3 Days in Bogota, Colombia: 29 Absolute Best Things To Do in 2022

Heading to Colombia? I’ve got the best things to do with 3 days in Bogota – read on for details!

Golden yellow, green, red, and white buildings line a cobblestone paved street that heads up a hill. A green mountain is in the background.
A woman in a flower dress and jean jacket sits on a ledge on a mountain that overlooks a valley and the city of Bogota.
A woman in a white shirt and red skirt walks up to a church constructed in rows of alternating red and white bricks (the candy cane church).
There is a large square with official government buildings and a church in the background. Everything is made of beige stone.

Bogota isn’t the most popular destination in Colombia (we had a lot of people tell us they preferred Medellin), but I’m here to say:

I LOVED BOGOTA

It was one of my favorite spots in Colombia – the city had tons of character, old colonial architecture, colorful buildings, interesting sites to visit, and very kind people. We spent a very happy 3 days in Bogota.

There are a whole bunch of cool and engaging things to do in Bogota, including a large variety of extremely interesting and well-done museums, many beautiful and super cool churches, expansive greenspaces, murals and street art all over the city, and a great salsa and food scene. Plus, the daytrips from Bogota are top-notch.

The TL;DR is that: yes, I absolutely believe Bogota is worth visiting and I would absolutely prioritize spending 3 days in Bogota (maybe even 4!) Let’s get into exactly what there is do with 3 days in Bogota, and a suggested itinerary for your time there.

But First, A Few Fun Facts About Bogota!

➡️Bogota is the capital city of Colombia, and interestingly, at 8660 feet (2640 meters) is the 3rd highest capital city in the world.

➡️Despite being extremely close to the equator (only 4.6 degrees away), the high elevation keeps Bogota relatively cool all year round, with average highs around 62 degrees F. In fact, the highest ever recorded temperature in Bogota was 26 C (78 F).

➡️The name Bogota comes from an indigenous settlement named “Bacata,” which means “enclosure outside the farmfields.

➡️Bogota is South America’s 4th most populous city, with 7.6 million people (after Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and Lima).

Where to Stay in Bogota

Where you choose to stay in Bogota will have a big impact on what your trip looks like – just based on the location of the neighborhood and what that area has to offer.

There are four good neighborhoods that I would recommend staying during a trip to Bogota: La Candelaria, Chapinero Alto/Central, Zona Rosa, or Usaquen. You can read more about each of these areas and what type of travelers they are most suited for in this post:

Read More: Where to Stay in Bogota: 4 Best Areas + Hotels

If you just need the highlights, these are my top picks for where to stay in each area of Bogota:

(La Candelaria) Magdalena Guest House: Cozy, charming, and personable, this guest house hotel is extremely close to the Botero Museum and the candy cane church. 👉 Book the Magdalena Guest House here!

(Chapinero) HAB Hotel Bogotá: This hotel has a really beautiful design inside and out, plus perks like a fitness center, a terrace, and an on-site restaurant. 👉 Book the HAB Hotel Bogotá here

(Zona Rosa) Large and Bright Apartment: Light, bright, and airy, this apartment has a lot of space and windows, and a very large personal terrace.👉 Book this vacation rental here

(Usaquen) Hotel Casona Usaquén : Super close to the Usaquén main square, this hotel is in a historic building and feels just absolutely quaint and charming. 👉Book the Hotel Casona Usaquen here

29 Best Things To Do With 3 Days in Bogota

In the following sections, I’m going to go through all the different experiences, sites, and charms that Bogota has to offer!

At the end of the list, I’ll share a proposed 3 day itinerary for Bogota. I decided to structure this article this way (a list followed by an itinerary) because I just have a lot to say about a lot of the spots and attractions, and I wanted to make an itinerary as straightforward to read as possible!

Finally, at the very end of this post, I’ll go over a lot of frequently asked questions and helpful information for visiting the city, so definitely read to the end for all the details!

1. The Candelaria District

Colorful buildings along a cobblestone street. Bogota, Colombia.

