One Day in Bogota, Colombia: Itinerary to Transform and Travel
Updated: Jan 28
Travel to Bogota, Colombia is a dream come true. Ever since middle school, I became aware of the Colombian culture when I became great friends with Lorena. We would go to her house every day after school in Houston, Texas where her mom would make us plantains, beans, and rice.
Colombia was on my list the end of 2021. However, God and life had other plans when I felt compelled to return to the USA for several reasons including fixing my Apple Computer screen.
Colombia is much more than likely you have heard. It is the second most biodiverse country in the world, often voted one of the World's happiest countries, #2 in flower exports, and #1 in Emerald exports.
You aren't the only one who has heard of Colombia. On average, over 5 million tourists visits Colombia every year. During my visit in 2022, I am visiting Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena.
No matter how much time you have in Colombia, don't miss Bogota.
Let's talk about what I recommend for One Day in Bogota, Colombia.
One Day in Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia surprised me. I loved the blog Nomadic Matt did about Bogota, Colombia. It enticed me to make sure and add Bogota, Colombia to my list even more.
The Airbnb I picked, Casa Aranjuez added to the experience of travel to Bogota, Colombia. Casa Aranjuez is an incredible colonial style two level stay in the middle of La Candelaria, Bogota's Historical District. The owner Santiago and manager, Nelson go above and beyond in every way. I stayed at Casa Aranjuez almost two weeks in January 2022.
Casa Aranjuez is literally footsteps from Plaza Bolivar, La Puerta Falsa, La Candeleria, and countless other must see spots in Bogota. Isn't it adorable?
That's one of the reasons why I decided to spend not just One Day in Bogota, Colombia but about 2 weeks. If you are curious about my full-time travels, check out my Digital Nomad September 21 Recap.
If you don't know where to start with your time in Colombia, I am here to help you #createit!
Although I experienced an incredible time in Bogota for about 2 weeks, there is so much to experience! I decided I wanted to see Medellin and Cartagena during my time in Colombia too.
While there is plenty to experience one day all around Bogota to transform and travel whether you come solo, with family, or with a group, you will want to consider staying longer.
Follow this One Day in Bogota, Colombia Itinerary to Transform and Travel.
It will help you make your travels transformational even it's a short trip.
My recommendations for One Day in Bogota, Colombia include Monserrate, Walking and Food Tour with Beyond Colombia, and Ajiaco soup at La Puerta Falsa.
Travel to Bogota, Colombia
I started my travels in 2022 with Travel to Mexico City From Mexico City, I took a flight with Volaris Airlines to Bogota, Colombia. It was about 3-4 hours with a direct flight. There are many airlines offering direct flights from destinations all around the world to Bogota, Colombia.
Before you travel to Colombia, make sure you check current requirements for COVID. As of January 2022, Colombia requires a Mig Form (Health Pass) completed online, vaccination proof from >14 days ago or COVID Test, and onward flight leaving Colombia. In addition, the USA requires a COVID Test to re-enter. Keep in mind requirements are ever-changing, so I recommend you check about a week or so before your travels.
I traveled to Colombia arriving on January 14, 2022 in Bogota, Colombia. As of now, I will be leaving for my next stop on travel to 7 Continents is Medellin, Colombia from January 26 to February 7, 2022. After Medellin, I will travel to Cartagena for five days. i will be leaving Colombia on February 11, 2022 for a digital marketing project and press trip in Panama. The original plan for the press trip was back in October, then it changed to November due to changes on both sides, and finally we are going forward for February to March 2022.
All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 13 or Airbnb photos.
Fun Facts About Bogota
At every turn, Bogota, Colombia will surprise you. Bogota is the sprawling, high-altitude capital of Colombia at about 8,600 feet. La Candelaria, the historical center of Bogota features Plaza Bolivar, beautiful colorful colonial homes and cobblestone streets, home to countless museums and churches (there are over 1,500 in Bogota alone!), and is where you may find Ajiaco, the delicious and famous Colombian soup.
Needless to see, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Bogota!
Top Row: Mural by Plaza Chorro Quevado, National Capitol at Plaza Bolivar, Paloquemao Market
Bottom Row: Beautiful Colonial Home on Calle 10 in La Candelaria, Weyuu Bags, Casa Aranjuez
A Snapshot of Colombian History
The history of Colombia includes the settlements of indigenous peoples including Muisca Confederation, Quimbaya Civilization, and Tairona Chiefdoms. Similar to other latin countries like El Salvador, the Spanish arrived in 1492 and began colonization. In 1536-1538, Spain established the settlement of Santa Fe de Bogota, which later became known as Bogota, the capitol of Colombia.
