Written by Kieran Proctor

Get Ready For An Unforgettable Trip To Bogotá!

Bogotá is a city teeming with life, history and culture. From the soaring heights of Monserrate Hill to the vibrant ...

Bogotá is a city teeming with life, history and culture. From the soaring heights of Monserrate Hill to the vibrant streets of the La Candelaria district, Bogotá is a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences.

If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful city, then this comprehensive guide will help you discover the top tourist attractions in Bogotá. Hopefully after reading this guide you’ll understand why I’m in the process of buying property and moving to Bogotá.

So I guess you could consider this a locals guide to the top tourist attractions in Bogotá!

Why Visit Bogotá?

Bogotá, nestled high in the Andean peaks, is one of South America’s most captivating cities. It’s a melting pot of cultures from all over Colombia (and Venezuela), with a vibrant mix of modernity, history and a culinary scene that is as diverse as its people.

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, an art enthusiast, shopaholic or a nature lover, Bogotá has something for you!

Bogotá is A City of Contrasts

Bogotá is a city where the past and the present coexist. Here, you can find ancient colonial buildings standing proudly alongside modern skyscrapers.

In Bogotá, you can explore the rich history of Colombia in the morning and by afternoon, be sipping coffee in a trendy café surrounded by the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Bogotá is A Culinary Paradise

Bogotá is a gastronomic paradise. With a food scene that’s as diverse as its population, you can find everything from traditional Colombian dishes to international cuisines. And Bogotá boasts more than 20 Michelin Star restaurants. Whether you fancy a hearty traditional meal, street food or a gourmet dining experience, Bogotá has got you covered.

Bogotá is Colombia’s Cultural Hub

As the capital city, Bogotá is the cultural heart of Colombia. It’s home to so many museums, art galleries and theatres that I’ve lost count. From ancient gold artifacts to contemporary art exhibitions, Bogotá offers a wealth of cultural experiences.

When to Visit Bogotá

Bogotá, due to its elevation at about 2,600 meters above sea level and its proximity to the equator, enjoys a fairly consistent climate year-round. The weather typically varies between 8 and 18 degrees Celsius (45°F to 65°F).

When the wind from the Andes sweeps through Bogotá it can get quite cold. You can have four seasons in one day in Bogotá. So you should pack warmer clothing that you can layer up. See my Bogotá packing list here.

Rainfall is a common occurrence all year round. But there are two rainy seasons typically occurring from April to May and October to November. Yet you can’t predict or avoid heavy rainfall in Bogotá. In the last 6 months I think I’ve found the weather apps to be right only once or twice.

While Bogotá is a year-round destination, the drier months from December to March may be the best time to visit for those who prefer to avoid heavy rainfall. However, if you want to witness the city in full bloom, the ‘rainy seasons’ (and I use that term lightly) are the ideal time to visit.

The view of Bogotá from Monserrate in the early morning

Understanding how to get around in Bogotá is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable trip. The city has an efficient public transport system.

The centre piece of the Bogotá public transport system is the TransMilenio, a bus rapid transit system. The TransMilenio works with the SITP, a system of smaller feeder buses.

Taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber, DiDi and InDrive are also widely available. And my strong recommendation is to use ride-sharing mobile applications, as opposed to taxis. In Bogotá, the taxi’s drive so badly that the GPS doesn’t give directions, it prays.

However, one of the best ways to explore Bogotá’s tourist attractions is on foot or by bike. Every Sunday, the city closes some of its main streets for La Ciclovia, a weekly event where locals and tourists alike can bike, walk or run through the city.

For a full rundown on how to get around, see my Travel Tips and Transport Options for Bogotá.

Where to Stay in Bogotá

Choosing where to stay in Bogotá largely depends on your interests and preferences. The city has a wide range of accommodations to suit all budgets and travel styles. From luxury hotels to budget hostels and vacation rentals, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs.

