Hear about things to do when you travel to Bogota, Colombia as the Amateur Traveler talks to ex-pat Lauren Pelky from wanderluluu.com who calls the city home.
Lauren says, “Colombia as a whole is one of my favorite countries. The reason for that is I just love how diverse the country is from region to region. You have the Amazon rain forest. You have the Andes. You have desert. You have the Pacific Ocean. You have the Caribbean. In terms of biodiversity, it’s pretty incredible how many landscapes you can see in one place. Region to region the cultures are so different, the people and the language even. I feel like Bogota is an overlooked major city.”
Bogota is a big city with more than 8 million people. Lauren starts us with a view of the city from the mountain sanctuary of Monserrate. She recommends taking up the tram, hiking, or taking the funicular. If you go on the weekend go early to avoid very long lines. When you go down you are in the popular neighborhood of La Candelaria. A lot of the lists that say the best things to do in Bogota focus only on this touristic beautiful old part of the city with its cobblestone streets. Better yet go during the week. She also recommends this view at sunset.
Even though Bogota is in the tropics, the elevation of the city is over 8,600 feet (3,000 feet higher than Denver). Bring your hat and your sunscreen. Also, bring a jacket and a rain jacket.
In Candelaria, near the Plaza de Bolivar, she recommends a stop at the Santuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen which looks like a candy cane with its red and white stripes. When it comes to museums in Bogota, Lauren recommends a stop at the Botero Museum. Botero is a famous Colombian artist. The museum is free.
Lauren’s favorite city tour in any city she has traveled to is the Bogota Graffiti Tour. It is led by a local artist or expert in graffiti. The tour ends in Funnell Lane where you can get a drink called chicha which is an alcoholic drink made from corn.
You should make a stop at the large fruit and vegetable market Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao. Remember that you are in the tropics so you will see 10-20 things you have not seen before.
Lauren recommends staying in the Chapinero area which is centrally located with a great restaurant, shopping, and nightlife scene. Chapinero and nearby Chico Norte is a more modern area with parks like 93 Park and Parque El Virrey. You can play the Colombia game Tejo which is like playing horseshoes but you are throwing a puck ate a clay board with a small explosive charge in the middle.
You should also get out of the area to see the countryside. Lauren recommends a tour with Andes EcoTours Colombia.
In the Usaquén neighborhood in the north, you can walk to a great view of Bogota by the Sendero Cerro La Aguadora (a reservoir). Plan your trip to Usaquén to be there on Sunday for the flea market, Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquen. You can get great local handicrafts there. On Sunday morning Bogota shuts down lanes of traffic to make it easy to get around the city on a bike.
Lauren also recommends two side trips from the city the first is to a local coffee plantation called Cafetal de la Trinidad. The other is to the colonial city of Villa de Leyva.
Along the way, Lauren recommends places to get Bandeja Paisas, tamales, desserts, and coffee.
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This episode is sponsored by Sawyer international. We talk about their charity programs which are distributing water filters in 80 developing nations.
This episode is also sponsored by Gunnison Valley, Colorado. If you are not working from the office, why not work from a beautiful mountain town. See icelab.co for more information.
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Santuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen
La Puerta Falsa, restaurant
Bogota Graffiti Tour
Cartagena Street Art Tour
Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao
Parque El Virrey
Canasto Picnic Bistró
Bogotá/Zona Rosa – Travel guide at Wikivoyage
Andres Carne de Res
Galería Café Libro
Andes EcoTours Colombia
Sendero Cerro La Aguadora
Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquen (Bogota) – 2020 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) – Tripadvisor
Sendero Cerro La Aguadora
Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquen
MUVO | Bicicletas Eléctricas Compartidas en Bogotá | Alquiler de Bicis
Cafetal de la Trinidad
Travel to the Coffee Region of Colombia – A 2 Week Itinerary (podcast)
Villa de Leyva
20 Things to Know Before Visiting Colombia
I have recently discovered your podcast (excellent and thorough) and have been an avid traveler since my college days. I have traveled all over Mexico, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Peruvian Andes, Caribbean, and to some degree, Asia as well as all over the US but I digress.
The purpose of my email is that I am approaching retirement in a year or so. I am in very good health and still very active physically but I am single ( not looking for a mate, just wanted to say that I travel alone) and my social crowd isn’t into travel. So I was wondering if you have any travel clubs you could recommend once we get out beyond Covid or could simply tell me a little more about your trips, to see how I might navigate my desire to travel with a lot more time on my hands and maybe as part of a group with common interests.
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