Any discussion of Bogota has to begin with the main area in Bogota to visit: Candelaria. While there are some areas more on the north side of Bogota that are beautiful, safe, and wonderful places to visit (Usaquen and Zona Rosa are two examples), most of the things to see and do in Bogota are located in Candelaria.

This is the colonial, historic old town, where the streets are narrower, often cobblestoned, and are splashed with a variety of colors.

We loved Candelaria.

While you can see a lot of sites in this area, the whole neighborhood is an attraction in and of itself. You’ll find interesting little shops and restaurants to pop into, cool architecture, and street art liberally applied to the sides of buildings.

On a more practical note, the sidewalks are pretty good in this area, but it is quite hilly. Expect to see vendors out on the street corners selling a variety of goods throughout the district.

Best Things to Do in Bogota: Museums

Bogota has some really well-done, world class museums. We had a great time at all of these places (and I’m not usually a big museum girl!) – I would legitimately say visiting the museums is one of the best things to do with your 3 days in Bogota. Here are several can’t miss museums to visit in Bogota.

2. Botero Museum

A colorful courtyard garden lined by an archway, in the Botero Museum in Bogota, Colombia.

Fernando Botero is a renowned Colombian painter and sculptor, with a very distinct artistic style of exaggerated size. His works are well-loved and very ubiquitous in Colombia – you’ll find museums and pieces of his all around the country.

In Bogota, you can visit the Museo Botero, which showcases a lot of his paintings, some sculptures, and also the works of other painters. His sculptures are constructed in a shiny, dark metal, making them stand out even more in contrast to most sculptures that are done in stone.

This museum itself was also very, very pretty. We loved the calm and peaceful courtyard and the interesting works of art on display. We visited the Botero Museum in Medellin as well as the one in Bogota, and we were extremely impressed by just how prolific an artist Botero was – he created A LOT of art!

This is for sure one of the best things to do in Bogota.

  • Price: Free to Enter
  • Hours: 9am-7pm Monday, Wednesday-Saturday; 10am-5pm Sunday, closed Tuesdays
Two Botero sculptures are on display: a naked man and woman. The floor is hardwood and the wall is green.

3. Emerald Museum

In the Emerald Museum of Colombia, this is an exhibit of an emerald mine, with a vein of emerald displayed. The Emerald is one of the best things to do with 3 days in Bogota.

Did you know that Colombia is the third highest exporter of emeralds in the world (after Zambia and Brazil), but without question they harvest the highest quality emeralds? I didn’t either, until we stopped at the Emerald Museum in Bogota.

We kind of stumbled on this museum (located right near the Gold Museum in Bogota), and had a really good time there.

The Emerald Museum is a guided tour through an emerald mine in Colombia. They recreated a “mine” in the museum with veins of emeralds that are actually real and taken directly from the mines outside Bogota. There are different stops that showcase different parts of mining emeralds, and the tour guide describes the whole process and shares a lot of fun facts about emeralds.

At the end, you go into a display room with a whole bunch of emeralds – some cut, shaped, and polished, others are carved into figurines, others are more natural and in rocks. There was even someone working on cutting and polishing emeralds which was fun to see. All the emeralds on display are extremely cool (no pictures allowed, but you can check out some pictures on their website!) and we enjoyed it a lot.

An aerial view over Bogota, with buildings and some skyscrapers visible, and a couple of hills in the background.
Added bonus: The views from the 23rd floor are 👌

Now, a quick note about logistics for joining a tour: Tours are offered throughout the day in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. The process for entering the museum is a little different, though.

It’s located on the 23rd floor of a tall skyscraper in Bogota, and you cannot go to the top without registering at the front desk in the lobby and getting an escort up and then back down at the end. It’s a lot, but when you consider the impressive amount of jewels in the museum, it makes more sense. 

The times for different tours are not posted online or in the lobby, so I would either just stop in during the day and see when the next tour time is in your desired language, or send an email or Whatsapp message to the museum via their website – you can find the contact info here.

This is for sure a hidden gem (ha) to visit during your 3 days in Bogota!

