Best of Bogota – See it All in One Day

After decades of internal strife, Colombia is when again serene, thriving and safe. Tourism is playing a substantial role in Colombia’s healing; while other South American nations saw their visitor numbers decrease in 2009, the number of visitors to Colombia climbed by 7 percent.

Bogota, the capital city and the nation’s economic and cultural center, supplies magnificent opportunities for visitors. It has more than 2 dozen museums, numerous parks, a wealth of colonial architecture, and a few of the most popular night life in South America. If you have 2 weeks to invest in Bogota, you’ll find something brand-new to see and do every day.

But exactly what if you’ve just got a day? Listed below are the “must-sees,” Bogota’s very best destinations. All are clustered within and near La Candelaria, the old colonial heart of the city. There’s more great news, too: La Candelaria is simply a brief, affordable taxi ride from Bogota’s El Dorado Airport.

Cerro de Monserrate First stop: Monserrate. This Roman Catholic Sanctuary, located 2,000 feet above Bogota, is accessed via either a cog rail or cable cars and truck. From this mountaintop the huge panorama of Bogota expands prior to you. It’s a remarkable view, but Monserrate has its own beauties, including a remarkable church, wonderful gardens, and dozens of stores where you can imagine regional crafts.

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Bolivar Plaza This large area is the heart of Colombia. It is surrounded by the Catedral Primada (the nation’s “very first cathedral”), the Colombian Home and Senate, and the Supreme Court. Just one block away is Casa de Narino, home of the Colombian President. The plaza is constantly aswirl with activity; you’ll find chains of school kids making their method among the buildings, picketing (and serene) protestors, travelers, government employees and the dapperly-dressed elite. From here it’s a pleasant walk to the other must-sees.

Museum of Colonial Art Located in an amazing colonial mansion, this museum homes numerous pieces from the time of the conquest and the early settlement of Colombia.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Cultural Center Colombians are justly pleased with their Nobel Prize-winning author, whose works are celebrated throughout the world. This new facility provides extensive details on the author, whose books include 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Stop by to learn more about the author, and to have a cup of good Colombian coffee in the open air coffee shop.

Botero Museum Fernando Botero is Colombia’s best known artist, well-known for his depictions in paint and sculpture of “the fat ones.” The Botero Museum houses the artist’s own collection of art work, consisting of a thunder-jowled Mona Lisa. The museum also consists of works by Picasso, Monet, Renoir and Matisse.

Museum of Gold This magnificent museum is the home of more than 30,000 pieces of pre-Columbian artwork, consisting of the well-known raft of Guatavita, source of the El Dorado legend. The Gold Museum is found on among downtown Bogota’s busiest plazas, the site of a casual market for Colombia’s popular emeralds (and for its equally popular fakes!).

Colombia is still a deal. Simply remember: when you get hungry, avoid the American-style dining establishments and instead select among the regional favorites. A McDonald’s hamburger, for instance, chooses US$ 7, and cannot live up to the suspicious standards of its American origins. La Candelaria’s Restaurante Masiz, on the other hand, serves a four-course Colombian meal with veggies and fresh-squeezed fruit juice for $3.

The coffee is terrific too – naturally. Oma and Juan Valdez are the big chains (they are the Starbucks of Colombia), however try a locally-owned shop. At Coffee shop Negro the service is as enjoyable as the coffee is rich.