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Everything to Know When Visiting Bogota, Colombia

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The best things to do in Bogota aren't necessarily the most expensive ones! Actually, we found out that Colombia's capital city has a lot to offer without having to invest a fortune in entrance tickets, buses or any other crazy expenses.

In this guide we will be covering some of the best things to do in the city, as well as some incredible spots just outside of it.

Time wise, we found 2 days to be a good amount if you like to be constantly on the move, or 3 days if you enjoy taking it easy. Let's jump into the best things to do in Bogota.

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Where is Bogota?

Bogota is the capital of Colombia, and located in the central west area of the country. The region is called "Distrito Capital", which is translated to the capital district. Colombia is the northernmost country of South America, bordering Venezuela to the west, Ecuador and Peru to the north east, Brazil to the north west, and Panama to the south.

Where is Bogota

Bogota is in the center of Colombia, and is a huge hub for South America.

Getting to Bogota, Colombia

As the capital of the country, Bogota has the biggest airport in Colombia, and is a big hub for South America

Traveling to Bogota by Flight

Domestic cities that fly directly to Bogota include Armenia, Arauca, BarrancabermejaBarranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Cucuta, Florencia, Guaviare, Ibague, Lamacarena, Leticia, Manizales, Medellin, Monteria, Neiva, Pasto, Pereira, Pitalito, Popayan, Puerto Apartado, Asis, Puerto Carreño, Puerto Inirida, Quibdo, Riohacha, San Andres, Santa Marta, Tumaco, Valledupar, Villa Garzon, Villavicencio, Yopal. 

Other cities throughout the Americas and Europe that fly to Bogota include Amsterdam, Aruba, Asuncion, Atlanta, Buenos Aires, Campinas, Cancun, Caracas, Curacao, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Frankfurt, Guayaquil, Haringen, Houston, Istanbul, La Paz, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, Newark, New York, Orlando, Panama City, Paris, Punta Cana, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, San Jose, San Salvador, Santa Cruz, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Toronto, and Washington.

Cheap Flight Trick: With Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which dates are cheapest to fly! We've found flights from the USA to Bogota for under $100 this way!

Traveling to Bogota by Bus

Colombia is a pretty big country, and even big cities aren't quite as close as you'd think. While we definitely prefer to fly within the country, not everyone likes flying or has the budget. If you'd like to save money by taking a bus to Bogota, here are some of the different options:

Medellin to Bogota

Cali to Bogota

Cartagena to Bogota

Barranquilla to Bogota 

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Entry Requirements for Colombia

The next step for getting to Colombia is making sure you have the right documentation to enter. Here is everything you need to know for entering Colombia in regards to Covid requirements, as well as visa requirements.

Visa Requirements for Colombia

There are many countries that can enter Colombia visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. You can check the official site to see whether you need a visa or not. If you do want to stay more than 90 days, you can also apply to stay an additional 90 days at the ministry of foreign affairs in Colombia.

Covid Entry Requirements for Colombia

Covid requirements have been constantly changing, especially since our last big trip to Colombia.

As of now (April 2023), the majority of requirements have been already lifted. Masks are no longer mandatory, and you don't need a negative Covid test to enter the country. The only requirement to enter is that you need to fill out a health questionnaire.

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Local Adjustments for Visiting Bogota

Whenever traveling somewhere new, there are things that you might forget about. Certain things may differ from where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to Bogota, Colombia.

Language in Bogota

The official language in Colombia is Spanish. Colombians are a bit easier to understand than the surrounding countries, but at times they can speak a little fast. Being the capital, there are plenty of people who do speak some English. However, it is definitely better to try to speak a bit of Spanish to get by.

Currency in Bogota

The currency used in Colombia is the Colombian peso. Currently (September 2023) the exchange rate is 3,920.18 pesos for every $1 USD. Many shops, restaurants, and hotels accept credit card in Bogota. However, if you'd like to purchase street food or small souvenirs, it's always good to carry some cash on you.

