Bogota practical guide: All you need to know to visit Bogota

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In this page we’ve put together all the practical information you need to visit Bogotá. Nothing more, nothing less. Normally you’ll find everything you need and all the links to our posts dedicated to sightseeing, transport, weather, hotels, etc.

Colombia’s capital has a reputation as an unpleasant city, due to its pollution, its climate, its insecurity, its inhabitants… pretty much all the usual criticisms of big capitals around the world!

For us, who spend time there on every trip – Angélica is originally from Chia, a suburb of the capital – it’s a city we love, because there’s so much to do in Bogotá!

All our posts about Bogota and surroundings

Bogota travel guide

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Bogota weather: what’s the best time to visit Bogota?

The best Bogota City Tours with an English-speaking guide

Should you visit the Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira?

Where to stay in Bogota: the best hotels and the best areas

The best City Tour in Bogota to understand the history of Colombia

Visit the Laguna de Guatavita Travel Guide

Around Bogota Travel Guide : best things to do and see in the area

The best Bogota Graffiti Tour: enjoy Bogota’s street art in English

Visit Distrito Graffiti travel guide: Bogota’s new street art district

Chingaza National Park travel guide: hiking the Siecha Lagoons path

Visit Bogota Travel Guide : 10 best things to do in the capital

Visit the gold Museum in Bogota: a must-see in a trip to Colombia!

How to get around Bogota and how to get to/from the airport

How to get to Bogota travel guide

Our list of the best restaurants and bars to eat and drink in Bogotá

Visit Monserrate travel guide: experience the sunset over Bogota

The history of street art in Bogota

Bogota General information

Bogota Travel guide

Bogota is the capital of Colombia, and of course the country’s most populous city, with almost 8 million inhabitants. It is also the third highest capital in the world, behind La Paz (Bolivia) and Quito (Ecuador).

The capital is a sprawling city, the size of which is best understood by climbing to the top of the famous Monserrate. Some of the city’s historic districts, such as Candelaria and Usaquen, boast colonial charm and a pleasant atmosphere for a stroll.

Bogota practical guide: All you need to know to visit Bogota
  • Foundation: August 6, 1538
  • Natural region : Andes
  • Department: Cundinamarca
  • People: Bogotanos
  • Population: 7.7 million
  • Average altitude: 2.640 m
  • Climate: cold tropical mountain
  • Average minimum temperature : 7°C
  • Average maximum temperature: 19°C
  • Dry season: December to March and June to August
  • Wet season: April, May, October, November
  • When to go: all year round

Weather in Bogota

Climate in the capital

The weather in Bogotá (as elsewhere in Colombia) is both very predictable and very different from the rest of the country.

MonthsSeasonTemp. (°C) Sunshine(h/d) Humidity (%)Precipitation (mm/d)
JanuaryVerano6°-20°6h80%28mm
FebruaryVerano6°-20°5,5h80%45mm
MarchIntermediate6°-20°4,5h80%72mm
AprilInvierno6°-20°3,5h80%110mm
MayInvierno6°-20°3,5h80%107mm
JuneIntermediate6°-20°4h80%58mm
JulyVerano6°-20°4,5h80%46mm
AugustVerano6°-20°4,5h80%44mm
SeptemberIntermediate6°-20°4h80%64mm
OctoberInvierno6°-20°4h80%111mm
NovemberInvierno6°-20°4h80%93mm
DecemberVerano6°-20°5h80%58mm

More about the weather in Bogota

We’ve dedicated an entire post to the general climate in Colombia and the weather in Bogota in particular.

Best things to do in Bogota

Bogota Travel Guide

Bogota practical guide: All you need to know to visit Bogota
Practical information

Bogota, like all the world’s capitals, is for us an essential part of any trip to Colombia.

It’s a cultural melting pot in every sense of the word. You’ll enjoy a well-preserved historic center, exceptional museums, breathtaking views, a first-rate artistic and gastronomic scene and a natural environment rich in discovery..

Sightseeing we recommend in Bogotá

“Construyendo Paz” Tour (history of Colombia) and Graffiti Tour (street art)

We can’t recommend highly enough the two guided tours in English offered by our friend Camila, which are brilliant and particularly educational for understanding Bogotá and Colombian history in English!