  • Price: 5000 COP (~$1)
  • Hours: 9am-5pm

4. Museo Santa Clara

Gold pieces (round emblems, earrings, other jewelry) are on display in a case.

The Museo Santa Clara is one of the most interesting things to do in Bogota because it’s a church turned museum, and it’s gorgeous! The walls are covered in paintings and different altarpieces. There are several interactive stations that will tell you about the different art and exhibits (in English no less!). There is also a small crypt under the high alter that you can peer into, though not enter. Additionally, there are also sometimes temporary exhibits displayed in the hall. 

Besides the art exhibit aspect to this church/museum, the architecture of the building was just stunning. There are intricate carvings and gold leafing all over the walls and ceiling. Near the exit, there’s this little tunnel in between the walls that you can walk down, where the priests did confession. It’s kind of creepy, kind of cool!

Overall, the Museo Santa Clara is quiet and beautiful and I think worth a stop during your time in Bogota.

  • Price: 4000 COP (~$1)
  • Hours: 9am-5pm Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm Saturday, 10am-3:30pm Sunday, closed Mondays

5. Museo del Oro

The Gold Museum of Bogota is the biggest and most important gold museum in Colombia. In fact, they have such a well-curated and well-esteemed collection that their exhibits have gone on tour all over the world.

In this museum, you’ll enjoy exhibits about the history of gold minining in Colombia, how Colombians used gold, the techniques they preferred, and the individual pieces they produced.

A golden conch shell (or similar type shell) is on display in a case.
Gold leafing was wrapped around this shell a long, long time ago. The shell has since deterioriated, but the gold retains it’s shell shape.

While gold is obviously found all over the world, it has a special cultural significance in Colombia. In fact, the yellow band in the Colombian flag represents the country’s gold. The museum also does a good job explaining the religious and cultural meanings the gold had to the ancient Colombians and the different methods they developed for working it.

For example, in one ceremony a new ruler was covered in gold dust and washed in a lake, symbolizing the “seed” of the sun (the gold) fertilizing the earth to bring about a prosperous reign.

The museum had an extraordinary number of gold pieces on display, from small earrings to large sculptures. There was room after room, display case after display case full of gold artifacts. We were impressed.

The Gold Museum should for sure be on your 3 days in Bogota itinerary – you can easily spend 1-3 hours here.

Note: This museum gets incredibly busy – we came here at around 11am on a weekday in the summer and it was packed. We were told this level of crowds is pretty typical for summer and holidays, so if lower crowds at museums is important to you, I’d come right at opening.

  • Hours: 9am-6pm Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm on Sunday, Closed Mondays
  • Prices: 5000 COP (Free on Sundays)

Best Things to Do in Bogota: Take a Guided Tour

There are a lot of interesting and cool guided tours you can participate in in Bogota. We’ve really liked our tours in Colombia and think it’s definitely worth doing at least one guided tour when you visit Bogota. It’s a great way to get an in-depth, local, and authentic experience with the city.

Plus, one of my favorite things about every tour and guided experience we’ve ever done has been meeting and chatting with other travelers from different countries around the world. I’m sure this will be a highlight for you too!

6. Food Tour

This food tour is an incredible value for the amount of dishes that you get to try, and everything is very, very good. We went on this tour after having been in Colombia for a week (and eating our way through the local cuisine), but this tour still provided a whole bunch of new and interesting dishes that we hadn’t heard of or eaten.

For several hours in the afternoon, a Colombian, English-speaking guide will take you around to 7 different restaurants in the Candelaria district, to try 7+ different types of traditional food from different regions in Colombia. At some of the restaurants, we tried several new dishes, which was delightful.

TL;DR: You will eat extremely well, try a large variety of new foods, and learn some really interesting tidbits about Colombia, all for an exceptionally reasonable price.

👉Book this Bogota food tour here!👈

7. Do a Graffiti Tour

Street art in Bogota. This mural has a jaguar walking through greenery, with red berries scattered throughout the leaves.

