Colombia (Republic of Colombia)

Languages: Spanish

Currencies: COP · Colombian peso ($)

Capitol: Bogotá

Continents: South America

Borders: Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Panama

More useful information

Area: 1,141,748km2

Population: 50,882,884

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +57

Timezones: UTC-05:00

Last updated on October 29, 2023

Bogota is a fascinating city you should visit at least once in your life. It’s very different from most capital cities. You will also need to do a small preparation before traveling. 😉 Every traveler seeks safety information before traveling to Colombia due to its bad reputation caused by narco-mafia. Don’t worry.. the safety level has improved massively and with some safety tips you should have a wonderful travel experience. With my Bogota city guide you’ll discover 10 top fascinating things to do in Bogota, including best tours, attractions and must-do places!

There are few crucial things you should know before traveling to Bogota. Prepare for the altitude and several other challenges that are waiting for you there! Colombia is the country with the fourth-highest capital – Bogota at an elevation of 2640 m. That means if you plan to be very active from the start you may feel the altitude sickness. Symptoms at this altitude are very mild but you might feel slightly more tired and sleepy, as the air is thinner and the brain slows down due to lack of oxygen above 2500 meters. 

Bogota city guide

Some travelers arriving in Bogota will not notice it at all. What I would say take it easy, and acclimatize at least 2-3 days before you hike Monserrate (the biggest mistake most travelers do is they hike the mountain straight after arrival, but the consequences might be unpleasant). Check this Bogota city guide for number of attractions to do first before reaching Monserrate.

Acclimatize in Bogota.

There is no easy way to short-circuit the process of acclimatizing. Bogota is a fascinating city of ups and downs, there are almost no flat streets. So this will give you enough fitness for the first few days. You may use taxis instead of walking, as the only thing that will let you acclimatize is TIME.

Try not to get plastered with tempting Colombian drinks. Drink plenty of water instead (min. 2-3 litres a day).

Is Bogota safe?

A lot of people say Bogota is dangerous, blah, blah… Tell me which European capital city is safe?  Of course there are safety issues in Colombia, especially in southern parts of the country but once you are careful and behave normally everything should be all right. Just don’t look scared all the time, that will only attract robbers. Pickpocketing is very common in Colombia. So take small money with you and don’t despair of being robbed. It happens to a lot of tourists and it should not be a reason to cry and overthink. We were robbed and at the end we laughed about it, as you have no f****ng clue when it happens 🙂 20$, an ID and a credit card were gone and so what? Block the card – they won’t be able to use.

Check full post on Is it safe to travel to Colombia. 

One thing here – you should always have at least 2 copies of your passport hidden somewhere in your luggage. In case your passport is stolen it’s easier to identify yourself at the police station. Police are visible on the streets and they will react in case of any danger. They are well aware of pickpocketing but don’t think you’ll get your stuff back even if the thief is cought. Generally do not show off with your valuable belongings. Although Bogota is safe for travelers there is a small risk to be attacked. I was told that when I was carrying my big camera around my neck. Mobiles or small cameras have become so popular and accessible these times that they are out of thief interest.

Bogoda - best travel advise.

Official currency in Colombiais PESO: 1 USD = 4,251 COP

ATMs – best money changer option. Use big banks ATMs. Hotels & Airports charge fee for money exchange.

City Transport – buy a local travel card, it’s very easy to buy and charge and then you can freely use a public transport (sometimes impossible to find shops on Sunday).

eSIM CARD – one of the most useful things to get aborad! Get AIRALO SIM card here – the world’s first eSIM store that solves the pain of high roaming bills. mobile APP here. 

AIRPORT TRANSFER – book private convenient airport arrival or departure transport from Eldorado Airport for only 13$! (Viator)

Bogota city guide - top fascinating attractions.

Historical La Candelaria - best place to stay.

Spend a day walking through cobblestone streets of historical part of Bogota – La Candelaria. Take it easy for a proper acclimatization, visit local bares & coffee shops, try incredible local food, the area is full of restaurants. Exlpore the La Candelaria to admire all the colourful colonial-style buildings. Most travelers would choose to stay in this district, here are few lovely, budget-friendly and top rated accommodation options for 20$/per night in the heart of the historical architecture:

Climb Monserrate Mountain 3150 m!

Just don’t do it on a first day! This is really a tough walk due to the altitude, even though I was acclimatized it was still difficult. I can’t believe some people-mainly pilgrims climb the mountain on their knees…Some of the steps are huge. The view from the top is magnificent! It’s hard to believe how big Bogota is, you only realize from the plane perspective or Monserrate hill. There’s a beautiful white sanctuary on the top and couple of overprized restaurants. The Sanctuary was built in 17th century and stand at the elevation of 3150metres above the sea level. It’s a massive tourist attraction, really crowded during weekends. There are few ways to get to the top:

  • hard-way by walking up 😉
  • Monserrate funicular (check opening times, it was only 6.30am-12am) Monday to Friday. The costs 12,000 COP.
  • Easy-way – Monserrate cable car – same cost 12,000 COP. 

Don't miss Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen.

One of the most amazing sanctuaries I’ve seen in South America, built in a unique Gothic style church. It’s located above the neighborhood of La Candelaria, easy reachable by walking. 

Check most popular city tours around Bogota.

Museo del Oro - Gold Museum.

Great piece of history, free entry on Sundays. It’s 10 minutes walk from Candelaria and they have the greatest grilled buttered corn at the square. It’s the best museum you can visit in the city. Museo del Oro – Gold Museum exhibition is highly impressive, there are 3 floors to explore. It is the biggest pre-Hispanic gold collection in the world. Museum was opened in 1939.

Plaza Bolivar - the heart of the city.

You can’t miss this square with a Capitol Building and the Cathedral of Bogota with thousands of pigeons. 

The square id a sight of historical importance in South America. It’s a popular spot for public celebrations and cultural events.

Street art, murals & graffiti tour!

Walk the streets of Bogota, there’s nothing better than exploring the place on foot. You’ll get to see real local life scene, street murals and incredible wall art. Check one of the best Street art and alternative culture private tour!

Choachi Waterfall Hiking Tour (590m).

La Chorrera Waterfall (La Chorrera Cascada)- one of the highest cascades in South America is located in among beautiful countryside and hilly landscape. This is a great hiking option for Bogota. 

Hiking La Choachi is an exciting day trip. It is located 1.5h drive by bus from Bogota. The only thing you should know – it is not allowed to swim in Choachi Waterfall, as the water is used by city authorities. The hike is about 15km in total, so you should be equiped with some snacks and water! 

Private Hiking Tour to Choachi Waterfall.

Best flea markets in Bogota.

Flea markets are one of the most fascinating things to do in Bogota. They are opened on Sundays and public holidays. Most famous flea markets are:

  • Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquen
  • Mercado de las Pulgas de San Alejo

Bogota cultural food tour.

Food tours – best way to taste the country! Bogota offers a range of culinary experiences.

5 Best Bogota Food Tours according to Tripadvisor.

What to try:

Ajiaco – Bogota’s signature dish, made of potato, chicken, corn and avocado.

Mojito – real taste only in Colombia!

Arepa – grab & go snack!

lama in Bolivar
Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!

Leave a Comment