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A global stage: that is what Bogotá becomes every time it hosts fairs such as the International Book Fair, the Stereo Picnic Festival or the Ibero-American Theater Festival. The latter also takes dramaturgy to the streets, parks and cultural centers: 1,200 artists who take over the city, mixing daily life with fiction. This is the cultural face of Bogotá.
There is also a face that contrasts the color of its traditional brick architecture and the green background of its eastern hills. From the top of one of them, called Monserrate, you can truly see the size of a city in which about 8 million people live.
There is also the face of development. Even though it was here where the legend of El Dorado came to life, today there is a real Dorado: the airport, an air terminal in which 31 million passengers pass through each year. It was considered to be the best in the region by the auditing company Skytrax.
Work travelers also arrive here, as it is the fifth best city in Latin America to do business, according to the 2016 ranking of América Economía. In addition, on account of its direct foreign investment, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) considers Bogotá to be one of the Latin American cities that will have a leading role in the future of the region. That's the face of business and progress in Bogotá.
Not only is it the economic center of Colombia; it is also its academic heart: it is the city with the most universities and research centers in the country.
Not to mention other aspects, such as its gastronomy—with culinary options from all around Colombia—, its sports—with its high-performance centers, stadiums, coliseums and parks—, or even its natural side—with its hills and the most important metropolitan park in the region—. Bogotá is a destination of a thousand faces, which always offer a greeting smile.
An essential tour of the most emblematic places in the capital.
Monserrate is one of the highest points in Bogotá (3,152 meters above sea level). It's the most visited tourist attraction in the city, with about two million people every year. At its summit you will find the Basilica of the Lord of Monserrate and the restaurants Casa Santa Clara (typical Colombian food) and Casa San Isidro (French cuisine).
In 2018 the National Geographic Magazine named it one of the ten best history museums in the world. It has a collection of nearly 34 thousand pre-Columbian gold pieces, as well as ceramic, stone and textile objects.
It is believed that this was the place where Bogotá was founded about 500 years ago. This is a great place to try chicha: a fermented corn drink that people have drunk since pre-Columbian times.
This museum was founded in 2000 when Colombian artist Fernando Botero donated 123 of his works and 87 pieces of universal art to the city from authors such as Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
It first opened on October 12, 1892 to commemorate the fourth centenary Christopher Columbus’s arrival to America. It is considered a National Monument. The theater has a neoclassical architectural style and its construction was in charge of the Italian architect Pietro Cantini.
The Cachaco—a character from the Bogotá tradition during the first half of the 20th century—always dressed elegantly and was always well groomed. This route goes through five places—still open—that these picturesque representatives of the city’s memory used to visit.
It is one of the oldest libraries in the continent (1776). It currently contains around 4 million pieces.
It first opened 82 years ago at Carrera Séptima, an emblematic street in the city. Its puff pastries have turned Florida into one of the most important places to have 'onces' (a mid-afternoon snack) in downtown Bogotá.
It is one of the oldest bowling alleys in Latin America (1941). Many of its processes (scoring, ball collecting and pine organization) are still manual.
The son of an Italian migrant gathered his family's culinary tradition and created this cafe-restaurant in 1964, in which pasta and artisan pizzas are protagonists.
A cafe with tangos and boleros, decorated with old advertising. After 82 years, the cafe has had many important milestones: in 1941, for example, Independiente Santa Fe, one of the main soccer teams in the city, was founded here.
The Cachaco attire always included a hat, which was bought in this street next to the administrative center of Bogotá. Around seven hat shops, with iconic styles such as the gardelian or the borsalino, are still open today.
This church is one of the oldest buildings in Bogotá (1583). It was built in a Baroque style with muqarna alfarjes, geometric ornamentations, Corinthian capitals and religious figures carved in wood.
Its name comes from its location in front of the lateral (or false) door of the Primatial Cathedral. The Sabogal family has been running the business for 202 years, serving its classic aguadepanela with cheese and its award-winning chocolate tamale.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, Bogotá has been undergoing a constant process of modernization. 74.7% of its territory corresponds to rural land, and the marketplaces are the bridge between the city and the countryside. This is a tour around the city’s most important exponents.
Inspired by street markets such as the one in San Telmo (Buenos Aires), this market was created 28 years ago. Today, 480 merchants sell artisan products.
In this park in the north of the city you will find flowers such as alstroemerias, roses or carnations; even exotic species like ginger, crane flowers, birds of paradise and opals.
Since 1972, this market has congregated the merchants of the 7 de Agosto neighborhood around fruits, vegetables and meats, which are sold in its 276 stalls. It’s also a great place to have a traditional rice soup.
