A MINI GUIDE TO BOGOTA
Flanked by mountains on the Eastern side of the city, Bogota is a sprawling and modern city marked with reminders of its history, both recent and colonial. Forget the outdated notions that Bogota is a crime ridden haven. Today, Bogota is a lively city full of travelers and locals alike, looking to the future.
WHERE TO STAY
1| Click Clack Hotel - Located in the Chico neighborhood, this new boutique hotel is the perfect blend of quirkiness and modern design. With eclectic and colorful furnishings and finishes, a variety of room types, two restaurants, and a rooftop bar, the Click Clack has everything one might need/want on a pass through Bogota. Rooms start at approx $85/night at current exchange rates.
2| Hotel Bioxury - On a quiet, tree-lined street just steps from the all the action and shops in Zona-T is the Bioxury Hotel, a clean & well-designed hotel with affordable prices. The rooftop bar offers beautiful views of the surrounding city. Rooms start at approx $110/night at current exchange rates.
3| Airbnb - If the apartments we stayed in last month were any indication, many of the apartments in Bogota are modern and well equipped. As always Airbnb is a great option for longer term travel and for those traveling in larger groups.
WHAT TO DO
- See my post on 10 Things to Do in & Around Bogota
WHAT TO EAT
1| Leo - Female chef Leonor Espinoso and her sommelier daughter Laura Hernandez-Espinosa take you on a culinary tour of Colombia, focusing on local flavors, ingredients, and traditions. Expect to try unique flavors like crocodile and ant butts. A tasting menu dinner + wine pairings will run you about $75/person.
2| La Puerta Falsa - One of the oldest and tiniest (?) restaurants in Bogota located in Candelaria, just steps from Plaza Bolivar & the Cathedral. Choose between ajiaco, a stew of potatoes, chicken, corn, avocado, & rice or a Colombian tamale. They also have a variety of sweets and the famed hot chocolate with cheese (I still can't get behind this one). The place is usually packed, but the line and tables turn quickly. A full meal will run you less than $4.
3| Matiz - A classy dining experience in the Chico Norte neighborhood offering both a tasting menu and a la carte options (vegetarian tasting menu is available too). The restaurant is spacious with both indoor and outdoor seating and a super friendly, bilingual staff. A tasting menu plus a bottle of wine will run you about $90. Arrive around 8pm if you want to dine with the locals.
4| Club Colombia - Colombian classics served in a large house turned restaurant plus a spacious, covered outdoor patio. The menu is extensive, but everything we tasted on my two visits was nice. Recommendations include the ajiaco, the tamale, and any of the fresh juices.
5| Salvo Patria - Cool vibes, tasty food, and delicious coffee makes for the perfect, leisurely lunch in the Chapinero neighborhood. I recommend the mint lemonade and anything on the daily special's menu.
6| Abasto - Focused on sourcing sustainable produce from local farms, Abasto puts out bright, flavorful dishes with a wholly Colombian flare. There are two locations, one in Quinta Camacho and one in Usaquen, with the latter being a favorite for Sunday Market goers.
7| Mini-mal - Arguably the most unique restaurant I sampled in Bogota, with an emphasis on flavors from the Pacific Coast and the Amazon regions of Colombia. Ask the waiter for his recommendations or if there are any specials - I highly recommend the Catch of the Day.
8| Tabula - Home-style cooking by Chef Tomas Rueda in a beautiful lofty space with plenty of plant life. The restaurant was made semi famous by its appearance on Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown. Dishes are meant to be shared so go with a group so you can try a bunch.
9| Black Bear - Cozy & classy at the same time, Black Bear is what I consider a great everyday restaurant. The restaurant is beautiful, full of tiles, wooden details, strung lights, and glass walls opening onto lush greenery. Be sure to order a cocktail, they are all refreshing & delicious!
10| Masa - What became my go-to lunch spot, Masa is a bright indoor/outdoor bakery and cafe in the Zona-T area. They offer a variety of pastries, cakes, & breads as well as sandwiches, daily soups, tartines, and the holy grail, make your own salads with a whole list of tasty ingredients, condiments, & dressings.
WHAT TO PACK
At 2644m (8675 feet), Bogota is one of the chillier cities in Colombia. The weather is also notoriously unpredictable, don't believe weather apps, in my experience they were wrong 80% of the time. To avoid overheating or being caught in a crazy rainstorm sans umbrella, it is best to be prepared for every scenario. I recommend a lightweight jacket, a small umbrella, dark denim, booties, a rain jacket, a flowy top for when it gets too warm, and a long skirt for the in between days.
WHERE TO COFFEE
- See my post on 5 Caffeine Stops in Bogota