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Bogotá, D.C.
—  City  —
Bogotá Distrito Capital

Flag

Seal
Motto: Bogotá, 2600 metros más cerca de las estrellas
Bogotá, 2600 meters closer to the stars
Localities (localidades) of Bogotá
Coordinates: 4°35′53″N 74°4′33″W / 4.59806°N 74.07583°W / 4.59806; -74.07583
Country Colombia
Department Cundinamarca
Foundation August 6, 1538
Founder Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada
Government
 - Mayor Samuel Moreno Rojas (PDA)
Area
 - City 1,587 km2 (612.7 sq mi)
 - Land 1,731.9 km2 (668.7 sq mi)
Elevation [1] 2,640 m (8,661 ft)
Population (2009 census)[2]
 - City 7.332.788 Ranked 1st
 Density 4,602/km2 (11,921/sq mi)
 Metro 8.361.000
HDI (2006) 0.880 – high[3]
Website City Official Site
Mayor Official Site
Bogotá Tourism

Bogotá (Spanish: About this sound Bogotá ) – officially named Bogotá, D.C. (D.C. for "Distrito Capital", which means "Capital District"), formerly called Santa Fé de Bogotá – is the capital city of Colombia, as well as the most populous city in the country, with an estimated 7,304,384 inhabitants as of 2009. Bogotá and its metropolitan area, which includes municipalities such as Chía, Cota, Soacha, Cajicá and La Calera, had an estimated population of 8,566,926.[4] In terms of land area, Bogotá is also the largest in Colombia, and its altitude (2,640 metres) makes it the third-highest capital city in the world, after La Paz and Quito.[5] With its many universities and libraries, Bogotá has become known as "The Athens of South America".[6] Bogota's constant growth and attempt to establish itself as one of the world's most important cities has not been unnoticed. In 2008, the World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) from the United Kingdom included the city in a list of World Cities ranked by their economical, political and cultural developments. Bogota is ranked as a World City in the same category as other global metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, Washington, Los Angeles, Dubai and Berlin, and above others such as Philadelphia, Boston, Miami or Montreal.[7]

Contents

History

Bogotá was originally called "Bacatá" (which means “planted fields”) by the Muiscas.[8] It was the center of their civilization before the Spanish explorers colonized the area, and it sustained a large population. The European settlement was founded on August 6, 1538 by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and was named "Santa Fé de Bacatá" after his birthplace Santa Fé and the local name. "Bacatá" had become the modern "Bogotá" by the time it was made the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada, which was then part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, and later of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The city soon became one of the centers of Spanish colonial power and civilization in South America.

In 1810–11 its citizens revolted against Spanish rule and set up a government of their own, but had to contend with internal divisions and the temporary return to power of Spanish military loyalists who regained control of the city in 1816. In 1819 Simón Bolívar liberated it after his victory at Boyacá. Bogotá was then made the capital of Gran Colombia, a federation combining the territories of modern Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. When Gran Colombia was broken up, Bogotá remained the capital of New Granada, which later became the Republic of Colombia. See History of Colombia.

In 1956 the municipality was joined to other neighboring municipalities forming a "Special District" (Spanish: Distrito Especial).[9] The Constitution of 1991 confirmed Bogotá as the Capital of Colombia, gave it the name "Santafé de Bogotá",[10] and changed the category from Special District to "Capital District" (Distrito Capital).

In August 2000 the name was officially changed back to simply "Bogotá".

Geography

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Location

Bogotá is located on the west of the Savannah of Bogotá (Sabana de Bogotá), 2640 meters (8661 ft) above sea level.[1] Although it is located in what is popularly called the "sabana", literally meaning "savannah", the geographical site is actually a high plateau in the Andes mountains. The extended region is also known as "Altiplano Cundiboyacense" which literally means "high plateau of Cundinamarca and Boyacá".

The Bogotá River crosses the 'sabana' forming Tequendama Falls (Salto de Tequendama) to the south. Tributary rivers form valleys with flourishing villages, whose economy is based on agriculture, livestock raising and artisanal production.

The 'sabana' is bordered to the east by the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes mountain range. Surrounding hills, which limit city growth, run from south to north, parallel to the Guadalupe and Monserrate mountains. The western city limit is the Bogotá River. The Sumapaz Paramo (moorland) borders the south and to the north Bogotá extends over the mentioned plateau up to the towns of Chía and Sopó.

Climate

A neighborhood in Bogota after a severe hailstorm

Bogota has a Subtropical Highland climate. The average temperature on the 'sabana' is 14.0 °C (57 °F),[11] varying from 3 to 25 °C (37 to 77 °F). Dry and rainy seasons alternate throughout the year. The driest months are December, January, February and March. The warmest month is January, bringing maximum temperatures up to 25, but curiously having the coldest nights often reaching 3° degrees inside urban sprawl and can fall below freezing in the nearby towns causing frosts and fog in early morning. The official highest recorded temperature is 24.9 °C (77 °F) reached in January 1992 and March 1995,[12] but unofficial sources have claimed that is actually 28 °C (82 °F).

The rainiest months are April, May, September, October and November, in which typical days are mostly overcast, with low clouds and some winds, bringing maximum temperatures of 18 °C (64 °F) and lows of 7 °C (45 °F). June and July are usually rainy periods and August is sunny with high winds. Hailstorms are very common during the rainy season, and can be very strong, especially in October. Climatic conditions are irregular and quite variable due to the El Niño and La Niña climatic phenomena, which occur in and around the Pacific basin and are responsible for very pronounced climatic changes. This makes the city's weather very unpredictable, sunny mornings can turn out into a severe-storm afternoon (something commonly referred as "Sol de Lluvia" (lit. "Rainy Sun"). Even with this fact, overall, all year days are mild or cool and nights can get moderately cold due to the city having mild winds in the night year round.

Climate data for Bogota D.C.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 25
(77)
24
(76)
25
(77)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
22
(71)
22
(71)
22
(71)
23
(73)
24
(75)
25
(77)
Average high °C (°F) 20
(68)
19.4
(67)
17.8
(64)
17.8
(64)
17.8
(64)
17.8
(64)
17.2
(63)
17.2
(63)
17.2
(63)
17.2
(63)
17.8
(64)
18.9
(66)
18.3
(65)
Average low °C (°F) 2.8
(37)
5
(41)
7.2
(45)
7.8
(46)
7.8
(46)
7.8
(46)
7.2
(45)
6.7
(44)
6.7
(44)
6.7
(44)
7.2
(45)
6.1
(43)
7.2
(45)
Record low °C (°F) -9
(16)
-8
(18)
-3
(27)
-3
(26)
-4
(25)
-3
(26)
-3
(26)
-4
(25)
-6
(22)
-6
(22)
-3
(26)
-8
(18)
-9
(16)
Precipitation mm (inches) 41
(1.61)
52
(2.05)
80
(3.15)
117
(4.61)
102
(4.02)
60
(2.36)
43
(1.69)
46
(1.81)
67
(2.64)
167
(6.57)
112
(4.41)
59
(2.32)
946
(37.24)
Source: [13] 2008-09-26

Urban layout and nomenclature

Street arrangement of Bogotá based on the Cartesian coordinate system. North is to the right.
Bogoatasvenuedgj.jpg

Bogotá has 20 localities, or districts, forming an extensive network of neighborhoods. Areas of higher economic status tend to be located to the north and north-east, close to the foothills of the Eastern Cordillera. Poorer neighborhoods are located to the south and south-east, many of them squatter areas. The middle classes usually inhabit the central, western and north-western sections of the city.

The urban layout in the center of the city is based on the focal point of a square or plaza, typical of Spanish-founded settlements, but the layout gradually becomes more modern in outlying neighborhoods. The current types of roads are classified as calles (streets), which run perpendicular to the Cordillera, with street numbers increasing towards the north, and also towards the south (with the suffix "Sur") from Calle 1. Carreras run parallel to the hills, with numbering increasing as one travels east or west of Carrera 1 (with the suffix "Este" for roads east of Carrera 1). Other types of roads more common in newer parts of the city may be termed "Eje" (Axis), "Diagonal" or "Transversal".

The numbering system for street addresses recently changed, and numbers are assigned according to street rank from main avenues to smaller avenues and local streets. Some of Bogota's main roads, which also go by a proper name in addition to a number, are:

  • Norte-Quito-Sur or N.Q.S. (North Quito South Avenue, from 9th road at north following railway to 30th road Avenue, or Quito City Avenue, and Southern Highway)
  • Autopista Norte-Avenida Caracas (Northern Highway, or 45th road, joined to Caracas Avenue, or 14th road)
  • Avenida Circunvalar (from downtown following hillside on eastern hills going to La Calera)
  • Avenida Suba (60th transversal from 100th street to the Suba Hills; 145th street from Suba Hills westward)
  • Avenida El Dorado (El Dorado Avenue, or 26th street)
  • Avenida de las Américas (Americas Avenue, from 34th street at east to 6th street at west)
  • Avenida Primera de Mayo (May First Avenue, or 22nd south street)
  • Avenida Ciudad de Cali (Cali City Avenue, or 86th road)
  • Avenida Boyacá (Boyacá Avenue, or 72nd road)
  • Autopista Sur (Southern Highway)

Localities (Districts)


Seal of Bogota
Flag of Bogota
Bogotá, Capital District
Usaquén | Chapinero | Santa Fe | San Cristóbal | Usme
Tunjuelito | Bosa | Kennedy | Fontibon | Engativá
Suba | Barrios Unidos | Teusaquillo | Los Mártires | Antonio Nariño
Puente Aranda | La Candelaria | Rafael Uribe Uribe | Ciudad Bolívar | Sumapaz
Mapa administrativa Bogota.png

Surrounding cities

Demographics

Year Population
1775 16,233
1800 21,964
1832 28,341
1870 40,883
1912 121,257
1918 143,994
1928 235,702
1938 325,650
1951 715,250
1964 1,697,311
1973 2,855,065
1985 4,236,490
1993 5,484,244
1999 6,276,428
2005 7,185,889
Source: Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango[14]

The largest and most populous city in Colombia, Bogotá has 8,566,926 inhabitants in its metropolitan area (2009 census),[2] with a population density of approx. 3912 inhabitants per square kilometer. Nowadays in 2009, it is estimated that the city house about 7,362,520 and 8,566,926 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Only 15,810 people are located in rural areas of Capital District. 47.5% of the population are male and 52.5% women. The city has the lowest rate of illiteracy in the country which reaches only 4.6% of the population older than 5 years old.

Colombian People
View of Bogota at night

Public services have a high coverage, since 99.5% of households have electricity service, while 98.7% have water service and 87.9% have telephone service. However, as the mission to design a strategy for poverty reduction and inequality, 32.6% of citizens were in poverty (living on less than US$2 a day) in 2005.

In Bogotá, as in the rest of the country, the acceleration of the urbanization process is not only due to industrialization, since there are complex political and social reasons such as poverty and violence which have led to migration from rural to urban areas throughout the twentieth century. This has led to an exponential growth of population in urban areas and belts of misery in their surroundings. A dramatic example of this is the number of displaced people who have arrived in Bogotá. According to the Consultancy for Human Rights, Codhes, in the period 1999-2005 more than 260,000 people arrived in Bogotá as a result of displacement, about 3.8% of the total population of Bogotá.

The majority of the displaced population lives in the Ciudad Bolivar, Kennedy, Usme, and Bosa sections.

The composition of the city's population is of mestizo origin (those of mixed Amerindian and white European descent), in addition to white European descent, mostly of Spaniard, Italian, French, German, and other European ancestry. It has a very large Middle Eastern population, made up mostly of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. The population of Colombians of African descent in Bogotá is smaller than cities along the coast such as Cartagena, where Colombians, of African descent, have historically resided.

Crime

Bogotá has gone to great lengths to change its crime rate and its image with increasing success after being considered in the mid-90s to be one of the most violent cities in the world.[15] In 1993 there were 4,352 intentional homicides at a rate of 81 per 100,000 people;[16] in 2007, Bogotá suffered 1,401 murders at a rate of 19 per 100,000 inhabitants.[17] This success was the result of a participatory and integrated security policy, "Communidad Segura", that was first adopted in 1995 and continues to be enforced.

Government

Samuel Moreno Rojas

Bogotá is the capital of the Republic of Colombia, and houses the national legislature, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the center of the executive administration as well as the residence of the President of the Republic (Nariño Palace) .[18] These buildings, along with the Principal Mayor's office, the Lievano Palace (Palacio de Liévano), are located within few meters from each other, being the Bolívar Square (Plaza de Bolívar) placed on the center, the square is located at the colonial district of the city (la candelaria), being a fundamental part of the city's historical center.

The Principal Mayor and District Council – both elected by popular vote – are responsible for city administration. In 2007 Samuel Moreno Rojas was elected Mayor, his term from 2008 to 2011.

The city is divided into 20 localities: Usaquén, Chapinero, Santa Fe, San Cristóbal, Usme, Tunjuelito, Bosa, Kennedy, Fontibón, Engativá, Suba, Barrios Unidos, Teusaquillo, Los Mártires, Antonio Nariño, Puente Aranda, La Candelaria, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Ciudad Bolívar, Sumapaz.

