Welcome to my blog on the best things to do in Bogota! My name’s Sara and I’m from the US (grew up in Connecticut but spent my college years in Boston until 2019). I currently live in Anguilla. I’ve always been attracted to up-and-coming destinations and heard only great things about the food, topography and people of Colombia – which inspired our visit.
We had received mixed reviews about Bogota, so it ended up being our shortest stay in Colombia (something we regret). Three days simply wasn’t enough time! We balanced our visit between independent exploration and two tours: the Rent a Friend option with Zebra Fisgona and Urban Food Tasting with Bogota Bloggers. These were both experiences that catered to our interests and we couldn’t recommend them highly enough!
Bogota turned out to be a pleasant surprise! With its wide streets, parks, squares and grit – Bogota felt a lot like New York to me. We loved how walkable it was and how we could wander with ease. Bogota is an established city with historic roots you can see and feel, which I loved.
My Favorite Place in Bogota
My favorite place in Bogota was Plaza Del Mercado de Paloquemao. I’ve visited markets around the world, from Panama to the Caribbean to Europe to Asia, and nowhere compared in terms of variety and cleanliness!
As someone who likes learning about food culture and eating new foods, this was the perfect place to do both. Not only was there an insane variety of perishables – but we also enjoyed shopping at stalls selling and sampling local items such as wine, cheese and spirits! I could’ve spent hours here.
9 Best Things To Do in Bogota
1. Do the Rent a Friend Tour with Zebra Figsona
Rent a Friend allows you to have a personalized tour alongside a local friend/private guide. By letting them know your specific interests, they’ll create a custom itinerary for you to discover the attractions and hidden gems of Bogota at your own pace. However you wish to see the city – from live music to food markets to architectural sites – the tour guides will help you immerse yourself in the authentic side of this unique destination.
2. Enjoy the Urban Food Tasting with Bogota Bloggers
On the Urban Food Tasting with Bogota Bloggers you’ll make new friends for life. This Airbnb Experience reveals how two expats fell in love with their adopted home. Joey and Giovani take you to try ajiaco, shop for fruit and veggies to make mojitos later, visit the La Macarena neighborhood to capture photos of the street art, try local coffee at a shop, before finally making the mojitos on their apartment terrace while watching the sunset.
3. Try Creative Traditional Dishes at Mini Mal
This understated yet highly respected restaurant highlights native Colombian ingredients, offering creative twists on traditional Colombian dishes. Mini Mal boasts a low-key atmosphere, allowing you and your travel group to experience an intimate meal while tasting exciting new flavors.
4. Have a Pastry and Coffee at Hibrido
Hibrido is the perfect place to order a coffee and pastry duo, and watch all the dog walkers go by. The restaurant/bakery hybrid model specializes in sourdough bread, including it in many of the dishes. They open at around 8am most days (apart from Monday when they’re closed), so you can wake up at your hotel and stroll here to get your early caffeine fix!
5. Visit the Emerald Trade Center and Purchase Jewelry
If you love emeralds and want to purchase something special from your Bogota trip, then the Emerald Trade Center is here to help. I suggest heading to the Mac Jewelry store which is on the left hand side when you enter. They sell all sorts of gorgeous necklaces, bracelets, rings and more.
6. Wander Around the Chapinero Alto Neighborhood
Chapinero Alto is a neighborhood that offers a unique experience. Known for its trendy vibe – the area is a hotspot for art, culture and gastronomy. Visitors can explore the colorful streets lined with street art and boutique shops. The nightlife, with numerous bars and clubs, makes it an exciting destination after dark. Chapinero Alto is also home to excellent dining options, from traditional Colombian cuisine to international flavors.
7. Take a Food Crawl at La Perseverancia Distrital Marketplace
La Perseverancia Distrital Marketplace beckons with a plethora of tantalizing Colombian delicacies waiting to be savored. You can indulge in a myriad of flavors that encapsulate the rich tapestry of Colombian cuisine. From the hearty bandeja paisa to the mouthwatering arepas and empanadas, your taste buds will be treated to an unforgettable feast!
8. Head Up Monserrate On an Early Weekday Morning
When visiting Bogota, don’t miss the opportunity to ascend Monserrate: a mountain that graces the city’s skyline. For the best experience, aim to reach its summit on a weekday morning. As the sun casts its glow over the Colombian capital, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking panorama that stretches as far as the eye can see. The sprawling cityscape – nestled within the Andean mountains – comes alive with a mosaic of colors and sounds.
9. Learn About the Craft Beer Culture of Bogota
Visiting Lino Brewing to learn more about (and obviously taste!) their craft beer is a phenomenal way to spend the afternoon. This place is a harmony of “Korean passion” and “Colombian taste” – two aspects that mix together beautifully. Another fantastic beer stop is the Pola de Pub microbrewery at the airport. Here, you can enjoy any number of their delicious craft beers.
Our Stay at the HAB Hotel, Bogota
We stayed at the HAB Hotel. This is a nice option if you like hotels. Just make sure you ask for a non-front-facing room. The price is right, the location is great, their farm-to-table cafe is fantastic (I’m anti hotel restaurant but we ate there twice!) and their service was good. As people who hadn’t been to Bogota before and whose Spanish isn’t great, we’re happy we stayed at a hotel but would consider an Airbnb in the future.
Tips for Your Visit to Bogota
I suggest people stay in Bogota for more than three days. This gives you time to do all the activities mentioned above and not feel rushed. Another key tip is to consider the cooler and overcast/rainy climate of Bogota. Be sure to pack clothing for layers and closed toed shoes. Shorts are a no-no.
While we were fortunate enough not to experience the Bogota traffic, we heard that it can be a nightmare – so take that into account when visiting the city. Bogota has a highly regarded food scene and we didn’t even come close to scratching the surface! If you like to eat, come hungry.