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Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

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Leeds
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Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

Hi

I am really struggling to decide where to stay in Bogota for 3 nights next February. I have spent hours reading posts on various websites, but are stuck on whether to stay in La Candelaria - I have seen umpteen posts saying its dodgy at night, but we are seasoned travellers, so whilst concerned, we are not scarred off. However, it is a long way from the other areas that appear to have more going on a night.

We do like trying different neighbourhoods each night for a few bars, and then a local meal. We much prefer bars / pubs with a more local feel, or small bohemian type of bars, rather than international style bars that seem to feature in Zona rosa.

Any thoughts on Chaperino - we are not gay, but do not mind a mix of bars, but would not particular want to go into 'full on' places I guess.

Any thoughts ?

Thanks

Bogota, Colombia
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1. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

Hey Chimbo

Chapinero sounds like the right neighborhood for you: a good selection of bars, mostly locals, all sorts of styles (from rock to reggae, electro, colombian music...). Around calle 60 and carrera 7, lots and lots of bars and discos, but be careful as the place is not 100% safe, especially on week-ends. The "Parque" (more like a square actually) at this corner (there is an Esso gas station) is a well-known drug dealing place. If you look at this place in Google Maps, it is marked as "parque de los hippies". Well, I've been in this neighborhood more than once, and nothing happened to me, but 1st I went with Colombians, 2nd always kept all my senses alert, and 3rd always low profile and only with the money I needed to spend a good night.

Chapinero is not a gay neighborhood. There is a gay Chapinero for sure, but it is a very limited area. The biggest nightclub in Bogota is the Theatron, 4000 people are partying. 7 rooms, among them 1 dedicated to men only, and another dedicated to women only. Definitely a gay scene, but not only.

I lived for a few months in Marly, which is the southern part of Chapinero. I loved this neighborhood.

milan
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2. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

for me the best stay is around calle 68-70 and carrera 7-8-9-10 close to zona G...it's pretyty historic, full of life, strategic..and safe!

candelaria is dodgy at night as any other soutamarican city centre....I always prefer to stay in other parts

Bogota, Colombia
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3. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

Chimbo, nice name… is that your cat's name 8)

While I agree with Stepanes observation regarding the various shades of Chapinero; you still shouldn't rule out La Candelaria despite its undeserved dodgy reputation. It seems a pretty popular evening hangout spot for my twenty something Colombian sobrinos. The area has a uniquely interesting mix of accommodations;like anywhere some homework due diligence is a given for safety nerds. I know the older family members cringe when we pass by the head banger bars on a particular Septima stretch.

Boy I wish I was in Bogota last Saturday night at Aguapanela's Internacional (km19 de la Autopista Norte), missed a couple of gigantes de salsa 8(

http://www.planb.com.co/bogota

http://bogota.vive.in/bogota/index.html

bogota.vive.in/especial-zona/candelaria/

Edited: 1:19 am, May 20, 2013
Leeds
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4. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

Hi,

Yes, chimbo is a nickname for one of our cats who is named after the Belgium beer Chimay !

Thanks for the help so far, Chapinero does sound great at night, and is well located However, we really prefer the look of the accomodation in La Candelaria, rather than the modern bland international look of the hotels I have reveiwed in the north of the city, albiet there appears to be plenty of choice.

However, the original plan was to spend the first 3 nights in La Candelaria, and then have the last night in Bogota before we fly home. The problem with this seems that whilst all the sights are in the old city so this is a much better choice during the day, and it looks good for a Saturday night out (but we only land at 19.30 on the Saturday) Sunday looks really quiet at night in the old city, and thus we would then neeed to travel by bus or taxi up to the north for the other 2 nights of our initial stay, which is not ideal in a city without a Metro system.

So what ever we choose there appears to eb a fair bit of travelling to be done !

Bogota, Colombia
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5. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

Yes there is no metro system, but Bogota has the Transmilenio, which is a system of buses in dedicated lanes. All good during the day. At night, it is anyway advisable to travel by taxi. You can then take a cab to La Zona Rosa or to the posh Zona T to enjoy a good microbrewery beer at european (continental) prices.

