The only reason I found myself in Bogotá was due to an extended layover from Peru. I didn’t imagine I would fall in love with this place (especially in such a short amount of time). But after spending less than 24 Hours in Bogotá, I LOVE this country.
I try to avoid stereotypes before I travel somewhere, but I couldn’t help but think of a few when traveling to Colombia. These same preconceived notions made my husband a tad nervous to visit this colorful capital.
But we were blown away! The city was beautiful, the locals were all very friendly, and the city was huge! We were pretty bummed that our layover wasn’t a stopover instead.
Normally, I provide my readers with 48-hour guides (like London, Los Angeles, Barcelona or Marrakech). However my 48-hour guides are based on personal experience and research. That was not the case for my trip to Bogotá.
‘Cause who’s in Bogotá for less than 24 hours? (Well… me, but you know what I’m trying to say here.)
Again, this is based on personal experience, so my guide starts with an evening arrival. Obviously, you can rearrange this as you see fit.
8:00 pm Start Your Stay with Dinner
In Bogotá, dinner is a sacred experience. One where the experience is equally as important as the food. If you’re arriving late like we did, you might want to pick a spot close to your hotel. However, I recommend these incredible spots (either award-winning or secret local spots):
Casa Santa Clara
10:00 pm Party the Night Away
And by party the night away, I mean wear a robe and enjoy a super comfy mattress at Sofitel Bogota. However Bogotá really is known for a great nightlife. If that’s your scene during your short stay, check out Theatron, Red Room, Huerta Bar Cocteleria Artesanal and The Pub.
7:00 am Grab a Quick Breakfast
There’s not much time to chill in the city so you have to be clever with your dining time. In this case, grab breakfast to go at your hotel or at a nearby cafe. After all, you wanna save your money for fancy Colombian lunch/dinner!
8:00 am Enjoy the View at Monserrate
Monserrate, a mountain in the center of Bogotá, has the best view of the city. Cable cars take you up the mountain to an impressive landscape and church devoted to El Señor Caído. You can also climb to enjoy a challenging, yet beautiful hike. Allow a couple hours to reach the top and descend as well as a time to enjoy the views and take pictures. Monserrate opens at 7:45 am Monday-Friday and 5:30 am on the weekends. Depending on the day you arrive, I highly recommend coming here before the crowds!
10:30 am Head to Bolívar Square and Explore La Candelaria
The very epicenter of Bogotá is Bolívar square, filled with tourists and hundreds of pigeons. Feed the birds and mozy around the old Colonial buildings. While you’re there, enjoy one of the several museums (like Museo Botero, Museo del Oro, Museo Santa Clara, or Museo Bogotá) and check out some historical architecture (like Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Silva Poetry House, or Capitolio Nacional).
1:00 pm Shop and Snack at Pasaje Rivas
If you’re traveling to Colombia, you’re gonna have to bring some presents home for your loved ones. Try Pasaje Rivas, a craft market a few blocks west of Plaza de Bolívar. This market is known as a non-touristy shopping place for crafts and goods. You’ll also see some food around here if you want to grab a quick snack!
2:00 pm Take a Trip to Catedral de Sal, Zipaquira
30 minutes outside of Bogotá lies the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, an underground Roman Catholic church built in the tunnels of an old salt mines under a halite mountain. It’s not only a wonderful religious site but just an interesting use of the earth unlike any other around the world. You could always take an Uber which is actually pretty affordable in Colombia. If not, the train is a great option! Enjoy a late lunch or early dinner at the food court on site!
5:30 pm Go Out With a Bang and a Beer
Before you take off on your flight, enjoy one of the best beers in town at Bogotá Beer Company. These locally-made, artisinal beers served with pub food make your taste buds very happy. Meanwhile, the restaurant’s popularity make it a very fun place to make friends and feel the vibe before you’re off to your next destination!