According to BBC, In 1829, Gran Colombia dissolved when Venezuela and Ecuador split off, leaving present-day Colombia and Panama a separate state known as Nueva Granada. In 1899 to 1902, Subsequent to the findings of the Liberal and Conservative parties, "The War of the Thousand Days": happened with around 120,000 people dying in civil wars. In 1948 to 1957, amidst continuing political disunity, 250,000-300,000 killed in civil war. In 1958, Conservatives and Liberals solely agree to form National Front in a bid to end the civil war.
From 1964 to 1982, the formation of Leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) and Maoist People's Liberation Army (EPL) is founded, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc, the current largest guerrilla grouping) set up, and National People's Alliance formed as a left-wing counterweight to the National Front.
In 1971, Left-wing M-19 guerrilla group emerges. During the Guerrilla War, President Julio Turbay (Liberal) begins intensive fight against drug traffickers in 1978. In 1982, President Belisario Betancur (Conservative) grants guerrillas amnesty and frees political prisoners. From 1984 to 1995, the war against drug cartels is intensified.
In 1984 and 1985, respectively, campaign against drug traffickers stepped up following assassination of justice minister and eleven judges and 90 other people killed after M-19 guerrillas force their way into the Palace of Justice; Patriotic Union Party (UP) founded. Historical figures and events you may have heard of include Pablo Escobar, Medellin drug-cartel leader, shot dead in 1993 while trying to evade arrest. In 1995, Ernesto Samper Pizano (Liberal) elected president and is subsequently charged and cleared of receiving drug-cartel money for his election campaign.
In 1998, Andres Pastrana Arango - a Conservative - elected president, begins peace talks with guerrillas. In 2000, Pastrana's "Plan Colombia" is awarded US$1 billion in mainly military aid from the US to fight drug-trafficking and rebels who profit and protect the trade. In September, the Colombian government freezes talks alleging Farc harbored hijacker of plane forced to land in safe haven. Later, Farc refuses to resume talks. Between 2002-2006, talks fail and are revisited among new laws, leaders, and trade deals.
Despite challenges and conflicts, like many other countries in the world, Colombia continues to embrace a culture and economy rich in coffee, oil, mining, agriculture, and manufacturing. The country's GDP in 2013 was US$226 billion and per capita GDP was US$10,100, placing it as a middle-income country. Growth over the past decade has been a robust 4.7 percent.
Why I Create Travel Guides Globally
Although I stayed in Bogota for close to two weeks, I love to creating one day adventures and sharing with others.
My story includes being conceived in Bulgaria, born in Poland, and in 4 countries by the time I was 2 (including a refugee camp in Italy.). I am in awe of the transformation from the inside out of my life in every area including health, wealth, business, and travel.
That's why I created One Day Travel guides all around the world. In my Top 10 Things to Do, you will find more reasons to experience the cities and countries I share on my global travel to 7 Continents.
Travel fills me up.
One Day in Bogota, Colombia
While the average tourist spends about 3 days in Bogota, you may want to stay longer. While I loved walking around La Candelaria, seeing the views of Bogota from Monserrate, and learning about Colombia's history, Bogota is too cold for me!
In the mornings and nights, I used a small space heater and slept covered under blankets. While January is considered one of the best months to visit because of the dryer season, the low is 6 degrees Celsius and the high is 20 degrees Celsius. The average is 56 degrees Fahrenheit. Even during the hottest months, the average is 58 degrees due its altitude of 8,600+ feet over sea level.
Depending on when you arrive, and where you stay, feel free to modify your experiences!
For One Day in Bogota, I recommend taking walking and food tours with Beyond Colombia, taking in the views from Monserrate Hill, and visiting local markets like Paloquemao and Usaquen (great on Sundays!)
Here is an alternate itinerary I shared on my Instagram Reels.
Walking Tours with Beyond Colombia
Walking tours are one of my favorite ways to discover any city or country. I started making them part of my regular travel since travel to Costa Rica my second time in 2021. They are such a great way to see a city and country up close and personal with local guides giving back to the local economy.
While Colombia may be known for Cartels and Cocaine, it is equally as rich in culture, coffee, and comida (food!). You may be surprised to know that Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, it offers coffee as its biggest export, and the country boasts world famous graffiti. Speaking of world famous, likely you have heard of famous Colombians, Shakira and Sofia Vergara?
Although Colombia may have colorful towns and a colorful history (which one doesn't?), it is absolutely bucket list worthy. While spending time in Bogota, I have felt safe as a solo female traveler. Keep in mind, I do most activities during the day and in tourist spots or with groups.
I took two FREE Walking Tours with Beyond Colombia. Tip the Guides well! They are amazing!
The first one I took is the Historical Candeleria with Viviana at 10 am. A lot of the history I shared earlier I learned on the tour, as well as researching online. Viviana's recollection of the history, culture, and heritage is incredible.
During my walk, we learned about the history of Colombia, visited near Museo del Oro, Santander Park, La Candelaria, Plaza Bolivar, Plaza Chorro Quevado, Jorge Eliecer Gaitan Monument
Concord Square, and more!
