miércoles, 29 de julio de 2015

Top 10 Things to Do In Bogotá

If you are reading this I guess a "Bienvenido a Bogotá" is in order!

Bogotá is a cosmopolitan city with lots to see and do both during daytime and night. As a local this are some of the things I would recommend people to do in no particular order aside from the obvious Museo del Oro, Monserrate and Zipaquira Salt Mines. There's plenty for all tastes and budgets and they're a great way to experience Bogotá as a local:

  1. Paloquemao Farmers Market (Plaza de Paloquemao): Anthony Bourdain made this one of his stops when he visited Bogotá. You can get to taste all sorts of fruits (you can even buy frozen pulp) and vegetables and sample all sorts of Colombian delicacies and typical dishes at incredible prices. Perfect place of breakfast or brunch. There is a Transmilenio stop in less than 10 minute walk. Read this to see pics and more info.
  2. Quebrada de la Vieja: If there is one thing you should know about Colombia is our incredible biodiversity. For those of you who are short on time (and budget) you can literally go for a hike through the Oriental Mountains (we call them Los Cerros) and enjoy a breath taking view of Bogotá. Entrance is allowed until 10 AM so plan your visit accordingly. Check Map
  3. Tango and Milonga: Bogotá is a great place to Tango with friendly milongueros and excellent world class dancers. My personal favorites  are La Milonga de Ensueño on Thursday nights since it has a great turnout and Sunday nights and Escuela Piazzola at the historic cafe Gaitán at the Teatro Gaitán. La Milonga del Jaguar on Wednesday is definitely worth checking. Don't do Tango? No problem! Entrance includes a free lesson and it's worth going just to see some of the dancers in action.
  4. Ciclovia de Domingo, an institution in itself. Every Sunday since the beginning of time (some say even more) the Ciclovia on Sunday is a great way to experience Bogotá on bike or anything with wheels without an engine. No bike? No problem! You can rent a bike for free and bike the city away. There's also a privately organized ciclovia  on Wednesday nights at  Ciclopaseo Nocturno.
  5. El Parkway. So you've been to Parque 93 and la Zona T and wanted something a little more Bohemian or quiet? El Parkway could be a great option. Formerly Bogotá's upper class residential area it now is a nice area with a short promenade and some cool bars and theaters. I recommend having a drink at Casa T's lounge and if you are up for it some of their shows. Not as swanky as Parque 93 and nowhere as loud as Zona T.
  6. Festival al Parque. Rock,Salsa, Jazz, Opera, Classical on a park? We've got it! Check out the schedule here. The major's offices organizes this festivals throughout the year. Rock al Parque is one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) in Latin America spanning 4 days of peace and love at our Central Park equivalent, el Parque Simon Bolivar. My personal favorite is Jazz al Parque, normally mid September and a fantastic crowd.
  7. Salsa. It's as close as Cali (arguably world salsa capital) as it gets. Personal favorites are Galeria Cafe Libro at Parque 93 or Galerias, Cuban Jazz Café, a hidden Gem at the city center and el Bembe. You can't dance? No prob. If you have the right attitude (respectful and outgoing) people you won't stay sitting down for long. Every weekend you can expect a live band playing at full swing.
  8. Parque del Virrey. The Viceroy Park is one of the best places in town to go for a jog. On any morning you'll see sports fanatics practicing anything from Taichi, Capoeira, Yoga to tight rope. The water dispensers along the path are great for joggers. Think of it as our own version of Reagent's Park. Remember Bogotá is 2600 meters above sea level so don't overdo it when jogging. You have been warned. There's also a nice café where you can just sit and pass the rolo's and rola's go by. If you are not crowd shy Sunday morning along the Ciclovia is a nice touch.
  9. Museo Botero: Of course Museo del Oro is a must see. But if like me you are a museum freak then these two are definitely worth checking out.  Museo Botero features works from Maestro Fernando Botero (the guy with a rather plump vision of the world) and his personal collection boasting almost any famous painter you can think of (Rembrandt, Picasso, Degas, Chegal, Miro to name a few).  Free entrance. Located in the historic Candelaria District you could schedule a tour of the painteresque Candelaria and have a great day. That's what we locals do.
  10. If you are a history buff then Museo Nacional is the place to go. Formerly an impressive jail house it's now home to some national treasures and it's located in one of my personal favorite parts of town with plenty of restaurants to cater for all tastes and budgets. Guided tours in English are available. Did I mention the entrance is free?

Do you want to see the best view of Bogotá? Monserrate is more popular and is definitely worth going to, specially in Christmas where all the hill is a giant pesebre. But if you've already done Monserrate and liked it then you should experience more parroquial Bogotá  and go to El Cerro de La Virgen de Guadalupe (Hill of Our Lady of Guadalupe). Best view in town, guaranteed. You can even look down and see Monserrate. Best time to go is during the weekend. There are loca bus lines (SITP) that will get you there. There's also a nice reservation area where you can go for a short stroll. Map here

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