Are you looking for the best things to do in Bogota?
Bogota is a mammoth city and not an easy city to navigate at all.
Whether you’re in Colombia to learn Spanish or just backpacking, you’ll be interested to know what to do in Bogota within a short space of time.
First, it’s worth knowing that Bogota is the capital and largest city in Colombia. It’s also the capital of the Cundinamarca Department.
Things to do in Bogota
Continuing my Spanish learning journey in Latin America, I visited Colombia’s capital, an entry point to begin my journey towards Medellín.
Upon arrival, I began to compile a list of the best things to do in Bogota. Below are some of the landmarks I visited.
I loved this place. You can get a decent view of the city and definitely has the most appeal if you like hiking when compared with other Bogota attractions.
It’s worth going just for the scenic view alone. It’s so high, I started to feel dizzy at one point.
Once you get to the top of the hill, you’ll encounter a beautiful little garden that provides a stark contrast from the busy streets of Bogota.
You’ll also find a cute church at the top and some cool places to buy gifts.
Try not to spend too much of your travel budget on the top of the hill as you’ll find much of the same cheaper in the city.
I took a cable car to the top, but you can actually walk. I wanted to walk, but because it was wet that day, they had closed off the steps.
Be sure to add Cerro Monserrate to your list of what to do in Bogota. You’ll love the view.
💡Smart Travel Tip
If you can’t stand heights or tend to feel sick or dizzy at high altitudes and don’t recommend this attraction
Bogotá Graffiti Tour
If you’re looking for one of the best activities in Bogota, Colombia, look no further. The graffiti tour is one of the best in the country.
If you’re a big fan of street art and can get the tour on a quiet day, it could be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have in Bogota.
Not only will you see Bogota’s street art hall of fame, but you’ll also get to learn the name of every artist.
The knowledgeable guides will also tell you a bit of background information on each artist. You see the work of more than 20 unique artists.
I recommend that you carry a small notebook or journal to note down the names because it’s easy to forget who’s who with so much inspiring artwork.
You’ll learn about the rise of graffiti in Bogota, not only the struggle of the artists vs. the police.
You’ll hear about how many rising female artists paved the way for new-born street artists. Many of these artists use this art form to depict their stories of sexual violence and exploitation.
This tour is one of my top things to do in Bogota.
💡Smart Travel Tip
Hard to do in Bogota but try to avoid booking the tour on a day that it’s raining.
You may also be interested to know that the tour organizers lead tailor-made tours for tourists.
Just ask the organizers, and you’ll get tours on all aspects of street life, including food and dining, politics, and general culture in Bogota.
So if you’re traveling to Colombia, make sure you add Bogotá Graffiti Tour to your list of cool things to do in Bogota.
If you were to ask me what to do in Bogota for one day, I’d recommend you head straight to La Candelaria.
While it’s surrounded by tourists and hostels, it shows a lively part of Bogota, which is popular with young people due to the University in the area.
In my opinion, it’s one of the best places to stay in Bogota and hard not to fall in love with the little neighborhood, especially on a nice sunny day in Bogota.
Get your best travel camera ready; you’ll find it’s the old core of Bogotá. Within a few blocks, you’ll find amazing and colorful colonial-style buildings.
Many of these buildings have some interesting history to accompany them. It’s definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Bogota if you’ve not been.
Nearby, you’ll find a few key sites such as the cathedral, the Plaza de Bolívar, and many historic churches.
La Candelaria is made up of many narrow streets and attractive pieces of architecture. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll find some quaint little eateries while you’re exploring the steep cobbled paths and sloped sidewalks.
See the short trip report on my first day in Bogota.
As you may see in my video, I stayed in a hostel. This was my first trip to Bogota, and it was a good introduction to the capital city of Colombia.
I found the Candelaria safe compared to other areas. If you’re wondering where to stay in Bogota, do your research, you may lose yourself as you explore the city deeper.
It’s by far one of the places you must visit in Bogota, Colombia.
The food tour
If you class yourself as a foodie, then the food tour is by far one of the most fun things to do in Bogota, Colombia. Bogota is famous for many food dishes around Colombia, one being Ajiaco.
I usually like to explore the market by myself without help. However, like some other countries I’ve visited in Latin America, I get stuck on what to eat because I don’t know the local dishes.
Bogota’s local market is massive, and many locals don’t recommend visiting alone.
The food tour gives you a great alibi to get to know it through a local food expert. Get ready to get acquainted with all those exotic fruits on display.
You’ll also learn many new things about the city while you’re stuffing your face. It’s one of those touristy, non-touristy things to do in Bogota where you get the best of both worlds.
💡Smart Travel Tip
Mark my words, do NOT eat anything before the tour. The idea is to arrive hungrily and leave happy with a full belly.
