The Colombian Capital is rich with history, culture and adventures. Travellers can find a great variety of places to visit in every corner of the city and at any time. Following you will find 10 tourist attractions in Bogotá that will make your visit to the Colombian capital unforgettable.
Whether you are a pilgrim or a tourist, going on top of the Monserrate Hill has become one of the most traditional activities of the city. Located in the Eastern Hills at 3.152 metres high, Monserrate is known, amongst other things, for the Sanctuary of Monserrate, wide gardens perfect to have a walk, exclusive restaurants offering typical and international food and a beautiful panoramic sight of the capital. Besides, the cable car service or Funicular offers a comfortable and pleasant ride through the dense and colourful woods of the eastern hills. You can also get to Monserrate through a walking path. Going up the steps will take you approximately 40 minutes; if you feel you are up to the challenge, you should make sure you are well-hydrated and fed so that you do not get dizzy or faint because of the height. Through this walk, you will surely understand better the culture of Bogotá since the Cerro Monserrate belongs to the 10 top tourist attractions in Bogotá.
Time: The Funicular is opened from Tuesday to Friday from 6:30 y 11:45, Saturday from 6:30 to 16 and Sunday from 6:30 and 18:30. The Cable Car operates on Monday from 6:30 to midnight, from Tuesday to Saturday from midday to midnight and on Sunday from 10:30 to 16:30.
Travelling tip: The surroundings of Montserrate can be a little unsafe. You are thinking about going there at night, make sure you go with a local or check with the local authorities. Likewise, if you want to go up the hill through the walking path, do it during the day and make sure you come back before 5 pm to avoid trouble.
Official page of the Monserrate Hill.
2. Gold Museum
Interesting stories are a part of this museum that offers some of the most important tourist attractions in Bogotá. Inside you will discover the biggest pre-Hispanic silver and goldsmithing collection in the world, which is why it was declared as National Monument. Since its foundation, in December 1939 when the Republican Bank acquired the first piece of this exhibition, the Gold Museum acquired about 34.000 pieces of jewellery and 20.000 lithic, ceramic and textile items as well as precious stones belonging to various cultures that lived in the Colombian territory. There is no doubt that this attraction will make you live a mystical experience in which you will learn a lot about the rich culture and the profound cosmovision of the Pre-Columbian cultures.
Time: From Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm. On Sunday and on holidays from 10 am to 4 pm. Closed on Mondays (even if it is a holiday)
Prices: From Tuesday to Saturday and holidays: $4.000 (Colombian pesos). Entry is free on Sunday.
Official page of the Gold Museum
3. Chorro de Quevedo
Formerly known as the Pueblito Rolo, the Chorro de Quevedo Plaza is an outdoors place ideal to relax and have fun. Every day this plaza is filled with street artists, college students of the area and their authentic cobblestones streets and colonial houses make for a welcoming atmosphere if you wish to enjoy a sunny afternoon, buy handicrafts or enjoy the typical Bogotá gastronomy. After having seen this place you will be able to continue your visit to one of the other interest sites of the centre of the Colombian capital such as La Candelaria of the Eje Ambiental.
4. Plaza de Bolivar
This might be the best tourist attractions in Bogotá and the most important place in Colombia. This plaza has been the main scenery of significant historical events in the political, social and cultural aspects. From here you can easily the most emblematic buildings of the capital since the plaza is surrounded by the main institutions of the national government such as the Primatial Cathedral, the Capilla del Sagrario, the National Capitol, the Liévano Building, the seat of the Alcadía Mayor, the 20 July Museum. Without a doubt a place for you to visit!
5. La Carrera Séptima
This one of the most important arteries crossing the city taken by many students and workers travelling north to south and vice versa. This road, unavoidable if you are to move through Bogotá, has also been a historical and cultural site of Bogotá. This is why the local administration has recently created the “Septimazo” (Big 7th): a cultural movement taking place on weekends, that goes through the Colpatria building until the Plaza de Bolívar, where Colombian talent is free to express itself. During the Septimazo you can enjoy urban art, local gastronomy, learn history and enjoy the different musical expressions. You should also pay attention to the eclectic architecture, typical of the city. Without any doubt, Septimazo or not, walking through the Avenida Séptima (Seventh Street) is an interesting activity that will teach you more about the culture and traditions of Bogotá.
