I’ve been wandering these mean city streets for years. Taking taxis, riding packed buses, going to parties, shopping, bargaining, living and eating like the locals do, so this is my little guide to help you when you arrive. Please, let me know if you have any questions, let’s begin!
Bogota is the capital of Colombia, South America. It’s the fourth largest city of Latin America; home to more than 8 million people. The weather is pleasant. It’s not very hot due to its high altitude. It does get a bit chilly at night though. It has never snowed here but occasionally there will be a hail storm.
Bogota is a combination of rich and poor. Posh and pathetic. Luxury and homeless glue sniffers. Here you will see a man wearing a perfectly tailored business suit step out of an office building in the middle of the day, while a junkie lays on the sidewalk directly outside the same building picking at his exposed scabs, laying upon rotten soiled blankets and stained cardboard boxes… You’ll also see plenty of vibrant youth splurge on food and drinks at trendy bars and clubs, really celebrating the moment.
Bogota isn’t a very touristy city. Most tourists that do come here go to the historic Candelaria neighborhood downtown, where the architecture is interesting and is close to the famous Museo de Oro and scenic Monserrate.
Besides the few tourist sites, there are also tons of shopping centers spread out everywhere and nightclubs. The nightlife typically happens in the Candelaria, La Zona Rosa de 82, or in the Parque de 93. These three main areas are the most lively, and relatively safe to go to at night.
The traffic is really bad here. Crime too. Homeless people roam around looking for cans, handouts or someone to rob, so if you’re used to perfect little travel destinations like Disney or some posh beach resort in Spain then Bogota probably isn’t for you. You always have to be on your toes and fully alert when you traverse these rough city streets.
The plus side is Bogota is growing immensely. International investors are coming in to sell their wares. It has a very modern feel to it. Unfortunately, the police force seem to prefer napping, to providing decent law and order. But I always prefer more grittier and adventurous destinations than those boring cookie cutter places that are flawlessly designed and organized.
Bogota does have its charm. There are many bustling open-air markets where you can find fresh flowers, fruits, produce and handmade crafts, that are sent in from every corner of this incredibly diverse country. Fine dining can be found in the quaint neighborhood of Usaquen. And from here, it’s only a few hour ride to a diverse range of destinations with different climates and scenery to appreciate.
So if you’re planning on stopping in Bogota be ultra cautious and enjoy everything this huge city has to offer!
The Legless Sleigh Rider:
One of the craziest things I’ve ever seen in Bogota was a homeless man with no legs coasting across the city streets and sidewalks downtown on a rickety wooden wheeled sled that was pulled by three mangy mutts. This is a perfect example of a man who turned his shitty situation and life into something fun and daring. He bounced off of curbs and the dogs pulled him along joyously at high speeds, while all the pedestrians stopped in their tracks to observe the adventurous hobo. I’ll never forget that dude haha