In my video, you will find. highlights from both the historical and the food tour in Bogota, Colombia.
The Food Tour with Beyond Colombia is delicious!
I did the Food Tour on the same day as the Historical Tour at 2 pm.
Delicious is an understatement! I confused the time with 2 pm vs. 4 pm (the tour is at 2 pm).
I remembered it was four hours difference between the 2 tours. I confused the 4 hours with 4 pm, and realized at about 2:20 my error! I ended up messaging Beyond Colombia and still making it for 5 out of the 7 incredible spots!
The stops on the Colombian Food included
1 Empanadas and arepas de juevos (corn like tortillas stufffed)
2 Corn on the cob
3 Ajiaco soup typically a chicken and potato soup made with corn on the cob, avocado, rice, and capers. I ordered mine without chicken aka plant based Ajiaco. This was my first stop and second time eating Ajiaco.
4 Arepeas, meat, and/or lemonade with roasted coconut! I drank the lemonade so good!
5 Obleas - which are like circle wafers put together like a sandwich with sweet toppings inside. I had blueberry, peanuts, and unsweetened coconut flakes inside mine.
6 Hot Chocolate - in Colombia apparently it is customary to drink hot chocolate with cheese. I haven't had any cheese or dairy milk for 6+ years and my stomach does not like it either lol. I had regular Hot Chocolate.
7 Coffee - when in Colombia, you must have coffee!
The suggested tip is $7-$10 and well worth it. I tipped both times. Each tour is about 3 hours.
Walking tours are the BEST way to get an introduction to a city up close and personal!
Monserrate Hill is a must when you visit Bogota, Colombia. It is easy to get to via Uber or a Taxi.
It is a 10,341 ft mountain / 3,152 meters rising from Old Bogota towering over the capital of Colombia.
The best sunset views in Bogota hands-down!
Monserrate dates back to pre-Colombian times. Its original name 1st name is "grandmothers foot. It originally was inhabited by Chibcha-speaking Muisca people, who believed deeply in astronomy and worshipped solar god of Sué. Later, the Catholic Era replaced all temples with Catholic buildings.
In 1620s the Cofradia de la Vera Cruz (Brotherhood of Vera Cruz) used the Monserrate for religious celebrations and started pilgrimages. In 1656, Father Rojas was assigned to guard the sanctuary and was commissioned to carve a crucifix and statue of Jesus Christ El Señor Caído.
Over the years, more and more people visited the cathedral to visit El Señor Caído instead of Our Lady, so in the 19th century she was removed and El Señor Caído took her place.
Depending on your physical fitness level and how the altitude and cold affects you, you may want to walk up Monserrate for FREE during specific hours in the morning and afternoon. If you decide not to walk, there are options to take take funicular or cable car running until about 9 pm* Hours may change.
If you decide to walk up to Monserrate, you may want to go early in the morning and be back in time for the Historical Walking Tour at 10 am.
The Funicular (train like on the ground going up and down the mountain side) first debuted in 1929. Whereas, the Cable Car debuted in 1955. As of January 2022, it is about $5 USD/$22,000 Colombian Pesos roundtrip!
Although you know I love staying healthy like a boss at home and when I travel, I ended up taking the cable car round trip to and from Monserrate. I visited on my first day in Bogota and felt cold and tired from the altitude and change in temperature, I am sure I would have loved the hike, but I know I made the best decision for me for that day. If I did it again, I would go a few days after coming to Bogota and hike up and down.
Whether you walk or ride up, you will be in awe of the views of Bogota, Colombia and everything around you. At the top, you will experience the views, beautiful cathedral, 3+ restaurants - Santa Clara offers typical Colombian food, stations of the cross. market, cafes.
Food and Street Markets in Bogota, Colombia
One of the best ways to experience culture first hand is to go to a street market. I recommend Paloquemao Food Market and Usaquén Flea Market on Sundays. You may easily find Paloquemao and Usquen via Uber, Waze, or with Taxis. Paloquemao is about 10 minutes from La Candelaria via car, whereas Usquen is about 20-30 minutes or so outside of the Historical Center.
Keep in mind, you can only take photos and videos at Paloquemao on a weekday by getting a photo and video permit upstairs with their administrative office. I found out the hard way when I went on a Sunday to do a HeyGoLive Tour, and found out I could not take photos or film at all. Nothing on their website or reviews previously said so.
Santiago with Casa Aranjuez told me about Usaquen Market full of artisan goods in the north of Bogota. It is a great market to visit on a Sunday afternoon. I ended up going on my first Sunday in Bogota, and getting a Weyuu bag made by the indigenous tribes and Colombian wooden door that is a replica of real doors! It is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon amidst live music and street food too!
This is a fruit and vegetable lovers dream! A must experience in Bogota, Colombia to try fruits and vegetables like Pithaya, Freijoas, and Avocados almost as big as your head!