PazYando Martin (#35)

To contact Martin, our local partner, you can use the form below. You won’t pay more, but it will let her know you’re from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

Classic Candelaria Guided Tour in English

Felipe, Bogotan English-speaking guide, offers a guided tour in English of the historic Candelaria district, including the Gold Museum, Botero Museum and Monserrate. The tour can also include a visit to the Paloquemao market.

Tour Felipe Bogota (#13)

To get in direct contact with Felipe, and discover Bogota and the surrounding area with an English-speaking guide, you can use the form below. You won’t pay more, but it will let him know you’re coming from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

More on things to do

You’ll find all our tips for sightseeing in Bogotá in our dedicated post. You’ll find plenty of ideas and practical information to help you make the most of the Colombian capital.

Best things to do around Bogota

Bogota Travel Guide

The region around Bogotá offers plenty of opportunities for day or weekend outings to typical small villages or nature walks.

Bogota practical guide: All you need to know to visit Bogota

English-speaking tour guide to visit Bogota’s surroundings

Tour Felipe Bogota (#13)

To get in direct contact with Felipe, and discover Bogota and the surrounding area with an English-speaking guide, you can use the form below. You won’t pay more, but it will let him know you’re coming from us.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from our partner within 72 hours, please check your SPAMS first before contacting us.

More info on what to do in the area

You’ll find all the information you need on what to do around the Colombian capital in our post dedicated to the capital’s surroundings.

Where to stay in Bogota

Bogota travel guide

There are many different areas to stay in Bogotá. While everyone knows Candelaria, the capital’s historic center, other neighborhoods can also be interesting for their more residential atmosphere, or for the presence of numerous restaurants and bars where you can party:

  • La Candelaria
    This is the best-known district, right in the heart of the historic center, where you’ll find some of the most emblematic places to visit. Numerous hotels and hostals, restaurants and bars.
  • Chapinero
    Located to the north of Candelaria, this is where you’ll find the famous Parque 93 and zones T, G and zona Rosa, with their many restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
  • Usaquén
    Around Parque Usaquén, to be more precise, a nice neighborhood a little far from the historic center, but with a village atmosphere.
  • Airport
    Lodging around the airport may be a good option for those in transit, but in any case it’s a neighborhood worth checking out, as it’s not that far from the historic center.

La Candelaria, Chapinero and Usaquén are relatively close to El Dorado international airport, relatively because Bogotá is a very congested city and it’s difficult to be less than 1 hour from the airport… unless you’re staying right at the airport, which is another option for those making a stopover in Bogotá.

Good places to stay in Bogota

Our complete post on which neighborhood to choose and our tips on where to stay in the Colombian capital.

Our recommentations: Best hotels and hostales in Bogota

Here is a selection of places to stay in Bogotá, hotels and hostels, tested by us or recommended by our friends and readers, and with very good recommendations on the web.

Bogota, the best hotels, Chapinero

Top Tours accomodation

Hotel

Top Tours accomodation

Double room : $100.000 to $150.000 COP

An affordable hotel with really nice facilities in the heart of Chapinero and close to all the activity of the Zona Rosa.

Airport, Bogota, the best hotels

Mr. Huesped

Hostal

Mr. Huesped

Dormitory : $50.000 to $100.000/Double room : $0 to $100.000 COP

Mr Huesped is a new hostal located about 10 minutes from the airport by cab. For a very reasonable price, it offers comfortable rooms and a great breakfast included!

Airport, Bogota, the best hotels

Hotel Marriot Airport

Hotel

Hotel Marriot Airport

Double room : $400.000 à $700.000

For those looking for an upscale hotel close to the airport, the Marriot hotel is a sure bet. With its free shuttle service between the airport and the hotel, it’s the perfect place to spend a night in transit, in comfort and with all the services that go with it.

Airport, Bogota, the best hotels

City Express

Hotel

City Express

Double room : $250.000 to $300.000 COP

For a night in transit, the City Express hotel is perfectly located just a few minutes from Bogotá airport. It’s a favorite with our readers, who want both comfort and convenience, especially the free shuttle bus that takes you directly to the airport.

