Authored by Jess Signut
You’re in the market for your next vacation and wondering where to go. You’re thinking forest trekking, dramatic Andean peaks, and a cobbled historic downtown. Perhaps somewhere in Colombia!
If your Colombia travel guide points to the sub-tropical climate of Bogota, then this post is for you.
These are the top 5 things to do in this beautiful Latin American city.
Top 5 Things To Do In Bogota
Gold Museum, Bogota
The Gold Museum is exactly that; a museum dedicated to gold. Exhibits house pre-Hispanic metal work, made entirely out of gold, and as the biggest exhibit of gold in the world, you may need to set aside a few hours just to scratch the surface.
Other exhibits are dedicated to shell, stone, wood, pottery and more, and there are also many tributes to indigenous cultures that once roamed the lands of Bogota.
The great thing about this museum is the fact that they are bilingual and offer tours and exhibit descriptions in both Spanish and English. Despite there being an impressive 60,000 pieces already on exhibit, this monstrous museum is currently undergoing an expansion.
There is a shop and restaurant onsite for those who didn’t plan for lunch, or want to spend a bit on a souvenir and grab a little bit of gold for themselves!
If you’ve ever seen Christ the Redeemer on the gorgeous mountainside of Rio de Janeiro then this attraction may be for you. Known as Guadalupe Hill, this statue is stylized in a similar manner, and is of none other than Guadalupe herself, a figure of significant religious importance in Colombia.
Located in downtown Bogota against the mountainside of Monserrate, there is also a sanctuary near the landmark with a small chapel only accessible via an unpaved road which leads up the hill.
Colombian National Museum
You may be thinking, “enough of the museums!”, though the largest and oldest museum in Colombia, this deserves a mention.
Housing collections on Bogota’s history, art and culture, popular exhibits include an authentic mummy on display, as well as 20,000 other works of art and artifacts. The museum focuses heavily on archaeology in order to educate visitors on the city’s past, and permanent exhibitions present archaeology and ethnography samples from Colombian artifacts dating back to 10,000 years BC.
There is even a Chinese Terracotta Army exhibit that features 7 of the statues.
Colombian National Museum. Photo CC by DavidBerkowitz www.marketersstudio.com / www.about.me/dberkowitz
Bogota International Film Festival
Film junkies who love international films may want to consider attending the Bogota International Film Festival.
A premiere annual event which has been running for over 3 decades and draws A-Lister’s from around the globe, this film festival is one of the largest festivals in Colombia, and natives of Colombia have even taken home the gold. The type of award given at this ceremony is called the Circulo Precolombino, also known as the Pre-Columbian Circle.
The Bogota Short Film Festival is quite new to the movie scene, though you will still find some of the more popular winning motion pictures on Netflix for those wishing to brush up on recent films. Though if you’re planning to stream them online while in your Bogota hotel room, you may have to unblock Netflix to access it while overseas.
Cascada La Chorrera
Colombia’s tallest waterfall, La Chorrera is about as close to the beach as you’ll get in Bogota. This is truly a hidden local gem which is normally forgotten by tourists and travel guides; a lovely forest trek with amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
If you’re brave enough to swim once there, brace yourself. The water is chilly despite the tropical climate! You’re also able to pre-order a meal for after your trip back down as you’ll probably be parched and starved. The walk takes between 45-75 minutes each way depending on speed.
Why Travel to Bogota
Bogota is a beautiful Latin American city which sure does have nature on its side. The climate and temperatures here are beautiful year-round, the Andes Mountains offer stunning views, and backpackers and hikers have access to an unprecedented amount of untouched lush land, some of Colombia’s finest.
Those who do not travel here are sorely missing out!
INSPIRED? PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓
If You Liked This Post You May Also Like:
Featured Photo CC by Rosalba Tarazona
One of my close friends lives in Bogota, so I know I will be taking a trip there in the near future! Thanks for the tips, I’ll keep it in mind ;)
So glad to hear! Visiting friends is the best excuse for exploring a new city abroad! Safe travels Francesca :)
We spent five days in Bogota two weeks ago, and honestly felt really disappointed by it. It’s a shame, it’s the first place in Colombia that hasn’t in any way lived up to the hype!
So sorry to hear that Emily! I do find that if a city has been hyped to the point of no return it’s often disappointing once you get there because you just have super high expectations.
