10 things not to miss in Bogota

Bogota has become one of my favorite cities! 

Being the capital of what some people see as a controversial country, I was not sure what to expect. It was bad enough that I do not speak an ounce of Spanish and I also expected people in Colombia to speak English. 

I was definitely in for a culture shock!

I stayed in Colombia for 1 week and I only met one person who spoke English fluently. He was my Uber driver who attended high school in America and came back to Colombia for University. Moreover, I stayed in a hotel called Colombia at home which was a beautiful and comfortable residence, but the receptionist did not speak English either. At that point, more than ever, I wished I took Spanish classes in high school or college. Even though the language barrier was a huge let down, I did not let it affect my trip. Colombia was my first international destination, and I was determined to make the very best out of it.

With my google translate app in one hand, and my typed, well researched Bogota itinerary in another hand, I was ready to explore this busy city. 

Here are the 10 things travelers absolutely should not miss in Bogota: 

Plaza de Bolivar

Plaza de Bolivar, also known as Bolivar Square, is located in the heart of La Candelaria, which is a historic area in the city. The plaza is very easy to locate since there are signs and guides leading to the plaza from downtown La Candelaria. The square hosts a statue of Simon Bolivar who is a Venezuelan military man that played a leading role in the establishment of Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama. The statue, which was the first public monument in the city was sculpted by the Italian sculptor, Pietro Tenerani.

Plaza De Bolivar.

There is an overwhelming amount of birds present in the plaza. As a result of this, there are vendors selling bags of bird feed in the plaza. The birds will rush over to feed from an outstretched hand with the bird feed in sight. A large number of people bought bird feed and took pictures and videos as they were in awe by the amount of birds that flocked around them. I thought this was really cool, but i did not try it since the birds were overwhelming!

A man feeding the birds in Plaza de Bolivar

Casa de Narino

Casa de Narino is the President of Colombia’s office and resident. It is located in La Candelaria, a few minutes walk from Plaza de Bolivar. The building was not open to tourists when I visited, and from the outside, you could see the military parade. The soldiers marching in unison was quite the intriguing sight.

Casa de Narino from the closed gates

Soldiers parading Casa de Narino, and tourists watching the Soldiers march inside the compound.

Casa de Narino is heavily guarded both inside and outside. It is guarded by the Presidential Guard Battalion of the National Army of Colombia.

Day Trip to Coffee Plantation, Fusagasuga

What is a trip to Colombia without a visit to the coffee plantation?

Colombia is a well known manufacturer of coffee beans worldwide. I am not a coffee drinker, but I felt it would be an experience to take a tour of a coffee plantation. The coffee plantations are quite the distance from Bogota, so it is best to go with a tour group. I opted to go with Bogotravel tours, because it was a private tour, and their prices were affordable. It cost $83 per person at the time for a group of two people.  I was picked up from my hotel at 8am, and we drove down to the plantation. The drive was pleasant and picturesque since there were a lot of mountains and pastures on the way.

Coffee tasting before the tour started

The coffee tour started with coffee tasting, and visitors were given a chance to buy coffee beans at the plantation’s store. After the coffee tasting, the guided tour started. The tour guide took us through the plantation and explained the different stages of growing coffee from planting to harvesting and drying. As stated, I am not a coffee drinker, but I appreciated this tour.

Market in Fusagasuga

After the tour, bogotravel tours staff took us to a market in Fusagasuga. We were able to taste a lot of exotic fruits which I had never seen before in America. The fruit that stood out to me the most was called Lulo. The fruit looks almost like a tomato and has a distinctive taste. We tried about 6 different kinds of fruit and we were taken to a restaurant for lunch. The coffee tour, fruit tasting and lunch were all included in the tour fee.


Disclaimer: I recently just got over my fear of heights. I did not experience Monserrate since I was too afraid but this is my friend’s account of this magnificent mountain.

Monserrate is a mountain easily accessible from the city center of Bogota. Monserrate is so huge, it can also be seen clearly from the city center. At the top of Monserrate, there is a church, and a shrine devoted to El Senor Cadio (also know as The Fallen Lord). A cable car goes to the top of Monserrate and tickets can be bought at the ticket center at the foot of the mountain.