Bogota, the best hotels, Chapinero

Hotel Espacio 94

Hotel

Hotel Espacio 94

Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

A hotel located close to Parque 93 in the Zona Rosa, a safe neighborhood full of restaurants and bars for going out.

Bogota, the best hotels, Chapinero

Soy Local apartments

Appartement

Soy Local apartments

Double room : $100.000 to $150.000 COP

Apartments just a stone’s throw from Parque 93 in the trendy Chico district north of the famous Zona Rosa, for those wishing to stay in this area dedicated to parties and restaurants.

Bogota, the best hotels, Usaquen

Hill House Suites

Hotel

Hill House Suites

Double room : $150.000 to $200.000 COP

A beautiful hotel located in the heart of Usaquen, a stone’s throw from the square.

Bogota, the best hotels, Usaquen

Zana Hotel

Hotel

Zana Hotel

Double room : $100.000 to $150.000 COP

A simple hotel, with basic decor, but clean, functional, with a warm welcome and perfectly located 2 blocks from Parque Usaquen.

Bogota, the best hotels, Candelaria

The Candelaria House Hotel

Finca

The Candelaria House Hotel

Double room : $250.000 to $300.000 COP

Ideally located just a stone’s throw from the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum, The Candelaria House offers beautiful guest rooms set in an antique colonial house in La Candelaria. For old-world charm!

Bogota, the best hotels, Usaquen

Usaquen Station Hostal

Hostal

Usaquen Station Hostal

Dormitory : $25.000 to $50.000/Double room : $0 to $100.000 COP

A superbly located hostal a stone’s throw from Parque Usaquen, the nicest spot in the neighborhood. A hostal. cheap, simple, but where the warmth of the welcome makes all the difference.

How to get to Bogota

Bogota Travel Guide

Bogotá is Colombia’s best-served city, thanks to its role as capital. You can get there by bus and plane, or by car if you’ve decided to rent one.

More info on how to get to Bogota

You’ll find more information in our post on how to get to Bogota. We give you all our advice.

Getting to Bogota by bus

Bus terminal

  • Website: terminaldetransporte.gov.co
  • Address: Terminal Salitre: Diagonal 23 # 69-11
  • Terminal del Sur: Calle 57Q #75F-82
  • Terminal del Norte: Calle 192 # 19-43
  • Telephone: 57 (1) 423 3600
  • Mail: terminalbogota@terminaldetransporte.gov.co
  • Facebook: facebook.com/TerminalBogota

Cab to/from Terminal del Norte

  • Duration: approx. 30 minutes
  • Fare: about $15.000 COP

Getting to Bogota by plane

El Dorado Airport (BOG)

  • Website: eldorado.aero
  • Address: Calle 26 #103-09, Fontibon, Bogota
  • Tel: 57 1 266 2000

Cab from airport to Candelaria

  • Duration: approx. 45 minutes
  • Fare: about $12.000 COP

Bus from airport to Candelaria

  • Duration: approx. 1 hour
  • Fare: approx. $2.200 COP

Payments on Colombian websites

Refusal to pay often happens when you want to pay online. For example, this has happened to us several times on the San German Express site, the Satena site and the Avianca site. We solved the problem by using our VPN and locating it in Colombia. This enabled us to bypass local restrictions and the payment was accepted.

How to get around Bogotá

BOgota Travel Guide

Bogota practical guide: All you need to know to visit Bogota

Bogotá is a huge city that stretches as far as the eye can see and is renowned for being particularly chaotic when it comes to getting around, whether by car, cab or public transport… get ready for an adventure!

Transmilenio

This is a dedicated bus system, which means that “normally” the Transmilenio is not dependent on rush-hour traffic jams. The Transmilenio operates with rechargeable cards that can be purchased at the station entrances. At rush hour, it’s sometimes difficult to find a place to get on the bus..

Buses and busetas

There are blue and orange buses integrated into the Transmilenio system that also work with rechargeable cards, and other smaller buses called busetas. They provide connections between neighborhoods and the main Transmilenio routes.

