9 ways to enjoy the bustling Bogota

28.03.17 10:14 PM By Putri

We started our trip in Colombia by landing in Bogota and spend 5 days in the city. Packed with minimum logistic and maximum worry of safety, we arrived late at night at El Dorado airport. (For reference, you can read about my false prejudices about the city in this article here). We went straight to the hotel in Parque 93 area, one of the nicest neighborhood in Bogota.

The next day was Sunday and do you know that since 1970, every Sunday and public holidays, main streets are shut from 7 AM to 2 PM in few big cities in Colombia, including Bogota? You don’t? Me neither..

Apparently on every Sunday, main streets are dedicated for pedestrians, bikers, skaters, roller bladders, saddlers. They call this event as Ciclovia (bike pathway). That is mean more than 80 KM of highway is inactive for the whole 7 hours. How cool is that?? Imagine the environment impact just from shutting main streets like that for a few hours. Jakarta and other cities in Indonesia have similar event too, we call it Hari Bebas Kendaraan Bermotor (HBKB) or Car Free day. I really think more and more countries need to adopt this event. It is not only the nature that will appreciate it, but also the residents.

1. Enjoy ciclovia
Enjoying ciclovia is the first thing we did in this city. We didn’t know yet how crazy the traffic can be during the weekdays so we didn’t really know how to appreciate this ciclovia event.

The best part of this event happens at the public park where people just gather and relax after the walk. The park was filled with fresh fruit street vendors, live music show, and even dog shelter brought their adoptable dogs where you can take them for a walk. It's a clever way to get people to know the lovely dogs that are looking for a new home.

The fresh fruit street vendors remained me a lot of back home tho, we have them a lot too and call them as tukang rujak. The different is in Bogota they serve their half-ripe mango with lime and salt (mango con limon y sel), while in Jakarta, we serve it with sweet and spicy thick sauce.  

2. Hike up the Monserrate
 Montserrate is a church on top of a hill, which is one of Bogota's most iconic places to visit.

3.  Eat Ajiaco Bogotano
Bogota is also the capital of the best chicken soup in Colombia. What can be better other than a bowl of earthy chicken soup in chilly weather anyway? 

4. Go underground and visit La Zippaquira salt cathedral

La Zipaquira is one heck of a salty yet visually spectacular underground cathedral.

5. Get confused at the La Candelaria

La Candelaria is the historic part of Bogota, decorated with Spanish colonial architecture style of old buildings, museums, government buildings, iconic restaurants, markets, and churches. There were so many things going on at the same time, it was hard to decide where should we start. 

6.  Hang out at Plaza Bolivar
Plaza Bolivar is the heart of La Candelaria,it named after one of the most important person in Colombian histroy; Simon Bolivar. This is the melting point of locals, tourists, even pidgeon and sometime Llamas (or was it Alpaca?.. They both looked the same to me).. 

7. Enjoy this awesome museum for free, Museo Banco de la Republica

This huge casa style building is turned into a beautiful museum, exhibiting arts from famous artist like Picasso, Monet, Dali, and Colombia's most famous artist: Fernando Botero. You can find his famous paintings of plump people, very round fruits, and chubby animals in this beautiful museum. 

8. Learn about the Colombia history at Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)
This museum has an impressive collection of gold, like omagawd so many gold in here! We get to see the evolution of the Colombian culture through their history of gold and jewellery. Beautiful!

9. Eat at the city’s pride restaurant: Andres Carne de Res
 Andre Carne de Res is not only a restaurant, it is like a destination by itself. When you walk in, it feels like you walked into a mini carnival. The decoration is amazing and the food, seriously, I couldn't even understand how they have more than 70 pages of menu to offer!