It wasn’t even on my radar. I had fallen into the trap of thinking what other people thought. “Colombia is dangerous” and “You cannot travel alone in Colombia without something bad happening”. But then I met other travelers who had started in Colombia.
They were in love with it. They had nothing but good things to say. Okay, if one person said it, I would skip but this was literally almost every other person I met had said Colombia was their favorite.
It was decided, I’d fly from Lima to Bogota to save time.
I landed in Bogota mid-day. Thankfully, by this point in the journey, my Spanish was understandable. I was able to have conversations with almost anyone and the words seemed a bit clearer. I got a cab and headed into town. I chose a brand new hostel and I was literally the only one staying there. It was wonderful and recently opened by a couple from Switzerland. The hostel had a chalet theme and it was by far the best money I spent on a hostel the entire trip. Check out the Arche Noah Guesthouse if you want a great place to stay at a good price.
Bogota is a dynamic city. The damage from the drug cartels in the late 80s and early 90s is very evident and it appears to be a city still recovering. I was naiive of the events when I first arrived and just assumed it was like most developing countries.
Even though the city doesn’t scream “new” & “cosmopolitan”, it is a wonderful city with much to explore. The first stop when you arrive or shortly after should be Monserrate, a mountain in the middle of Bogota.
You can chose to climb the mountain or to take the funicular up. I chose the funicular up and the stairs down. The view from the top is worth it and a great introduction to the city, sprawling across the landscape.
The walk down is something to behold. Lots of little shops set up along the way as you pass hundreds of people going up and down. Now, don’t let me fool you. Going down is not easy. Your legs will be fatigued by the bottom. Just think of it as a great way to get in your daily workout.
Once you have taken the city in via nature, your next stop should be the Botero museum in downtown Bogota. If you haven’t heard of the artist Botero, you will shortly after your arrival in Colombia. His influence and works of art can be seen across the country. He also has a very obvious style that once you see, you can almost always recognize.
I won’t even bother sharing the works of art so you have more of a reason to stop in. The architecture alone is enough to make one want to stop in. And did I mention the best part? It is free.
What are you waiting for? Did you book your ticket to Colombia yet?