- Backpacking Colombia Guide
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- A Guide to Tatacoa Desert
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Museo del oro
For some people, it’s seen as one of the top things to do in Colombia. I agree; it’s an interesting place to visit.
Especially if you’re already in the La Candelaria area, but I’m not sure if I’d put it on my list of fun things to do in Colombia.
The museum holds an amazing collection of gold that can be seen from before the colony.
The exhibition spreads across four floors, and you’ll see a great collection of pieces of small and large gold items. There are audio tours and informative videos, so sit down and watch in the Pronunciation Room.
This place is one of the most important points of interest in Bogota, especially for people who like history and want to know more about pre-Hispanic culture in Colombia.
See how the natives worked metals and its connection with politics and religion.
💡Smart Travel Tip
Go here on a Sunday for free entrance. Downstairs can be a quiet place to enjoy a coffee if you have time.
You’ll also find many Pre-Colombian gold art pieces, so expect to get a rare glimpse into the ancient civilizations of Colombia.
Most of the information is presented in English, which is always good to know, especially if you are not yet fluent in Spanish or thinking of learning Spanish.
Zona T, Zona Rosa
Do you like to party? Are you looking for things to do in Bogota at night? Then Zona T awaits you, also, known as the Zona Rosa.
Not only will you find a huge concentration of bars, pubs, and clubs but also many other activities to do with your time in Bogota, Colombia. For example, it’s home to some of Bogota’s best shopping centers.
I didn’t party in Bogota, but I walked around this area at night and witnessed the shenanigans for myself.
If you do make it to this area, carry a light bag. I carried a leather duffel bag, and make sure you check out Museo del Chicó, which is a hidden gem tucked away in a park.
You’ll enjoy strolling around the lovely surrounding gardens.
It’s worth noting that there’s also a surrounding public park called Park 93 with a playground. This is perfect if you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for an hour or so.
I love the markets. If you’re still wondering what to see in Bogota, there’s nothing like getting lost inside a local market.
You can speak with the locals in Spanish and grab a street snack from them. After, I like to wander around while I’m taking in the vibe.
The market stall starts around 10 AM, and if you’d like to arrive early, you can see all the vendors setting up and probably scoop yourself some early bargains.
You can easily spend 2-3 hours here just looking at all the crafts on sale.
💡Smart Travel Tip
Please note: The Usaquen Flea Market is only open on Sundays also it’s best to arrive early as possible
What I like most about these types of markets is that you can haggle the price. The Usaquen Market is a colorful and exciting place to find unique souvenirs that you may not find elsewhere.
The whole area is reminiscent of other small heritage towns in Colombia that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Here, you’ll find the streets are filled with stalls selling everything from crafts to clothes, jewelry and more.
You’ll find the neighborhood Usaquen is a beautiful place! It’s filled with fantastic shops and restaurants with a variety of cuisines, styles, and prices.
There’s literally something for everybody, so now you know exactly what to do in Bogota on a Sunday.
The Plaza Bolivar or Plaza de Bolívar in Spanish is a very important square in Bogota – just by walking there, you feel the importance of its location.
The Plaza is home to some impressive and very important buildings, such as the Congress, City Hall, the Supreme Court, and the Cathedral.
If you’ve been to Buenos Aires, this is like Colombia’s version of the Plaza de Mayo Square. It should be on your list of things to see in Bogota, even if you’re just passing through.
I sat on the main steps and did my fair share of people watching.
In the big square, you’ll see lots of people and even more pigeons. Actually, I think there are more pigeons than people.
There’s also a big cathedral nearby, and the surrounding area is surprisingly busy, all day long.
Even first thing in the morning, when you’re trying to get that perfect Instagram shot, you’ll encounter people there.
It’s mainly filled with locals, tourists, and some street vendors. If you’re looking for cheap things to do in Colombia, I always go to these types of spots because I find them very entertaining.
I would say this is one of the best things to do in Bogota, but it’s just a stones-throw away from La Calendaria, so it’s well worth a visit.
The plaza is very photogenic with numerous historic buildings, so make sure you get your Instagram selfies here.
💡Smart Travel Tip
There are many beggars and pickpockets who operate in this area so watch your pockets, especially in the most crowded times.
Wondering what to carry on a trip to Bogota? I like to travel as light as possible. Check out my travel gear page, which has some great recommendations that you can easily take with you – without weighing yourself down too much.
Best things to do in Bogota
Now you have a good idea of the best places to visit in Bogota, even if you’re visiting on a layover and curious to know what to do in Bogota for one day.
However much time you have, I urge you to visit La Candelaria as a starting point and head out to the Salt Cathedral in the nearby town of Zipaquirá.
If you want to read my personal story where I talk about the best things about Bogota and my experience backpacking in South America, check out my post on how I stayed safe safe in Bogota.
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