In this 24,310 square-meter market there are around 1,800 commercial stalls selling fruits, vegetables, meats, flowers, condiments and sea products. It is also famous for its typical restaurants.
125 years ago, this market was founded as a Parisian-style boulevard for high class shopping. Over the years, it became the first commercial complex for Colombian artisans.
The party in Bogotá lasts until three in the morning in most areas of the city. The stops in the route will make you experience the capital's diverse nightlife, which has something to offer for every taste.
During the day, it works as a restaurant and offers a menu of 20 Colombian dishes. But on Fridays and Saturdays, from 9:30 p.m., it becomes a party place with reggaeton, salsa, dance hall, reggae and champeta.
The place is located on the 41st floor of a building that used to be the Hilton Hotel: 500 square meters of restaurant and bar, with two floors and an outdoor terrace that offers a panoramic view of the city.
Is the best-known LGBTI nightclub in Bogotá. On Saturdays it hosts the biggest party in the city for up to 7 thousand people with 14 halls divided by musical genre (including reggaeton, tropical, rock, pop, techno, dance hall, ballads and rancheras).
Armando is a fictional local character that traveled around the world and fell in love with the music he was discovering. Upon returning to the city, he wanted to share all that musical knowledge. In his bar there are three atmospheres (electronic, tropical and pop), and an international party with DJs, concerts and thematic events.
According to the International Nightlife Association, this place was one of the 100 best clubs in the world in 2018 For 36 years, this restaurant bar, specialized in meat and typical food and decorated with traditional Colombian elements, has been an icon of Bogotá's party scene.
Specialty: Fusion cuisine.
In 2016, Argentinian chef Nicolás López and Mexican chef Sergio Meza, friends in cooking, travels and flavors, met in Bogotá and decided to open a restaurant that would break culinary stereotypes. Two years later, Villanos en Bermudas became one of the best restaurants in the region, according to Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants. Nicolás and Sergio want to recover the tradition of food not as an extravagant luxury, but as a shared experience in which someone cooks and someone else eats.
The menu (made up mostly of local products) varies every week: they want to create a scenario in which there are no expectations. The only recurrent dish is acid bread (made with a three-year-old sourdough). Here, visitors can find dishes such as soursop salad, tomatoes and beans, or rice with creamy coconut, accompanied with fried sawfish and mango salad.
Specialty: Colombian Fusion cuisine.
This is the best restaurant in Colombia according to the lists Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2018 and The World's Best Restaurants 2018. It was founded 14 years ago by chef Leonor Espinosa to revolutionize typical Colombian food: it seeks to go beyond emblematic dishes such as ajiaco and bandeja paisa, and give a 'twist' to its ingredients, preparations and presentations.
The menu is a trip around Colombia's regions, since it's goal is to recover gastronomic traditions. That is why the foundation that bears her name researches the flavors and ingredients of the indigenous and Afro-descendant communities. Leonor's initiative received the Basque Culinary World Prize in 2017 for its social work.
Amasijo (in some places prepared with rice) that contains meat and chicken, peas and carrots, wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed.
Hot chocolate drink served with milk and, sometimes, cinnamon and cloves.
He enrolled at the Gato Dumas gastronomy school a day after graduating as a lawyer and later received his degree as a sommelier from the Argentinian School of Sommeliers. He is the creator of Nueve, a restaurant that opened its doors 10 years ago and stands out for its tapas menu, its dishes to share and its 165 wine references. It was recently recognized as one of the "5 places to visit in Bogotá" by The New York Times. In 2017, he was a special guest at the Ñam Gastronomic Festival in Chile.
This dish, perhaps Bogotá's greatest gastronomic emblem, is the result of the miscegenation of indigenous cultures and the Spanish contribution during the colony.
For 8 servings:
From february 8 to 10.
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.
Parque Simón Bolívar.
From march 5 to 9.
Centro Cultural LCI Bogotá (calle 77a N° 13-12).
El Dorado International Airport, 15 kilometers from the city center.
Colombian Peso (COP).
18 °C (64.4 °F)
Buses (Transmilenio and SITP): from 4:00 to 23:00. *Upon arrival in Bogotá, check the schedules, which may vary according to the day. Price: 2,300 COP (0.72 USD) per ticket. Taxis minimum rate: 4,400 COP (1.38 USD).
3-star hotel: 150,000 COP (47.22 USD) per person, per night. 5-star hotel: 600,000 COP (188.91 USD) per person, per night.