Each of the 20 localities is governed by an administrative board elected by popular vote, made up of no fewer than seven members. The Principal Mayor designates local mayors from candidates nominated by the respective administrative board.

Economy

Bogotá's international centre from above
Financial centre as seen from Santa Barbara

Bogota is the main economic and industrial center of Colombia. Also, in 2008 the city ranked as the fourth most influential financial center of Latin America. In the period 2003-2006, its commercial GDP grew by 10.3% annually, accounting for 25.3% of GDP national trade. However, the unemployment rate reached 11.3% and a 31.6 percent underemployment. In addition, the city is one of the largest industrial centers in Latin America. Nationally, the import of capital goods has been spurred by the government, benefit in particular to Bogota involved with 24.4% of total domestic industry (2003). This is due in part to geographical location, which makes the city a strategic point in terms of logistics, since transportation of goods to other parts of the country is relatively fast. Likewise facilitates the supply of raw materials for industry in the city, by its proximity to agricultural regions like the Eastern Plains. For all of these reasons, several multinational companies have established their regional operations here during the last decades. However, the distance from the ports reduce the competitive advantages for exporting industrial products. Thus, the services (including telecommunications and trade), are gaining share versus industry.

Bogota is one of the main financial centres in Latin America and its a beta world city.
Headquarters of the Colombian stock exchange.

In 2005, consumer goods led the industrial production, followed by intermediate and capital goods. Of the 248 thousand companies available to Bogotá, 78% are linked to service activities, contributing to 76% employment and 79% of GDP. [39] The locations in which the largest number of industrial establishments are Puente Aranda, Fontibón, Kennedy, Martyrs, and Barrios Unidos Engativá (in that order), where highlights the food industries, chemical, pharmaceutical, textile, publishing and metalworking. Also in 2005, the town with higher labour productivity was Tunjuelito,followed by Teusaquillo,and Chapinero.

Bogota is a major tourist destination, which is of particular importance taking account of the positive growth of this sector at the national level in recent years. Another industry that has grown is the construction, contributing directly to reactivate economic activity in the capital.

The main international trading partner in Bogota in 2003 was United States, followed by the European Union. The city exports mainly agricultural products (30%), chemicals (10%) and textiles (7%), and imports transportation materials (17%), machinery except electrical (17%) and Electrical Machinery (14%).

Tourism

North of the city.

Despite the bad reputation Colombia bore in the 80's and early 90's, tourism in Bogota has increased since the 2000s due to aggressive publicity campaigns and improvements in both infrastructure and safety. In 2007 the Instituto Distrital de Turismo (District Institute of Tourism) was created as an entity to make Bogota a sustainable tourist destination.

In Bogota, there is a wide choice of accommodation ranging from backpacker lodges and five star hotels. The supply of hotels in the historical center of La Candelaria and its surrounding areas, is intended for a lover of culture and the arts. The hotels located near Ciudad Salitre are intended for visitors who make short stops in Bogota or need proximity to El Dorado International Airport. In contrast, the hotels located in the north of the city, are focused on business tourism, shopping or pleasure

Important landmarks and touristic places of Bogota are: the botanical garden José Celestino Mutis, La Quinta de Bolivar, the national observatory, the planetarium, Maloka, the Colpatria observation point as well as the observation point of La Calera, the monument of the American flags, and La Candelaria (the historical district of the city). The city has numerous green parks and amusement parks like Salitre Magico, Mundo Aventura and Camelot.

Shopping Malls

Bogota's economy has significantly been boosted due to activities from massive numbers of large shopping malls built within the last few years such as:

  • Atlantis Plaza
  • Centro Andino
  • El Retiro
  • Gran Estación
  • Hayuelos
  • Palatino
  • Portal de la 80
  • Salitre Plaza
  • Santafé (the biggest mall in the country)
  • Tintal Plaza
  • Unicentro

Infrastructure

Media

The city has four TV channels (Canal Capital (capital channel), Citytv, Canal 13 and Teleamiga) plus five national channels (private: Caracol and RCN, Canal Uno and the public channels: señales institucionales(institutional signals) and señal Colombia). It has multiple satellite television services like DirecTV and Telefonica, cable mostly provided by the Mexican company Telmex (Former cable TV, and Superview Cablecentro) and the Venezuelan Super Cable and satellite dishes, with a wide offer hundreds of international channels, plus several exclusive channels for Bogota in different satellite services and cable television.

In the capital are set all the major radio networks in the country and their different stations in AM and FM in 70% of FM stations RDS service is available.

It also has several newspapers among which are: El Tiempo, El Espectador, Portafolio, El Nuevo Siglo, La Republica, El Periodico and Space. Among the highlights Bogotá Positiva weekly (free) and Proletarian Voice.

Telecommunications

Telecommunication services are provided by three main operators: Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá (ETB), Telefónica and Telmex. Each one of them branches off into several brands according to a particular service:

  • Telephone: ETB, Telmex, Telecom (Colombia)|Telefónica Telecom (owned by Telefónica)
  • Internet: ETB, Telmex, Telecom (Colombia)|Telefónica Telecom
  • Mobile phone: Colombia Móvil|Tigo (also known as Tigo; co-owned by ETB, Empresas Públicas de Medellín|EPM and Millicom), Comcel Colombia|Comcel (owned by Telmex), Movistar (owned by Telefónica)
  • Cable television: ETB (partnership with DirecTV), Telmex, Telecom (Colombia)|Telecom](owned by Telefónica)

Energy

Energy is provided by Empresa de Energía de Bogotá through its branch CODENSA.

Water and sewer

Full water and sewer services are provided by Empresa de Acueducto de Bogotá.

Socioeconomical stratums and billing

Energy and sewer bills are stratified based on the location of owner's residence and income,[19] with the intended purpose that wealthier branches of society subsidize the energy bills of the poorer. Bogota is divided into six socio-economic estratos (stratums):

  • Estrato 1 (lowest)
  • Estrato 2 (low)
  • Estrato 3 (mid-low)
  • Estrato 4 (mid-high)
  • Estrato 5 (high)
  • Estrato 6 (highest)

Transportation

Bogotá's growth has placed a strain on its roads and highways, but within the past decade significant efforts to upgrade the infrastructure have been undertaken. Private car ownership, despite being under 27%, forms a major part of the congestion, in addition to taxis, buses and commercial vehicles. Buses remain the main means of mass transit. There are two bus systems: the traditional system and Trasmilenio. The traditional system runs a variety of bus types, operated by several companies on normal streets and avenues: Bus (large buses), Buseta (medium size buses) and Colectivo (vans or minivans). The bigger buses were divided into two categories: "Ejecutivo", which is supposed to be a deluxe service and is not supposed to carry standing passengers, and "corriente" or normal service. Since May 2008, all buses run as "corriente" services. Bogotá is a hub for domestic and international bus routes. The Bogotá terminal serves routes to most cities and towns in Colombia[20] and is the largest in the country. There is international service to Ecuador, Perú and Venezuela.

TransMilenio station

The TransMilenio rapid transit system, created during Enrique Peñalosa's mayoral term,[21] is a form of bus rapid transit that has been quickly and affordably deployed as an appropriate stopgap measure to compensate for the lack of a subway or rail system. TransMilenio combining articulated buses that operate on dedicated bus roads (busways) and smaller buses (feeders) that operate in residential areas, bringing passengers to the main grid. TransMilenio's main routes are: Caracas Avenue, Northern Highway (Autopista Norte), 80th Street, Americas Avenue, Jiménez Avenue, and 30th Avenue (also referred to as Norte Quito Sur or N.Q.S. for short). Routes for Suba Avenue and Southern Highway (Autopista Sur), the southern leg of the 30th Avenue, were opened in April 2006. The third phase of the system will cover 7th Avenue, 10th Avenue, and 26th Street (or Avenida El Dorado). The system is planned to cover the entire city by 2030. Although the Transmilenio carries commuters to numerous corners of the city, it is more expensive than any public transport except taxis, and fares increase with petroleum fuel prices. As of July 2009 the price of a ticket was C$1500 (about US$0.75); however, a single ticket allows unlimited transfers until the passenger leaves the system, and passengers travel on feeder routes for free. Transmilenio does not yet cover some main routes, and buses are overcrowded.

Bogotá Metro 2010-2016

Despite the city's chronic congestion, many of the ideas enacted during the Peñalosa years are regarded worldwide to be cost-effective, efficient and unique solutions. In addition to TransMilenio, the Peñalosa administration and voter-approved referenda helped to establish travel restrictions on cars with certain licence-plate numbers during peak hours called Pico y placa, "Car Free Days" on Sundays, a massive system of bicycle paths and segregated lanes called 'ciclorrutas', and the removal of thousands of parking spots in an attempt to make roads more pedestrian-friendly. Ciclorrutas is one of the most extensive dedicated bike path networks of any city in the world, with a total extension of 303 km. It extends from the north of the city, 170th Street, to the south, 27th Street, and from Monserrate on the east to the Bogotá River on the west. The ciclorruta was started by the 1995–1998 Antanas Mockus administration, and considerably extended during the administration of Mayor Peñalosa.[22] Since the construction of the ciclorrutas bicycle use in the city has increased.

Airports

Bogotá's principal airport is El Dorado International Airport, west of the city's downtown, at the end of Av. El Dorado. Due to its central location in Colombia and in Latin America, it is a natural hub for domestic and international airlines.

El Dorado is heavily congested, as it handles more passengers than its optimal capacity. Work on a major expansion of El Dorado airport started in September 2007. When completed, this will expand capacity from the current 8 million passengers a year to 25 million.[23]

A secondary airport, Catam, serves as a base for Military and Police Aviation, also Guaymaral Airport, for private aviation activities.

Urban and suburban railways

Colleges and universities

Pilot University of Colombia

Known as the Athens of South America,[24] Bogotá has many schools. The city has an extensive educational system of both primary and secondary schools and colleges. Due to the constant migration of people into the nation's capital, the availability of quotas for access to education offered by the State free of charge, is often insufficient. The city also has a diverse system of colleges and private schools.

There are a number of universities, both public and private (in 2002, a total of 106 higher education institutions, also in Bogota, there are 7 of the best universities in the country, all partially or fully accredited by the NAC (National Accreditation Council ) : National University of Colombia, University of the Andes, Colombia, Pontifical Xavierian University, Our Lady of the Rosary University, Universidad Externado de Colombia, CESA School of Business, the Universidad de La Salle (Bogotá), Pilot University of Colombia and the University of La Sabana. It also highlights the Universidad Sergio Arboleda, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano and the Universidad Santo Tomás.

The city has a University City in the National University of Colombia located in the traditional sector Teusaquillo. It becomes the largest campus in Colombia and one of the largest in Latin America. Also, the town of La Candelaria is home to the largest concentration of private universities, one in Latin America.

In Colombia, the primary and secondary schools educational system goes from pre-k to eleventh grade, being that the high school senior year. The education in Colombia is not obligatory as in other countries, but the government has implemented a promotional campaign nationwide to influence families with low economic level into getting their children in Public schools.

There is a great variety of private bilingual schools where children from a high economical status or English-speaker not Colombian children usually attend. One of the most famous bilingual schools is Colegio Nueva Granada among others.

Culture

La Santa Maria bullring (example of its Spanish culture)
La Candelaria (Colonial District)

Bogota is considered the Athens of South America host to endless cultural venues and acts across 58 museums, 62 art galleries, 33 library networks, 45 stage theatres, 75 sports and attraction parks, and over 150 national monuments.[25] Many of these are renowned globally such as:

  • The Luis Angel Arango Library, the most important in the region which receives well over 6 million visitors a year;[26]
  • The Colombian National Museum, one of the oldest in the Americas dating back to 1823;[27]
  • The Ibero-American Theater Festival, largest of its kind in the world, receives 2 million attendees enjoying over 450 performances across theaters and off the street;[28]
  • The Bogota Philharmonic is the most important symphony orchestra in Colombia, counting over 100 musicians and 140 performances a year;[29]
  • The Cristobal Colon Theater, the Country's oldest Opera House, which opened in 1892 is home to the National Symphony Association's major act, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia;[30]
  • Rock al Parque or Rock at the Park, the most important open air rock music festival in Latin America. Recurring annually, its rallying power gathers over 320,000 music fans who can enjoy over 60 band performances for free during three days a year.[31] The series have been so successful during its 15 years of operation that the city has replicated the initiative for other music genres, resulting in other recent festivals like Salsa at the Park, Hip Hop at the Park, Ballet at the Park, Opera at the Park, and Jazz at the Park.
Transmilenio in Bogota's downtown.

