Sitting at around 2,600 meters above sea level, Bogotá Distrito Capital is more than just Colombia’s capital city. It is the heart of Colombia, which has definitely progressed from its image of drug-related violence and danger back in the 1990s.
Two decades later, Bogotá is now a changing landscape teeming with a vibrant atmosphere of art and culture mixed with its fair share of architecture, history, and fine cuisine. No wonder, it is rising in popularity as a tourist destination in South America.
While many may already be aware that traveling to Colombia’s largest city is not really expensive, this article will discuss exploring Bogotá with a limited budget of just a hundred bucks (or approximately 300,000 Colombian peso). Read on for a few tips and guidelines to enjoy Bogotá’s rich historical and cultural scene on a budget.
Lodging in Bogota ranges from cheap hostels to midrange and luxury hotels, charging as low as 4 USD per night to over 100 USD for the fanciest rooms.
Staying in La Candelaria, Bogota’s historic center, can be convenient and economical since this is where most tourist destinations are located, but it is not the safest area to spend the night.
The most recommended area to stay is in Zona T or Zona Rosa. Although accommodation rates may be a bit pricier than in La Candelaria, the area is more secure, and has shopping centers, restaurants, and bars that can keep travelers entertained. Plus, Zona T offers a raging nightlife for tourists to enjoy!
Going around the city should not be too difficult with its TransMilenio, an extensive network of bus rapid transit (BRT) that only costs around 0.65 USD or 2,000 Colombian peso per ride.
The BRT system resembles a subway system with its stops and routes that can easily get you anywhere you want. Other alternatives to the large, red buses of the Transmilenio are the colectivos (minibuses) that ply major routes and cost around 1,600 COP; and taxis, which are relatively more expensive than the previous mode of transportation mentioned, and can set you back 1 USD or 3,400 COP.
But for the more adventurous travelers, there’s a better way of touring the city. A ciclovia is held every Sunday, wherein main avenues are closed off to vehicles from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. to make way for cyclists, runners and skaters. You can choose to walk around, although it is recommended to bring someone with you, or rent bicycles and pedal your way from one place to another!
Sheila Anderson, a travel blogger and essays scholar advisor, says that one of the best ways to get acquainted with any place is to visit their museums. This venue contains collections of artifacts, documents, and specimen that are significant to the place’s history and culture. Fortunately, Bogotá has a few that can introduce itself and help narrate its story to travelers all over the world.
Museo del Oro
Easily topping the list of recommended tourist spots in Bogotá, the Museo del Oro is known for housing a three-floor vast collection of over 55,000 gold pieces dating back to the pre-Hispanic Colombian era. Entrance fee is minimal, for only 1 USD.
Museo Botero del Banco de la Republica
Another must-visit museum in Colombia’s capital is the Botero museum named after the renowned artist Fernando Botero. The museum is perfect for art and architecture enthusiasts as it features the sculptures of Botero and the place itself is considered a national architecture.
While the entrance fee is free of charge, tourists can get audio guides in English, French and Spanish for a little less than 2 USD or 6,000 COP.
● Tip for thrifty travel: Visit museums during the last Sunday of the month to waive entrance fees!
Cerro de Monserrate
If you’re the nature lover type of traveler, another recommended tourist destination in Bogota is the Monserrate mountain that towers at approximately 10,000 meters above sea level. A church built in the 1650s standing atop the mountains, and a statue of the ‘El Señor Caido’ complement the picturesque view of the city that the mountain has for travelers. To get there, ride the funicular (tram) or the teleferico (cable car).
Bogota has a lot more in store for tourists and travelers, especially those who have a penchant for arts, culture, and history. Its modern skyscrapers also promise contemporary sophistication as Colombia’s capital city is progressing, and leaving behind its dreary history. Spend a weekend in Bogota, have fun, and don’t forget to share your travel experiences!
About the Author:
Stacey Marone is a graduate of Social Sciences and freelance writer. She likes traveling and exploring new cultures. In her free time, she also does volunteer work and organizes some activities for children. You can follow her on twitter.