Views from the top of the mountain

The view of the city from the top of the mountain is breathtaking. Tall buildings look so small and the whole of Bogota looks like a picture from a post card. The city looks beautiful, even on a cloudy day.

Beautiful city views from the top of Monserrate

Day trip to the Salt Cathedral, Zipaquira

The salt cathedral (Catedral de sal de Zipaquira) is an underground Catholic Church, which was built within the tunnels of a salt mine. The Cathedral is 200 meters underground.

The salt cathedral is indeed a magnificent site. The Cathedral is monumental, and it is considered one of the greatest achievements in Colombian architecture.

Wall of Salt

A guided tour of the Cathedral is included in the ticket price and it started shortly after purchasing the ticket. The tour guide took us through several tunnels in the mine, and we saw walls of salt, and structures representing the different stages of the life of Jesus. The Cathedral is found deep inside the mine, and it was a beautiful and dimly lit. The cathedral is said to have as many as 3,000 visitors on Sundays.

The Salt  Cathedral

Several tour companies offer day trips to the Salt Cathedral from Bogota. I took an Uber to the Cathedral from Bogota since I found that to be cheaper, and took a bus back.

Museo Botero

Botero Museum (Museo Botero) houses quite a number of Latin America’s art collections. The museum is located in the La Candelaria neighborhood of Bogota. The Museum consists of 208 works of art from artists like Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, among others. Artists and art enthusiasts will greatly appreciate the vast collection this museum has to offer.

Salvador Dali sculpture in  Museo Botero

Sanctuary of our Lady of Carmen

Sanctuary of our Lady of Carmen (Santuario Nuestra Senora del Carmen in Spanish) is a Catholic Church in Bogota, located in La Candelaria. Its architectural style is Gothic, and the color both inside and out is similar to a candy cane. The Church is very picturesque and beautiful especially because of the vibrant colors.

Jose Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden

The Jose Celestino Mutis botanical garden is the biggest botanical garden in Colombia. The garden houses about 19000 live plants and around 2346 taxons of cultivates plants. There are several themed gardens in this beautiful establishment, which houses many collections including Greenhouses, Andean woodland plants, aquatic plants, medicinal plants among others.

Rose shaped plant found in the Botanical gardens.

Bogota Street Art and Murals

The murals which line streets of Bogota should not be missed. They are found in several locations across the city. I stumbled upon this mosaic found close to downtown Bogota and was in awe. I later found out that Bogota is  very famous for colorful street art. Majority of the graffiti can be found in La Candelaria, the historic neigbhourhood in Bogota, and they can also be found in other parts of the city.

Mosaic street art in Bogota

A daily tour takes tourists through the streets of Bogota. The tour was created by a famous street artist named Crisp is called Bogota Graffiti Tour in La Candelaria, and it runs twice a day from 10am to 12 30pm, and 2pm to 4 30pm.

The Museum of Gold (Museo Del Oro)

When you think of Gold I think Colombia is the last place that comes to mind. Colombia definitely has Gold- lots of it. The Museum of Gold has 3 floors of exhibits showcasing a collection of 55,000 pieces of gold and other materials from several Colombian archaic cultures.

Right outside the Museum, there are shops that sell jewelry made of gold and emeralds. I was able to buy an earring made out of white gold with emerald studs as a gift for my Mom. It came with the certificate of authenticity stating the location of mine where the gold used to make the earring originated. The gold used to make the products sold at the shops are all mined in Colombia. My Mom loved the earring!

Colombia should be on every traveler’s list of potential destinations because it houses a wide variety of monuments and it is not overflowing with tourists. As a result of this, Colombia is a great environment for education and exploration. Did I also mention that the city looks beautiful in pictures?

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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

robin Ruereply
February 14, 2017 at 5:52 pm

That sounds like an awesome place to visit. I would love to go there someday.

February 14, 2017 at 6:09 pm
– In reply to: robin Rue

I think it should be on every traveler’s bucket list

Tara pittmanreply
February 14, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Those birds on the plaza are amazing. i too would be afraid of them.

February 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm
– In reply to: Tara pittman

Yes there were SO many birds!!

February 14, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Colombia was one of my favorite countries to visit. The people are incredible. I went to Barranquilla and Cartagena, and simply fell in love. I’ve got to get to Bogota soon because I am obsessed with street art.