Bogota has a complicated history with graffiti and street art. Though street art and graffiti have been popular and common forms of art and expression in Bogota, it was illegal for a long time. In 2011, police killed a young graffiti artist, which sparked massive outrage throughout the city, leading to decriminalization of street art.

Street art on a wall in Bogota. A woman's face is painted on the wall, with flowers, hummingbirds, and leaves behind her.

Today, it is a legal and protected form of expression in Bogota, leading the art form to flourish throughout Bogota, with many well-known and talented artists leaving their mark on Bogota’s walls.

While you will certainly see some of it as you walk around the historic district, taking a graffiti tour will expose you to some of the best and most meaningful murals in Bogota, and explain the historical, social, and political context of the art.

This graffiti tour is long enough to get a good exposure to the art and learn about the background as you walk around Bogota.

👉Book your Bogota street art tour here!👈

8. Walking Tour of Bogota

Colorful buildings, including beige walls, blue doors, orange doors, red walls, on a hilly street in Candelaria of Bogota - one of the best places to visit.
A street in Candelaria with green, purple, orange, and red buildings all in a row. Exploring Candelaria is one of the nicest things to do in Bogota with three days.

On this walking tour of Bogota, you’ll be with a knowledgeable, friendly, and engaging local to the area. As you walk around the city, you’ll visit main squares and points of interest, as well as tucked away little side streets and hidden gems in the neighborhood.

The tour guide tells a lot of interesting stories and anecdotes about what you’re seeing and experiencing, and shares about Bogota’s history, culture, art scene, food, and even politics and current events.

This tour is the perfect amount of time (about 2.5 hours) to really get a feel for Bogota – plus you can get local recommendations for some of the best places to visit, and get any of your burning questions about Colombia answered. This is a steal of a deal for the experience you’ll enjoy on this walking tour!

👉Book your historic walking tour here!👈

9. Bike Tour

Alternatively, if you’d rather experience the city on wheels, bike tours are a very popular way to learn about Bogota. Candelaria is generally set up well for biking (it has bike lanes), although do note there are areas that are hilly. The benefit of a bike tour is that you can cover much more distance in the same amount of time as a walking tour.

On this tour, you’ll visit the historic Candelaria, including some street art. You’ll head to the Paloqueamo fruit market, where you can sample some tropical fruit, then visit a small coffee factory to see the final processing of coffee beans, and try your hand at tejo.

The pace of the bike tour is very manageable for anyone who has a basic level of fitness, the guides are interesting and engaging in explaining what you are seeing and experiencing, and the whole tour is a great, unique way to experience Bogota.

👉Book your Bogota bike tour here! 👈

Plazas and Passageways

When visiting Bogota, it’s definitely worth visiting both the grand and little tucked away plazas and passageways around the city. These are a few can’t-miss spots:

10. Plaza de Bolivar

There is a large square with official government buildings and a church in the background. Everything is made of beige stone.

This is THE main plaza in Bogota, and it is incredibly large and expansive. The large square is flanked by many important government buildings, including the Palace of Justice, the National Capitol, the Mayor’s Palace, plus the Primordal Cathedral of Bogota.

It’s filled with pigeons and stalls selling food and souvenirs, but because it is so big there is still plenty of space to walk around and take in the sights. Watch out for scammers here, though – like the people offering llama rides/pictures.

The buildings on the streets near Plaza Bolivar used to belong to important (and rich) government people, so they are particularly fancy and have a lot of European-esque architecture.

Note that you can take pictures of anything in Plaza Bolivar, but if you go on the sidestreets, don’t take pictures of the goverment buildings there.

(We got in trouble taking pictures of the buildings on the opposite side of the street of the Museo Santa Clara. Not gonna lie, it’s a little disarming when a soldier holding a rifle comes running down the street at you to tell you you can’t take pictures there! To be fair, he was actually really nice about it, but there were definitely rules!) 

11. Pasaje Rivas

A narrow walkway through some shops, with a lot of different goods on display.

Get off the tourist track for a bit with this tucked away narrow passageway that holds different shops. There are a whole range of wares and goods for sale – some that are more typical souvenirs, but also some really interesting handmade and local items as well. 