Is Colombia Cheap?

Colombia is overall a very cheap place! That's why it's super important to make sure you are not ripped off while in Bogota. A lot of places will change prices for tourists, and inflate prices significantly if they know you are a tourist. Make sure to do everything officially, as "agreeing upon a price" is definitely the simplest way for you to be completely ripped off and pay much more than you should be for meals, transportation, souvenirs, etc.

What Plug Do They Use in Bogota?

Colombia uses the same plug types as the United States, which are types A & B. The standard voltage in Colombia is 110 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. If you are coming from Europe, you'll have to buy a travel adapter with an energy converter.

Is it Ok to Drink the Water in Bogota?

The tap water in Bogota is perfectly safe to drink from the tap, so there is no need to buy bottled water. We suggest bringing a reusable water to refill whenever you are able to.

Is it Customary to Tip in Colombia?

The tipping culture in Colombia is a standard 10%. Sometimes people tip a bit more if the service is great, even up to 20%. However, this is only if you feel the server has truly gone above and beyond.

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Things to Do in Bogota

Being the capital of Colombia, you can only imagine that the city has plenty to offer! Here are some things that you should do when in Bogota.

1. Take in the History at Plaza Bolivar

The historic center of Bogota is pretty small, and can be explored in less than an hour. The main plaza of Bolivar is where you can find most of the history. You'll have all of the old town feels just in one square!

Be prepared to see tons of pigeons, as they pretty much take over the entire place. We’re not a fan of these birds, but they definitely did add to our photos.  

Plaza Bolivar Bogota

Plaza Bolivar is full of pigeons.

2. Visit Museo Botero

Museo Botero is one of the most popular museums in the city and is definitely somewhere to check out while in Bogota. The awesome thing is that the museum is actually completely free of charge. However, you do need a reservation, so make sure you go online and get a ticket a few days in advance to lock in your spot. 

3. Check Out Museo de Oro

Also known as the museum gold, this is one of the most visited spots in Bogota. Housing an incredible collection of more than 34,000 pre-Colombian gold artifacts, you can imagine how impressive of a museum it is.

Museo de Oro is open 6 days a week, from Tuesday to Sunday. The hours of operation are 9 am to 5 pm. From Tuesday to Saturday the entrance is 4,000 pesos a person, and it is free of charge on Sundays, and a few special dates during the year.

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4. Go to the Top of Monserrate

Want to see the best views of the city? Then head over to Monserrate for one of the best things to do in the city. If you’re feeling in shape and motivated you can walk all the way to the top, or you can take the cable car or funicular to the top in just a few minutes. 

At the top there are a few different restaurants, a small church, and plenty of great views of Bogota. We suggest heading here for golden hour, enjoying a nice cup of coffee, and then admiring the sun as it goes down. If you’re here in winter you can also stay and wait for all of the lights to come on, which is a truly magical experience.

Monserrate Bogota

Monserrate has the best views of the city of Bogota.

5. Hang out in Parque Palapas

This small area is a great place to grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the open space. The park features a large dome in the center, with a nice backdrop of Monserrate. This is also where you can find a ton of public transportation if you’d like to check out areas outside the city center.

Parque las Palapas Bogota 3

Parque Palapas is one of the hubs of the city center.

6. Walk Along “Las Aguas”

Right in the middle of Bogota's center you can find Las Aguas, which are a series of cascading water that flow from one pool into another. They start in Parque Palapas, and they run right into the hustle and bustle of Bogota where you can find tons of street vendors and shops.

Las Aguas Bogota

The series of pools flow into one another.

7. Admire the City's Graffiti

Bogota may not be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but it definitely has character, and plenty of color. Roam the streets around Candelaria for some really cool and colorful street art, or take a graffiti tour to see some of the best works of the city! 

graffitti Bogota

Bogota is home to some awesomely colorful graffiti.