February 14, 2017 at 8:39 pm
– In reply to: Thirty30Courtney

Cartagena is high on my list!!

emma whitereply
February 14, 2017 at 8:32 pm

oh wow I have never even heard of the country yet it looks and sounds amazing and the pictures are just truly beautiful

February 14, 2017 at 8:39 pm
– In reply to: emma white

Thank you!! It’s a truely amazing country and everything is so cheap

February 14, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Beautiful pictures!
I would love to visit this places,maybe one day…!

February 15, 2017 at 12:05 am
– In reply to: Agentizerozerosetter

Thank you! You definitely should!!

AJ Money Mattersreply
February 15, 2017 at 12:53 am

This city looks amazing!! The language barrier can be so hard sometimes, I know how difficult it can be. Google translate is like a godsend.

February 15, 2017 at 1:21 am
– In reply to: AJ Money Matters

Google translate is definitely a God send!!

February 15, 2017 at 2:00 am

Awesome pics. I would love to go there someday. I love the pics.

Sarah-Louise Baileyreply
February 15, 2017 at 2:39 am

I wanna visit there someday and go straight ahead to the Gold Museum and look for some gold jewelry on the shops that will suit my distinctive taste. I would like to see the Salt Cathedral too and appreciate real nature.

Annemarie LeBlancreply
February 15, 2017 at 4:56 am

The view from Monserrate is awesome! If I have the chance to visit Columbia, I would definitely visit each and every place you mentioned in this post! The Salt Cathedral is just way too beautiful for words.

Aneesha Raireply
February 15, 2017 at 6:32 am

I found the coffee tour particularly interesting. South America is such an unexplored avenue for me, I really hope to visit soon.

Marissa_Travel Greece, Travel Europereply
February 15, 2017 at 9:48 am

I’m so impressed. It looks so beautiful. The view from Montserrat is unreal. I have this city on my South America bucket list. My best friend growing up is Colombian American so I’d love to go with her. Love the food.

blair villanuevareply
February 15, 2017 at 12:14 pm

These places are so beautiful. No wonder you like Bogota much! I feel a bit sorry for whoever is in-charge to clean birdie poops. 🙂

February 15, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Lovely post, beautiful photos. Looks like you guys had a great time:-)

Flavio @ Adventurous Travelsreply
February 15, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Oh wow amazing place – especially the view from the mountain, and to be honest I do like those places where the locals don’t speak English – it’s more challenging but also more authentic and you feel you’re in a different world 🙂 I’ve traveled in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and hardly anyone spoke any English – but I learned a few Russian phrases and the locals were really happy about that! Which is nice because you don’t see that in France on England when you speak just a bit of French or English. The locals would rather get annoyed than happy!

February 15, 2017 at 3:35 pm
– In reply to: Flavio @ Adventurous Travels

I ageee it definitely feels very very authentic but also could be a little bit frustrating especially if you are trying to say something but they think it’s something else haha

Sandra Negronreply
February 15, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Wow this trip looked amazing! Next to madrid, bogota is another city to travel too

February 15, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Bogoto looks like such an amazing place to visit! I love the picture of the man feeding the birds. That’s a lot of pigeons, lol! I would love to visit there one day!

February 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm

A very insightful article, hopefully we get to visit Colombia one day! Must be hard to not be surrounded by English speakers, but looks like you had a great time.

Nicole McIntoshreply
February 15, 2017 at 5:22 pm

This is AMAZING! I have never thought about visiting Bogota, but now I really would love to. Thank you so much for sharing!

XOXO- Nicole

Emma whitereply
February 15, 2017 at 6:35 pm

I have never heard bogota before but it really does look and sound like such a lovely place to visit! Sounds like you had a wonderful time

Tatum Skipperreply
February 15, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Looks like such an awesome place. I’ve been hearing so much about Bogota! Would love to visit someday!

February 15, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Beautiful pictures. Great view of the city. Judging from the your pictures Bogota reminds me a little of Panama City. There is also a Plaza Bolivar here and even the painting in the background of your picture has some similarity to the ones here lol. Must be a Spanish country thing. Very interesting though.


February 15, 2017 at 8:14 pm
– In reply to: Shevy

Yes the Bolivar Plaza is named after Simon Bolivar who is the founding father of Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. That is why there are similarities!!

