting, I don’t remember why I didn’t take a photo of it.)
Museo del Oro was the other fantastic museum I visited. Exhibits were in both Spanish and English, and they explained the history of metallurgy and the use of gold in cosmology and religious offerings. I was especially captivated by a video showing gold-working processes, and I ended up spending more than two hours at the museum.
On a Tuesday, I walked to Monserrate, a mountain that overlooks Bogotá. Normally, there are three options to reach the peak: walking, riding a funicular, or taking a cable car. My preference would have been walking, but the path was closed on Tuesdays. When I visited, the funicular was closed for maintenance, so the choice was made for me—cable car it was!
The ride to the top took about five minutes, and I was treated to views of the city below. Although dark clouds obscured the sky, thankfully it wasn’t raining.
I walked through a church and market at the peak, but I didn’t love how food stall workers constantly approached passersby. Since there wasn’t much I was interested in at the peak, I spent less than an hour there before taking the cable car back down.
Besides the museums, I also enjoyed the food in Bogotá. During the day, I spent time in lots of cute cafes with a coffee and baked good.
I loved El Sitio, a cute and cozy restaurant with refurbished furniture that was near one of the hostels I stayed at in the Candelaria neighborhood. I visited with two other women in my hostel, and El Sitio was very reasonably priced compared to other restaurants we had passed. Bogotá also had a La Lucha, and due to my nostalgia for Peru, I absolutely had to visit during lunch one day. The sandwich I got in Bogotá was a little different from the ones I had at Peruvian La Luchas (the Bogotá sandwich had mayo and onions, which weren’t included in the sandwiches I had in Peru), but it was still so, so delicious.