Insider’s Guide to Bogota

The beating heart of modern Colombia, Bogota is a vast city, rapidly moving over a rich history and one of the best food and nightlife scenes in South America. Where do the locals catch their breath? Bogota native Maria Torres shares insider tips for visiting her home city.

One Perfect Day in Bogota

Maria in the hills of Bogota. (Credit: Maria Torres)

Plaza de Bolivar and La Candelaria are part of the Bogota’s historical center, so they’re a great place to start. Most of the houses and buildings are from colonial times, and there are amazing museums here, including the famous Gold Museum with its pre-Columbian artifacts, and Museo Botero, honouring one of our most beloved artists. For lunch, I suggest trying ajiaco, a soup made with different kinds of potatoes, chicken, corn, and herbs, then served with white rice, capers, and avocado. Ajiaco is my favourite Colombian comfort food.

Monserrate is a church located on one of the highest mountains in Bogotá. You’ll find many tourists there, but also locals who enjoy hiking. I highly recommend taking the cable car though, to see an amazing panorama of the whole city. There are also coffee shops, a souvenir store, and restaurants at the top.

Where the Locals Find Entertainment Day and Night

Usaquen is Bogota’s prettier entertainment district. People of all ages gather here, enjoying traditional restaurants, malls, and cafés in the colonial buildings. I used to go there with my friends to have lunch, dessert, and a coffee to warm up (super important on a damp Bogota day!). There are themed cafes that offer several kinds of coffee so it’s a complete experience and, of course, Colombian coffee is the best you’ll taste anywhere, not that I’m biased. Still, Zona Rosa was my place! Also known as “Zona T” for the T-shaped area at its heart, cafés, bars, haute cuisine restaurants, and clubs can all be found there. The architecture is more modern, but the party goes all night!

This article was originally published in Vol. 30 of Globetrotting Magazine.

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Maria Torres
Maria Torres

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