Bogota has worked heavily in recent years to position itself as leader in cultural offerings in South America, and it is increasingly being worldwide recognized as a hub in the region for the development of the arts.[32][33][34][35]

Product of such work and recognition is the recent series of awards that Bogota counts on its favor: in 2007 it was named World Book Capital by UNESCO, topping other nominees for said year such as Dublin, Amsterdam and Vienna.[36] Bogota is effectively the first Latin American city to receive this recognition, and the second one in the whole Americas after Montreal. The same year, Bogota was awarded the title of Cultural Capital of Ibero-America by the UCCI (Union of Capital Cities in Ibero-America), and it became the only city to have received the recognition twice, after being awarded for the first time in 1991.[37]

The city also has the Biblored, an institution which administers 16 small and 4 large libraries public (Biblioteca Virgilio Barco, Biblioteca El Tintal, Biblioteca El Tunal and Biblioteca Julio Mario Santodomingo). It also has six branches of the Library Network of the Family Compensation Fund Colsubsidio and libraries and documentation centers attached to institutions like the Museo Nacional de Colombia (specializing in old books, catalogs and art), Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, the Alliance Francaise, the Centro Colombo Americano, etc... Another set of libraries are the new collaborative initiatives between the state, city and international agencies. This is the case of Cultural Center Gabriel García Marquez, custom designed by the Fondo de Cultura Economica in Mexico and the Spanish Cultural Center, which will begin construction with public funds and of the Spanish Government in the downtown Bogota.

Architecture

Contemporanean Buildings that contrast with each other at the city's downtown
Eje Ambiental.
Bd Bacata, the tallest project in Colombia

The urban morphology and typology of colonial buildings in Bogota were maintained even late nineteenth century, long after independence from Colombia (1810). The urban design matched with the checkerboard plane introduced by the Indian laws since the mid-sixteenth century. This persistence of the colonial setting is visible, now part of La Candelaria, the historical center of Bogota. Also until the late nineteenth century, kept up the colonial houses of two storeys, with courtyard, gabled roofs, ceramic tiles and balconies. In some cases, these balconies were filled with glass during the Republican period, distinguishing feature of a particular architecture of the sector (for example, the House of Rafael Pombo, etc.)..

The "Republican Architecture" was the style that prevailed between 1830 and 1930. Although there were attempts to consolidate a modern language, only to construction of University City and White City for the National University of Colombia (1936 to 1939), achieved this purpose. The course of this work was developed by German architect James Daly, although architects of rationlist trends participated in the design of campus buildings. Besides this aspect, it is also manifest in the Bogotan architecture trends close to the art deco, expressionism and organic architecture. This last trend was welcomed by Bogotan architects in the second half of the twentieth century as Rogelio Salmona,a best Colombian architect in history. [53]

In 2006 Bogotá was The Golden Lion Award at the Tenth International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, in recognition of "their efforts towards social inclusion, education, housing and public space, particularly through innovations in transportation."

ALthought its beautiful preservation of colonial architecture, we have to mention the remarkable contemporanean architecture found specially in the downtown and at the north of the city.

In 2014 BD Bacatá will be inaugurated, a new building that will rise above all others taking the place from Colpatria tower to become the tallest building of the city. The building its expected to be the beginning of the renovation of the city's downtown.

Libraries and archives

UNESCO proclaimed Bogotá as World Book Capital 2007, in recognition of the literary activity of the city. It stood out as the wind in programs, the library network and the presence of organizations that, in a coordinated manner, are working to promote books and reading in the city. Also, several specific initiatives for the World Book Capital program and the commitment of the groups, both public and private, engaged in the book sector.

Virgilio Barco library

The National Library of Colombia (1777) under the Ministry of Culture and the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango (1958) under the Bank of the Republic, are the two largest public libraries in the city. The first is the repository of more than two million copies, with an important collection of ancient books. The latter has almost two million copies. [56] With 45 thousand square meters and 10 thousand visitors a day, is one of the most dynamic cultural centers of the continent. Bank of the Republic depends also on the Library Alfonso Palacio Rudas, north of the city, with about 50 thousand copies. Other large public libraries are the Library of Congress in Colombia (with 100 thousand copies), of the Instituto Caro y Cuervo (with nearly 200 thousand copies, the largest Latin American library in Philology and Linguistics), the Library of the Academy of History The Library of the Academy of Language, the Library of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History ICANH, and many university libraries

The city also has the Biblored, an institution which administers 16 small and 4 large public libraries (Biblioteca Virgilio Barco Library The Tintal, Library and The Library Tunal Julio Mario Santodomingo). It also has six branches of the Library Network of the Family Compensation Fund Colsubsidio and, with libraries and documentation centers attached to institutions like the Museo Nacional de Colombia (specializing in old books, catalogs and art), Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, the Alliance Francaise, the Centro Colombo Americano, etc.. Another set of libraries of Bogotá what are the new collaborative initiatives between the state, city and international agencies. This is the case Cultural Center Gabriel García Marquez, custom designed by the Fondo de Cultura Economica in Mexico and the Spanish Cultural Center, which will begin construction with public funds and the Spanish Government Bogota Race to Third Avenue 19, in the downtown Bogota.

General Archive Nación.Además libraries, Bogotá has a set of historical records that stands between the General National Archive which houses about 60 million documents, one of the repositories of larger primary historical sources in Latin America. Near its headquarters in Bogota that the file was opened in 2003. Additionally, there are query files restricted by its specific importance: the Musical Archive of the Cathedral of Bogota (with thousands of books and choral song-colonial period), the Archdiocesan Archive, the Archive of the Conciliar Seminary of Bogotá, the Archive History National University of Colombia and the Archive of the Mint in Bogotá, under the Bank of the Republic.

Museums and Galleries

Maloka. museum of technology and innovations of Bogota.
National Museum of Colombia.

The city offers 58 museums and over 70 art galleries, outstanding among which the National Museum of Colombia, whose acquis is divided into four collections: art, history, archeology and ethnography, and the Gold Museum, with 35 thousand pieces of tumbaga gold, along with 30 thousand objects in ceramic, stone and textiles, represents the largest collection of pre-Columbian gold in the world.

It also highlights the Botero Museum, where you can find, in addition to 123 works of Fernando Botero, 87 works by international artists, the Museum of Modern Art in Bogota that has a collection of graphic arts, industrial design and photography, the Museum of Colonial Art that meets the most important collection of colonial art from Colombia, and Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño, that in addition to activities related to the performing arts, presented temporarily in its halls and art exhibitions.

Among the scientific museums are the Archeological Museum - Casa del Marqués de San Jorge, who has about 30 thousand pieces of pre-Columbian art, Instituto de Ciencias Naturales (UN), one of the four largest museums of natural sciences in Latin America and the Geological Museum has a collection of Ingeominas specializing in Geology and Paleontology.

Bogotá also has historical museums like the Casa Museo Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the Museum of Independence, the Quinta de Bolivar and the Casa Museo Francisco José de Caldas, as well as the headquarters of Maloka and the Children's Museum of Bogota that attract a considerable number of visitors, especially among children. These centers were added several new museums like the Art Deco and the Museum of Bogotá

Theater and Scenic arts

Christopher Colombus Theater.
Ibero-American theater festival.

Besides the Iberoamerican Theater Festival, the city has forty-five theaters, the principal is the Colon Theater and the halls of the National Theater in its two venues (in the castellana street and in the 71st street) and the traditional TPB hall, the Theater of La Candelaria, the carmarin theater of Carmen (with more than 400 years of existence, which was formerly a convent, then a hospital after hotel and restaurant and theater now), the Colsubsidio (private ), and a symbol of the city, the renovated Teatro Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, the highest capacity currently in South America, located on Seventh Avenue at the International Center of Bogotá, León de Greiff Auditorium located at the National University of Colombia, has the largest audience and the best acoustics in Colombia, where is currently presented the Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra and many other cultural events. It is also called Open Air Theater, "La Media Torta" where musical events are also held.

With regard to the seventh art, the metropolis has its own film festival, the Bogota Film Festival, and many rooms, which present both as the best commercial film tapes of the moment, as art cinema, which allows us to appreciate the various realizations of European directors, Asians and Latin Americans.

The main cultural center of the city is located in the La Candelaria, historic center of the city, it has a concentration of universities and academic centers in South America only. In the same sector are the most important museums of the city, for these reasons and more, for the year 2007 Bogota was designated as the ibero-American cultural Capital of Iberoamerica

Panorama of Bogota

Sports

The Campin Stadium.

The District Institute for Recreation and Sport promotes recreation, sports and good use of the parks in Bogota, city where, according to 1998 estimates, only 10% of people play sports, and only 0.7% do so regularly. This situation is counterbalanced by initiatives such as the network of bike paths, which, besides being a means of transport, contributes to the practice of cycling, like the bike path that intended 120 km of the highway network for the exclusive use of bicycles on Sundays and public holidays, 7a.ma 2 PM

The soccer as a sport has been declared a symbol of Bogotá, and discipline is more practiced in the city. [66] The Colombian Professional soccer is a national sporting event that attracts significantly the interest of the followers of the sport in the city. Thus, two of the three professional clubs in the city, Millonarios and Santa Fe have a significant fan base. The nineteen titles won by these two teams (Millonarios 13, Santa Fe 6) are the second city of Bogota in Colombia with the highest number of championships won, topped only by Cali. The two local teams play at the Estadio Nemesio Camacho El Campin (most known as the Campin stadium) who also was the headquarters of the Colombia national soccer team where he earned the title of Copa America 2001. The other Primera Liga club in Bogota is La Equidad.

Other major sporting venues are covered Coliseum El Campin, the aquatic complex of Parque Simón Bolívar, the sports palace, the highr performane center, and the El Salitre sports unite which includes the Velodrome Luis Carlos Galan Sarmiento (home of the World Championships 1995 UCI Track Cycling ) and Diamond El Salitre (ballpark) among others.

Bogota hosted the first Bolivarian Games held in 1938. For the National Games, the city hosted in 2004 winning the championship. It was different sub-venue Bolivarian Pan American Games and held in other cities. In addition, the city is present in the route of the Tour of Colombia

Religion

Church of Our Lady of Lourdes.

As in the rest of Colombia, the value of family unity is quite important in Bogota society, which is especially notable in religious celebrations and special times of the year.

Historically, the city (from his early years) has had a tradition of attachment to Roman Catholicism, although the 1991 Constitution has facilitated the presence of Protestant movements and other religious groups in the population.

Sample of this religious tradition is the number of temples built in the historic city center, and the customs associated with it, such as upgrading the supervisory Monserrate and Guadalupe mountains, whose peaks are in Catholic churches. The city is also seat of the Archdiocese of Bogota, erected on September 11, 1562 and later elevated to archdiocese on March 22, 1564, his parish church is the Cathedral of Colombia.

The city also has a Muslim mosque located in the area of Chapinero, a Jewish synagogue located on Avenida Pepe Sierra (Calle 116), an Orthodox church located in Chapinero, and a Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located on the street North Highway 127, CARRERA 46 No 127–45, Phone: +57 (1) 625-8000. There are four Buddhist centers located in the north of the city, and there are Protestant churches in different parts of the city.

Gastronomy

A broad array of restaurants can be visited in Bogota where typical and international food can be enjoyed. The G Zone, La Candelaria and the International Centre are some of the main sectors where a number of international restaurants are found. Among the main typical dishes of Bogota, it is possible to found the Ajiaco, a delightful soup prepared with chicken, a variety of potatoes, cob and "guascas" (a spice), usually served with milk, capers and curaba cream.

Also, tamal with chocolate is a very traditional dish here. Colombian tamal is a paste made with rice, meat or chicken, chickpea, carrot, and spices, wrapped in banana leaves and steam cooked.

Figs with arequipe, strawberries with cream, "postre de natas" and "cuajada con melao" are some of the main desserts offered at this city. In addition, canelazo is a hot drink from the Altiplano prepared with agua de panela, cinnamon and aguardiente and can be enjoyed here as well.

Parks and recreation

There are many parks, many with facilities for concerts, plays, movies, storytellers and other activities.

  • "Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park" is a large park regularly used to stage free concerts (such as the annual Rock al Parque, a festival in which new and popular Latin rock bands play free of charge). Kites are flown in the park.
  • The public Parque Nacional (National Park)has many trees and green spaces, ponds, games for children, many foot and bicycle paths, and venues for entertainment such as public screenings of movies and concerts and events organized by the Council of Bogotá. It is located between two main streets, the Circunvalar Avenue and the 7th Avenue.
  • The Bogotá Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico de Bogotá).
  • The Children's Museum of Bogotá (Museo de los Niños), is a science, technology and art interactive museum specialized in attending children and youngsters ages 2 to 19.
  • "Parque de la 93" is located between 93rd and 93Ath street, and 12th and 13th avenue, and has day-time leisure activities and nightlife. Several of the top restaurants and bars in the city are in this park.
  • There are restaurants and bars in the vicinity of a T-shaped pedestrian strip dubbed "La T" (The T) at the corner of 82nd street and Cra.12. More recently, restaurant activity has begun in the "Zona G" (Gourmet Zone) in and around 67th and 70th Streets and other locations including Usaquen in the north-east and La Macarena (downtown).
  • Mundo Aventura is an amusement park, with an entry charge and charges for the different attractions. It has rides for adults and children, a petting zoo, and the "cerdodromo", where pigs race.
  • "Salitre Mágico" is another amusement park with rides and attractions. The park is near the well-known Simón Bolívar park, where concerts are held throughout the year.
  • Parque del Chicó has trees, gardens, artificial creeks and ponds, and a colonial style house converted into a museum.
  • To the north Parque Jaime Duque has rides, a giant map of Colombia, popular exhibits, a zoo, and a big hand holding the world symbolizing God. There is a reproduction of the Taj Mahal in the park with a collection of reproductions of famous paintings. The park is also used for large concerts, mainly electronic music ones.
  • Maloka is an interactive museum of sciences.
  • Tourist train, on weekends a sightseeing train, popular with Bogotá residents, runs to outlying towns Zipaquirá, Cajicá and Nemocón along the lines of the former Bogotá Savannah Railway. The route to Zipaquirá (famous for its salt cathedral) is 53 km long. Another line goes towards the north for 47 km and ends at Briceño.
Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park.
Journalists's park.
National Park.