This was obviously a guest post, so I haven’t yet made my way to Colombia myself, though will definitely remember to plan time for more of the country than just Bogota. Any specific destinations you recommend?
Interesting, and well written!
Glad you enjoyed it Angelika :)
Bogota is easily one of my favorite cities I have traveled to! I can’t wait to go back. I admit, I hardly saw anything listed above as I was on a time crunch, but I will check this out when I get back there for some tips :)
Sounds like a great excuse to plan for a return visit then! So glad you enjoyed your first trip, I’ll be watching for updates from your second!
I would also add take a bike tour of the city with Bogota Bike Tours – run by an American who speaks many languages. We takes you to the best bits as he puts it. A fantastic tour for about $19 pp.
Thanks for the tip Leigh! $19 pp is awesome value for a bike tour!
Before reading this I barely knew anything about Bogota. The Cascada La Chorrea looks like a beautiful spot to visit!
Glad we could set you up with a bit more of an idea about the city; truly is a beautiful spot on the globe!
I’ve been aching to visit Columbia for a few years now and this post has only fuelled that ache!!
Fantastic suggestions, which I will definitely be needing when I do go. I’m intrigued as to how I’d fair with my Spanish Spanish in Latin America too…
Glad we could give you a little extra motivation to book a trip! And I’m sure you would be surprised with how far your Spanish would go; Mike only learnt Spanish for a few years in high school, though still knew enough to get by while we were in Latin America last year :)
Meg is totally right, you will definitely be surprised at how well you do and your efforts will always be appreciated.
What struck me the most in this post was Guadalupe Hill and the National Museum that houses 7 pieces of the Terracotta Army.. wow. Our national airline KLM just opened a direct flight from Amsterdam to Colombia, so maybe soon….
So glad to hear you’ll soon have a direct route to Colombia! Definitely consider Bogota in that case, you’ll love the views from Guadalupe Hill! Thanks Emiel!
We do love a museum, so would definitely head to the two you recommend. But that waterfall looks pretty special too!
Definitely set aside a full day for the waterfall – you’ll love it!
I don’t intend any offense, but it’s obvious the author has never been to Bogotá. Twice she mentions the “tropical climate.” Bogotá is in the mountains and the climate is in no way tropical. Second, she mentions that there aren’t many “modern things” to do in Bogotá, which couldn’t be further from the truth. One of my favorite things about Bogotá is that it’s such a balanced mix of modern and not modern. There are tons of things to do in nature and the like, and things that feel less “modern,” such as the traditional restaurants or the colombian game ‘tejo,’ or the wild adventure that is taking a ‘colectivo’ for the first time. But there are also more “modern” things – everything from state of the art movie theaters to concerts to amusement parks to amazing restaurants and beautiful malls. Bogotá is a city with a million facets, and to discover even close to all of them you really have to step outside the touristic bubble in La Candelaria (though La Candelaria is also beautiful) and go exploring for yourself, trying out some of the things the locals actually do. I’ve lived in Bogotá for 3 years now, and it truly is an amazing place.
Hi Scarlet, thanks for leaving your thoughts and experiences on Bogota. No offense taken – I stipulate in my guidelines for guest posts that each author must have first-hand knowledge of a destination before submitting a post, and I fact check each post before publishing – this one I found nothing wrong with from an accuracy point of view.
I’ve done another quick check around different online guides and it looks like people really don’t know how to agree on describing the climate of Bogota. In one guide it’s “Mediterranean”, in another it’s described as a subtropical highland climate, meaning it has cool days, crisp nights, and REALLY becomes hot when the sun decides to shine. Perhaps because the city is located on a high plateau in the Mountains of what is known as an otherwise tropical country is where the confusion between the terminology comes into play. I’ve changed the wording of “tropical” to “sub-tropical”.
And thanks for shedding some light on the modern side of the city. I have edited that phrase out of the article so that we’re not implying there’s nothing modern to do. People obviously leave with different ideas or perspectives of a city depending on where they spent the most time during their stay. So it’s great to hear from a locals point of view about the abundance of modern entertainment.
Thanks for leaving your thoughts!
No offense taken by your comments, we obviously have slightly different views and experiences of this awesome city :)
Interesting suggestions! I’d definitely like to visit the gold museum :) _ I visited one in my country as well.
Thanks Lori! Glad you enjoyed the post :) The gold museum is fascinating isn’t it!
Check it out, it’s really interesting. More interesting than I thought it would be!