Want to book a Graffiti tour? Here you can choose one:

8. Go Shopping for Emeralds

Colombia is one of the biggest empires for this gorgeous green stone. Head into the middle of town and you will find tons of stores selling all different types of emeralds. They are much cheaper here, and even come with a certification. Just make sure that you check multiple shops and bargain like crazy to get the best deal.

9. Walk Around the Street Fairs

In the city center you will find many areas where people will offer all types of earrings, necklaces and other jewelry. Everything is handmade and with local elements (we even saw earrings made with local seeds!) so this is really a good spot for some personal souvenirs.

The one we went to was in the intersection of  Calle de la Ensenanza and Calle de los Amigos. We definitely recommend this small street fair, as everything was very authentic, and you could bargain.

Street Fairs in Bogota

One of the best things to do in Bogota is go shopping for handmade goods.

10. Visit Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen

If you like architecture, churches or just colorful places, this is a spot you don't want to miss. Its design reminds us of the big duomo located in Florence, Italy. The inside flashes visitors with decorations and intricate detail. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Bogotá.

Nuestra senora de Carmen Bogota

This church is one of the most beautiful buildings in Bogota.

11. Get a Souvenir at Pasaje Paul

If you are looking for cool souvenirs, especially ones made out of straw, then you definitely need to pass by here. You can find entrances both on Carretera 10 and Calle 10.

Come on in and get the best hand-made items to take home!

Pasaje Paul Bogota

Pasaje Paul has the best woven goods to take home.

12. Discover Jardín Botánico

The city isn't one of the greenest, but if you want to have a little bit of nature without traveling outside Bogota, then head over the the botanical gardens. Here you can find plants from every region, altitude, and terrain in Colombia.

The entrance is just 3,5oo pesos (about $1 USD) and is open from 8 am to 5 pm.

Transmilenio Bogota

Want to do some other fun tours in the city? Here are a few other ones you can check out:

Things to Do in Bogota Outside the City

We covered the main things to do in Bogota inside the city. Now it's time to move right outside Bogota. While the city is great for history and art, outside the city is great for some of Colombia's stunning nature. Here are a few of our favorites.

1. Cascada el Tequendema

This waterfall is located just outside the center of Bogota, and is definitely worth checking out! Here there is a museum with a giant platform to enjoy the views of the dramatic falls, as well as plenty of small restaurants right next to it to enjoy the panorama of the waterfall, river, and clouds passing closely by.

Don’t have a car and want to get here by public transportation? Read our Tequendama Falls travel guide to check out exactly how to get here on your own.

Cascada Tequendama Bogota

Don't want to go on our own? Here are a few tours that go there:

2. Cascada Chorera

This is such a hidden gem that most locals don’t even know about it! This gorgeous waterfall is tucked away 2 hours outside the center. Make sure to rent a car, as it is impossible to get here with public transportation. Grab your sneakers, bathing suit, and camera to enjoy one of Bogota’s best natural beauties. (Also enjoy the stunning views along the way!).

3. Laguna Guatavita

This laguna is not only beautiful, but it is special because of its history. Head to Laguna Guatavita to learn about the story, and to admire its beauty from above. Take a look at our Laguna Guatavita travel guide for details of how to get here, what to expect, and more.

Laguna Guatavita

Want to organize an excursion there? Here are a few you can choose from:


4. Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira

This Roman Catholic Cathedral is unlike any that you’ve probably been to before. It has actually been built in a tunnel of an underground salt mine! Loacted 190 meters deep, La Catedral de Sal is covered completely in salt, making it a must see if you are in Bogota.

La Catedral de Sal is located in the small town of Zipaquira, which you can get to by bus from Terminal Norte in the North of the city of Bogota.

Want to take an organized tour? Here are a few of the options you can choose from: 

Getting Around Bogota

When it comes to getting around in Bogota, the city is pretty well connected via public transportation. Here are a few ways to get around:

Bogota's Trans Milenio

The Trans Milenio is a tram system that runs through Bogota. It is extremely efficient, because it has its own line, so traffic doesn't ever become an issue.