Bogotá is known for its vibrant night life. It has a wide variety of restaurants, bars, clubs and cultural activities to please anyone's preference. There are numerous zones including the T, Parque de la 93, Candelaria, Usaquen, Avenida Primero de Mayo and Zona G among others. Places range from fine cuisine from all over the world to night clubs that offer different types of music. There is a curfew for most night places at 3:00am although some clubs still operate after hours.

Symbols

Colpatria tower lighted up as the Colombian flag.

The flag originates from the insurgency movement against the colonial authorities which began on July 20, 1810, during which the rebels wore armbands with yellow and red bands, as these colours were those of the Spanish flag used as the flag for the New Kingdom of Granada.

In October 9, 1952, exactly 142 years after these events, decree 555 of 1952 officially adopted the patriotic armband as the flag of Bogotá.[38] The flag of Cundinamarca follows the same pattern, plus a light blue tile which represents the Virgin Mary's cape.

The flag itself is a yellow band above a red one. The yellow denotes the gold from the earth, as well as the virtues of justice, clemency, benevolence, the so-called "mundane qualities" (defined as nobility, excellence, richness, generosity, splendour, health, steadfastness, joy and prosperity), long life, eternity, power and constancy. The red denotes the virtue of charity, as well as the qualities of bravery, nobility, values, audacity, victory, honour and furor, Colombians call it the blood of their people.

The coat of arms of the city was granted by emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor|Charles V (Charles I of Spain) to the New Kingdom of Granada, by royal decree given in Valladolid, Spain on December 3, 1548. It contains a black eagle in the center, which symbolises steadfastness. The eagle is also a symbol of the Habsburgs, which was the ruling family of the Spanish empire at the time. The eagle is crowned with gold and holds a red pomegranate inside a golden background. The border contains olive branches with nine golden pomegranates in a blue background. The two red pomegranates symbolize audacity, and the nine golden ones represent the nine states which constituted the New Kingdom of Granada at the time. In 1932 the coat of arms was officially recognized and adopted as the symbol of Bogotá.

Bogotá's anthem lyrics were written by Pedro Medina Avendaño, the melody was composed by Roberto Pineda Duque. The song was officially declared the anthem by decree 1000 of July 31, 1974, by then Mayor of Bogotá, Aníbal Fernandez de Soto.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Bogotá is twinned with:


Bolivar Square at Christmas

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b "Bogotá Distrito Capital" (in Spanish). CORFERIAS. 2008. http://www.corferias.com/en/index.cfm?doc=sobre_bogota&ids=7. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.sdp.gov.co:8443/www/formula_contador.php as of March 5, 2010
  3. ^ "Informe de Desarrollo Humano para Bogotá" (in Spanish). IDH. 2008. http://www.idhbogota.pnud.org.co/informe/IDH%20Bogota.pdf. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "Secretaria Distrital de Planeacion"
  5. ^ "Elevation of major cities". 2747.com. 2008. http://www.2747.com/2747/world/city/elevation.htm. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  6. ^ German explorer Alexander von Humboldt was the first European to call Bogotá "The Athens of South America" during his visit to the city in 1802
  7. ^ The World According to GaWC 2008 http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/world2008t.html
  8. ^ Arias, S.; Meléndez, M. (2002). "Sacred and Imperial Topographies in kam de Castellanos's Elegías de varones ilustres de Indias". Mapping Colonial Spanish America: Places and Commonplaces of Identity, Culture and Experience. Bucknell University Press. ISBN 0838755097. http://books.google.com/books?id=ivG2-KHjc-UC&pg=PA96&hl=es&sig=StGVJBVWOk5cKM0nujRxEkH7gTU. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  9. ^ "Programa Ciudades hermanas" (in Spanish). City of Miami. 2005. http://www.ci.miami.fl.us/mic/pages/Spanish/SisterCities/Bogota.asp. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  10. ^ "Los Nombres de Santafé y Bogotá" (in Spanish). Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá. 2005. http://www.bogota.gov.co/histo.php?idh=10968&patron=1. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  11. ^ "Respuestas fisiológicas de los niños al ejercicio ante las variaciones climáticas en Bogotá" (in Spanish). Universidad Pedagógica Nacional. 2008. http://www.pedagogica.edu.co:8080/portal/resumenproyecto.php?py=54. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in Spanish). 2010. http://www.eltiempo.com/colombia/bogota/ARTICULO-WEB-PLANTILLA_NOTA_INTERIOR-7170969.html. Retrieved 30 February 2010. 
  13. ^ www.ideam.gov.co
  14. ^ "Algunos datos históricos" (in Spanish). Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango. 2001. http://www.banrep.gov.co/blaavirtual/revistas/credencial/enero2001/colmundo.htm. Retrieved 13 March 2009. 
  15. ^ "Bogotá's lesson in crime fighting". Comunidad Segura. 2005. http://www.comunidadesegura.org/?q=en/node/32000. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  16. ^ "Seguridad, ciudadanía y políticas públicas en Bogota" (in Spanish). IRG. http://www.institut-gouvernance.org/en/conference/fiche-conference-36.html. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  17. ^ "Homicidios" (in Spanish) (PDF). Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses. pp. 36. http://www.medicinalegal.gov.co/drip/2007/2%20Forensis%202007%20homicidio-1.pdf. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  18. ^ "Bogotá se consolida como centro para la inversión extranjera" (in Spanish). Alcaldía Mayor de Bogota. 2007. http://www.bogota.gov.co/portel/libreria/php/frame_detalle.php?h_id=21539&patron=01.11. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  19. ^ "Proyecto de Acuerdo 651 de 2008" (in Spanish). Secretaria de Gobierno de Bogota. 2008. http://www.gobiernobogota.gov.co/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_details/Itemid,/gid,432/. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  20. ^ "Bogotá Transportation Terminal & Train Station" (in Spanish). Bogotá-dc.com. 2008. http://www.bogota-dc.com/trans/terminal.htm. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  21. ^ "Millonaria condena al Distrito por fallas en Transmilenio" (in Spanish). El Espectador. 2008. http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/bogota/articulo-millonaria-condena-al-distrito-fallas-transmilenio. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  22. ^ "Bogotanos olvidaron para qué fue creado el Día sin carro" (in Spanish). Cambio. 2 November 2008. http://www.cambio.com.co/paiscambio/762/ARTICULO-WEB-NOTA_INTERIOR_CAMBIO-3948271.html. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  23. ^ "Cinco firmas de disputan la modernización del aeropuerto El Dorado" (in Spanish). Caracol Radio. 2006. http://www.caracol.com.co/nota.aspx?id=299375. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  24. ^ "Colombia". Drclas.harvard.edu. http://www.drclas.harvard.edu/revista/articles/view/242. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  25. ^ Colombia Official Tourism Portal "Bogotá: a city for experiencing culture"
  26. ^ Banco de la Republica "2008 Press Release" Retrieved Sept. 3 2009
  27. ^ Museo Nacional de Colombia "History" Retrieved Sept. 3 2009
  28. ^ Colombia Official Tourism Portal "Ibero-American Theater Festival of Bogotá: The Largest Theater Showcase in the World"
  29. ^ Filarmonica de Bogota "Philarmonic Timeline"
  30. ^ Ministerio de Cultura "Cristobal Colon Theater"
  31. ^ Rock at the Park "15th Edition of the Concert is over"
  32. ^ Scoop Independent News, New Zealand "Cultural Diversity Highlighted" 24 April 2007
  33. ^ Sun Sentinel, FL "GIVE BOGOTA A TRY (NO KIDDING) CITY BOASTS ARTS, CULTURE, SCENERY AND GREAT FOOD." Feb 26 2006
  34. ^ Inter Press Service "COLOMBIA: Open Your Books, Please, Bogota"
  35. ^ Noticias de Bogotá: Arte "ArtBo 2009 - Reportaje"
  36. ^ UNESCO "World Book Capital City" 2007
  37. ^ Universia "Bogota Ibero-American Capital of Culture for Second Time"
  38. ^ "Simbolos de Bogotá" (in Spanish). Alcaldía Mayor de Bogota. 2007. http://www.bogotaturismo.gov.co/ciudad/simbolos/. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  39. ^ Madrid city council webpage "Mapa Mundi de las ciudades hermanadas". Ayuntamiento de Madrid. http://www.munimadrid.es/portal/site/munimadrid/menuitem.dbd5147a4ba1b0aa7d245f019fc08a0c/?vgnextoid=4e84399a03003110VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=4e98823d3a37a010VgnVCM100000d90ca8c0RCRD&vgnextfmt=especial1&idContenido=1da69a4192b5b010VgnVCM100000d90ca8c0RCRD Madrid city council webpage. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Bogota is the capital city of Colombia.

Bogota cityscape
Bogota cityscape

Understand

With a population of about 8.1 million people, Bogota sits approximately 8,660 feet (2640 meters) above sea level in the Andino region. Orientation is relatively easy, as the mountains to the east are generally visible from most parts of the city.

To understand the sheer size of the city, consider that Mexico City, New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles are the only North American cities larger than Bogotá. In fact, in 2008 the World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) from the United Kingdom ranked Bogotá as a world city comparable to San Francisco, Washington DC, Dubai, Buenos Aires or Berlin, grouped by their economical, political and cultural developments. What this means for the traveler is a world class urban destination.

Bogotá is a city of contrasts, and as such it offers a unique experience to its visitors. Prepare to find a hectic balance between the new and the old; the peaceful and the frantic. Encounter century-old plazas and churches shadowed by towering skycrapers. Find peaceful treelined bicycle routes cut through by wild-traffic avenues. Bogota is a city with many layers. From internationally recognized universities to regional offices for multinational companies, Bogota is Colombia's capital for official business dealings. It is a city that caters to a population that has been exposed to European and North American influences, which ensures that anything from traditional dishes (Ajiaco) to sushi or fast food restaurants can be found. It's one of the most modern and metropolitan cities of South, Central America and the world. Bogota is divided by 4 sections: The South which is mainly the poorer section of the city; El Centro, which translates "Center", is the city's original Downtown and hosts most of its traditional heritage locations, city and public offices, and financial headquarters. El Occidente, which is home to Bogota's major sporting venues and outdoor parks, as well as residence areas for main middle and some upper class living; and The North which is where most modern development has taken place, and combines many upscale living spaces with affluent shopping centers, boutiques, cafes, nightclubs, and many new business neighborhoods offering headquarters to many multinational corporations.

During the last decades, due to the city's exponential growth, some of neighboring towns have been absorbed and are now considered within the metropolitan area of Greater Bogotá, like Suba, Soacha and Fontibón.