Points of interest: The Colpatria Tower, the Republican Bank, the Gold Museum, the National Museum and the Palace of Justice, amongst other things.
6. Simón Bolívar Park
The big lung of the city is strategically located in the heart of Bogotá and you can enjoy its 113 hectares to breathe the fresh air, have a picnic, relax and take a break from noise and contamination. Amongst its main attractions you will find a beautiful lake of 11 hectares: it has been set up to host aquatic sport events and also offers a boat and rowing service for the tourists. Another attraction of this place is the Salitre Mágico Park, where the little ones will be able to enjoy the mechanical attractions. You can also find the Cici Aquapark, where children of any age will be able to enjoy the climatised swimming pools and their sledges. In the same area, you will find other tourist attractions in Bogotá such as the Children Museum, the Botanic Garden, the Artisans Plaza and even a golf course.
7. Paloquemao Marketplace
The variety of colours, aromas and flavours of typical marketplaces became an important point of interest of the autochthonous local culture. Paloquemao is no exception, this is why this is one of the unmissable tourist attractions in Bogotá. This is an excellent opportunity if you wish to know the essence of Colombia and taste the best fruits, vegetables and the local gastronomy at an excellent price. Besides, You can find alternative options to have breakfast or lunch inside, since the presentation of the products their usually opens the appetite. The flowers shops are also worth a stop, so many colours usually attracts the attention.
8. Zona Rosa
Located on the north side of Bogotá, between the Calles 79 and 85 and the Carreras 11 and 15, this is where all the music and flavour of the Bogotá nights is. In this area you will find many options to have dinner, dance and have a few cups. Thanks to its attractive and varied offer of bars, pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants, Zona Rosa is the most exclusive area of the city. In the surroundings you will see green gardens that decorate the streets; the buildings and squares are also dazzling, making Zona Rosa the perfect place for a stroll! In Avenida 85 you will find the best fashion and design stores and three of the most important shopping malls in the city: C.C. El Retiro, C.C. Andino and C.C. Atlantis Plaza. Other points of interest can be found on the “T”, a pedestrian street full of cool bars and restaurants as well as the Bogotá version of Andrés Carne de Res, Andrés D.C., for travellers who do not have the time to go this traditional party outside the city.
What used to be just the population living outside Bogotá after the colonial time has now become a true tourist activity in Bogotá: an important local handicrafts market that kept is authentic colonial past but also offers the modernity of the north of Bogotá. On Sunday, people usually go to Usaquén to have a walk, buy some lovely local handicrafts and enjoy the cultural and festive atmosphere that treats locals and tourists alike. You can access it easily from the Commercial Centre Hacienda Santa Bárbara – an important ranch belonging to a Spanish landlord during the colonial time. Usaquén is a traditional attraction for people living in the north of the city where the modern and the colonial worlds collide, become a beautiful place ideal if you wish to relax, take a walk, eat and do some shopping.
10. La Chorrera
The perfect plan for adventurers and the most exciting tourist attractions in Bogotá. 45 minutes from Bogotá you will find the biggest waterfall of Colombia and the sixth of Latin America. Located in Choachí, Cundinamarca, this natural reserve is spectacular if you wish to live a fun day of sports: a sloping narrow path full of wet and lush vegetation will take you to La Chorrera, 2.450 metres high. The walk to La Chorrera does not require any physical condition, only the will to walk in a path in the Colombian mountains and to enjoy the fresh air offered by the Western hills that surround Bogotá.
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Sightseeing Bogota during your flight transit in Colombia is a top rated experience. See this and more attractions with a Bogota layover tour and get the most out of your waiting time between flights
Por: Julio Maya, Colombian journalist specialised in culture and sports. Writer in Spanish for Daytours4u.