Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and the largest city in the country, it has 33 km from north to south and 16 km from east to west, pretty big!
Also, as a curiosity, it is the second highest city in South America, since it is 2,625 meters above sea level, so when you arrive you will notice the fatigue that is added by jet-lag and altitude sickness, but don’t worry, it will go away in a couple of days in the Colombian capital you acclimate and recover to continue the trip.
How to move around Bogota
Public transport: the Transmilenio.
The cheapest way is this super long bus that connects all the neighborhoods of the Colombian capital. It is not recommended that you use it at night, and it is advisable to be very careful if you decide to go out at night, and if possible to do it in a group.
Taxi: yellow is the official one.
I had to take a taxi from the airport to the center because I arrived at night. In the hostel they recommended asking some policeman when leaving the terminal to tell me which were the official taxis, which are the yellow ones. Inside you will find some cards where prices are written according to the bookmark, but it is best to ask before going up.
Airport – Barrio de la Candelaria: Price between 30,000-40,000 COP, about € 10 – € 15
La Candelaria – Salitre bus terminal: Price 12,000-15,000 COP, about € 3 -5 €. Be careful, before leaving the hotel make sure it is not rush hour, but with traffic you can pay twice as much.
Uber: the illegal
Although the Uber are not legal in Colombia, it is the safest way to move since when you hire an Uber, you have the data of the car and the driver. And you pay directly with your credit card, which helps you not to spend your cash.
How to leave Bogotá by bus
From Salitre terminal you can take buses to other cities in Colombia. In general the prices of buses between cities are quite cheap, and almost all buses have wifi and plug, which makes your life easier when you travel. There are many companies that travel at night, and seen that the distances are long is highly recommended, so you sleep (yes, important the blanket, which put the air conditioned so strong)
I recommend you to stay in the neighborhood of La Candelaria, as it is the old quarter of the capital and from there you will have access on foot to the main tourist areas without having to take public transport, it is also a very nice neighborhood, you will love to walk around its streets.
I stayed, on the advice of another traveling friend, at Hostal Casa Colibrí, a very cozy hostel with a good atmosphere. The bed in a shared room costs € 5 per night. You can make your reservation here.
Where to eat
For breakfast you can do it in any of the local coffee shops, there are very varied prices, because you can have a coffee and a muffin for 3,500 COP or spend up to 20,000 COP if you ask for a typical breakfast with meat and beans. The Colombians eat a lot, since the morning.
For lunch you have plenty of places, as well as all the prices. If you want to eat something typical Colombian and very cheap I recommend the markets.
The menu of the day consists of a soup of rice or barley and a tray (like a second) where it is normal to be offered chicken or meat to choose, legumes or vegetables to choose from, salad and rice. In addition, they invite you to the juice of one of their innumerable tropical fruits.
They also usually have the vegan or vegetarian option in many of these positions.
I recommend a market in Plaza de la Concordia, in the same neighborhood as La Candelaria, where there are many of these stands and the menu costs 6,000 COP.
If you prefer to go to a restaurant, you can find dishes from 15,000 COP up to what you want to pay.
What to visit for free in Bogota
There are many things that can be done for free in this city, so you have to take advantage of it.
1. Climb to the hill of Montserrate.
You can walk up and it’s free !!! It is a short walk to reach the chapel of Monsterrate and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city and the hill of Guadalupe.
In the sanctuary of Montserrate you can also visit the chapel where there is a carving of the Moreneta or black virgin of Montserrat, Catalan mountain from which derives the name of Monserrate.
If you do not have a lot of time, the weather does not accompany you or you just do not want to walk up, no problem! There are two other options, the funicular or the cable car, but the latter does not start working until 12 in the morning, so if you are an early bird you will find it closed. The funicular does start much earlier in the morning, about 9 in the morning. Both cost the same, so I advise you to take one to go up and another to go down. The price is the same, 10,000 COP per trip. So you also have the option to combine the hike up or down with one of these transports, which have a journey of 10 minutes.
Free tours Gran Colombia
2. Free walking tour
If you want to know the historic center on foot, I recommend these free tours that leave every day of the week from Plaza Chorro de Quevedo at 10 in the morning and at 2 in the afternoon.
In addition to getting to know the highlights of the city, the first part of the tour consists of living the Colombian experience, so they will take you to try the Chicha, they will explain you and you will be able to taste a lot of typical tropical fruits from here. You probably have never heard of it and you will also try coca tea.
3. Free bicing tour
If in addition to the center of the Colombian capital you want to know some of its neighborhoods, this is your tour. It has output from the same place and at the same time as the previous tour. And they will take you to know other neighborhoods, the tour lasts 3-4 hours by bicycle, if not, they can lend you one.
4. Graffiti tour
A very original way to get to know the Candelaria neighborhood. The tour leaves every day at 10 in the morning from the Botero Museum. They will take you to know a lot of impressive murals of different artists while they will tell you the history of the city, a fun and different way of knowing the city.
Museums with free admission
5. Botero Museum
6. Coin Museum
7. Print Museum
8. National Museum
The most recommended museum if you want to know the history of Colombia from its origins. Normally the entrance costs 4,000 COP, but the first Sunday of every month is free.
The Gold Museum is another recommended museum on Colombian history, but it costs 4,000 COP for the entrance, which is only € 1.50 per change.
9. Police’s Museum
The police museum is very close to the Plaza de Simon Bolivar, just one block away, everyone knows it, so ask when you get to the square. They do a guided tour every hour, and they explain mainly the function that the police have in the fight against the Colombian guerrillas like the FARC or the anti-explosive equipment that they use.
There is also a section on drug trafficking and the operations that have been carried out in his fight as the arrest of Pablo Escobar and some curious things like the watch he wore when he was killed or a Harley Davidson seized from one of his relatives.
10. Comedy club, Colombian version
If you are in Bogotá on a Tuesday, and you stay in the neighborhood of La Candelaria, you can not miss this session of monologues with local comedians. It starts at 7:00 p.m. in the attic of the bar “A seis manos” and is totally free.
We hope you enjoy the Colombian capital, and no, we have not forgotten, soon you will have an article on where to dance salsa, for the moment we hope that these tips about Bogota will be useful for you and that Colombia will live!