Centro Internacional is located between downtown, La Macarena and Chapinero
Centro Internacional is located between downtown, La Macarena and Chapinero

The city of Bogotá is divided into 20 distinct localities, or Districts, and every visit to this city should include touring at least three or four of them, depending on the purpose and extent of one's travel. The must-see Districts are:

  • La Candelaria: The colonial district is officialy in the Santa Fé district. Colombia's capital city was founded here in 1538 by Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada y Rivera in a spot known today as El Chorro de Quevedo. The next year, authorities re-founded the city a few blocks away at what is now known as the Plaza de Bolívar. Bogotá then grew up around the neighborhood. Because the city expanded west and north, La Candelaria retained much of its colonial atmosphere. The neighborhood is full of cobblestone streets and centuries-old houses. It is now a tourism and university district, as well as the site of Colombia's government. Here you'll find most of the public buildings, both from the City and the Country's government. Historical squares, 400 year old churches, picturesque narrow streets are all here, mixing along modern development of financial business hightowers.
  • Chapinero : North of La Candelaria, it comprises the new downtown areas of the city, combining office space, residential areas and hundreds of alternatives for shopping, dining and sightseeing. In a city famous for its wild traffic, you'll really enjoy the walks that can be had around El Nogal, La Cabrera and Chicó Reservado. Begin at Carrera 7a around streets 79 or 80, and zig-zag your way down and north until you find the Parque 93. Along the way, you will find tree-lined narrow streets, personality-ridden shops and boutiques, and eccentric dining alternatives. Don't hesitate in stopping for a world famous coffee in any location, and zip your way through all the bars and clubs surrounding the Zona Rosa. Make it through to the beautiful green park of Virrey and walk down its creek for a breath of fresh air. By the time you reach the 93 you'll be glad to take the opportunity to sit down, rest, and people-watch in one of its many terraces.
  • Teusaquillo makes for a unique sightseeing experience with its ample offerings in public venues for Sports and Outdoor activities. Here sports fans will find the Football (Soccer) Stadium, the Olympic Water Complex (biggest and most modern of South America), and the city's league venues for all sorts of disciplines like tennis, track and field, basketball, volleyball and bowling all within walking distance of each other. Outdoor fans will find the city's biggest Public Park (Simón Bolívar), home to the most crowded open-air concerts and festivals year-round, and favorite destination for all sorts of activities such as jogging, biking, kite-flying, pedal-boating, etc. Culture fans will be at home with the district's offerings of Museums, including a Botanical Garden displaying the most amazing floral showcase of the continent.
  • La Macarena : A bohemian neighborhood around the bullfight ring full of artsy cafes, art galleries and great restaurants.
  • Parque de la 93: A trendy section of Bogotá with nightclubs and cafes frequently visited by Bogota's "jet set".
  • San Victorino : Located in the center of the city just in front of TransMilenio's station, Av. Jimenez. There you will find a plaza surrounded by all kinds of cheap stores selling different types of goods, from clothes to food and pets. If you do go, do not take anything with you; gringos are not well received there and may get robbed.
  • Usaquén : The northernmost district, home to many sightseeing locations, modern business squares, and traditional architecture examples. The main square is the meeting point of the area where you can find pretty nice restaurants and bars. But walk around and find more great places to eat and drink. It serves as a hub to connect with outer destinations north from the city, which include many attractions within nearby towns.

Not for tourists but with some appeal for the hardcore traveler, other districts include: Antonio Nariño, Bosa, Ciudad Bolívar, Engativá, Fontibón, Kennedy, Los Mártires, Puente Aranda, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Suba, Sumapaz, Barrios Unidos and Tunjuelito.

Get in

By plane

The city is served by El Dorado International Airport (IATA: BOG) (ICAO: SKBO) (~20 minutes from downtown in a taxi), that receives several flights daily from New York City, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Paris, São Paulo, Madrid, Mexico City, San José (Costa Rica), Lima, Buenos Aires, Panamá City, Quito, Guayaquil, Oranjestad (Aruba), Willemstad (Curaçao) and Toronto among others. Tourists can also take advantage of the convenient connections and direct flights from Los Angeles, Washington, Santo Domingo, San Juan, Punta Cana, Valencia (Venezuela), Manaos, Havana, Montego Bay, London, Frankfurt and Orlando. Many international airlines such as JetBlue, Continental,Delta Air Lines, Air France, Air Canada, American Airlines, Iberia, LAN, Mexicana, Varig, Copa, Avianca, Aero República, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Spirit, TACA, AeroGal, and Air Comet among others.

Domestic flights are served by many airlines including Avianca (main Colombian airline), Aero República (a Continental-owned domestic airline) and Aires. Domestic flights of Avianca are served from the Puente Aereo terminal, next to El Dorado terminal, and features WiFi access to the Internet from almost every location. There are more than 20 daily flights to the 2 airports located in Medellín, over 15 daily flights to Cali and more than 10 to Cartagena. Taxis are regulated, reasonably priced and safe from the airport. El Dorado Airport is undergoing a complete makeover, which will end in 2012 and will make it bigger and more comfortable. El Dorado is also the third busiest airport in Latin America and the largest by cargo movement.

To get out from the airport into the city there are a couple of options: 1) Regulated taxis. You first have to search for a stand where you will have to point out your destination and then they will print out a ticket indicating the price you will have pay. Then, pick up a taxi from the line and explain to the driver your destination. At the end of the journey you will have to pay ONLY what is printed out in the ticket. The typical price will range from 15.000 up to 25.000 COP. 2) Bus. Walking only some meters outside the main door entrance, you will find a "paradero" (bus stop) with frecuent busetas passing by. Although this is by far the cheapest option (around 1.200 COP), it can be daring if you don't know the city already, since the bus only indicates the main places where it passes by. However, bus drivers are very friendly and quite helpful, and you can ask them to indicate you when the bus is passing a certain point of the city. A good option is to ask him to drop you close by a Transmilenio station and then continue your trip from there.

By bus

The safety of bus travel in Colombia has greatly improved in recent years. However, foreigners should be cautious not to travel to areas of unrest and travel only during the day. Do not carry large amounts of cash with you as robberies are known to occur along some routes. Service in the 'upscale' buses is very good and they are very comfortable. Pick the most expensive service (just a couple of dollars extra) as these buses tend to be newer and better mechanical condition. Bogotá is also building 2 new terminals, one located far south and one on the north corner to serve buses going on those directions.

Currently, buses run in and out of Bogota's main station, El Terminal de Transporte de Bogota [1]. The station is clean and has standard amenities. Located at Calle 33 B, No 69-59, multiple bus companies have regular routes to destinations around the country. To get there from the airport, you can take a short taxi ride.

Take into consideration that most of the restaurants serving within the terminal can be expensive by Colombian standards, but well served. In case of need, it may be adviceable to order a dish for 2 people or just to check places around the station.

The Terminal is divided in several color-coded areas that indicate the destinations to which comapanies in that area travel to : Yellow = South, Blue = East and West, Red = North and International, Purple = Arrivals.

Search Engine by Destination [2] Destino=Destination Empresa=Bus Company. Simply enter destination and a list of companies serving that route will return along with average prices.

Some common bus companies in Colombia that are found in this Terminal are :

  • Expreso Bolivariano [3] : This company has one of the most extensive networks. Some international destinations as well.
  • Coomotor [4] : Mostly destinations in Southern Colombia.

Get around

The city of Bogota is built on a grid system. Carreras (streets) are abbreviated as Cr., Kra., and Cra. and run parallel to the mountains from South to North. Carreras are numbered by ordinal numbers, for example Cr.3 is read Carrera tercera and not Carrera tres.

The calles (also streets) cross the Carreras and run from East to West. Calles are abbreviated as Cll. and Cl.

Avenidas, abbreviated as Av, are usually larger and main streets. The numerical system for the Avenidas is used but some have names that are more commonly used such as Avenida Jimenez. Each address consists of a series of numbers, for example: Calle 16 # 2-43 which indicates that the building is located on street 16 (Calle 16) 43 meters ahead from the intersection with street 2 (Carrera 2).

By taxi

Taxi cabs are ubiquitous and affordable. They can be flagged down anywhere, but it may be dangerous. They can also be reached by phone, which is highly recommended for security reasons, at 599-9999, 311-1111 or 411-1111. If calling for a taxi, the driver will want to confirm that it is you who called by asking for a "clave" (key), which is always the last two digits of the phone from which you called to request the taxi. Each taxi has a meter which should increment one tick every 1/10 kilometer or 30 seconds and starts at 25 ticks. The rate chart is printed on a card in the taxi. Nearly all taxi drivers will try to take advantage of you in one way or another; be sure the taxi meter is started when you begin your trip. Tipping is never necessary - be sure to count your change and be on the lookout for both counterfeit coins and notes. There are surcharges for the airport, holidays, and nights (after 8PM). Surcharge details are printed on the fare card. Surcharge for ordering a taxi arriving at your house is currently 600 pesos, surcharge after 8PM is 1.500 pesos, even if you are starting your trip before that time. Holidays and Sundays are also surcharged 1.500 pesos. Lock the doors of the taxi, especially after dark. If you experience a problem in a taxi or with the driver, dial 123 to report a complaint with the police. You should also call the company with which the taxi is registered.

By Transmilenio

Bogota's new rapid bus service is extremely affordable, clean and efficient. It carries commuters to numerous corners of the city; however, there are some main routes that are not yet reached by Transmilenio. Tickets cost 1,500 COP. The vehicles used in that systems are articulated buses; they are fast and safe, but could be full in during the afternoon times. The system also uses different kinds of stations: the simples offers bus services at the right and left sides (north-south;east-west) and the intermediates are usually located in middle points and have complete services, such as elevators, station libraries, bikes parks, restrooms. Alimentadores services (buses that reach zones the articulated buses do not) and the portals, the 7 arrival and departure places of the buses, are located near the entrances to the city. Service ends averagely at 10 or 11p.m.. Additionally, intercity buses from the metropolitan area also arrive at these stations.

By bus

Privately owned buses cruise all the main thorough fares and many side streets, and are the principal form of transport for the working class and student class. Though they do follow specific routes, they do not have bus "stops"; you merely call to them like taxis and they will stop for you where you are standing. Placards in the large front windows list destinations, either neighborhoods or main street names. Upon entering you will be asked for the fare; if you are not traveling alone you may be asked "Para ambos?", for example, meaning "For both?", to see if you are paying for just yourself or for your companion. Then you pass through a turnstile to the seating areas. The buses come in three sizes, usually, long (like a school bus), medium and small (called busetas). All have turnstiles. To exit these buses, you go to the back door and either push a button located usually on one of the hand rails or next to the exit, or simply call out "Aqui, por favor!" or "Pare!" (Stop!). Passengers are often expected to embark and disembark even from the middle of the street.

Sometimes vendors are allowed to enter the buses to sell candy or small gift items (occasionally donating one to the driver for the privilege). Or, you may find entertainers such as singers or guitar players, and even the more creative of the street beggars who will regale you with a long, poetic story of their sad situation before asking for donations. Even in the smallest buses, cramped full of people standing and sitting, it is a common sight. Interestingly, a recent Grammy-nominated singer named Ilona got her start performing on buses around Bogota.

The cost for riding on a private bus ranges from 1000 to 1200 Colombian pesos.

By colectivo

Colectivos cover practically every major route of the city, and can generally be flagged down at any point on a main road. Watch these small buses for lists of destinations displayed on their windshields, or ask the driver (in Spanish) if he passes the neighborhood or intersection you are going to. Not very comfortable, but they are faster than a common bus and it's also used as a shuttle for routes that don't have so much affluence, it can take you almost anywhere.

By bicycle

Bogotá has Latin America's largest network of bicycle routes, called 'Ciclorutas.' On Sunday's and public holidays, many main and secondary roads are closed to cars for the Ciclovia from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., a special feature of Bogotá, where people can run, bicycle, inline skate or just watch from the side. There are refreshment stands along the way and most parks host some type of event such as yoga, dancing, stretching, spinning, etc. Renting a bike or going for a guided tour on Bogota's Ciclorutas or participating in the Ciclovia are fun and healthy ways to get to know the city, and to get closer to the people. Although they are not often enforced, there are numerous bicycle laws : a helmet and reflective vest must be worn and the bicycle must have reflective panels in the wheels and back.

Bogota Street in the old downtown part of La Candelaria
Bogota Street in the old downtown part of La Candelaria
View of La Candelaria, with central Bogotá in the background
View of La Candelaria, with central Bogotá in the background
Home of author Jose Vargas Vila
Home of author Jose Vargas Vila

Many landmark events in the history of Colombian and South American independence took place in the La Candelaria, district including the near killing and escape of Simon Bolivar, the execution of revolutionary heroine Policarpa Salavarrieta, known as 'La Pola,' and the Grito de Libertad, known as the beginning of the region's revolution. And the district is indeed teeming with history, and there are a lot of interesting museums and old churches in what is the oldest Bogotá neighborhood. Some streets are reserved to pedestrians. The most important places are La Catedral, Plaza de Bolivar, Palacio de Nariño, Iglesia del Carmen, Biblioteca Luis A Arango (blaa), the Colonial Art Museum and the old architecture of the houses and buildings, almost all of the museums charge no admission. La Candelaria also contains numerous Catholic Churches, many of them centuries-old. The Colombian-American and Colombian-French cultural centers are located in La Candelaria, and a Colombian-Spanish cultural center is under construction.

