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  • Writer's pictureTravel Guide

Bogotá Bound: 21 Essential Travel Tips and Tricks for Your Upcoming Trip

Updated: Mar 5

Welcome to Bogotá, the beating heart of Colombia. Nestled high in the Andes at an altitude of 8,660 feet, this dynamic capital city is a captivating blend of history, culture, and modernity. From the charming cobblestone streets of La Candelaria to the panoramic vistas atop Monserrate, Bogotá offers travelers a rich tapestry of experiences. To ensure your visit is as rewarding as it is memorable, we've curated 21 essential travel tips and insights when traveling to Bogotá. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler to the city, these recommendations will enhance your exploration of Bogotá, allowing you to dive deep into its unique spirit.

Content

  1. Altitude Awareness

  2. Weather Preparation

  3. Learning Basic Spanish

  4. Safety First

  5. Money Matters

  6. Explore La Candelaria

  7. Local Cuisine

  8. Try Aguardiente

  9. Visit Monserrate

  10. Botero Museum

  11. El Dorado International Airport

  12. Gold Museum

  13. Bike Tours

  14. Local Markets

  15. Simón Bolívar Park

  16. Street Food Safety

  17. Currency Exchange

  18. Ciclovía

  19. Tipping Etiquette

  20. Usaquén

  21. Safety Apps

1. Altitude Awareness

Bogotá is perched at a lofty altitude of 8,660 feet (2,640 meters) above sea level. To gracefully acclimate to this height, it's prudent to refrain from engaging in strenuous activities during your initial day of arrival. Ensuring adequate hydration by consuming generous amounts of water is also highly recommended to alleviate potential altitude-related discomfort.


2. Weather Preparation

Bogotá's climatic conditions frequently exhibit variability and unpredictability. Mornings are prone to cooler temperatures, with a gradual warming trend as the day progresses into the afternoon. It is advisable to prepare for these fluctuations by packing suitable layers of clothing and a waterproof jacket. This ensures your comfort and adaptability to the city's ever-changing weather patterns.


3. Learning Basic Spanish

While many Bogotá residents don't speak English, learning basic Spanish phrases can enhance your experience. Politeness goes a long way, and locals appreciate it when you make an effort to communicate in their language.


Speaking Spanish

4. Safety First

Bogotá is generally safe, but like any major city, it's important to be cautious with your belongings. Keep a close watch on your bags and pockets, especially in crowded places and on public transport.


5. Money Matters

Before embarking on your journey to Bogotá, it is prudent to inform your financial institution about your travel plans. This proactive step helps prevent any potential disruptions in the use of your credit or debit cards during your stay in Bogotá. It's reassuring to note that the city offers convenient access to ATMs for cash withdrawals, and you will find that major credit cards are readily accepted at numerous establishments.


6. Explore La Candelaria

The historic neighborhood of La Candelaria is a highlight of Bogotá, known for its colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and vibrant street art. It's a great area to explore on foot, and you'll find numerous museums, shops, and cafes.


Neighborhood of Candelaria

7. Local Cuisine

Don't miss out on Colombian cuisine. Try dishes like arepas, empanadas, and ajiaco at local eateries and street vendors. Colombia is also known for its excellent coffee, so be sure to enjoy a cup at a local cafe.


8. Try Aguardiente

Aguardiente, Colombia's national spirit, is a potent anise-flavored liquor. While indulging in this traditional beverage, it is advisable to exercise moderation due to its strength. Additionally, remember to explore the delightful array of local beers and refreshing fruit juices that Bogotá has to offer.


9. Visit Monserrate

Ascend to the summit of Monserrate, the iconic mountain that presides over Bogotá, either via a cable car ride or a scenic hike. Your ascent will be duly rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the sprawling city below and the majestic mountains that frame the landscape. This experience is particularly enchanting during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a remarkable vantage point to capture the city's beauty.


View of Monserrate

10. Botero Museum

The Botero Museum houses a significant collection of artworks by renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero, known for his distinctive style featuring plump figures. Explore the museum's impressive collection, including paintings, sculptures, and more.


11. El Dorado International Airport

Upon your arrival at El Dorado International Airport, you have the option of utilizing the Airport Shuttle service, which provides an affordable and convenient means of transportation from the airport to the city center.


12. Gold Museum

The Gold Museum stands as a cultural treasure in Bogotá, revered for its vast and unparalleled collection of pre-Hispanic gold artifacts. These meticulously crafted pieces serve as profound windows into the opulent tapestry of Colombia's indigenous history. A visit to this institution is an indispensable pilgrimage for history and archaeology connoisseurs, offering a profound connection to the heritage of this remarkable land.


A golden cream

13. Bike Tours

Join a guided bike tour to explore Bogotá's neighborhoods and attractions. Experienced guides provide historical context and local insights, taking you to hidden gems and offering a unique perspective on the city.


14. Local Markets

Immerse yourself in Colombian culture by visiting local markets like Paloquemao Market. These markets feature fresh produce, exotic foods, and vibrant colors. It's an opportunity to sample authentic street foods and regional delicacies.


15. Simón Bolívar Park

Simón Bolívar Park is a massive urban green space where locals gather for picnics, family outings, and recreational activities. Take time to relax and enjoy the lush surroundings. You might even stumble upon local festivities or concerts.


Simon bolivar park

16. Street Food Safety

Street food vendors offer delectable snacks and meals. To ensure a safe and delicious experience, choose stalls that appear clean and where food is prepared to order, reducing the risk of stomach issues.


17. Currency Exchange

When it comes to managing your finances in Bogotá, a fundamental aspect is currency exchange. The local currency is the Colombian Peso (COP), and you'll find numerous exchange offices throughout the city. To ensure you get the best rates, it's advisable to use official currency exchange offices. These can be found at the airport, major shopping centers, and financial districts. The rates at these locations are typically more favorable than what you'd get on the street.


18. Ciclovía

On Sundays, several main roads in Bogotá are closed to cars, making way for the popular Ciclovía event. These streets transform into pedestrian and cyclist-friendly routes, offering a vibrant atmosphere to enjoy the local culture and activities.


Ciclovia in a street in Bogota

19. Tipping Etiquette

Tipping practices vary from one country to another, and in Bogotá, it's important to understand the local customs. While tipping isn't obligatory, it is customary, and it's a way to express your gratitude for good service. In restaurants, it's generally appreciated to leave a tip of around 10% of the bill when the service has been satisfactory. However, be mindful that this practice isn't set in stone, and it's perfectly acceptable to tip more if you feel the service was exceptional.


20. Usaquén

Usaquén, a charming neighborhood in northern Bogotá, boasts cobblestone streets, cafes, artisan markets, and boutique shops. Exploring Usaquén provides a different perspective on Bogotá's culture and is an excellent place to find unique souvenirs.


21. Safety Apps

Download safety apps and maps to navigate Bogotá and stay informed about local conditions. These apps can be beneficial in emergencies and provide real-time information about the city's security.

Guy looking at google maps

Conclusion As your journey through Bogotá comes to a close, we hope you've gathered a treasure trove of experiences and cherished memories. This Colombian metropolis, with its warmth and vibrancy, offers a captivating blend of old and new. From historic gems to culinary delights and the kaleidoscope of street art, Bogotá has much to offer. Remember the importance of altitude acclimatization, engaging with locals through a bit of Spanish, and savoring the local flavors and spirits. May your travels be safe, your adventures enlightening, and your connection to Bogotá everlasting. Until we meet again in this beautiful corner of South America!

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