If you’re lucky enough to have a free day in Bogota, you won’t be short on things to keep you busy and you may have to prioritize your activities.
The beating heart of Colombia, Bogota is the country’s vibrant, lively capital city focussed around La Candelaria, the historic center. This vast, sprawling, gritty city is steeped in culture and history, and with so much to do you’ll be longing for more time to spend in Bogota.
So, how do I spend a day in Bogota? Here are some of our suggestions that you may wish to consider.
Beat the crowds and head to Monserrate
If you only have one day in Bogota, you cannot miss Cerro de Monserrate, the mountain rising over the downtown area with a white church at its peak. Monserrate dominates Bogota’s skyline and while it can be viewed from below, the views from the summit simply cannot be beaten.
The panoramic views are simply spectacular and can be best appreciated at sunrise or sunset, so either get up early and start your day with awe-inspiring sights, or plan your itinerary to make sure you can get there to watch the sun go down.
An important religious site for tourists and pilgrims, the church atop the mountain can be reached by hiking (or crawling!) but since you’re short on time, the funicular railway or cable car is the way to go.
Explore the historic center, La Candelaria
The most popular destination for tourists, La Candelaria is a colonial district and the official first neighborhood of Bogota. Peppered with old houses, churches, theatres, museums and buildings built in Spanish colonial, art deco and baroque architectural styles, La Candelaria contains some of the best things to do in Bogota in one day, and the cobblestone streets can be explored on foot.
Calle del Embudo
The district’s most colourful street with buildings painted in bright, bold hues is unavoidable during your walking tour of La Candelaria. The narrow, winding street is decorated with impressive street art and full-wall murals, so make sure you keep your camera out.
This is Bogota’s main, central square at the very heart of La Candelaria and is lined with historical buildings dating as far back as the early 1800’s, so it’s the perfect place to marvel at different architectural styles. It houses the Palace of Justice – including the Supreme Court of Justice for Colombia – the National Cathedral of Colombia and the National Capitol.
The Museo del Oro contains more than 34,000 pieces of gold, laid out over three floors across a number of themed rooms. Named one of the best museums on the planet by National Geographic magazine, this impressive museum showcases the largest collection of prehispanic gold work in the world, where visitors can learn how indigenous people used these gold creations as part of daily life and in sacred rituals.
The Museo Botero was founded in the year 2000 and primarily showcases the work of Colombian artist, Fernando Botero. It is open to the public free of charge and contains more than 120 pieces of art created and donated by Botero, and more than 80 pieces created by other, international artists (including the likes of Picasso and Monet to name just a couple!). You may not have heard the name Fernando Botero, but you’ll probably recognise some of his pieces by his distinguished and distinctive style.
Take a quick self-guided tour of Usaquén
Another of Bogota’s most popular and visited districts is Usaquén, sitting just north of the city. Filled with picturesque, narrow streets this laid-back neighbourhood is a charming escape from the hustle and bustle of the touristic center. Flea markets, unique shops and delicious independent restaurants line the streets of Usaquén so it could be a great spot to stop for some lunch!
How many days do you need in Bogota?
While you can squeeze in the highlights in Bogota in one day, the truth is, there’s a lot more to explore and you can only really scratch the surface in just one day!
Typically, most visitors tend to spend 2-4 nights in the Colombian capital in order to make the most of all it has to offer. You can read more about the best things to do in Bogota in our detailed guide.
Is Bogota expensive to visit?
Compared to other parts of Colombia, the answer is yes. Compared to other parts of the world, though, for a capital city in particular you might be pleasantly surprised. Here we have broken down the average costs for the three main categories most consider when travelling abroad; accommodation, food and transport.
Like most cities throughout the world, Bogota is home to hotels, hostels, B&B’s, apartments and more, so there is something out there for everyone regardless of their taste and preference. Ranging from 1 star, low-budget accommodation to 5 star, upscale resorts, there’s a Bogota hotel for all price points and budgets and, if you shop around and plan your trip in advance, you can even find some real bargains on the higher-end hotels.
Prices vary by season and availability, but if you’re planning your trip with at least a few months notice you can expect a 4 star hotel to cost in the region of 40-60 EUR per night based on double occupancy. For a 5 star hotel, the price jumps to around 70-100 EUR per night.
As far as capital cities go, Bogota can be considered great value for money when booking a hotel!
Despite declaring independence from Spain in 1810, the Spanish influence on Colombian cuisine is still present (and that’s not a bad thing). We know how important food is in the enjoyment of travel and your trip to Colombia will certainly not disappoint – we’re confident that your tastebuds will be suitability tantalised!
Colombian food is a rich culmination of European, African and indigenous flavours and ingredients based on meat, potatoes, corn and rice.
As the capital city, Bogota is brimming with restaurants offering local and international meals at all price points.
On average, though, you can expect to pay between;
12,000-15,000 Pesos (2.69-3.37 EUR) per person for a typical local meal,
300-500 Pesos (0.6-.011 EUR) for a piece of street food (such as an empanada),
25,000-30,000 Pesos (5.61-6.73 EUR) per person for a meal in a Western-style restaurant
More expensive options are available for those seeking fine-dining restaurants headed up by internationally-recognised chefs, of which Bogota has plenty of options on offer.
If you want to know about food and water safety in Colombia, click here: Food and Water Safety in Colombia
The TransMilenio is Bogota’s extensive bus network – the largest Bus Rapid Transit system in the world – providing frequent, inexpensive services from early in the morning (4:30 AM) to late at night (11 PM). It is convenient, accessible and easy to use. A mandatory rechargeable card will cost 5,000 Pesos (or 1.12 EUR) and the cost of a one-way ticket within the metro area is 2,300 Pesos (0.52 EUR). Typically, most visitors can budget on spending around 20,000 Pesos (4.50 EUR) each in a single day in Bogota.