  • Casa de Moneda, Calle 11 No. 4-21 (Next to Museo Botero), 343-1223. M-F : 10 am to 8 pm , Tu : closed / Sa : 10 am to 7 pm / Su : 10 am to 4 pm. Has a collection of Colombian coins and the history of moneymaking. Free entrance.  edit
  • Cultural Heritage Museum.  edit
  • Donación Botero, Calle 11 No. 4-41, ''+57 1'' 343-1331. W-Fr 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-7PM and Su 10AM-4PM. Collection of paintings donated by Botero to Bogota. Besides work of Botero the collection contains work from Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Dali and others. Free entrance.  edit
  • Gold Museum (El Museo del Oro), Calle 16 No. 5-41 (On one side of the Parque Santander), ''+57 1'' 284-7450 (fax: ''+57 1'' 343-2222), [5]. Tu-Sa : 9 to 6 / Su : 10 to 4. Impressive collection of gold and pre-Colombian artifacts from Colombia and surrounding nations. Don't miss this museum. The Gold Museum is unique and you won't find a better place to see the pre-Spanish artwork on gold. La Casa del Florero was the site of an 1810 protest by Colombians considered to be the initiation of the revolt against Spain. The Botero Museum contains both works by Fernando Botero, Colombia's most famous artist, and the contents of his private collection, including works by Picasso, Renoir, Dali and others. The museum was under renovation, up until October 2008 and as of then its open to the public once more so don't miss it out. 2,800 COP.  edit
  • Banco de la Republica Art Collection (Museo Botero), Calle 11 No. 4-41. Tue to Sat:10AM-7PM, Sun and holidays 10AM-4PM Closed on Mon, including holiday Mondays. Exhibits Permanent Banco de la República Art Collection consisting of nearly 3,000 paintings, sculptures and assembly of Colombian and Latin American masters from the XVI century to our days. Visitors may appreciate a selection of Colombian painters works, for instance Gregorio Vázquez de Arce y Ceballos, the most important Colony painter, Alejandro Obregón, Enrique Grau, Latin American as Rufino Tamayo, David Alfaro Siqueiros and many other globally renowned.   edit
Catedral Primada
Catedral Primada
  • Museum of Colonial Art, Carrera 6 No. 9-77, 341 6017 (). Tu-Sa 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. / Su from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Under Eduardo Santos administration on August 6, 1942 the Colonial Museum containing Viceroy-ship art, silver plates, the Virgin of the Light and the most characteristic Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos collection, among other valuable Colombian culture treasures opened its doors. Declared National Monument National in 1975, Las Aulas Cloister is one of the oldest buildings in Bogotá.  edit
  • Museum Francisco José de Caldas, Carrera 8 #6-87, 289-6275 (). M-F : 8am to 5pm / Sa : 8am to 2pm. Centered around the life of the revolution martyr. Showcases his mapping expedition of Colombia and how he contributed to the revolution by building a fort and a riffle factory in Antioquia. Free entrance.  edit
  • Museum of Regional Costumes.  edit
  • Museum of Religious Art.  edit
  • National Police Historical Museum, Calle 9 No. 9-27, 233 5911 – 281 3284. Mo-Fr : 8 am to 12pm and 1 pm to 5 pm / Sa : 8 am to 2 pm. Its main interest resides in the rooms dedicated to the hunt of Pablo Escobar. Guided tours in Spanish and English. Free entrance.  edit
  • Cerro de Monserrate. A true beautiful panoramic view of the city is only a funicular or transferico ride away. You can take the Funicular up and Transferico down, or vice versa. You have the option to buying one way tickets, too. You will have the most amazing views and also enjoy the very good Colombian food in one of the two full-service restaurants at the top. There are also souvenir stalls on the week ends. Remember to bring a warm coat, because it is chilly up there. On Sunday is a very crowded place, so be ready to get into a long line. It is very important to also wear sunscreen and hat because at such a high altitude, you will burn very easily even if it is "cloudy". This is especially true if you are going around noon. You can also hike up the stone-set path up Monserrate like the locals do. It takes approximately 1-1.5 hours up and approximately 45 minutes down. Remember to allot more time if you are not accustomed to being 2 miles above sea level. The hiking trail is closed during 2009, but hard core travellers can find a way ;-) - but take care of mugging while entering the walking path! 13,000 COP round trip (8,000 COP on Sundays).  edit
  • Torre Colpatria, Carrera 7 # 24 - 89. Bogota's tallest building and one of South America's tallest buildings is located in El Centro. You can visit the panoramic deck on the top of building on Saturdays and Sundays; make it a must see. 3,000 COP.  edit
  • Museo Nacional, Carrera 7 No. 28-66, ''+57 1'' 334-8366 (), [6]. Tu 10AM-8PM; W,Sa 10AM-6PM; Su 10AM-4PM. The National Museum is the oldest in the country and one of the oldest in the continent, built in 1823. Its fortress architecture is built in stone and brick. The plant includes arches, domes and columns forming a sort of Greek cross over which 104 prison cells are distributed, with solid wall façade. The museum houses a collection of over 20,000 pieces including works of art and objects representing different national history periods. Permanent exhibitions present archeology and ethnography samples from most antique Colombian men vestiges, 10,000 years BC, up to XX century indigenous and afro- Colombian art and culture. Founders and New Kingdom of Granada room houses rich Liberators and other Spanish authorities iconography; the round room exhibits a series of oleos synthesizing Colombia painting history. Adult : 3,000 COP / Student : 2,000 COP.  edit
  • Museum of Modern Art of Bogota (MamBo), Calle 24 No. 6-00, (571) 286 0466 / (571) 293 3109, [7]. Tue to Sa : 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. / Su 10a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Exhibits a complete collection of modern art work basically consisting of drawing, paintings, engraved work, sculpture and assembly. Houses work of Colombian masters Fernando Botero, Alejandro Obregón, Enrique Grau and Édgar Negret, among many other together with important Latin American artists pinacotheca. The moderns building, designed by architect Rogelio Salmona, achieves optimum space and natural light management. Adult : 4000 COP / Student : 2000 COP.  edit
  • Planetario Distrital, Carrera 7 Calle 26, 334-4546 (), [8]. Dome cinema as well as telescope observation on friday nights.  edit
  • Plaza de Toros de Santamaria
  • Photography Museum
  • Hacienda Santa Bárbara, Carrera 7 No. 116 - 05. A 19th century house that belonged to Pepe Sierra, one of the wealthiest Colombians in that time, that became a mall in late 80's. Famous for its cafés (some of them nationally renowned) and not as crowded as other malls.
  • Parque & Museo El Chiquo, Calle 93, Carrera 7, [9]. Old hacienda located in a nice park with botanic information. Guided tour of the interior with its antique furniture. Adult : 2,500 COP / Student : 1,500 COP.  edit
  • Jardín Botánico José Celestino Mutis, Calle 63 No 68-95, 4377060, [10]. 2,000 COP.  edit
  • Maloka, Cra 68D No 24A-51 (Neighborhood El Salitre), (), [11]. Built in 1998, Maloka is one of the only science centers in South America. It houses interactive exhibitions about biodiversity, physics, telecommunications, conquest of space and environment protection as well as the only dome theater of the continent. Interactive exhibitions : 9,000 COP / Dome theater : 11,000 COP.  edit
Parque Los Periodistas
Parque Los Periodistas

Downtown Day Tour

No visitor to Bogota skips the historic Downtown and La Candelaria neighborhood. In fact most affordable lodging and dining options can be found this side of town making it highly desirable by low-budget travelers and backpackers, given its close location to many of the city's attractions. Start your way on Avenida Septima and Calle 14, just arriving Parque Santander. Take the opportunity to visit the world famous Museo del Oro, or Gold Museum for its legendary El Dorado collections. Then continue south one block up to Avenida Jimenez and give your camera a workout at one of Bogota's most famous and historic intersections, where a couple of ancient churches and 19th century buildings collide. Turn east (towards the mountains) and walk up Avenida Jimenez alongside downtown's famous Eje Ambiental or Environmental Axis, which is a section of the avenue that has been closed off to vehicles except Transmilenio, to make way for a generous tree-lined pedestrian sidewalk and an enclosed water stream. Many historic and famous buildings are located alongside the Eje Ambiental, home to Bogota's most renowned and traditional companies like El Tiempo and the Bank of the Republic. A few blocks east just past the Parque de los Periodistas the Eje Ambiental starts bending northwise, so leave the axis and turn south instead via one of the small streets that branch into the neighborhood and make your way up to Calle 13 and Carrera 2, el Chorro de Quevedo, unofficial center of La Candelaria, where it is argued that the City of Bogota was founded back in 1538. Today, bohemian life meets to enjoy arts, culture and music at this spot. On the way make sure to take in the whimsical coloring and architecture of the neighborhood's streets and colonial houses. Continue on Carrera 2 southward a couple of blocks up until Calle 11, and turn west once again just in front of La Salle University: You'll be glad you do since you've been climbing constantly eastward so enjoy your walk back down. Make sure to notice the eccentric street names found on picturesque signs at every corner. Make your way down west on Calle 11 and you will pass by the Museo Botero, museum showcasing some of famous Colombian painter Botero's private art collection and work. Another block down is the Centro Cultural Garcia Marquez, modern cultural center and venue that includes Library, Art Galleries, concert halls and lesson rooms, with year-round events and displays for all tastes and audiences interested in culture and the arts. Continue down west and reach the Plaza de Bolivar, the city's overwhelming main square surrounded by neoclasic government palaces and the Catedral Primada, largest church in the country. After taking in the many sights, you might want to leave the square southbound for a couple of blocks on Carrera Septima to check out the Presidential Palace and its Presidential Guard. Finally turn around back Carrera Septima northward until you find Transmilenio, just about where you started!

  • Every Friday and Sunday night, Avenida Septima is closed and you can see all sorts of street performers, live music, magic shows, etc. and buy crafts and other good. If you don't mind crowds its worth a visit.
  • Check out the Iberoamerican Theater Festival, the biggest theater festival in the world (occurs every two years in April).
  • Bogota Bike Tours (Bici-Cafe), Carrera Tercera No 13-86, 57-1-341-1027, [12]. 8AM to 6PM.. Bicycle rental and tours service. (4.647302,74.096268) edit
International football game at El Campin Stadium
International football game at El Campin Stadium
  • Catch a football (soccer) game at El Campin Stadium. Easily accessible by Transmillenio and with a capacity of 48,000 spectators, it hosts games for the Colombian international squad as well as for professional league home teams Millionarios and Santa Fe. Avoid the north and south section for these home games which are populated by rival supporter groups; instead get a ticket for the eastern or western wings, known as 'laterales'. International game tickets start at 20,000 COP and home games at 16,000 COP.
  • Take a cab or Transmilenio to a working class neighborhood in the southside. Sit down in a 'panaderia' (bakery), order a "colombiana" brand soda and some good bread...sit down and breathe the environment of the regular Colombian...don't narrow yourself to the upscale Norte. Since picking out one of these neighborhoods can be dangerous, the best ones to do so: Santa Isabel, 20 de Julio, The Tunal area.
  • Go to Parque Simon Bolivar and chill like rolos (Bogota citizens) do, walk around the cities biggest park or ride the train.
  • Ciclovía. Every Sunday and Monday holiday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. major avenues are closed to cars and thousands of people turn out to bicycle, skate, jog and walk. You can join up on foot, or by renting a bicycle in the Candelaria neighborhood.  edit

Learn

Bogota has numerous educational institutions. Some of the better known universities include: Universidad Nacional [13], Universidad de America [14], Universidad de los Andes [15], Pontificia Universidad Javeriana [16], Universidad Externado [17],Universidad Santo Tomas [18], Universidad de la Sabana [19], Universidad de la Salle [20] and LCI Bogotà [21]. However, there are many privately and publicly funded universities and Schools.

If you want to learn Spanish, universities are a good option since they have all inclusive plans. They not only offer Spanish courses but also Mandarin, Japanese, French, German, Italian, etc. Also, many embassies have institutions that teach languages, including Spanish, for foreign people, such as the Centro Colombo Americano, the British Council, The Italian Institute, The French Alliance and the Brazil-Colombia Cultural Institute (IBRACO).

Talk

The Spanish spoken in Bogotá is considered the most neutral and clear in the world. If you know the basics, you'll probably be fine. Bogotá is full of English academies and bilingual schools, so English is spoken by many young people. The most "touristy" areas are full of young students who go to bilingual schools, and generally, they will help you translate. Colombians love to show off the best of their country to reduce the negative image it has amongst foreigners.

Work

Officially, it is not legal to work in Colombia without a proper working visa. Visas can be obtained by employers on your behalf.

There is also a significant market for English and other language teachers. English translation or editing jobs are possible to find under the table.

Buy

Local products worth bringing home include :

  • Inexpensive handicrafts and jewelry from vendors
  • Coffee-based products
  • Leather handbags, shoes, and wallets.
  • Uncut and cut emeralds brought in from the world's best emerald mines
  • Inexpensive silver jewelry
  • Dress suits and shoes

In Usaquen you can find a huge "mercado de las pulgas" on Sundays.

  • Santa Fe, Autopista Norte Calle 183 costado occidental. One of the newest malls in Bogota and largest in South America is located next to the Portal del Norte Transmillenio station. It has a wide variety of shops, designer stores, and a food court with many local and international choices. A very fun and modern place.  edit
  • Unicentro. A very modern mall with many western retail shops.  edit
  • Hacienda Santa Barbara, Carrera 7 No. 115-60. A shopping mall made out of an old "hacienda" in the trendy bohemian neighbourhood of Usaquén.  edit
  • La Zona T, Calle 82 Cra 11. The chicest area of Bogota is surrounded by the upscale malls of Centro Andino, Atlantis Plaza and El Retiro which holds various upscale boutiques such as Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Bulgari, Cartier, Loewe and many more.  edit
  • More Affordable Shopping Malls : Plaza de las Americas, Ciudad Tunal, Tintal Plaza, Amazonas and Unicentro de Occidente.
  • Thundra Outdoors, Calle 82, No 12-62 (Close to Andino shopping mall and la Zona T.), 1-5300645 / 310 2578180, [22]. 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.. Outdoors equipment : camping, trekking and climbing gear.  edit
  • MonoDedo, Cr.16 No 82-22, (+57-1) 616 3467 (), [23]. Outdoors equipment and climbing information.  edit
  • Home Center, (Portal Norte). Tents and sleeping bags at cheaper prices.  edit

Eat

Arepas: Corn flour based pancakes, sometimes made with cheese or slightly salted.