For buses that are not integrated into the system, you can get on and off whenever you like. There is no specific ticket, and you pay cash directly to the driver when you get on.

More info on getting around Bogotá

We’ve written a very detailed post on transport in Bogotá and how to get around the capital. You can read our post by clicking below.

Cab

Official cabs in Colombia are yellow and numbered. This is the easiest way to get around, and fares are fairly affordable. Although it is now possible to take a cab on the street, we always recommend ordering a cab by phone (ask your hotel) or via an app.

Uber

Uber and Colombia are a bit of a love-hate relationship. For several years now, Uber has been present in major cities and widely used by Colombians. But the company is regularly criticized, banned, then authorized, then banned… in short, today it’s legal and you can use Uber’s services in Bogotá.

Rent a car

To get around Bogotá, we don’t recommend using a car, as traffic can be horrendous during the day. But to discover the capital’s surroundings, yes, renting a car can be a very good idea!

Here are some examples of distances to places to visit around Bogotá:

  • To Zipaquira: 50 km and approx. 1h30 travel time
  • To Villa de Leyva: 165 km and approx. 3h drive
  • To Guaduas: 120 km and approx. 3h travel time
  • To Guatavita: 75 km and approx. 1h30 travel time
  • To Nemocon: 60 km and approx. 1h30 travel time
  • To Villavicencio: 130 km and approx. 3 hours’ travel time

Rent a car In Colombia

To rent a car, we advise you to use the Rental Cars comparator, which gives you a complete overview of the different rental companies in Colombia.

Good addresses in Bogota

Bogota Travel Guide

Bogotá is certainly Colombia’s gastronomic capital in the sense that, as in all major capitals, it boasts a wide variety of cuisines and young chefs offering innovative cuisine.

Places to go out

  • La Candelaria
  • Usaquen
  • Chapinero
  • Zona Rosa, Zona T, Zona G

The famous “zonas” are where you’ll find the best places to enjoy a good night out in Bogotá. If you like to party, these zones will undoubtedly be part of your must-see plans:

  • Zona Rose offers a wide choice of bars and nightclubs
  • La zona T is a pedestrian zone named after its T-shape, surrounded by bars and lively nightlife
  • La Zona G (G for gourmet), offers an excellent choice of gastronomic delights, with most of Bogotá’s best restaurants to be found in this area.

How to get to Zona Rosa

We always recommend taking a cab to the party and restaurant districts in the evening. If you want to get there by bus, here’s the nearest stop:

  • Transmilenio bus stop: Estación Calle 85
  • Address: Zona Rosa, T and G

Best restaurants in Bogotá

Find all our best addresses for restaurants, bars and cafés in Bogotá!

Safety in Bogota

Bogota Travel Guide

Bogotá is not renowned for being the safest city in Colombia. However, once certain rules have been respected, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to explore the city without worry. For more general information, please read our post on safety in Colombia.

General recommendations

  • Take only the money you need for the day with you
  • Keep your valuables and papers in your hotel safe if possible, otherwise put them in different places in your bags.
  • Avoid showing off your wealth when traveling.
  • For daytime travel, you can take the bus, but be careful with your bags. At night, you can order a cab by phone (ask at your hotel or restaurant) or via a mobile app (Cabify or Uber).

Bogota neighborhoods

  • Candelaria: Bogotá’s historic district, safe during the day, but be careful at night, as many young people come here to party.
  • Chapinero: an upscale district, where people come to eat and party around the Zona Rosa. Although it’s safe, you’ll need to be careful when you leave, and it’s best to take a cab straight away to get around after dark.
  • Usaquén: the area around Usaquén’s central square is safe, and you can stroll around during the day and early evening without any problems.
  • Septima : Bogotá’s longest shopping street, crowded with hawkers and peddlers, where it’s a good idea to stow away your valuables.
  • Other neighborhoods : you should go to other neighborhoods with a professional guide or someone you trust who knows the area well.

Travel Insurance

Between health risks, possible luggage worries and all the changes we’ve experienced in connection with Covid in 2020, we recommend that you take out travel insurance to offset the various problems that could arise during your trip to Colombia. Here are the three insurances we recommend.