Bogotá is full of fascinating architecture, history and activities.
has established itself as one of the most exciting and culturally diverse cities in South America. The friendly residents of the Colombian capital, and an excellent culinary scene, only add to the intoxicating atmosphere this city exudes. Here’s our pick of what to do and where to go.
1. Sanctuary of Monserrate – Bogotá Colombia
The sanctuary of Monserrate in the eastern hills of Bogotá can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. It is located at 3,172 meters above sea level, at the top of Monserrate or Cerro de Las Nieves. Devotees walk up an almost two mile path to this traditional site of religious pilgrimage, which began in 1620 with the shrine of Our Lady of Monserrate. The basilica houses the image of the Fallen Lord of Monserrate, an effigy of Christ which, according to the faithful, performs miracles, and at the top visitors can walk the Stations of the Cross.
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Monserrate is located in downtown Bogotá, very close to the historic center of Bogotá, on Carrera 2da. Este No. 21 – 48, Paseo de Bolívar. If you want to climb the hill there are three options where you can enjoy a different beautiful view of the city, because on the way you can see the whole capital of Colombia.
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If you prefer comfort, or for health reasons it’s difficult to climb stairs, you can use the Monserrate funicular, which is open Monday to Friday from 6:30 am to 11:45 am and on Saturdays until 4:30 pm. The funicular ride comes at a cost of 13,000 COP one way and 22,000 COP two ways.
Another perfect option for those who prefer to save time on the way up is the Monserrate cable car, which is open Monday to Saturday from 12:00 pm to 11:30 pm, at a cost of 13,000 COP one way and 22,000 COP two ways. On Sundays it opens from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm at a cost of 6,500 COP one way and 13,000 COP two ways. And if you want to go up with your pet, the rental costs 5.000 COP if it is small, and 10.000 COP if it is big.
2. Take a tour in La Candelaria neighborhood
The best way to visit La Candelaria is by walking around and enjoying its architecture. In the houses with nineteenth-century eaves and colonial balconies, the ghosts of the viceroys that once inhabited patios and hallways are hidden.
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A large portion of the homes – many of them in colonial and republican construction styles – are preserved and have been declared assets of historical and cultural interest. In this area of the historic center of the city there are about 500 institutions including the best museums in Bogota, research centers, as well as theaters, libraries, and universities.
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Today, either these large houses are theaters (La Candelaria, Seki Sano, El Tecal, García Márquez, etc.) and museums in Bogota (Colonial, del Florero, Casa de la Moneda, Quinta de Bolívar, Military, etc.) or they have disappeared to give place to the modern buildings of the Universities (La Salle, Externado, Andes, etc.) and the most visited library on the continent, the Luis Ángel Arango Library, One of the best places to visit in Bogota.
This mix between old and modern styles is visible not only in the architecture, but also in the life of this area. Artists, students, and visitors from all over the world blend in its streets with the original inhabitants of some of these houses, when taking a trip to Bogota, Colombia.
3. Free Graffiti Tour in Bogota
If you want to know a different perspective of urban Bogotá and its youthful artistic expressions, you cannot miss the Graffiti Tour in Bogotá. This project that amazes national and foreign tourists was born in 2011 by the Australian Christian Petersen, who, admired for the quality of the graffiti, decided to give shape to this group.
These wonderful works of street art range from graffiti tags that are the signatures of individuals or names of groups that have formed their own style, to hand-painted spray-painted murals that rise up to the height and width of the walls of buildings masterfully. located to give the city a show full of creativity.
In the Graffiti Tour in Bogotá you will find simple designs and patterns, advertisements and walls full of political reflections on events of our last years.
In order to make sense of everything you see, since graffiti artists generally make their works for themselves or for people in their own community, we recommend that you schedule a guide who will take you through the emblematic places. Thus, in the Parque de los Periodistas -located in the center of the city- on Carrera 4 with Calle 17, the guides are waiting for you and will be able to give the tour in English, French, German and Spanish. Currently you can choose between two tours, one at 10:00 a.m. and another at 2:00 p.m.
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4. La Calera Climbing, Abseiling & Ziplining Activity
Have an incredible adventure in the Andean scenery that surrounds Bogotá on our La Calera Climbing, Abseiling & Ziplining Activity. You’ll have an unforgettable experience in the heart of a beautiful natural area.
At 9 am we’ll meet at Parque de la 93 and, once we’ve all arrived, hop in a jeep and set off for La Calera, a climbing area in the outskirts of Bogotá.
After just over 1 hour, we’ll have reached our destination. This breathtaking natural environment offers multiple adventure activities, which we’ll be able to do. We’ll begin by hiking to the top of Indio Peak, from which you’ll admire the magnitude of the Colombian capital from an incredible bird’s eye view.
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We’ll get our climbing equipment ready and discuss the main safety regulations that we’ll need to follow. Don’t worry if you’ve never gone rock climbing before, as you’ll be assisted by the guide throughout the activity.
Next, we’ll abseil from a rock situated at a height of 66 feet (120 metres). You’ll make your way down the canyon against the spectacular backdrop of the Andes. Afterwards, we’ll cap off our day of adventure and adrenaline by ziplining across the moorland.
5. Tequendama Falls Tour
Discover an unusual place covered with fog almost 365 days a year with this excursion to the Tequendama waterfall from Bogotá, the perfect chance to connect with Colombian nature!