Empanadas: The closest comparison would be pastries. These are popular all over South America, so generally each country/region has their own recipe. The filling usually consists of meat, potato, vegetables and rice wrapped in a corn flour crust.

Tamal: Usually eaten for breakfast. A mixture of meat, chicken, potato, vegetables and yellow corn wrapped in plantain leaves and then boiled. Should be accompanied by a large mug of hot chocolate.

Ajiaco: Traditional thick soup based on three kinds of potatoes, chicken, avocado, dairy cream, herbs, corn, among others. Typically from the altiplano region.

Plenty of options. These are only a few and are divided by areas. However, it is very difficult to find a decent Chinese/Japanese restaurant. Do not expect much even if you find any, since most of them are "fake" oriental restaurants.

  • Henry Comida Rapida, Carrera 1 and Calle 19 (On the Los Andes University Plaza). Fast food joint for the nearby university, order a godzilla and you'll be served with what is most likely the biggest empanada of the continent !  edit

Usaquen

Located a couple blocks north from the Hacienda Santa Barbara shopping mall, this is the little pueblo in the big city (Roughly Calle 120 / Carrera 5). Colonial structures, some small shops and boutiques, flea market on Sundays, and a variety of restaurants around a traditional town square :

  • Cadaqués, Calle 119B # 5-43 (First street north of the northeast corner of the park, going east towards the large parking lot, right side), +57 1 6201199 (), [24]. Lunch and Dinner. Spanish/Catalonian Fusion cuisine, including Paella, tapas, fideuá, and seafood, along with eclecltic local ingredients. Molecular cooking is a feature. Between 15,000 and 35,000 pesos.  edit
  • Thezera, Cra. 5 # 117-55 (East passed Usaquen's central park, on the last street go South, and it's 2 houses down), +57 1 215-5290 (), [25]. Lunch and Dinner. International cuisine including; Peppered New York Strip, Rosemary Chicken, Tuna Tartar, Lamp Chops, Coconut Breaded Grouper, and Ceviche. Live Jazz on Thursdays. Between 12,000 and 36,000 pesos.  edit

Zona G

This zone has some of the finest eateries in Bogota. Within a few small blocks you will find plenty of options. The restaurants are more oriented toward fine dining more so than night club type activity. If you want elegant or romantic, this is a good choice. This are five star restaurants. By looking at the addresses below, you can tell that these restaurants are all neighbors.

  • Astrid y Gaston, Carrera 7 No 67-64, +57 1 211-1400, [26]. The restaurant offers the flavors of Peruvian cuisine in Bogota. Reservations are required, so do call ahead!  edit
  • Bagatelle, Calle 70 A No. 4-99, +57 1 321-3475, [27]. Once a bakery, this restaurant has the feel of a Parisian cafe. It serves crepes, sandwiches, and salads, as well as breakfast and brunch. The Bagatelle is famous for its pan de chocolate.  edit
  • Clowns Deli, Calle 70 A No. 4-45, +57 1 248-0254, [28]. Clowns Deli offers sandwiches and salads for a reasonable price.  edit
  • Criterion, Calle 69A No. 5-75, +57 1 310-1377, [29]. This contemporary restaurants offers its patrons French-influenced, gourmet dishes. The menu consists of a variety of starters and meats, and also offers its guests a tasting menu that changes weekly. Criterion was awarded the Five Star Diamond Award in 2008; the only restaurant in Colombia to receive the recognition.  edit
  • Gostinos 69, Carrera 5 No. 69A-30, +57 1 313-0612. Gostinos 69 offers its patrons seafood at reasonable prices.  edit
  • Harry Sasson Restaurante, Calle 83 No. 12-49, +57 1 616-4520, [30]. Chef Harry Sasson creates delectable, international dishes with Asian influences. This restaurant also has a wide variety of wines from all over the world, including Argentina, France, and California.  edit
  • La Hamburgueseria, Calle 70 No. 4-69, +57 1 321-3350, [31]. La Hamburgueseria is not fast food restaurant, but does offers a great variety of hamburgers and sandwiches, made from the best ingredients. This restaurant has many other locations, so be sure to check out the website to find the one closest to you!  edit
  • La Table de Michel, Calle 69A No. 4-15, +57 1 347-7939, 347-7939. La Table de Miguel offers excellent French dishes. They also have a wine list made up of mainly French wines, but also a few Chilean. The great thing about this restaurant is that the menu is translated into various languages for the convenience of the diner.  edit
  • Nazca, Calle 74 No 5-28, +57 1 321-3459, [32]. This Peruvian restaurant serves up to 96 people, and has a 'launch area,' where those waiting for tables can snack. The principle dish of Nazca is ceviche.  edit
  • SUNA, Camino Natural, Calle 71 No. 4-47, +57 1 212-3721, [33]. Organic Restaurant and Market. Suna serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This environmentally-friendly restaurant offers a menu consisting of organic, vegetarian, raw, and vegan dishes.  edit
  • Tony Roma's, Carrera 6 No. 69 A-20, +57 1 249-5271. This American chain-restaurant serves traditional American bbq, including short ribs and seafood.  edit

Zona T and Zona Rosa

This zone has a mix of good dining, discos, shopping malls and more. It gets crowded on the weekend, and is popular with foreigners.

  • Balzac, Calle 83 No. 12-19, +57 1 610-5210, 610-6206. French cuisine.  edit
  • Cafe Tostion, Carrera 12A No. 83-80, +57 1 610-5154 (), [34]. Names after the Colombian sportsman, this coffee shop offers a wide variety of traditional coffees. Coffee grains are also available for purchase.  edit
  • Casa Mexicana, Calle 80 No. 14-08, +57 1 218-2874, 257-3407 (). As the name suggests, this restaurants offers traditional Mexican dishes, and includes a variety of beers, tequilas, and margaritas.  edit
  • Club Colombia, Avenida 82 No 9-16, +57 1 249-5681, 321-0704. Colombian cuisine.  edit
  • Crepes & Waffles, Carrera 12A No. 83-40, +57 1 256-4683, [35]. This chain restaurant has great crepes, both sweet and savory, and waffles, as well as soups and salads, for a great price!  edit
  • Hard Rock Cafe Bogota, Calle 81 No. 13-05, +57 1 530-2200. The world-famous Hard Rock Cafe offers all of its favorites in a great atmosphere.  edit
Restaurant Andres Carne de Res
Restaurant Andres Carne de Res
  • Andres Carne de Res, (Chia), 863-7880 (), [36]. Andres Carne de Res is actually a little out of town in the town of Chia, but the trip is well worth the effort. Movers, shakers and the beautiful people descend on the sprawling bar, grill and restaurant nightly. The decor is unique, the vibe amazing, and once you are done eating the dancing goes on until the wee hours. Make sure you have someone to take you home again. Cover: 15,000 COP.  edit
  • Andres D.C. (De Corazon), Calle 82 # 11 - 57, 863-7880. Opened in September 2009, this is an extension of the Chia Restaurant right next to la Zona T and thus a lot more accessible. It stretches over 4 floors in the Retiro shopping mall and is a bit more orientated towards dining than partying. The menu has 32 pages and offers more than 800 options. Plan on spending a lot of money.  edit
  • Bogota Beer Company, [37]. Bogota´s very own brewery! Try the "Jirafa" (giraffe) which is a 1 yard long glass full of the Beer of your choice, or the "Campín Calamari" and the "Cedritos Chips" (All dishes are named after Bogota´s most famous neighborhoods).  edit
  • Cl 85 No 13-06 (Calle 85), 256-6950.
  • Cra 11A No 93-94 (Parque de la 93), 621-9914.
  • Av 19 No 120-74 (Pepe Sierra), 214-5464.
  • Cra 6 No 119-24 (Usaquén), 620-8444.
  • Cl 82 No 12-10 (Zona Rosa, in front of the Andino Mall), 611-1254.
  • CHA-CHA, Cra. 7 No 32-16, 350-0202. One of the most exclusive night clubs, located on the 41st floor of what once was the Hilton Hotel, today just an abandoned building. It is located in the "Ball Room" of the old hotel, and keeps the traditional elegant decoration. Crystal Chandeliers meet Electronic music. Has amazing views of the city at night and an amazing terrace to hang out. Frequently visited by world famous DJs. Cover : 15,000 COP.  edit
  • Escobar y Rosas, Cra 4 No 15-01 (Candelaria), 341-7903. W to Sa : 5pm to 2:30am. Located in La Candalaria and mostly frequented by students, gringo hunters, and backpackers, this pharmacy converted discoteca features a bar and a packed dance floor downstairs. Cover : 10,000 COP.  edit
  • Gato Gris, Cra 1A No 13-12 (Candelaria). This place is just charming in many ways. It is right at the Chorro de Quevedo, the birthplace of Bogotá. It has many nooks and levels, perfect for little intimate gatherings. Great rooftop with fireplaces and views of downtown Bogotá.  edit
  • Gnoveva, Calle 84 Bis No 14A-08. Very cheap. Lower prices, the music and the people are great, no cover and a bottle of aguardiente is $35.000 pesos.  edit
  • Kubiko Bar, Carrera 12A No 83-49 (Zona T), ''+57 1'' 236-1613. This bar offers imported beers and great cocktails, they also featured a live DJ that plays the latest electronic music. No cover.  edit
  • Kukaramakara, Carrera 15 No. 93-57 (Near Lola), 642-3166, [38]. The environment and decoration of this place has the perfect combination of modern club elements and traditional artesanal environment from Colombia´s ancestors. Also features a local band every Friday and Saturday night that performs Latinamerican singer´s songs. Cover : 15,000 COP.  edit
  • Lola, Cra 15 No 93-37, 605-4405 (), [39]. Frequented mostly by students and people looking to have fun, on a well located spot for lower prices than those found on the "Zona T" or the Park on 93rd St. Cover : 10,000 COP.  edit
  • Pravda, Cll. 83 No 12-20 (Zona T), 257-2088. Best Martinis in town, also a little pricey. Try the Lychee Martini.  edit
  • Salto del Angel, Cra 13 No 93A-45 (Parque de la 93), 622-6437, [40]. One of the coolest spots in Bogota, it is the place to see all the football matches with your buddies, beers and really, really good food on Sundays, and on Saturdays, Fridays and Thursdays it is the place to see all the beautiful people dancing salsa and vallenato music on the tables. Great environment but get there early or make a reservation. Cover : 10,000 COP.  edit

Also visit other local nightclubs where most North residents go like Gavanna, Velvet, Amatista, Barbarosa, Salome Pagana (Salsa Dancing club) or Nabu (Most located in the "Zona Rosa" one of the trendiest parts of Bogotá).

Sleep

If you are going to stay in Bogota, keep in mind the location; Most low-budget visitors choose to stay in La Candelaria, the colonial neighborhood in the center of the city. There are many cheap, nice hostels where you can meet travelers from all around the world. The historic district as well as all the major museums and some nightlife options are within walking distance. The historic hostel is Platypus, which has been open for more than 15 years, but many newer backpacker hostels have opened recently. Ironically, the area is the one of the most dangerous parts of Bogotá and there have been many reports of robberies with knives. Extreme caution is needed when walking at night, especially in front of hostels. Common precautions apply as in any major south american city : do not walk alone, carry as little cash as possible and leave the passport and credit card at the hotel. Pressure from neighborhood groups to oust the remaining criminals has caused police presence to increase but you must always remain cautious. Check the location very carefully before you choose a place to stay, security is worse in the tiny deserted streets uphill and closer to Egypto neighboorhood. You'll find several hotels in the upscale northern districts like Zona T or Parque de la 93. Security won't be an issue but prices are much higher. Nevertheless, you won't have any problem hailing a taxi at 6am in the morning because your hotel would be just around the corner from the nightclub. On the other hand, you can find low to medium price hotels around downtown or near universities (i.e. Chapinero Neighborhood).

Note that in 2008, two foreign travellers were found dead in La Candelaria area due to drugs. Recently, a Colombian broadcasting company CARACOL filmed about drug tourism in La Candelaria, and the program was a big sensation in Colombia.

