Written by Kieran Proctor

Tips For Planning The Perfect Itinerary In Bogotá: 7 Days In Bogotá

Bogotá is a city that has a lot to offer tourists. From the cobblestone streets of La Candelaria to the ...

Bogotá is a city that has a lot to offer tourists. From the cobblestone streets of La Candelaria to the modern skyscrapers of the business district, Bogotá is a city of contrasts with much to see and do.

Bogotá is a city that’s full of life, culture and history. But how long do you need to spend in Bogotá to experience all that it has to offer? This comprehensive locals guide to Bogotá will provide you with all the answers!

Introduction: The Charm Of Bogotá

Bogotá is nestled high in the Andes, at a breathtaking 2,600 meters above sea level. It’s a bustling metropolis with a rich cultural scene, vibrant nightlife and a strong sense of history.

While it’s true that the city can seem overwhelming at first, it’s also true that those who take the time to explore Bogotá will find a city full of charm and vitality. Which is why I’m buying property and moving to Bogotá.

It’s Bogotá’s sprawling size, gridlocked traffic and past reputation that often turns people away from visiting. But for those who do invest their time into properly researching Bogotá and planning a realistic itinerary, Bogotá can become a dream destination.

And when I say realistic itinerary, 48hrs in Bogotá is barely enough to scratch the surface. Most itineraries that I see, have people running at breakneck speeds from one gallery, museum or attraction to the next. Yet, Bogotá is a city that needs time to explore properly.

Unfolding Bogotá’s History

Bogotá’s history is a rich tapestry of influences from the pre-Colombian era to the Spanish conquest. And from the struggle for independence, through to the modern-day metropolis that Bogotá is now. To delve into the city’s past, a visit to the Gold Museum is a must and a great place to start.

The Gold Museum or Museo del Oro, houses the largest collection of pre-Hispanic gold works in the world. It offers a fascinating glimpse of life in Colombia’s ancient civilizations. And right next-door to the Gold Museum, you’ll find the International Emerald Museum teaching visitors about the world’s best emeralds. And the world’s best emeralds come from Colombia.

Only a couple of blocks away from Museo del Oro and the Emerald Museum in La Candelaria, the old town, you’ll find Plaza Bolivar. Plaza Bolivar is the cities main square and around it, you’ll find many important government buildings and the Catedral Primada (Cathedral of Bogota).

For several blocks in each direction around Plaza Bolivar you’ll find the highest density of museums and art galleries anywhere in the city. There are so many museums and galleries surrounding Plaza Bolivar, that I’ve literally lost count.

Two blocks back from Plaza Bolivar there’s the Military Museum of Colombia (Museo de las Fuerzas Militares de Colombia – Candelaria). For those interested in Colombia’s founding as a real country with a real military, it’s definitely a place to visit.

The Military Museum of Colombia houses artifacts from Colombia’s struggle for independence, right through to more modern civil strife. And it also details Colombia’s important contributions to foreign conflicts, such as its participation in the Korean War.

Around the Plaza Bolivar there are several other museums whose names I can’t even recall as I write this. They all blur into one after the first 20 or so. For the history buffs among my readers, you could spend weeks just exploring La Candelaria and its many museums.

Embracing Bogotá’s Cultural Scene

Bogotá is a city that embraces the arts. From the internationally renowned museums and art galleries to the vibrant street art scene, there’s something for everyone. Spend a day exploring the Botero Museum (Museo Botero), which houses one of Latin America’s most important international art collections.

The Botero Museum is actually more than one gallery. It’s linked internally with the Colección de Arte del Banco de la República (Banco Republica art collection) and the Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia (MAMU). All are free to enter and the combined complex is huge.

If you combine a visit to the Botero Museum and the linked MAMU and Banco Republica art collections with a Graffiti Tour of Bogota’s many murals, you’ve filled an entire day. And you’ll have experienced everything from Botero to Matisse and on through to the ‘Bogota Banksy’.

Savoring Bogotá’s Culinary Delights

Food lovers will delight in Bogotá’s flourishing culinary scene. From traditional Colombian cuisine to international fare, the city offers a smorgasbord of flavors. And Bogotá counts over 20 Michelin Star restaurants within its city limits.

Sample street foods like empanadas and arepas, or dine in one of the city’s gourmet restaurants. Or, for a real taste of Bogotá, try to take a night excursion to Andrés Carne de Res in Chía.

If you took a Colombian salsa club and barbecue restaurant, then combined them with Cirque du Soleil, you’d have Andrés Carne de Res in Chía. It’s one restaurant not to miss in Bogotá.

Exploring Bogotá’s Vibrant Neighborhoods

Bogotá is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. La Candelaria, the city’s historic center, is a delightful maze of narrow streets, colonial buildings and quaint squares. Meanwhile, the trendy neighborhoods of Chapinero and Zona G are known for their stylish boutiques, hip cafes and vibrant nightlife.

And for the LGBTQ+ travelers, Chapinero is home to the largest LGBTQ+ nightclub in Latin America, Theatron. Theatron is actually a maze of smaller clubs spread over 5 massive levels. And it welcomes several thousand LGBTQ+ partygoers every weekend.

For those of us not interested in nightclubs or hip cafes, there’s Calle 45 known as the Parkway, which is home to Bogota’s massive craft beer scene. Or, a little further north, you’ll find Usaquén. Which was once a separate town, but it’s now a smaller and more relaxed suburb within Bogota.

