• Katrina Julia

Top 10 Bogota, Colombia Things to Do

Bogota is the capital of Colombia. The past, present and future all converge in this dynamic city immersed in greenery, heights, and history at every turn. Bogota is known as the epicenter of history for Colombia. Its tourists attractions include Plaza Bolivar, La Candelaria, Plaza del Chorro Quevado, Monseratte Hill, and Paloquemao and Usaquen Markets.


Whether you will spend One Day in Bogota, Colombia, or close to 2 weeks like I did, you will love it!

It's not easy to narrow down Bogota, Colombia to a Top 10 Things to Do, but here goes!


My Bogota, Colombia Things to Do includes Walking Historical Tour, Monserrate Hill, Food Tour, Plaza Bolivar, Primary Cathedral of Bogota, Paloquemao Market, Usaquen Artisan Market, Botanical Gardens, and Hotel de la Opera Day Spa Visit, and Foodie Favorites!




Bogota, Colombia
Top 10 Things to Do in Bogota, Colombia




Bogota, Colombia

Bogota is one of the most visited cities in Colombia for great reason.


Bogota, Colombia Highlights

  • Known as Gateway to South America (perfect for my first city in South America!)

  • Seen as Athens of America for its education, culture, and history.

  • One of highest points in South America at 8.600+ feet.

  • 1500+ Church's including Primary Cathedral of Bogota.

  • Over 500,000 tourists visit Gold Museum annually.

  • Named UNESCO City of Music in 2013


I share fun facts, travel, and tips in One Day in Bogota, Colombia too!



Walking Tour with Beyond Colombia in Bogota, Colombia


All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 13 or via Airbnb.




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Top 10 Bogota, Colombia Things to Do

You will find many things to do in Bogota, Colombia far beyond the Top 10 Things to Do I share.

Keep in mind, I stayed in Bogota for about a week and a half and picked what interested me more! You may want to spend more time in nature, eating food, visiting churches and museums. Always make any travels your own!


My Bogota, Colombia Things to Do includes Walking Historical Tour, Monserrate Hill, Food Tour, Plaza Bolivar, Primary Cathedral of Bogota, Paloquemao Market, Usaquen Artisan Market, Botanical Gardens, and Hotel de la Opera Day Spa Visit, and Foodie Favorites!


In putting together the Top 10 Bogota, Colombia Things to Do, I considered how I would experience travels knowing what I know now to make it easier and more enjoyable for you.

 

1 Walking Historical Tour in Bogota

Starting off your travels in Bogota with a walking historical tour is the best way to get up close and personal with Colombia. Not only that, but you support local entrepreneurs and economy as well.


While Colombia may be known for cartels and cocaine, you will discover it is equally as rich as a country. You may be surprised to know that Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, it offers coffee as its biggest export, biggest emerald exporter, and the country boasts world famous graffiti.



Mural near Plaza del Chorro de Quevado


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 loved my Walking Historical Tour with Beyond Colombia so much I did a second one!
Tip the Guides well! They are amazing!

The Walking Historical Tour started at 10 am. My guide was Viviana. I learned deeper insight into Colombia's history, culture, and economy. During the Walking Historical Tour in La Candelaria, 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!


Viviana's recollection of the history, culture, and heritage is incredible.








Whether you spend One Day in Bogota, Colombia or longer, a walking historical tour is a MUST!
 

2 Monserrate Hill

Now that you have seen Bogota up close and personal, it is time to see Bogota from up high.

I recommend you experience a sunset at over 8,600 feet over sea level at Monserrate Hill.


The BEST View of Bogota hands-down at sunset.







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.



Monseratte in Bogota



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!


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.


 

3 Colombian Food Tour

Remember, I mentioned earlier I loved my Historical Walking Tour with Beyond Colombia? Well, I loved it so much I decided to do a food tour too! I did the Food Tour on the same day as the Historical Tour at 2 pm. Depending on how long you stay in Bogota, you may want to combine the tours as well.


A MUST in Bogota is a Food Tour with Beyond Colombia!

Top Row - Beyond Colombia Umbrella, Ajiaco Soup at Catedral on Calle 11, Coffee Stop

Bottom Row - Lemonade with Coconut, Obleas, and Coffee with Swan design




Colombian Food Tour Stops with Beyond Colombia

1 Empanadas and arepas de juevos (corn like tortillas stuffed)

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 Arepas, 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!

 

4 Bolivar Square

Bolivar Square (Plaza Bolivar) is the main square of Bogota. It is located in the heart of the historical area, La Candelaria. It includes the statue of Simon Bolivar, the first public monument in the city. The history of Bolivar Square dates back to the pre-Columbian era.


The square is surrounded by historical buildings including the Palace of Justice, National Capitol, Primary Cathedral of Bogota, and Mayor of Bogota.



Bolivar Square

 

5 Primary Cathedral of Bogota

Roman Catholic is the most common religion in Colombia going back to Spanish colonization. There are over 1,500 churches in Bogota alone. You could visit one church every day for the next five years, and maybe you would visit them all!


The Primary Cathedral of Bogota is located on the east side of Bolivar Square. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Bogota, Luis Jose Rueda Aparicio. The Cathedral was built four times in the same place in 1556-1565, 1572, 1807, and 1823. Historically, it is said to be built by descendants of Jesuit missionaries.


The Primary Cathedral is rightfully named as the biggest cathedrals in Colombia, and one of the biggest in South America.

Primary Cathedral in Bogota, Colombia

 

6 Food Market: Paloquemao

One of my regular things to do in every city and country is to go to a local food market. I made sure and asked for the most recommended fruit and food market in Bogota, Colombia. Online and in real life, Paloquemao Market came up again and again.


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.


You may easily find Paloquemao via Uber, Waze, or with Taxis. Paloquemao is about 10 minutes from La Candelaria via car.





There are countless fruits and vegetables you may try and buy at Paloquemao like Pithaya, Freijoas, Sinjuelos, Comuns, Avocados, Bananas and more!





 

7 Market with Artisan Goods: Usaquen

I learned about Usaquen Market from my Airbnb Owner and Host, Santiago with Casa Aranjuez. When I asked about any local recommendations in Bogota, he told me about Usaquen Market full of artisan goods in the north of Bogota on Sundays.


I ended up going on my first Sunday in Bogota, and ended up getting a Weyuu bag made by the indigenous tribes, Colombian wooden door that is a replica of real door, and a Batik Journal and gifts!


You may find Usaquen via Uber or Taxi. It is about 20-30 minutes from the historical center.







Botanical Gardens, and Hotel de la Opera Day Spa Visit, and Foodie Favorites!






 

8 Botanical Gardens in Bogota

I love being surrounded by nature, so when I discovered Bogota has Botanical Gardens I knew I wanted to visit. Jose Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden is Colombia's biggest botanical gardens.


You will find Rose Garden, Waterfalls, and Tropicario to experience Colombian climates and regions.











Where are my fellow nature lovers at?