I umm’d and ahh’d about where to stay in Bogota. I was leaning towards La Candelaria – it sounded great, but there were a few reviews talking about safety concerns and general dodginess. I reviewed countless hostels and locations and despite a bit of apprehension, I went with my first instinct and chose a little hostel called Lima Limon in La Candelaria, and I was not disappointed. It was small, colourful, homely and friendly and I was lucky enough to be staying there with a small but amazing group of other travellers who I am still friends with now.
La Candelaria is the historical heart of Bogota and is kind of shabby chic. Street art and cute cafes mingle with dilapidated buildings and streets you’re advised not to walk down at night. I hung out most of the time with my newfound friends, and I didn’t encounter any issues. Do be vigilant though, and listen to the advice given by your hostel.
As I was in Bogota on a Sunday, I was able to enjoy the famous Ciclovía – where Bogota’s streets are taken over by pedestrians and cyclists. It had the feeling of a public holiday or fair, with such wonders on show as guinea pig racing. Which incidentally, I think might be one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. I spent more money gambling that day than I care to recall….
If you visit Bogota, you can’t help but notice the rather imposing Monserrate – a mountain of almost 3152 metres. Luckily, you can get to the top in a funicular and this for me was a real highlight of Bogota. The view from the top is incredible, and on the way up you get a bit of an insight into the different living conditions in Bogota – the higher you go, the poorer the neighbourhoods get.
The last thing I want to mention about Bogota is the food. I would like to call myself a foodie, but I am probably more greedy than foodie! I indulged my greed (and curiosity) with a Bogota Food Safari with a wonderful guide called Loon. I happened to be the only person on the tour that day so I had my very own safari! Not only did Loon take me to markets and shops you would never find or think to visit on your own, but I learnt so much about the local fruits, vegetables, cooking methods and flavours while getting to eat my way around Bogota. Perfect.
Bogota on the whole, for me felt like careful fun. I don’t think a trip to Colombia would be complete without a visit to this up-and-coming capital, but have your wits about you, especially if you look like a ‘gringo’ (very clearly not Colombian).