Hola amigos! We recently had the opportunity to go to Bogota for a long weekend last month. We really wanted to go to Cartagena but all the flights had layovers in Bogota so we just settled on Bogota due to the short amount of time we’d be there … and boy, are we glad we did! Read on to learn how we spent our 3 days in the amazing Colombian capital.
We landed in Bogota late at night, so we just went to the hotel to sleep and started our time in Bogota the next morning.
We had planned to see Monserrate but wanted to see if there was somewhere to grab breakfast along the way and we came across an awesome little empanada stand on our way, called Arepas de Huevo. The empanadas here were fresh and tasty and about $1 USD. Because of how cheap (and delicious) these were, we ended up getting a few before walking to the start of Monserrate.
When we got to Monserrate, we had to wait on the line for tickets. It is a white and green building. It was a pretty long line but it moved quickly. Supposedly there is a way to walk up, but we decided to take the cable car, for approximately $6 USD. The ride up took about a few minutes. When we arrived, there was a path to follow that lead to a church, and some shops. There were spots where you could get amazing views of the city below. We went inside the church and it was beautiful and we also got some aromatica tea at one of the cafes, which pretty much just hot water with mint leaves but it was enjoyable. We spent about an hour at Monserrate walking through the shops. There were also places to eat but it was still pretty early and we weren’t very hungry.
After our time at Monserrate, we took the cable car back down.
Word of note: not sure if this is still in place, but they did ask us to show our vaccination cards at the ticket window, so make sure you bring it with you on your visit.
After our cable car back down, we headed to the Bogota Historical District. This is the central area of Bogota with many colorful alleyways and beautiful artwork, both painted on the walls and as well on the street, with paintings being sold by vendors. These pictures below are only just a fraction of the artwork we saw.
In this area is also La Puerta Falsa, which is a small but famous restaurant in Bogota, translating to ‘The False Door.’ Inside, it was small, but we found some seating on some stools and ordered the tamale and the ajiaco, which is one of the most beloved dishes of Bogota. Ajiaco is a hearty stew consisting of chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob and avocados. The avocados in Colombia were so fresh and big, much better the ones we get here in the States. In addition, they have a variety of fresh squeezed fruit juices that are so tasty and refreshing. We got the blackberry and the mango (pictured here). The tamale was amazing as well, and was so big, served inside a huge banana leaf. Note: cash is the only form of payment accepted here.
It is safe to say we highly enjoyed our lunch and definitely recommend La Puerta Falsa when in Bogota.
After lunch, we walked around the mazes of alleyways and found our way to Plaza Bolivar, in the main square of Bogota. It consists of this building below which is a church and the main square area had vendors selling ice cream, and offering llama rides. We passed on the llama rides, as we had seen them in Cuzco, but they were really cool to see just walking around on the streets.
After the plaza, we went to the Botello Museum, which houses artwork from the artist, Francisco Botello. His claim to fame is portraying well-known figures like the Mona Lisa in a more rotund form. The artwork here was awesome and unique and there were a lot of them, in addition to works by other artists as well. We enjoyed the time there and best of all, it was free. They checked our vaccination cards here as well, so again you should definitely keep that handy.
Dinner that night was at a place near our hotel, called Sanalejo. The atmosphere here was warm and cozy and we requested seats near the fireplace. It was very inviting. The menu here was extensive and appealing, and we settled on a dish called Bandeja Paisa as well as some mojitos. Bandeja Paisa consists of plantains, ground beef, beans, arepa, sausage, avocado, rice as well as an egg on top. It came out piping hot and we shared it. Sanalejo was actually so delicious, we had dinner there again the next night.
After dinner, we walked around the small vendor market across the street from our hotel. They had vendors selling clothes, books, candy, jewelry and various other goods. It was a great way to round out the night before going bed and getting up the next day for another (larger) market.
The next morning we went to Peloquemao Market. This market was so massive and sold everything from food, to fruits to flowers, cleaning products, home gadgets – you name it! Similar to our trip to Vietnam, we had a blast running around trying all the exotic fruits in the market that we don’t have here at home. Among our favorites was the lulo, which ooked like a cross between a tomato and an orange, but it was green inside. It was very tasty and not overly sweet. Since we were just only interested in purchasing 1 piece of fruit at each stand we visited, some vendors were very generous and let us try for free. Otherwise, for everything we paid for, it was pretty cheap. In addition to the fruits, we also found a small taco stand where we ordered some lunch and drank some Jamaica Juice. The tacos were tasty and the juice was refreshing and all the fruits were so colorful & vibrant. We spent a few hours here and enjoyed our time before heading to the next activity.
After the market, we ventured to Embudo Street. This is one of most famous streets in the Central Historical area and was a small alleyway lined with cafes and shops as well as some more artwork. Bogota is definitely among one of the most colorful cities we’ve visited (other top contender: Bo-Kapp in Capetown, South Africa). On Embudo, we looked at a few paintings in some art shops and then found a cafe where we ended up getting the staple of hot chocolate and cheese, pictured below. Might sound gross to some people, but is is really quite delicious and a very popular dish in Bogota.
