A friend and I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Bogota, and I want to thank all of those who offered advice for our trip. Everything went so well, and we really loved the city. I’ll admit that I went into this trip somewhat half-heartedly, as I had not had time to do much planning and for some reason could not get excited about Bogota. Anyway, I am so glad that we chose Bogota and would recommend it without reservation.
We arrived on a Thursday night, and were pleased to find a large, modern, efficient airport. Customs/immigration/baggage claim was a breeze, and we found several ATMs before we exited. On the advice found on this forum, we went to the official taxi queue, ignoring the touts with private cars who offered rides. I should have written this report closer in time to our trip so I’d have remembered what everything cost, but my recollection is that the taxi to our hotel, the Hilton in the Zona Rosa, was around $20 US.
We were pleased with the hotel, as the staff was friendly and spoke better English than we spoke Spanish. The bar was stylish and well-stocked, and the included breakfast buffet was massive. We did have a complaint about the tiny room first assigned to us, but the front desk staff immediately moved us to a more suitable room. My only other complaint is that rather than hailing a taxi from the street, the bellmen would summon the hotel’s own drivers, who cost more than twice as much. We just started crossing the street and flagging down our own taxis. Other than that, the hotel was ideal.
Friday morning, we took the hotel car to the Montserrate. As the teleferico did not open until noon, we took the funicular to the top, and then the teleferico back down a couple of hours later. The view from Montserrate was stunning. I’ve never seen skies so vivid and dramatic, and must have taken fifty pictures just showcasing the sky. The gardens on the top of the mountain were beautifully maintained, and there were concession shops and clean public toilets. You can’t ask for much more than that. I’d been on the telefericos/funiculars of Santiago and Quito, and almost skipped this one for that reason. I’m so glad we didn’t, as this significantly surpassed the others.
Afterwards, we meandered down to La Candelaria, where there was a salsa festival in the main plaza. We were not able to go inside the cathedral, or inside Iglesia de Lourdes, which is really the building I’d most wanted to see in Bogota. Based on my guidebook’s hours, both were supposed to be open. But, this wouldn’t be the first time the Michellin guidebook led us astray. We stopped in a sweet shop, La Puerta Falsa, and enjoyed a sampling of traditional pastries. I really loved something that was basically a mound of coconut mixed with caramel.
Afterwards, we headed towards the Museo del Oro. Our guidebook, the Michellin Guide, led us wrong here too, as its map depicted the museum as being about 1.5 blocks away from where the museum actually was. Fortunately, some kind locals spotted our confusion and walked us to the museum entrance. We enjoyed the museum and were overwhelmed by the amount and intricacy of these artifacts. But we were also hot and tired and in need of some cerveza.
We hopped in a taxi to Zona T, and wandered around, primarily looking for places that seemed happening and had free wifi. We wound up at a bar just across from the Harley Davidson shop, selected because there was a big event going on at Harley and we liked the people watching. We had a couple of local beers here, and liked them all. My experience with Latin American beers has been that they're usually watered down lagers, akin to Bud Light, but Colombia has really stepped up its game. This pub was massive (can't recall name) but didn’t have wifi, so we wandered around some more before settling on Irish Pub, which was mobbed with people on its lovely patio. Not exactly an authentic Colombian experience, but we tried and enjoyed several local beers (BBT Candelaria was my fave).
By this time we were hungry, and our guidebook again was totally uninformative as to restaurants in the area. We saw a lot of Asian and Italian choices, but wanted something more unique. I pulled up Google Maps and saw that we were around the corner from Andres DC, so we headed there. We already had plans to go to the Andres in Chia the next night, but Andres DC seemed like a safe bet and we were too hungry to spend any more time researching. I can’t say much about this restaurant that hasn’t already been said, but it was such a fun and crazy experience and the food was quite good. We selected several appetizers and shared those rather than ordering entrees and, though pricey, it was a great choice for dinner.
I can see this is going to be long, so I’ll break these up by day. Next up will be the day trip to Zipaquira.