Bogota sign
Travel

Make The Most of Your Trip to Bogota

Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia and is a city that has undergone a lot of change in the last few decades. As with our trip to England, our journey to Bogotá, Colombia was for a wedding. We spent 6 nights total in Bogotá, and picked up a few things along the way.

Logistics

The exchange rate for Colombian Pesos to USD is pretty advantageous. When we went it was 0.00038 USD to 1 Colombian Peso. We found most things to be cheaper than US costs, especially beer. In numbers, decimal places are used instead of commas, and vice versa. 30.000 COP is referring to 30,000. Splitting a check is not a thing here, and separate checks didn’t seem to be either. Figure out ahead of time how you’ll handle things if in a group.

Don’t expect a lot of people to speak English. While we were in a group, friends we were with helped translate for us. On our own we muddled through. Both of us attempted to revive our high school Spanish with Duolingo. I struggled with numbers the most because they were so large when dealing with money.

The weather was very mild, although it did get chilly at night. Bogotá is in the mountains with an elevation of 8,660 ft. For comparison Denver is 5,280 ft up, so Bogotá is over 60% higher than Denver. Woo. Math. Want to do the metric conversions? Anyway the altitude gets cold at night. Bring clothes that layer well. I also got winded more quickly. And tipsy faster.

When we first started planning our trip, Bogotá had an hour time difference (we’re on Eastern Time). Then as we got closer it didn’t. I was confused until I remembered that we have daylight savings time and other countries don’t. Stupid time change. But you don’t need power converters! All of our electronics worked.

City Views

At the base of Monserrate, a mountain that overlooks the city, there is a cable car and a tram that you can take up to the top. We took the tram up and the cable car down. A ticket cost around $7. I enjoyed the views from the cable car more, but the ride on the tram was more exciting. The views from up here are incredible! Walking along Monserrate was exhausting. I knew I was out of shape, but altitude amplifies that. I felt like I was slogging through 3 feet of mud. There’s a market with Colombian goods if you keep walking. For a snack, we stopped at Casa Santa Clara. The cherry lemonade was quite refreshing.

Brews

One of the first things we do in a new place is check out the beer! Bogotá Beer Company is the biggest brewery in Bogotá with multiple locations throughout the city. We hit the Parque de la 93 spot after walking around the park there. Their beers are all named after locations in Bogotá, and were pretty tasty. We also got some Colombian egg rolls (rollitos crocantes) and our bill came to ~$15 with 3 beers.

Twice we went to BBC La Bodega Plaza 73 location. This one is a covered outdoor food truck court. Both times I got an El Gringo from Niki Wraps. Bacon, french fries, and cheese sauce in a tortilla? Yes please. Bogotá does not have the beer scene that’s exploded across the States, but beer here was good.

We stopped in Arte y Pasión Café for coffee while walking around La Candelaria. I don’t drink coffee; I can’t get past the bitterness. But Mr. PC thoroughly enjoyed the brews here. They have coffee from various locations around Colombia. You can pick a few and try a flight as well as take beans home. Mr. PC did both. The flights were 4 good sized cups, and a lot of caffeine for one person. I did try every cup in his flight, and was not a fan. The atmosphere here was pretty cool, even if you’re not into bitter bean juice. They have a coffee lab in the back, with lots of science glassware that the nerd in me was all about. Coffee was around $2/cup and $9-13/bag of beans.

Hotels

We stayed in two hotels for 3 nights each while in Bogotá. The first was Four Points Bogotá. Our room was good sized. Drinks at the bar were reasonable and tasty. Breakfast was excellent. Juice in Bogotá is no joke. This hotel will charge for more than 2 people to a room, although that was not stated when we booked.

The second hotel was the JW Marriott Bogotá. Normally we would not choose a hotel this expensive, however as this was where the wedding block was. And the room rate was awesome. I’ve never stayed in a hotel so nice. The bathroom was massive. Breakfast here was even better than the first hotel. The buffet had tons of options. Room service was awesome, and reasonably priced. We did the build your own pasta multiple times. If you are willing to shell out the dough, this place is awesome!

Dessert

A short walk from the Marriott is a cute restaurant, Grazia. We went one afternoon for dessert, which was decadent and delicious. Grazia also has a selection of food related gifts. I got a handmade soup bowl with a lid that was lower in price than crafted pottery would be in the States. We sat outside enjoying our sweets and beverages. It was quiet and relaxing.

Obleas con arequipe are wafer sandwiches that can be filled with a variety of toppings. Find them on street carts around the city. They were cheap and were a sweet snack while walking around.

Nightlife

We actually went two locations of Andrés. The first was the D.C. location in the middle of the city on a Thursday night. We had a blast! I got quite tipsy on caipirinhas. I know, I know. They’re the national drink of Brazil. But I had always wanted to try one. Then one turned into several. Hence why I have very few pictures from here. Dancing was way more important. I did manage to take a picture of the beautifully painted toilet tank. Priorities.

The original location outside of the city was not very busy on the Sunday afternoon that we went. The dance floor was still crowded though. It’s hard to describe the decor and concept of these locations. Both were quite the enigma. Absolutely worth a stop in!

Airport Gifts

Not a place people think to buy things, but I found some chocolate with Colombian fruits in them at one of the shops in El Dorado Airport. Since you can’t actually bring fruit back, it’s a nice way to share the variety of fruits Colombia has.

Regrets

Our priority in Bogotá was the wedding we went for, so that meant we had a few things we didn’t get to. I wish we had gone to the Gold Museum to see the thousands of gold artifacts, and more time in La Candelaria. We drank some juice at both hotels, but I wanted more. The Paloquemao Market has a wide variety of fruit and other Colombian goods that would have been a fun place to wander around. Lastly, I really wanted to play tejo. We tried, but it just didn’t work out.

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