After Germany, my life took me on another journey, now for work and down to South America. I’ve been to Mexico, but this was my first time visiting South America.
It was a group trip and most of our agenda was pre-determined, which worked out great, since I didn’t have much time to research the country. First on the agenda was the capital, Bogotá. High in elevation, it was comfortable 45-70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the day. People typically escape winter and run to warmer climates, but it seems like I was escaping summer and running to colder weather.
We stayed at the B.O.G. Hotel. It’s a bit pricey and I would have personally chosen something more local, but it had the best shower I’ve ever experienced, with side jets and everything! The decor is gold themed and is only an 8-minute walk to the Atlantis Plaza Shopping Mall. The rooftop pool is heated. I’m a bit sad I didn’t have time to use it. It would be awesome to take an evening swim with a cocktail in hand. 🍸
I love a good office view. 🙂
El Son De Los Grillos, a great spot for brunch with some kitschy decor. Think grandma’s house, charming and great service!
Mirador la Paloma. This place was interesting. They’re known for their views of Bogotá, the views are indeed great. The restaurant has a live band. However, I think their motto is to get everyone drunk so the guests would shell out more money and not care about the taste of the food. They were offering drinks, upon drinks, upon drinks. Food was mediocre at best and took forever to come out. So go for drinks and views, forget food.
There was a group of three Colombian girls celebrating Catalina’s (one of the girls) 30th birthday. Since my birthday was also 5 days away, we danced and took a picture together. I think the restaurant owner was trying to hook me up with his nephew, not quite sure since it was our first full day in Colombia and my Spanish was still a bit rusty, but the nephew walked me out by the fire and kept talking to me, even though I only picked up 5% of what he was saying 🙂 Regardless, it was a fun adventure, one I was happy to get some sleep after.
On the second and last night in Bogotá, I ended up at the Casa De La Cerveza. This was the first “you’re on your own” evening and after wandering the city at night in the rain, this place got me with the sounds of live music. I think this was the first time in my adult life that I had dinner alone. Everyone went to other restaurants way earlier in the night, but as usual I wanted to see more of the city. The staff was great, they even let me charge my phone. I probably over-tipped by 3x the normal rate, but I was in such a romantic/eat, pray, love type of mood, it was great!
Fyi “propina” is tip, the norm is 10% and is often included, if it’s not, make sure to ask the waiter to add the tip to the total before they swipe your card if you do not have cash. Restaurants usually do not have a system to add the tip after the card has been swiped.
Museo de Botero (Botero Museum)
I haven’t heard of Botero before visiting Colombia, but he’s incredibly famous in the country, not just Bogotá, and his art is pretty cool too! The museum has also works of Dali, Picasso, and others.
The Botero Museum is located in the old neighborhood of La Candelaria, which is definitely worth checking out. The El Son De Los Grillos restaurant mentioned above is also in this neighborhood.
El Museo de Oro (Gold Museum)
Great collection of gold and national artifacts. Free for all on Sundays! You can even take a picture with a lama outside the museum, just have some cash to tip!
Plaza de Bolivar (Bolivar Square)
This is the main square in Bogotá. There wasn’t much going on when we were there, but I hear it’s really exciting on a sunny day, which are a bit rare in Bogotá. 🙂
This is a must visit for all tourists. We went on a Sunday so it was packed with people. If you want to ride a cable car, get there early. You also have an option of walking up. There is a church at the top and many people were carrying pots (yes, pots!) full of food and having small picnics at various spots along the walkway. People-watching was pretty entertaining also. And a bonus, you get some incredible views of the city!
Atlantis Plaza Shopping Mall
I am not usually into shopping when traveling (Germany may have been an exception or a start of something great :P), but I enjoyed a stroll through this outdoor mall. Despite the explosion that rocked this mall a few days after we left Bogotá, I never felt unsafe when I was walking alone in the dark.
Cathedral de Sal (Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá)
This is not exactly in Bogotá, but a short 45 minute ride away. A salt mine turned into a Catholic cathedral. It doesn’t have an official church designation, but there are still services conducted on the weekends. No matter your religion, this was a really cool place to see.
If you’re looking to buy emerald (something Colombia is famous for), the stores inside this museum had some of the best no-haggle prices I’ve seen in all places we visited since. They also had a nice variety of souvenirs, so I’d highly recommend this place for stress free shopping.
Central square of Zipaquirá
And if you’ve made it out to the Salt Cathedral, make sure to stop by the main plaza and snap a few photos as well.