Experiencing Bogotá’s Natural Beauty

Despite being a bustling metropolis, Bogotá also offers plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. The city is surrounded by the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes, providing numerous hiking trails and stunning vantage points for views out over the city.

Try taking the trail instead of the cable car or funicular to reach the summit of Monserrate. Or hike the Tequendama Falls waterfall or La Chorrera waterfall (Colombia’s highest). You could even try Paragliding over the village of Sopo.

For the less physically active and more danger adverse, the Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park, the city’s largest green space, is a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. But be warned, it’s huge.

The Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park is actually bigger than New Yorks Central Park. So, do remember which way you entered, so as not to get lost.

Resources & Tips For Planning Your Trip To Bogotá

It’s essential to note that if you’re planning to visit Bogotá during the peak seasons, which are January to March and July to August, it’s advisable to book your accommodation and tours well ahead of time.

In addition, you should also consider booking your flights a minimum of three months in advance to keep your costs down. I would also suggest arranging your transfer from the Bogotá airport to your hotel when you book your flights.

Here’s a handy list of resources to help you plan your holiday in Bogotá:

Getting To Bogotá Colombia

The most convenient way to reach Bogotá is by booking a flight through a reliable platform and flying directly into El Dorado airport in Bogotá. You should book all your flights to Bogotá about three months in advance for the best prices.

I use both the booking sites WayAway and OMIO. Depending on where you’re coming to Bogotá from, both WayAway and OMIO will have different pricing. And I suggest you check both when making your travel plans.

While buses are available from other Colombian cities and neighboring countries, keep in mind that Bogotá is situated at a high altitude in the Andean mountain range. And all bus journeys to Bogotá are typically long and uncomfortable. Unless you’re an experienced backpacker, it’s better to avoid traveling to Bogotá by bus!

Best Tour Booking Platforms In Bogotá Colombia

Not all the best tours in Bogotá are listed on a single platform. You should always check multiple platforms to find the tours that best suits your particular itinerary and interests.

In Bogotá, the three main tour booking platforms with the best available tours are CivitatisGet Your Guide and Viator. With my favorite booking application being Civitatisfor its range of tours and ease of use. I’ve found that the better guides are almost always on Civitatis in Bogotá.

CivitatisGet Your Guide and Viator are available at the below addresses. Click each to see it’s full catalogue of tours:

Bogotá is a sprawling city and getting around can be a challenge. However, the city has a comprehensive public transport system, including the TransMilenio, a rapid transit bus system. Taxis and ride-sharing apps like Uber, DiDi and InDrive are also widely available.

I personally use inDrive and I avoid taxis wherever and whenever possible. I use inDrive, because it’s cheaper and much safer than taking a taxi in Bogotá, particularly at night. Yet, during the day, I will sometimes use the TransMilenio. Because for some routes, the TransMilenio is faster than a car.

Safety Tip: Don’t use the TransMillenio at night. Public transport stations attract criminals.

Staying Safe In Bogotá

Like any major city, safety can be a concern in Bogotá. But, by taking basic safety precautions like avoiding deserted areas at night, keeping an eye on your belongings and staying in the safer suburbs, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip.

If you dress like a local and blend in with the crowd, you’ll hardly be noticed as a foreigner. Yet, you do need to watch where you’re stepping in Bogotá. And you need to be careful when moving about the city due to the traffic (and terrible drivers).

The Ideal Time To Visit Bogotá

Given Bogotá’s high altitude, the city enjoys a temperate climate year-round. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from December to March, when the weather is slightly more favorable for outdoor activities.

During the December to March peak season, you should anticipate that costs will be higher. And even though it is the ‘dry season’, the weather in Bogotá is unpredictable and it still might rain. There’s never a guarantee of perfect weather in Bogotá. So, you should always pack warm dry clothing.

How Long Do You Need To Spend in Bogotá?

How long do you need to spend in Bogotá to truly experience all that the city has to offer? Most travelers find that three to four days is enough time to explore a few of the city’s main attractions.

Yet, if you want to dig deeper into the city’s culture, history and neighborhoods, a week in Bogotá would allow you to do so at a more leisurely pace. But it still won’t be enough to see everything. And it won’t be nearly enough to explore the sights outside but surrounding Bogotá!

Bogotá is a city that deserves to be explored in some depth. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture vulture, a foodie or a nature lover, Bogotá has much to offer you.

So, how long do you need to spend in Bogotá? The answer is simple: as long as you possibly can. Which is why I’m buying a property here in Bogota!

Important Facts About Bogotá

  1. Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia and the largest city in the country.
  2. It’s located at an altitude of over 2,600 meters above sea level. Making Bogotá one of the highest capital cities in the world.
  3. The city of Bogotá was founded on August 6, 1538, by Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada.
  4. Bogotá is known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous museums, art galleries and music festivals.
  5. The city’s historic center, La Candelaria, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  6. Bogotá is home to the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro), which houses the largest collection of pre-Hispanic gold artefacts in the world.
  7. The city has a thriving culinary scene, with a wide range of restaurants offering everything from traditional Colombian cuisine to international fine dining.
  8. Bogotá’s public transport system includes the TransMilenio, a rapid transit bus system. And the SITP, a system of smaller feeder busses.
  9. The city is surrounded by the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes, providing numerous opportunities for hiking, outdoor activities and adventure sports.
  10. Despite its size and bustling activity, Bogotá has numerous parks and green spaces. Including the Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park, the city’s largest green space which is bigger than New Yorks Central Park.

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.