Bogota, Colombia
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6. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

As usual, I'd agree with playa, this time in regards to La Candelaria. Please don't rule it out: it's beautiful here - the architecture, Monseratte just at your back, and there are some funky little bars around the Chorro (the Chorro square itself I prefer to avoid, especially on fri or sat nights - a bit gross), and some interesting dives, salsa bars, and yes! metal bars around there too. Some nice hostels, but also a couple of charming hotels, if you're sick of that whole backpacker thing.

you're right about quietness on a sunday night in the old town; but taxis aren't amazingly expensive here - and buses, as Stephane rightly points out, are another option.

milan
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7. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

bogota offers several different options...anyway we have to be fair and responsable about informations we give to people who doesn't know the city...so, candelaria can be charming(not authentic since mostly bogotans don't live there and use to hang out elsewhere)but not safe at all.

the quality of hostels in town is unfortunately very low but some are quite nice...masaya and la pinta are good options in different parts.

chorro square is very lonely all the week and just on weekends is crowded...anyway is a little spot, problems in candelaria are on the way back home-hotels,

anyway I personally like bogota and think is very underestimated by tourists

Leeds
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8. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

Thanks all

Certainly the saftey issues in Bogota, and La Candelaria in particular do bring out differing opinions, and often I guess this is down to peoples own experiences, and risk perceptions. I have been to over 50 countries, and include visits to the likes of Jo'burg, Rio and Mexico City, all of which have bad reputatiions.

However, the only place I have actual had real issues are Barcelona and Madrid though !

We actually spent 5 nights in Mexico City earlier this year, and walked home from bars/restaurants every night, albeit usually before 23.00, without any feeling that it felt dangerous, but of course our opinion would be different if you have a bad experience.

Certainly you do need to be more careful in big cities, but the advice that this is like it is in all big cities is wrong. I have stayed over 100 times over 30 years in London, usually for 2 nights at a time, and been out in over 20 neighbourhoods without any problems. viist in europe to most cities like Amsterdam and Paris are usually uneventful, and only in places like Rome, Naples or Spain are there issues, which are usually pick pocketing rather than major issue muggings with knives etc.

I think with Bogota, we are going to have the first 2 nights when we arrive during the evening and then 1 full day at the outset of our trip in the north of the city, and then spend the last 2 nights, but with 2.5 days over the last weekend in La Candelaria. Luckily we are now of an age where we can afford slightly better, and more secure accomodation, and take taxis if needs be . That said, only yesterday I read a number of recent articles in the local press re peso milionaire taxi issues (a bit like we read about in Mexico city) It just seems that normal common sense is required, albeit the advise is always to order taxi by phone, albeit holding a proper conversation with the taxi cab firms and then the driver for limited / non Spanish speakers is easier said than done !

The observations re chorro square seem to diifer as well, some say the are is busy in the week, and quiet at the weekends, but we will see when we are on the ground. I do usually take out a 'man bag' with a guide book / ipad, but i guess this might not be the best idea !

Cheers

Moscow, Russia
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9. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

In general I agree with the above comments. A couple thoughts to add (and by way of background I lived in Bogota in the mid-90's and have been back twice in the last 12 months) - much of this depends on what you prioritize for entertainment. La Candelaria has less options in the evening - and can be a bit dodgy for the unwarry. Taxis are relatively cheap in Bogota. During the work week, nothing is a 20 minute cab ride away, it's a zoo. My most recent trips I stayed in Zona T and Usaquen, specifically for the easy access/walking distance to bars and restaurants so night taxis were not necessary. This does however, make getting to the other sites more of hassle since La Candelaria and Monserate are more downtown.

Leeds
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10. Re: Best neighbourhood to stay in Bogota

Thansk for the update.

i guess we want the best of all worlds, sight seeing during the day, and a bit of bar life at night. We like old styple pubs,or indepdant type bars, but not international type bars. We went out in the much vanuted Condessa in Mexico City, and hoestly you could of been anywhere in the world. Downtown in Mexico City there were old worle pubs, and small indi bars, which were great fun.

So the plan is to stay in the old town at the end of the trip, and in the north at the start of the trip. I do like the sound of Usaquen for the sunday, as tehre does seem to be a bit of life there, and hopefully a few pubs / bars. On the first night we will have a look around Chipinero I think as the Zona Rosa does seem a bit too formalic for us.