A card needs to be purchased and then money can be put on the card to pay for rides. The initial expense of the card is just 5,000 (about $1.50USD), and each ride is 2,500 pesos.

Uber in Bogota

Did you know that Uber is available in Colombia, but it is in fact illegal? We learned by getting kicked out of an Uber when our driver got pulled over by a police officer.

Now you may be thinking, but Uber is usually cheaper. Well think again! Uber is actually more expensive than taxis!

Public Buses in Bogota

Buses can be confusing in Bogota, but are the way to go if you want to get anywhere in the surroundings of the city. A lot of the buses are just small vans that you need to flag down on the highway.

One of the most popular stations is Metro North, where you will find dozens of buses passing per minute! It is a busy highway, so make sure that you are on the right side, and looking for the correct bus. For us, we asked locals to double check, as it can seem pretty confusing which one to flag down.

Taking Taxis in Bogota

Taxis are surprisingly cheap in Colombia, making them a very efficient way to get around. Now, taxis are usually something we advise against in almost anywhere we have traveled, but this is not the case in Bogota!

We have actually written an entire article about how taxis work in Colombia, and how to not get ripped off. Take a look at our guide to learn more about Taking Taxis in Colombia.

Renting a Car in Bogota

If you'd like to explore the areas surrounding Bogota, then it'll definitely be best for you to rent a car. Inside the city, it is pretty chaotic, so we would stick to only driving if it's to reach places outside of the city.

We also suggest getting a rental car right from the airport, or as soon as a place opens. This is because my experience renting a car was painfully long. The rental place closed in the middle of the day randomly, and didn't show up for an hour. Then the whole process of renting the car from the small rental company was as inefficient as possible.

Bigger companies will be much easier to deal with, and rentals inside the airport will be much more efficient.

Rent a car in Bogota: 

Food & Drinks in Bogota

When it comes to traveling, one of the best parts is trying to local food and drinks! In Colombia, there are plenty of great things to try. In Bogota particularly, we also found some cool restaurants!

arepas Bogota

What to Eat in Bogota

Here are some of our favorite Colombian specialties.


When it comes to food, arepas are probably the most traditional food you will find in Colombia. They usually come with your meal, but you can also get this fried round bread stuffed with anything you please. We loved getting arepas for breakfast with ham egg and cheese. They’re quick, filling, and only around $1 or sometimes less!

One of the best things to do in Bogota is to walk around the center and find any shop that sells them. Even better, street carts are a fraction of the price, and the flavor is equally great (if not better).

arepas Bogota

Arepas are a must try Colombian food.

We found this one in the intersection of Calle 12b y Carrera 5. The woman lives 2 hours away from the city and starts working everyday at 6:30 am! By 11:00 all the arepas are sold, so you can imagine how good they are.

Coffee, Coffee, and More Coffee

It’s no secret that Colombia is known for their coffee. Colombia Is world-known for their coffee because the soil here is perfect for coffee plantations, offering a strong yet super tasty flavor. So now’s your time to get those caffeine cravings in!

If you want black coffee it’s called “tinto”. Our personal favorites are the delicious cappuccinos, and on a hot day, we love getting a frappe! You’ll never have one better than here.

Colombian Coffee

Coffee is a Colombian staple, so make sure to take advantage while in Bogota!

Take Some Home!

Coffee also makes for a great souvenir. We stocked up at our favorite coffee shop in Bogota “Tourist Coffee Shop la Candelaria“ where the guy working there took the time to explain to us the different regions, plantations, beans, and companies. We spent an hour trying different coffees and picking out gifts for our family and friends.

They sell the beans whole or you can get the ground coffee ready to go (although the beans are much fresher and tastier when sold whole).

