Cycling and taking the cable car in Bogota

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
2
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
6
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
7
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
5
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
4
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
4
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
55 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
South America
country
Colombia
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 60
Time of year visited
March
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
246th/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 80% SUMMARY RATING: Worth doing

Summary

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Bogota – basically I think there are better places to spend your time in Colombia and we never really felt 100% safe there – but if you are there for a couple of days I recommend the half day cycling tour and to head up on the cable car to Monserrate

There’s also some decent restaurants worth checking out La Candelaria and the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum)

highlights

#1 Cycling around the city and checking out the graffiti covering wide areas of downtown Bogota

#2 Playing Tejo with a few beers and that awesome sense of satisfaction when the gunpowder goes off

#3 Riding the cable car up to Monserrate for great views across the city

#4 Checking out the restaurants and bars in the cute and very studenty area of La Candelaria

Rough itinerary

  • Start the morning with the Bogota Bike Tours.  You’ll spend the next few 4 hours or so cycling around the city checking out the markets, the red light district, the coffee factories and the bizarre throwing game of Tejo
  • In the afternoon head up the cablecar to Monserrate for views all across the city
  • If still have the energy, head to the Museo del Oro (the Gold Museum) before heading back to La Candelaria for dinner

Travel Tips

  • Booking a bike tour – you can book Bogota Bikes at super last minute and from any of the hotels or hostels.  Its around USD20, lasts around 4 hours and is a great way to check out some key parts of the city
  • The game of Tejo is good fun – you chuck metal discs at the board hoping to hit one the targets and get a rewarding gunpowder bang.  Best played with beers! and will be included as a stop on the bikes
  • Safety – I don’t know what it was, but we never felt completely safe in Bogota, although La Candelaria district is packed with police and students from the university so felt safer there.  Standard tips apply – keep your wits about you and try not to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.   To be fair though we found the atmosphere changed when we checked out areas outside of the main tourists spots, such as Chapinero
  • Accommodation – we stayed at the Fernweh Photography Hostel in the centre of La Candelaria and would very much recommend it, although try to avoid the rooms next to reception as they can get a little loud with people arriving late / leaving early
  • Two restaurants were really worth checking out:
    • Capital Cocina y Cafe in La Candelaria
    • Cantina y Punto – Mexican food in the Chapinero, a more leafy suburb to see a different side of Bogota
  • Book recommendations:
    • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the traditional must read literature.  At times it can be a little slow going, but it created its own genre (magic realism . . . obviously) and very much tells the story in a round about way of many of the difficulties faced by Colombia
    • To give a perspective of just what it must have been like for the American civilisations before the Spanish arrived, I highly recommend 1491 by Charles Mann.  It will change your view from what is likely to be that of basic jungle tribes / Indians hunting the buffalo on the plains to what they really were – in many ways equally sophisticated civilisations to those of Eurasia
    • For a broad, often quite opinionated, overview of modern South America, I also recommend Viva South America Oliver Balch
  • Broader Colombia – for how Bogota can fit into a bigger 3 week trip to see the highlights of Colombia, see 3 weeks in Colombia for itinerary and tips

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone