Dear Diary |
November 30, 2020 – December 6, 2020
Here’s a high-level overview of my wanderings in Bogota, Colombia.
Bogota is fucking huge!
Like 8-9 million people huge.
Bogota is full of…
- Unique Architecture
- Food Scene
- Vibrant Nightlife
Majority of Colombians were welcoming, warm, and friendly.
Except for the guy who stole my phone out of my hand on day 3 of 25 on my trip.
To see how that all unfolded check out this entry here and here.
Fortunately, I didn’t let this deter me or taint my perspective of Bogota at all.
I’ll be back to tackle…
- Stay North of La Candelaria
- Protect your cell phone & take it out sparingly
- Don’t carry a lot of extra cash on you
- Take Uber vs. a Taxi when you can
- Don’t stay out too late
- Urban Food Tour
- Best Value Hotel/Apartment
- The first one I booked was under construction, and I found out when I arrived
- My two other hostel stays were alright
- La Candelaria | Botanico Hostel Not the cleanest, WiFi wasn’t great at all, the water stopped working multiple times, and they turned it into a movie set for 3 days
- Chapinero | Bandido Hostel It was very clean and modern, but you could hear everything going on downstairs & it sounded like the motorbikes were actually driving through the room
- The La Candelaria area is worth a visit for the historical square and museums, but I wouldn’t recommend staying down there
- I’d recommend staying in the Chapinero area. It’s centrally located with access to public transportation, is LGBTQ+ friendly, and has lots of fun restaurants, bars, and nightclubs
- Hike | Monserrate
- Don’t be fooled, it’s no joke
- It’s a natural stairmaster at 10,000 ft elevation
- There’s a cable car you can take on the way down, and/or the way up if you prefer to go with the sweat free option. I personally don’t recommend it, but I get it. But, if a blind man and an older woman with 4 heavy bags can do it, so can you.
- Try to stay at the top until mass starts because it’s worth experiencing
- Restaurants & Coffee Shops
- La Candelaria | La Bruja, Aquelarres y Bebidas Espirituosas
- This was my first real meal in Colombia
- It has a 4.5 rating and is on the expensive side
- Save your money, and go somewhere else
- I hated my dish. Every flavor was off. I only ate ~5 bites total
- La Candelaria | Selina La Candelaria Bogotá
- Such a cute coffee shop located inside a hostel
- I loved my latte and avocado toast
- Only frustrating part was they didn’t open on time, and due to COVID the guard at the hostel wouldn’t let me come in to sit and wait
- La Macarena | Raad Arabian Restaurant
- Great ratings and delicious food
- [Update as of Sept 2021] They must have moved locations. It appears they are in the Usaquen area now.
- La Macarena | Groso Cafe Argentino [multiple locations]
- Argentinian bakery
- Their passionfruit [maracuya] pie is a MUST TRY! Trust me! It’s one of the most distinct flavors I’ve ever tasted. In a good way.
- It’s a street away from Raad. Walk over and grab a slice of maracuya pie for dessert.
- Be careful, this is the neighborhood where my phone was stolen
- Chapinero | Mesa Salvaje
- Chapinero | Mistral
- Cute lil breakfast spot
- Grab & go, or sit down and work or read for a bit
- WiFi wasn’t the best. Couldn’t connect and got kicked off a lot.
- Chapinero | Masa [multiple locations]
- This is a chain, but it has very modern decor with a lovely menu
- Alameda | Compania Casa del Rey
- Great lunch spot
- This place was completely unexpected and unassuming, but such a cool find
- There were multiple boutique restaurants in this co-op space
- It’s along the main thoroughfare on Carrera 7 with tons of activity and street vendors
- Chapinero | Le Specia Restaurante
- Old school Italian restaurant with amazing reviews
- I was the only one dining on the patio
- The Bolognese was alright
- La Candelaria | La Bruja, Aquelarres y Bebidas Espirituosas
- There are Taxis
- Uber is there, but they try to hide it from the taxi drivers
- Drivers ask you to sit in the front seat to appear like friends
- Be alert at all times. No really. Be alert at all times!