Thank you for reading 🙂

February 15, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Looks like such a beautiful place. Plaza Bolivar reminds me of Plaza de Armas in San Juan Puerto Rico. Lots of birds too!

Stella the Travelerettereply
February 15, 2017 at 10:14 pm

I would like to do all these things! I would especially love the graffiti tour and the day trip to the coffee plantation. (I am a big coffee drinker.) Good to know that English is not widely spoken so I can brush up on my Spanish beforehand.

Chanelle Lynnreply
February 15, 2017 at 11:14 pm

That view from Monserrate was absolutely stunning!! Looks like you had so much fun! Thanks for sharing your experience and those awesome pictures.


Author Brandi Kennedyreply
February 16, 2017 at 1:24 am

Sounds like a great trip despite the language barriers! Maybe one day you’ll get to go back again, but with some Spanish mastery so that you can enjoy the people and the culture a little more deeply. I would have wanted to ask a ton of questions about the salt cathedral, beginning of course with, “Why did they build an underground cathedral?”

Samantha Sparrowreply
February 16, 2017 at 8:20 am

Bogota looks like an amazing place to visit – I’ve never been to this area of the world. I especially like the look of Sanctuary of our Lady of Carmen – such wonderful architecture.

February 16, 2017 at 11:27 am

To begin with, I can totally relate to the plight of traveling to a country which doesn’t speak English!! I travelled to China solo and my plight was so much!!! Museo Botero sounds fab as Salvador Dali is one of my favourite artists! And I’m a coffee addict so I guess I’ll totally love the coffee plantation tour as well!

Nisha Syamreply
February 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Hearing first time about Bogota. Looks like an awesome place to visit. Lovely photos!


Shane Pratherreply
February 16, 2017 at 6:27 pm

I’m a huge coffee fiend so trying coffee around the world is my favorite. I would love to visit the unique salt cathedral as well!

February 16, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Wow! Bogota has a LOT to offer. I love the photos and architecture. And that salt cathedral is amazing!

February 16, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Sounds liking an awesome place to visit! the botanical garden looks great

Raluca @ Playful Notesreply
February 17, 2017 at 1:29 am

I’ve always wanted to visit Colombia, but I heard over and over again that it’s a dangerous country, so I never went there. Your post is really great and it made me want more to travel to Bogota!

Ami Bhatreply
February 18, 2017 at 12:31 am

Among all the things that you have shared here, the salt cathedral got me really interested. It seems so unusual …and I for sure would love to explore it. Bogota in general, is quite lovely and unexplored.

Nadine Cathleenreply
February 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm

How cool! Bogota was actually on the travel list for last year but we didn’t make it. Maybe in the next few years. Looks like lots of fun! X

Manavi Siddhantireply
February 23, 2017 at 9:17 am

Communication barrier can be scary sometimes, tbh! 😛 But keeping that aside, you must have really enjoyed and had fun in Bogota. 🙂 The pics are beautiful! <3


February 23, 2017 at 10:15 pm

You definitely highlighted so most see spots. Now it’s time to plan a trip

June 10, 2017 at 8:28 pm

Thank you for the effort, keep up the good work Great work.

July 6, 2017 at 5:56 pm

I’d really like to visit Colombia. Love the view of Monserrate. Did you feel safe in Bogota?

July 6, 2017 at 6:16 pm
– In reply to: lynn

Well I felt safe because I traveled with a friend and we met a guy there who we toured with till we all left. just like anywhere in the world its best to keep your money and belongings close and try to blend in with everyone else

Gina Ingreply
March 19, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Victoria, you are so kind to talk about my city and my country. Next time you can stay in my apartment in a little Colonial town called Usaquen. It is a town absorved by the city.. You missed the night life at Andres Carne de Res, the most decorated restaurant in Latin AMerica and in the history of restaurants only one man has inmortalized a small outside barbicued place which became a restaurant and landmark in Colombia. You can google it. Also you missed Gaira, the restaurant of Carlos Vives.. our singer who has won several Grammys. Come to Bogota again and I will show you the corners you missed it. You need to go to Medellin and see the most beautiful gingerbread like town.

March 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm
– In reply to: Gina Ing

Ok I will come back and let you know 🙂

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