After stuffing our faces with the hot chocolate and cheese, we made our way to Estadio El Campin for the Santa Fe Futbol game against Independiente Medellin. Soccer is huge in South America and the vibe here did not disappoint. One word about ordering tickets: we tried to get the tickets online on the Tuboleta app. Apparently this is the only way one can order, but the issue is they do not accept foreign credit cards. We ended up just getting the tickets there at the stadium and it worked out well. In addition, because we got there early our tickets allowed us to see both the women’s game before ours and our game as well.
The fans here are so into it, so it’s a lot of fun. People sing, dance, chant and bang drums and even though we didn’t really have any idea what it was they were saying, we just enjoyed being a part of the crowd and felt very welcome. The cherry on top, Santa fe ended up winning! Amazing times!
Dinner again, as mentioned, was at Sanalejo. This time we ordered something different and sat in the same place again by the fire. Both meals at this restaurant were awesome and it wasn’t incredibly touristy either which was nice. (While touristy food can be good, when we travel, we like to enjoy food at more local spots).
This was the last day of the trip and for us, probably one of the highlights. We had found a place online called Hacienda Coloma Coffee Farm. We had whatsapped them the day before and asked about going on a tour of the farm. They were able to accommodate us so we rented a car and drove there. It was about an hour and half from Bogota, in the town of Fusagasuga. Driving in Colombia was a bit difficult but Sam handled it like a champion!
When we arrived, there were 2 big blue doors indicating the entrance. There’s a bell that we had to ring and the nice man let us in. The grounds here are well-kept, enormous and beautiful. Everywhere you look is one beautiful thing after another. We were greeted into the coffee bar and were given a small cup of coffee to enjoy before our tour began. The tours here are guided, I believe they do not let you walk around by yourself. However, this was great because our tour guide was so informative about what we were seeing and the process by which the coffee is made. They also gave us a hat and basket to put our coffee beans in while picking.
In the hand below is basically how all coffee starts. It begins as a small red berry-like fruit, that starts as green and then turns red, indicating it is now ready to be picked. There is also a seed inside, that if you break open the red skin of the fruit, you are able to eat. We picked as many of these red berries as we could and proceeded to the next step of the process. Unfortunately February is not the high season for coffee fruit so most of them were still green but we were able to get enough to fully enjoy the coffee we made with them at the end.
The coffee beans go through many processes such as a grind and a dry as well as many different colors that change them from a beige to the dark brown color we know coffee to be when it to sold to us.
The process was so interesting to see and again the grounds were beautiful. There is even a chapel that was constructed by the family who owns the grounds. This chapel was said to be instrumental in the healing of their sick son. In addition to the coffee, there were many flowers that we learned about on the trail as well.
At the end, back at the shop, we purchased a bag of the coffee to take home, which, we are still enjoying today here at home.
Hacienda Coloma was so enjoyable and informative – even for a non-coffee drinker like myself. A must-see when in Bogota!
Also if you do not want to drive, there are various tour companies, such as getyourguide that will pick you up from your hotel and provide transport to the farm.
Lunch was a place we found along the side of the road. It was delicious and authentic and a great way to finish the day! (We were so hungry by this point, we probably would have eaten anything). Hacienda Coloma does not have food, so plan accordingly. There are places to eat in Fusagasuga but we opted to just start driving and take our chances with what we’d find along the way.
That night back in Bogota, we got dinner and then headed to the airport for home.
Note about Ubers: while we used them to get around the city, and they came pretty quickly, they are technically not legal so the driver may ask you to sit in the front. This happened quite a few times. We don’t believe a person would get in trouble for riding in one, but we just wanted to point this out in case people are uncomfortable with that. We found it to be fine and a great alternative to cabs (which may or may not have tried to overcharge us).
Where We Stayed:
Carrera 4 # 16-3, Bogota, Cudinamarca COLOMBIA
+ 57 6017470744
We loved this hotel! It was reasonably priced and in a great location close to Monserrate and the Central Historical District.
All in all, we enjoyed our time in Bogota. We were happy to see mostly everyone wearing masks and looking out for eachother. We didn’t find the area to be so unsafe, but we recommend definitely using caution when walking around at night, but that is something all travelers should do when in any city in the world. Another important thing to remember is to have your check-mig form completed before you board your plane in your home destination and departing Colombia before you board your flight home. This is a mandatory document instituted by the government to keep track of the health of passengers. It is in Spanish and can be a little difficult to complete, but it didn’t cause us any problems; just make sure you take a screenshot of the confirmation they give you at the end. We requested them to email it to our emails but due to a glitch it never came through, so we were able to show it from our phones without issues. The link to fill out the form can be found here: http://apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co
That about concludes out trip to Bogota. We enjoyed our time and can’t wait to come back to Colombia again soon.
Until we meet again … your amigos at Saif Travels!