- Cell phone theft is a full time job in Colombia, especially in Bogota
- Both locals and tourists get their phones stolen
- My phone was stolen directly out of my hand by a guy on a motorbike in the La Macarena area
- I was prepared for people on the streets, but I should’ve been mindful of every possible situation
- A friend told me a girl was texting on a bus with the window down, and a guy jumped up and snatched the phone right out of her hands from outside the bus and took off
- To learn more about my cell phone getting jacked, check out this entry here and here
- Zipper closures are clutch. On jackets and pants.
December 18, 2020 – December 24, 2020
- I headed back to the capital to explore, get some work done, and prepare for my departure back to Arizona. I hung out mostly in Chapinero and stayed at my favorite Hotel | Urban Heights Bogota.
- Usaquen Area
- It was alright. Nothing noteworthy though.
- As you travel North, the affluence grows
- All neighborhoods in Bogota are rated on a scale from 1-6. 1 being the lowest and 6 being the highest. The 5 and 6 rated neighborhoods help subsidize the cost of utilities for people living in the lower rated neighborhoods.
- The Carreras [streets] run parallel to the mountain. The Calles [streets] run perpendicular. You’ll stay pretty close to the mountain at all times. It’s pretty much the Colombian burbs as you get further away from the mountain range.
- Museum | Bogota Museum of Modern Art [MAMBO]
- It was alright if you’re looking to kill a couple of hours
- Note | When the COVID cases spiked, the government implemented a protocol called, Pico y Cedula, where all people [tourists included] alternated days accessing public places like restaurants, grocery stores, and museums based on the last digit of our ID/Passport.
- Massage | San Patricio | BogoTHAI Massage
- Super clean place with amazing ratings
- Check out the funny outfit they make you wear in the pics below
- My massage was nice
- I tend to chat during my massages. This ended up being a mistake. The woman was telling me how she didn’t care for the owner’s girlfriend and how they don’t give them breaks in between massages.
- Cathedral | Catedral de Sal
- Best unplanned, surprise of the trip
- I can’t even describe the cathedral’s beauty. Religious or not.
- The amount of work to create and maintain it is unfathomable
- It’s quite pricey for a ticket. ~$65 USD. You have to purchase your ticket in one area before you grab the guided audio device in another area. They take your ID and give it back to you at the end of the tour in a different location to prevent audio device theft. I was in a time crunch, so they let me go without leaving my ID thankfully.
- I didn’t have time to do the guided audio tour, but it would’ve been worth it
- This stop will take the better part of a day
- Localiza Car Rental
- It was $77 USD for the day! Geez!
- It’s about 1-1.5 hours away depending on traffic. The traffic getting out of the city is horrendous! I almost gave up, turned around, and returned the car, because I was running super late. Thankfully, it finally opened up.
- Don’t opt to drive if you’re a timid driver. It’s the Wild Wild West. You need to be assertive and anything but traditional driving rules apply.
- Super cute town that’s about an hour away from Zipaquira
- You drive around a large lake which is super pretty
- I didn’t have time to explore the little town, but it looked like a worthwhile stop
- I did a little off-roading to get closer to the lake, but ended up on private property
- In town, a guy will drive you to the top of the mountain. The view is supposed to be spectacular.
- +57 313 2057699
- Cristian Cruz | +57 315 6319692
- Email | firstname.lastname@example.org
- You drive through this little town on the way back to Bogota
- Catch it around sunset. The elevation gives gorgeous views of downtown Bogota.
- I recommend finding a lil restaurant with a rooftop patio
- I drove up a random, super steep road with giant mansions. It was pretty cool.
This was my first big solo trip internationally.
It was hard, but I learned A LOT!
Like, so hard it almost broke my travel spirit.
Check out how bad it got here.
What questions do you have about Bogota?
Would you travel here solo?
Give this diary entry some love, and…
Drop a comment below.
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