A year ago, I posted a “bucket list” of destinations I want to visit, and Bogota, Colombia was one on my short list. These are exciting times for Colombia’s capital which is bursting with sounds, flavors and things to see and do. In spite of it’s checkered past, and thanks to a signed peace treaty in 2016, local entrepreneurs have been capitalizing on the country’s peace with boutique hotels, craft breweries and restaurants that entice. This vibrant city is quickly becoming a travel destination by maintaining its cultural richness while also growing with the times.
The street art in Bogota is phenomenal. Colombia has embraced it as the artistic expression of its people and artists are often commissioned to create façades in a bid by businesses to avoid mindless tagging. Moreover advertising campaigns utilize the medium as a channel to reach their market. Australian street artist Crisp, who moved to Bogotá in 2009 was inspired by the amazing street art to be found. Stinkfish, another globally known artist who has received international acclaim for his work has also created murals on the colorful Bogota streets. There are numerous street art tours, and I highly recommend taking one.
Another highlight for me was the Museo Botero del Banco de la Republica. I’ve admired Fernando Bottero’s art (particularly his sculpture) for years. So visiting the museum that not only houses countless pieces of his art, but also masterpieces by Miro, Dali, etc. that Botero curated himself, was a must. The museum is quite small with lovely patios and a tranquil courtyard that makes for viewing everything at a comfortable pace.
It would be criminal to visit Bogota and not visit La Plaza de Bolívar (Bolivar Plaza) or Mount Monserrate. Whether you take the funicular, train or hike, viewing Bogota from the top of Monserrate is extraordinary and offers perspective of just how large the city actually is.
The food and music were lively, fun and flirted with influences from all over the world. Colombia has been fusing its traditional tropical sounds with Cumbia rhythms and electronica for some time now which you can hear at numerous nightspots or while dining.
When it’s time to eat, you can find almost anything from Ajiaco - (a Colombian soup usually made with chicken, three kinds of potatoes, corn and an herb called guascasthe) - to pizza in a cone (I swear! see photos!).
Visiting Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao is also a must. An enormous food and flower market spread over more than two football fields in size. You will enjoy a lot of samples of exotic fruits, always surrounded by the smiling and authentic locals who work or visit this place. The variety of produce and the number of vendors is astonishing. Narrow alleys divide the stalls and without a guide it would be easy to get lost. Naturally this was one of our highlights in Bogota.
There are too many other museums, activities, craft breweries and foods to explore in Bogota, and I hope to check more out on my next visit.
For those who thrive on big cities and cultural highlights, Bogota does not disappoint.