I’ve personally stayed in the Hotel Tequendama in Santa Fe, Bogotá’s oldest five star hotel. For your first trip to Bogotá as a midrange traveler, it’s conveniently located and has fantastic service. If it’s your first trip to Bogotá, consider the Hotel Tequendama.

Luxury Accommodations in Bogotá

For those seeking a touch of luxury, Bogotá has numerous high-end hotels offering top-notch amenities and services. Most of these hotels are located in the upscale neighborhoods of Zona T and Parque 93, known for their high-end shops, restaurants and nightlife.

Budget-Friendly Options in Bogotá

If you’re traveling on a budget, Bogotá has plenty of affordable hostels and guesthouses. Many of these are located in the La Candelaria neighborhood, the historical center of the city. And they offer easy access to many of Bogotá’s top attractions.

Vacation Rentals in Bogotá

For those who prefer the comforts of home, vacation rentals using mobile applications like AirBnB are a great option in Bogotá. The properties listed on AirBnB range from apartments to entire houses and they offer the flexibility and convenience of having your own space.

Must-See Places in Bogotá

Bogotá is home to a near endless list of attractions, each offering unique insights into the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. Here are some of my favorite attractions in Bogotá. I consider these to be the must-see attractions in Bogotá that should be on every traveler’s itinerary:

La Candelaria

La Candelaria, the historic heart of Bogotá, is a must-visit for any traveler. This neighborhood is home to a maze of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with colorful colonial-era houses, charming cafes and quirky shops.

It’s also where you’ll find some of the city’s most captivating street art and significant landmarks. Don’t miss the Plaza de Bolivar and the stunning Primatial Cathedral.

Monserrate Hill

Monserrate Hill is another must-visit spot in Bogotá. Standing at over 3,000 meters above sea level, this mountain peak offers breathtaking views of the city. You can reach the top by cable car or hike up the hill if you’re up for a challenge.

My advice is to go early on a weekday morning, to the avoid crowds. The lines for Monserrate can be intense on weekends and public holidays.

Gold Museum

The Gold Museum, or El Museo del Oro, is one of Bogotá’s most popular tourist attractions. It houses one of the largest collections of pre-Hispanic gold artifacts in the world. Here, you can learn about the rich history and cultural heritage of Colombia’s indigenous cultures.

You should also consider visiting the much smaller International Emerald Museum next door. Where you will learn about the history of emerald mining Colombia. The International Emerald Museum takes less than an hour to visit.

Botero Museum in Bogotá

Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Botero Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of works by renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The museum’s collection includes paintings, sculptures and drawings that are all characterized by Botero’s signature style of exaggerated proportions and voluminous figures.

Entry to the Botero Museum is free. And you should note that the Botero Museum is linked internally with the Colección de Arte del Banco de la República (Banco Republica art collection) and the Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia (MAMU), which are also free to enter.

You could easily lose many days wandering around this huge gallery complex where you won’t just find works by Botero. In the Botero Museum and the linked galleries there are works from a huge array of masters; Such as Matisse, Monet, Dali, Picasso, Renoir and many others.

In the vault of the Colección de Arte del Banco de la República you’ll find sacred jeweled religious artifacts. But don’t photograph these relics. Photos are prohibited in the vault as the jeweled crosses are both sacred and profane, and subject to much controversy.

Exploring Beyond Bogotá

While Bogotá is a destination in itself, the areas surrounding the city are also worth exploring. From charming colonial towns to breathtaking natural landscapes, there’s a wealth of attractions near Bogotá that offer a glimpse into Colombia’s diverse landscapes and cultures.

Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

Just a short drive from Bogotá is the remarkable Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, a church built within the tunnels of a former salt mine 180 meters underground. This unique attraction is not only a place of worship. But also a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of its builders.

The Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is named as one of the 7 wonders of Colombia. And it’s less than 2hrs from Bogotá. It’s one of the absolute must visit destinations for all travelers coming to Bogotá.

Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá which is less than 2hrs from Bogota Colombia
Zipaquira Salt Cathedra

Villa de Leyva in Boyacá

Another great day trip from Bogotá is Villa de Leyva, a charming colonial town known for its cobblestone streets and whitewashed buildings. This town is located in the Department of Boyacá, about 3 hours outside of Bogotá. You will need transportation to get to Villa de Leyva or an organized tour that includes transport.

Villa de Leyva offers a slower pace of life. Making it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the sprawling mega city that is Bogotá.

It’s the perfect destination for an overnight or weekend trip from Bogotá. And I would recommend staying a night or two in Villa de Leyva and exploring the Department of Boyacá.

Villa de Leyva in Boyaca Colombia
Villa de Leyva in Boyacá

Day Trips to Nature

For nature lovers, there are several national parks and natural reserves located a short drive from Bogotá. These include Chingaza National Park, home to unique Andean ecosystems, and Lake Guatavita, a sacred site for the indigenous Muisca people.

Experience Nightlife in Bogotá

As the sun sets, Bogotá transforms into a vibrant playground for night owls. Whether you’re a fan of salsa dancing, live music or craft beers, there’s a nightlife venue in Bogotá that’s sure to tickle your fancy.

Andrés Carne de Res in Chía

Andrés Carne de Res is almost impossible to describe. It’s a combination of traditional Colombian salsa club, parrilla and Cirque du Soleil. It’s the one nightlife venue everyone visiting Bogotá should see.

Andrés Carne de Res Chía opened in 1982 on a finca (farm) just outside Bogotá (1hr in a car) with only 6 tables. It’s now one of the largest restaurants in all of Latin America. If you’re wanting to experience something truly awesome while in Bogotá, have dinner at Andrés Carne de Res.

There’s two venues in Bogotá, one in Chía and another in Usaquén. But only the original Andrés Carne de Res in Chía is a tourist attraction. It’s the original and has a nightlife vibe that I just can’t summon the words to explain. It’s spectacular and you must visit the Andrés Carne de Res Chía while in Bogotá.

Salsa Clubs

Salsa is a big part of Colombian culture and Bogotá is no exception. The city is home to several salsa clubs where you can dance the night away or simply enjoy the energetic atmosphere. Some of the most popular spots include El Goce Pagano and Quiebracanto.

Craft Breweries in Bogotá

Bogotá’s craft beer scene has been thriving in recent years. If you’re a beer enthusiast, make sure to check out some of the city’s craft breweries. Bogotá Beer Company (BBC) is one of the pioneers in the scene and you can find them all over Bogotá. But there are also several other breweries worth visiting, such as Cerveceria Statua Rota and Tierra Santa Craft Brewery.

Live Music Venues

Bogotá is known for its vibrant live music scene. Whether you’re into rock, jazz or traditional Colombian music, there’s a live music venue in Bogotá that caters to your taste. Some notable spots include Matik Matik and La Pascasia.

La Pascasia reminds me a lot of a smaller version of the famous, Fábrica de Arte Cubano in Havana.

Safety Tips for Visiting Bogotá

While Bogotá is generally safe for tourists, it’s always important to take precautions when traveling. Here are some safety tips for visiting Bogotá:

Final Thoughts on Bogotá

From its rich history and culture to its vibrant nightlife and delicious cuisine, Bogotá offers an array of experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning for another visit, there’s always something new to discover in this captivating city.

So, pack your bags, brush up on your Spanish and get ready for an unforgettable trip to Bogotá!

Bogotá from above

Where Can I Get More Information On Bogotá?

If you’re planning to visit Bogotá on your next vacation, or you’re simply interested in Colombia in general, you should read my Bogotá City Guide.

My Bogotá City Guide is updated regularly. And it seeks to answer all of your questions regarding Bogotá and Colombia in one place. Read my Complete Bogotá City Guide.