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Bogotá’s great food and art scene won’t put a big dent in your pocket, but it will leave a lasting impression on your heart.  The city is a perfect place to visit for those looking for a place packed with culture, cuisine, and cool people.  Here’s a couple of notes from our Spring trip to Colombia’s city in the mountain!

While Bogotá quickly showed itself as the art capital of Colombia, we slowly realized that the food was just as special.

Here’s a way to spend a weekend in Bogotá that’ll leave you wondering what took you so long to get there!

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I’m wayyyyyy up, I feel stressed!

Bogotá rests in the mountains of Colombia and from the moment you arrive and start exploring the city, you’ll wonder if your lungs are giving out on you. Prepare yourself for the high altitudes.  If you’re not used to being so high up, you will struggle the first day or two as you adjust.

The Cultural Center of Colombia

Bogotá is bursting at the seams with creativity.  Its streets rumble with music and the city walls drip with expression.  An easy way to take it all in is with one of the tours located throughout the city.

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Graffiti TourBogotagraffiti.com

From the moment you arrive in the city, it’s practically impossible to not see any graffiti.  It’s EVERYWHERE, and that’s partly due to incredibly lax laws towards the form of art.  Many artists come to Colombia for this very reason.

Although you’ll get a free tour of your own by just walking a block or two in any direction, there’s a tour that will give you an in-depth look at the street art, that is actually run and guided by street artists and people directly involved in the Bogotá urban art scene.

The best part about it? It’s free (outside of any tips you’ll give the tour guide — and you should definitely tip!). You’ll learn that really dope things being free is commonplace in Bogotá.

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Walking Tour – BeyondColombia.com

Another free tour worth checking out is the Beyond Colombia walking tour.  Meeting outside of the Gold Museum twice a day, the 2 hour tour will cover some of the same ground as the graffiti tour, but also give you a tips on where to find the best coffee, where to find some of the cultural spots such as the local museums and architecture of interest.  You’ll also get a chance to experience Chicha, a drink local to Colombia it is made from fermented corn and sugar or honey, and sometimes pineapple as well.  This is definitely one of the first activities you’ll want to do upon arriving to the city, as it’ll give you ideas for other things to do while you’re there.

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Gold Museum

Bogotá is full of cultural activities that are either free or pretty close to it.  Entry to the Gold Museum is roughly the equivalent of $1 USD.  The Gold Museum has more than 30,000 pieces of gold artifacts and 20 thousand pieces of ceramics, textiles, etc. from pre-Columbian cultures.

TRAVEL HACK: The Gold Museum is closed on Mondays, but it’s free on Sundays!

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Free Museums

Bank of the Republic’s museum complex is situated in Bogotá’s historic La Candelaria district.  The complex features art from Colombian artists such as Fernando Botero, permanent and temporary installations that cover all types of art, and (in a complete shock to us) several pieces from Picasso, Chegall, and Salvador Dalí! When you think of seeing the creations of certain artists, you definitely think of how much it’ll cost to see these works of art and whether or not you’ll actually get a chance to see them once you pay because of the hoards of people crowding the space.  This was not the case here.  You’ll probably never get as close to a Picasso painting as you would in Bogotá.

Did we mention that entry to these museums is free?  Courtesy of the Colombian government, you can spend a day hanging out with Picassos without spending a peso!

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In addition to the art museums, you also have access to the Casa de la Moneda, which gives you a chance to learn the history of Colombian currency, and the Museo Nacional.  There’s also a massive library and musical instrument museum directly across the street!

Once you’ve finished satisfying your palate for culture, make some room on your plate for some actual food!  Here’s some places you’ll definitely want to sink your teeth into!

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La Puerta Falsa

Any place that is a favorite of Anthony Bourdain should you be at the top of your list.  Located in La Candelaria, this place is known for its humongous tamales and ajiaco, a traditional chicken soup.  This is hands-down one of the best meals in Bogotá!

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Visit the Salt Cathedral

Book a driver and catch a ride to Zipaquirá to visit the Catedral de Sal. The fully functioning Roman Catholic church is 180 meters underground, built within the tunnels of a salt mine.

* TRAVEL HACK: If you go on Sunday, prepare to be among the hundreds of others who attend service there.*

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Cerro de Monserrate

Take cable cars or funicular train to the top of Cerro de Monserrat for an unobstructed, gorgeous view of the entire city.  The mountaintop is the perfect place for a panoramic photo of Bogotá.

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Andrés Carne de Res

No visit to Bogotá is complete without a night out at Andrés, the restaurant/night club that keeps the party going all night long.  Do yourself a favor and order the famous grilled chicken and some of the strong drinks from the bar. It’s hard not to join in on the fun, as you’ll be surrounded by locals having a great time, no matter what day of the week you decide to visit.

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TRAVEL HACK:  If you have the time, make the 45 minute drive to the Andrés located in Chia, where the party is like no other.  If not, the Andrés located in Bogotá’s Zona T (or Zona Rosa, depending upon who you ask) is just as great of a time.

Compared to the other major cities in Colombia, Bogotá may seem quiet and uneventful on first blush, but trust us, by the end of your stay in Bogotá, you’ll wonder what took you so long to get there, and when you can make it back!

 

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Explore • Embrace • Empower : We are a cultural collective dedicated to encouraging and celebrating black travel. Follow the movement at #blackandabroad!

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