We’ll pick you up from your hotel in Bogotá at the scheduled time and take you to the Tequendama waterfall, only 30 kilometres from the city.
Upon arrival, we’ll be able to admire this unique spot made up of a 157-metre waterfall from the Bogotá River. According to Muisca legend, the deity Bochica created this waterfall with a blow from his staff to prevent flooding of the region’s savannah… impressive!
Right in front of the waterfall is the Salto de Tequendama Biodiversity and Culture Museum, a building of French architecture that was inaugurated in 1923. Do you know about the dark events that took place here at the beginning of the 20th century? We’ll find out all about them!
After a four hour excursion, we’ll conclude the tour by dropping you back off at your hotel.
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6. Free Emerald Tour
The Emerald District lies adjacent to Bogotá’s historic center, better known as La Candelaria. If it’s your first time in Bogotá, La Candelaria is a great place to stay. Beautiful colonial architecture, fabulous food and museums will be around every corner. Plus, every important emerald-related activity is within walking distance.
The first stop, you should be the Museo Internacional de la Esmeralda, or Emerald Museum, located at the intersection of calle 17 and carrera 7. (Click here for an explanation of Bogotá’s grid system.) The Emerald Museum is on the 23rd floor of the Avianca building, which was once the tallest skyscraper in Latin America. Simply enter on the ground floor and tell the staff at the desk that you are there to go to the museum. They will likely ask for ID and take your photo, so be sure to have your passport on you. Then head to the elevator, and up you go.
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7. Páramo de Sumapaz Trip
The Páramo de Sumapaz is said to be the largest páramo ecosystem in the world! Discover this breathtaking moorland on this day trip from Bogotá.
At 8 am, we’ll pick you up from your hotel in Bogotá. First, we’ll set off for a district of Bogota called Usme to visit its market, where we’ll get to choose the ingredients for our lunch!
Afterwards, we’ll head to the guide’s house to drop off the food we bought and enjoy a light snack before setting off for the Páramo de Sumapaz.
When we arrive, we’ll marvel at the largest moor in the world – over 3500 metres high! In this magnificent natural environment, we’ll discover the fascinating local plants and wildlife such as Andean bears, deer, eagles, condors and many more!
Sumapaz is also famous for the indigenous traditions that were practiced there in the past. During the visit, we’ll find out all about the rituals that were performed in this area of South America before the arrival of the Spanish.
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8. Tota Lagoon Day Trip
Tota Lake is in Boyacá, a department in the Andean region of Colombia, characterized by its green countryside, fertile land and noble people. It is surrounded by pretty villages and beautiful, peaceful countryside. Immerse yourself in the lush surroundings!
On the way to Tota Lake and the neighboring villages This 60 km² lake is accessed by road and the easiest way to get there from Bogotá is via the Autopista Norte that goes through Tunja, the capital of Boyacá, and passes through many small towns, including Sogamoso.
In Sogamoso, known as the city of sun and steel, it is worth stopping to see the Virgen de Morcá sanctuary, the Archaeological Museum and the solemn Templo del Sol, or Temple of the Sun, a place that embodies the wisdom of the indigenous families in the region.
There are innumerable places worth visiting along the road to Tota.
From there you can head to Yopal (capital of the department of Casanare), known for its beautiful panoramic views that reach El Crucero, where the route to Lake Tota starts winding through potato, green onion and pea cultivations.
The distance from Sogamoso is only 29 km, but it may feel longer because of the uphill climb from 2,560 meters to 3,015 meters above sea level. Furthermore, the beauty of the countryside means you will want to stop along the way.
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9. Villa de Leyva
Without a doubt, this town is one of the most beautiful in Colombia, and is famed for its historic importance and magnificent square, which was recognized as a National Monument in 1954.
In fact, the Plaza Mayor in Villa de Leyva is the largest in Colombia and one of the most impressive in South America, with over 150,000 square feet.
In addition to its colonial architecture, Villa de Leyva is characterized by its many rural landscapes, which extend from the moor to the desert.
Thanks to the great number of activities that Villa de Leyva offers, it’s the perfect place for lovers of history, science, the arts, culture, and nature.
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10. Chingaza Natural National Park
The Chingaza Park is home to a number of species in danger of extinction in Colombia, such as the Andean condor (Vulturgryphus), the cock-of-the-rock, the Andean bear, the puma, the red deer and the most noteworthy of all, the white-tailed deer (Odocoiteus virginianus), whose numbers have been drastically reduced due to poaching. It is the largest deer in the country, although its habitat extends from Canada to Bolivia via Central America. It is normally found alone or in small groups in rainforests, paramos and savannahs, both in cultivated and protected areas. It is a herbivore, feeding on bushes, leaves, fruit, many species of grass, fungi, lichens, nuts and tender shoots. It grows to a length of between 85 and 210 centimetres and a height of between 55 and 114. Its body colour ranges from grey to reddish brown.
The main activities are hiking and observing the wild fauna and flora. We recommend that you follow the environmental interpretation trails, from which you may observe the unique paramo flora and the highly varied fauna, as well as taking pictures or filming videos. Since it is often foggy, you would be advised to carry exploring lights or a torch. The most J interesting sites include the lakes of Siecha, the lakes of Buitrago, Laguna Seca and Laguna Verde, the landscapes of Los Cerros de los Gigantes, the Suasie trail in Monterredondo, the La Arboleda trail, the Chingaza Lake and the landscape of the Serrania de los Organos.
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