  • Anandamayi Hostel, Calle 9 No. 2-81 La Candelaria, (+571) 341-7208 (), [41]. Anandamayi is a very comfortable and inexpensive hostel in the most beautiful colonial house in la Candelaria old town. Hostel Prices 9-14 USD. Very nice vibe (the owner is a Buddhist lady), but it is quite a few blocks walk from the Transmilenio (calle 16 vs. calle 9). This area is known to be dangerous at night. Hostels like Fatima are better located.  edit
  • Bogota B&B hostel, Av. Calle 32 No. 15-63 Teusaquillo (close to transmillenio bus station profamilia), (+571) 323 2428 (), [42]. checkout: 10 a.m., but you can stay at the hostel till late night. A 5 min. walk from the national museum and the national parc is a quiet nice safe hostel with nice personal athmosphere. 15 min. walk to Candelaria, but take care at night. The hostel also includes a nice kitchen, clean rooms and dorms, 1 outdoor patio, a big living room with 2 hammocks, TV and DVD-Player, free coffee, good WIFI and 1 Internet terminal (but weak computer), laundry facilities (20,000 COP for 10kg=22pounds of washing and drying) Dorm bed : 18,000 COP / Single with shared bath : 30,000 COP / Twin : 50,000 COP / Double with bath : 60,000 COP.  edit
  • Chapinorte Hostel, Cr. 15 No. 75-35 2º piso (Zona Rosa), (1)217 3815. Hostel in the Zona Rosa (nightlife area) in the North of Bogotá. Much safer area than La Candelaria.  edit
  • Hospedaje Cacique Sugamuxi, Calle 15A No. 2-19, La Candelaria, (+571) 337-4326 (), [43]. Upstairs, very secure and a bit quieter than the other english-speakers hangouts. Dorms from COP$ 19.000-45.000.  edit
  • Hostal Fatima, Calle 14 No. 2-24, La Candelaria, (+571) 281 6389 / (+571) 283 6411 (), [44]. . Including breakfast costs a little more, Free internet (but old hardware). The hostel probably has the most beautiful interior in La Candelaria, but mattresses are not solid enough. Hot water is limited by electric heating system. Rates from 18,000 COP.  edit
  • Hostal Sue, Calle 16 No. 2-55, La Candelaria, (+571) 334 8894 (), [45]. This hostel is quickly becoming one of the most popular backpacker's hangout, and has expanded to 3 locations. Great facilities including a chill out room and fully equipped kitchens. Right in the center of Bogotà, especially close to the many museums, including Botero and Gold Museum, and the great night life of Candelaria. Hot Water 24hrs. Free bed linen. Safe, clean hostel accommodation. Friendly, helpful staff. Fully Equipped kitchen. Laundry Service. Free Locker. Cable TV with many DVDs. Free Internet Access. Table Tennis. It's also a bit rundown. Rates from 20,000 COP to 40,000 COP.  edit
  • Musicology Hostel, Calle 9 No. 3-15, La Candelaria, (+571) 286 9093 (), [46]. New hostel - opened in 2009, located in a colonial house in La Candelaria district. The hostel offers free breakfast, free internet, bar with food and alcohol, TV room, Spanish classes, hot showers, laundry service. Prices from 15,000 COP.  edit
  • Platypus Hostel, Calle 16 No. 2-43, La Candelaria, (571) 281 1801 (), [47]. Located in the old Candelaria district, it is owned and run by a friendly and helpful Colombian named German (pronounced 'Herman'). The hostel is usually over-crowded and the facilities are too old, beds are neither good nor clean and hot water is not stable. Prices seem like overcharged as there are better hostels around. However, it's still the most famous place in La Candelaria. The hostel offers free coffee, internet facilities and hot showers. Included in the Platypus portfolio are Platypus 2 and 3, where those wishing to stay for longer can take advantage of having their own room at discounted rates. Make sure you book for Platypus in advance as they very seldom have availability on arrival. The best reason for staying here is German's knowledge but he is rarely around nowadays (*At the time of writing, in June 2009, travelers get robbed every night near Platypus. As the location is well-known for local robbers, usually they await victims in front of Platypus at night. Better to avoid staying at Platypus at the moment). Dorm bed : 18,000 COP / Private rooms from 33,000 COP.  edit
  • Posada del Sol, Calle 9, No. 3-71, La Candelaria, (+571) 342 7105 (), [48]. Brand new hostel in La Candelaria. The owner Danny, a RTW traveler since 2003 and PADI professional dive master, is an excellent information source for traveling Colombia. The hostel has new facility and enough space to take a rest. HD-movie room, 2 fully equipped self-catering kitchens, video game, free use of internet(4Mb speed) & WIFI, innerspring mattress, 24 hours hot shower, BBQ party on Thursday night. Also, the hostel offers private Spanish classes, by qualified teachers from Los Andes University. The location is just 3 blocks away from the Presidential Palace and Plaza Bolivar. It guarantees better security in La Candelaria area. Room rates are 15,000 COP to 45,000 COP.  edit
  • The Cranky Croc, Calle 15 No. 3-46 La Candelaria, (+571) 342 2438 (), [49]. In the heart of La Candelaria is the newest and cleanest hostel in Bogota. Run by Aussia ex-pat Andy and his crew, this historic building has been completely remodeled and features a wet bar, indoor barbecue and cafe serving breakfast and the Friday night all you can eat barbecue. The hostel also includes a huge kitchen, clean rooms and dorms with lots of hot water, 2 outdoor patios, free coffee, excellent WIFI and Internet terminals, laundry facilities, and motorcycle/car parking at a small additional fee. Dorm bed : 20,000 COP / Single with shared bath : 40,000 COP / Double with bat : 60,000 COP.  edit
  • Hotel Aragon, Carrera 3 No. 14-13, ''57'' 342-5239, ''57'' 284-8325 (fax: ''57'' 342-6387). If the Platypus is full, you can try this hotel a few blocks down. It's actually a hotel so there are no dormitories. The owner has a notorious reputation for fighting with guests. The place is basic and a little dated but the rooms are fairly clean and there's hot water all the time. Single room : 22,000 COP.  edit
  • Hotel Dorantes, Calle 13 No. 5-7, La Candelaria, 3346640 / 3415365 (), [50]. Hot water (not electric), beautiful building in need of attention. WiFi may be available. Clean and friendly. Unique charm and kitsch. Avoid Friday and Saturday night if you plan to fall asleep before 3:00 AM - perfect if you want to join the partying taking place outside. Huge double room : 45,000 COP.  edit
  • Hotel Internacional, Carrera 5 No. 14-45, La Candelaria, 341-3151 (), [51]. A safe, inexpensive alternative to hostels. Shared bathrooms down the hall with strong hot water. No TV in rooms. Internet computers available in lobby. Shared kitchen available to guests. Tourist information in several languages. Clean private rooms from 17,000 COP.  edit
  • Hotel Casa Real, Calle 93A No. 9A-53, ''57'' 530-4884 (), [52]. Only 2 blocks from the 93rd St Park and restaurants, this lovely hotel has very spacious suites, excellent service and great breakfasts. Rooms COP$230,000 plus tax.  edit
  • Hotel San Sebastian, Avenida Jimenez No. 3-97, ''57'' 337-5031 (), [53]. This comfortable and convenient hotel located in the pleasant area of La Candelaria offers 36 excellent accommodation, a stones throw from the top sights in Bogota.  edit
  • Bogota Marriott Hotel, Av. El Dorado n.º 69b - 53, Bogotá, Colombia, +57 1 4851111 (fax: +57 1 4851112), [54]. The Bogota Marriott has 264 rooms and 15 suites with service high speed internet, desk for visitors to the city for work and soundproof windows. It offers spacious meeting rooms, pool, gym, 3 treatment rooms for massages and spa services, a Japanese restaurant and other Italian food. Prices range between $200 - $800.  edit
  • Charleston Hotel, Hotel Casa Medina, Sofitel Victoria Regia, Habitel Hotel, Embassy Suites, La Fontana Hotel, Bogotá Royal, Andino Royal, Hacienda Royal, Casa Dann Carlton, Meliá Santa Fe, Radisson, La Boheme Royal, Pavilion, Bogotá Plaza, Cosmos 100 Hotel y Centro de Convenciones, Hotel Capital, Tequendama Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Stay safe

Bogota is not as dangerous as it is perceived to be. The crime rate per capita shows that it is safer than Washington D.C. and most other Latin American capitals, such as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Caracas, Mexico City and Guatemala City. It is very difficult to find drugs or be forced to buy them unless you go looking for them. Do, however, be careful outside the city especially at night.

Bogota's major safety problems are the drugged, homeless people that are found all around the city and muggers with knives. Avoid walking alone, and also avoid taking cabs in the streets, call them by phone!

Common sense prevails and note that driving a Mercedes through a poor neighborhood may be unpleasant for both you and the locals (just like anywhere else in the world).

  • Embassy of Austria, Carrera 9 No. 73-44, Piso 4, Edificio Fiducafé, (57-1) 326-3680/90 (, fax: (57-1) 317-7639), [55].  edit
  • Embassy of Belgium, Calle 26 No. 4A-45, Piso 7, 282-8901.  edit
  • Embassy of Brazil, Calle 93 No. 14-20, 218-0800.  edit
  • Embassy of Canada, Carrera 7 No. 114-33, Piso 14, (57-1) 657-9800 (, fax: (57-1) 657-9912), [56]. M - Th : 8 am to 12:30pm & 1:30 pm to 5 pm / F : 8 am to 1:30 pm.  edit
  • Embassy of France, Carrera 11 No. 93-12, 618-0511, [57].  edit
  • Embassy of Germany, Av. El Dorado - Cra. 69 No. 25B-44, piso 7, edificio World Business Port, 0057-1-4232600, [58].  edit
  • Embassy of Spain, Calle 92 No. 12-68, 622-0090 ().  edit
  • Embassy of the United Kingdom, Carrera 9 No. 76-49, Piso 9, 326-8300 ().  edit
  • Embassy of the United States, Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50, 315-0811 (fax: 315-2197), [59].  edit

Stay healthy

Bogotá's water is potable and of great quality. It actually is one of the finest waters in the world, but foreigners may want to mix bottled and tap water for the first few days. Bogotá has no tropical diseases like malaria because of its altitude. Altitude is, in fact, the largest health problem affecting foreigners. Generally, a few days without hard physical activity or time spent in a mid-altitude city like Medellín will do the trick. If you have heart disease or a respiratory condition, talk to your doctor, El Dorado Airport provides wheelchairs for travelers with special needs. Private hospitals offer excellent health care.

  • Visit nearby towns like Chia, La Calera, Cajica, Tabio, Zipaquira and La Vega. You can find cheap and fast transportation to any of this destinations from the Terminal de transportes and from most, you can return the same day. But it's a good idea to get out, Bogotá is a chaotic city surrounded by lots of relaxed and peaceful places.
  • Choachí is the best kept secret in town. This small village 50 min. East of Bogotá is reached after climbing up and down a tall mountain, so tall you can see Monserrate at your feet. Local cooking, hot springs and a great Swiss restaurant await for you at your destination.
Catedral de Sal in Zipaquirá
Catedral de Sal in Zipaquirá
  • Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá, [60]. An impressive Cathedral hewn out of a salt mine in Zipaquira. A visit is by guided tour. English, German, French, and Spanish guides are available. To get there take the Transmilenio to Portal del Norte and then a bus to Zipaquirá (45 min / 3,400 COP). Ask the bus driver for directions to the cathedral, it is only two blocks from the main plaza. The current cathedral is the second construction and opened in 1995 after the first one had to close because of safety concerns. Entrance : 15,000 COP / Wednesday discount : 10,000 COP.  edit
  • Laguna del Cachique Guatavita. Closed every Monday,Tuesday or Wednesday if Monday is a holiday. This spiritual lake is where the legend of El Dorado originated. The Muisca Indian King used to have religious ceremony in the middle of the lake, painted all his body with gold dust, and threw gold things offered in sacrifice into the lake. English/Spanish guided tour is available. To get there take the Transmilenio to Portal del Norte and then a bus to Guatavita and ask for another transportation to the lake. This is a little bit complicated, but local police can help. The journey will take little more time than to Zipaquirá. Foreigners : 12,000 COP / Colombians : 8,000 COP.  edit
  • Andrés Carne de Res (Restaurant and dance) Amazing steak and a great place to party. Do not miss it if you wanna see how important food and dancing is for Colombians!!!! Calle 3 # 11A -56 Phone: 863-7880 (Chía) Live music is one the best "rumbiaderos" (nightclubs). It is located about 15 mins north of Bogotá.
  • Bogotá as a hub to visit other places in Colombia As the capital city is centrally located you can easily visit many distinct destinations as the Amazon Jungle (1.5 hrs by plane), Spanish colonial cities Cartagena or Popayán (1 hr flight), modern cities like Medellín located in an impressive Andean valley or Cali at the foothills of the Andes.

To get to the airport from the city, you may use Taxi or a public buseta (van). As of September 2009, there is currently no Transmilenio route to the airport, as it is under construction. A way to get by public transport is to go to Boyacán station in Transmilenio, then on the main avenue look for the street signs that indicates the way to the airport (typically over the avenue itself) and stay one side of the road waiting for a Buseta labeled "Aeropuerto" in the front. This journey may take around 1 hour from the city center depending on the traffic conditions, but is significally cheaper than taking a taxi anywhere in the city (2.800 COP vs. around 25.000 COP).

This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions, arrival and departure info. Plunge forward and help us make it a star!

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also Bogota

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English

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Bogotá

  1. The capital of Colombia.

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Spanish

Proper noun

Bogotá

  1. Bogota; Bogotá

Tagalog

Proper noun

Bogotá

  1. Bogota, Bogotá

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