Since most of our family and friends don’t have grinders, the guy so kindly opened the bags for us, ground the coffee beans with his professional grinder, and then packaged and sealed the bags like brand new! Now that’s enough to make us want to go back over and over.

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This is not only a traditional Colombian dish, but is particularly native to Bogota. Ajiaco is a hearty soup made from three different types of potatoes, chicken, and corn on the cob.

Where to Eat in Bogota

Now let's check out some of our favorite spots to eat throughout the city.

Juan Valdez

Juan Valdez is like the Starbucks of Colombia, but SO much better! You can find this chain all over the country. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it has any less quality. Make sure to stop here for all of your coffee needs. They even sell bagged coffee from all different coffee plantations throughout Colombia.


As outdoor dining has become more popular, there have been many places around the world getting creative with their dining experiences, and Bogota is no exception. Right outside Parque Palapa you can find a food court with several dining options, which has an outdoor seating area of different igloo looking bubbles to eat in. At night the place lights up and is truly unique experience.

CityU Bogota

CityU has an adorable outdoor seating area.

Reservations are needed to be made, and can be at a variety of spots. Our personal favorite was Poke. Although it’s not traditional Colombian food, we really enjoyed their poke bowls. Our personal favorites were the Luau and the Ono, which had fresh tuna and salmon.

Andres Carne de Res

This restaurant is an absolute must while visiting Bogota. The food is delicious and traditional, and the options are endless.

Known for their meat, Andres Carne de Res has pages upon pages of delicious grilled steaks, chicken, beef, and pork. The colorful menu might have you reading for a while, as it is just so hard to choose!

There are a few locations, all of them being in the North of the city. It can take up to an hour to reach here in public transportation from the center, but the experience is definitely worth it!

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Crepes and Waffles

This chain was one of our favorites in Colombia! They have one right in the center of Bogota, as well as in the airport. The menu hosts around 40 different crepe and waffle creations, and they have both sweet and savory.

As Colombia is a place where there aren’t many vegetarian options, we found that this is perfect for those trying to stay away from meat (don’t worry they also have plenty of meat options).

Our personal favorites were the Caprice and the Palmitos. These crepes were delicious, healthy, and just a few dollars a crepe! The storefront is also very deceiving because it looks like a small café, but actually has a huge restaurant with tons of seating and a lively atmosphere once you go down the stairs.

CityU Bogota dome

Where to Stay in Bogota

When visiting a capital city, it can be tricky to find out which area is the best to stay. In our opinion, La Candelaria is the best. It is walking distance to all of the main attractions, safe, and full of great hostels. You can find very affordable prices, as well as some really cool street art around.

Want to find accommodation in Candelaria? Simply check out the options on the map below:
graffitti la Candelaria Bogota

La Candelaria is our favorite and most colorful part of the city.

Is Bogota Safe?

Colombia is a country where you do need to have your whits about you. Especially being the capital, you'll want to avoid walking around alone at night, and pay extra attention to your belongings. We never felt in great danger while visiting, but we do think it's better to play it a bit extra safe just in case.

Like many cities in South America, just be extra cautious. Don't wear flashy expensive jewelry, and watch your belongings.

Other Things to Know for Visiting Bogota

We've covered most of the basics, but here are a few things that you may want to know.

The Best Time to Visit Bogota

Bogota is one of those places that really can be visited year round. I visited in both the summer and winter, and found it to be pretty similar in weather and crowds.

Weather & Packing for a Trip to Bogota, Colombia

Many people assume that due to the location, everywhere in Colombia is super hot. While cities near the Caribbean like Cartagena are hot year round, it isn't quite the same in the capital. Bogota has different weather than most places in Colombia, due to its altitude. It can get chilly, especially at night, so make sure to bring some sweaters or a light jacket. We also suggest bringing comfortable shoes to walk around, a small backpack or bag with a zipper, and a 17oz Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" class="" style="outline: none;">reusable water bottle.

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