We were able to get a couple of colorful woven purses to bring home for our daughters for a lot less money than the going price on the street. This is an area that is also used by locals and haggling is acceptable here – though don’t expect a huge drop.

12. Plazoleta Chorro de Quevedo

A small public square with cobble stones, a small fountain, and a little white church at the back. A few people are walking through the square.

Plazoleta Chorro del Quevedo is said to be the spot where the first Spanish colonial settlement was made in Bogota. The church in the square is a replica of the first Catholic church in Bogota (that was built in the 1500’s but condemned in the 1800’s).

This little square is a popular and trendy hang out spot – particularly at night. During the day, there are people hanging around, a few vendors, and a lot of chicha (a very old, traditional Colombian drink).

At nighttime though, and especially on weekends, the plaza is hopping. It is surrounded by bars and restaurants and people come to hang out, enjoy some drinks, and watch the many performers set up in the square. .

13. Callejón del Embudo (Carrera 2)

A narrow alley, with cobblestoned street, brick buildings, and some colorful murals and street art on the walls. A few people walk through.

Found just off of Plazoleta Chorro del Quevedo, the Callejón del Embudo passageway is narrow, paved with cobblestones, lined with brick buildings and street art, and definitely has a somewhat grungy or alternative vibe. I really liked the vibe! You can find a lot of bars and restaurants in this alleyway.

Best Things to Do in Bogota: Marvel at the Churches

One of my favorite things we did during our 3 days in Bogota was visit a whole bunch of the beautiful, historic churches around the city. (I personally think it’s one of THE most interesting things to do in any city – but I *do* really like old churches!) There are a lot of churches, with different architectural styles, and they all offer something unique and beautiful to enjoy and appreciate.

For all the churches in Bogota, we didn’t notice any kind of pattern for when they were open to the public or closed – it was just kind of hit or miss. If you go by a church and it’s closed, come by later; you’ll likely have success. That being said, Sundays and mornings seemed to have the highest success rate. 

Here are some of the best churches to visit in Bogota:

14. Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen

A tall church constructed in rows of alternating red and white bricks (the candy cane church) stands tall in the frame. This church is one of the best things to do with 3 days in Bogota.

Let’s start with my absolute favorite church in Bogota! The Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen, affectionately known as the “Candy Cane church”, just about stopped me in my tracks. The entire church is constructed in alternating stripes of red and white stone. Curlicue designs are painted on the doors, and the exterior pillars are even twisted, adding to the character of the place.

Despite the unusual appearance, I was SO into the cool look of this church.

The interior of the candy cane church - arches with painted red and white stripes, blue ceilings, painted flowers, tiled floors, and dark wooden pews.

The inside is even more stunning. The red and white stripe theme continues on the columns and pillars. The blue ceiling has little flowers painted on it, and there are numerous carved details, small windows, arched hallways, and stained glass throughout.

Honestly, it felt like this church belonged in a magic fairyland – it felt so whimsical and carefree. Now, I will admit I can see how in pictures it might look a little busy or too intense. In person, however, the space was large and soaring and the whole thing just worked.

It was really jaw-dropping and I absolutely loved it. Whether you love it or hate it, this is FOR SURE one of the can’t-miss things to do in Bogota!

15. Primada Cathedral of Bogota

The exterior of the Primada Cathedral of Bogota, standing on a ledge with 10 steps up, two spires, 3 entrance doors on the front. It's made of beige stone.

This is the main, big cathedral in Bogota, and is the biggest and most important church in all of Colombia, located in the large and prominent Plaza de Bolivar, next to all the other important government buildings. This means that you will almost certainly be stopping by during your 3 days in Bogota – so take the time and stop in!

The inside is very grand, with white pillars topped with gold-leafed capitals (the topper to the column), ornate and large crystal chandeliers, and arches throughout.

There was also a dome in front of the alter that soared impressively towards the sky and had a mix of paintings and arches. I also loved the crystal chandeliers that hung at intervals through the nave of the cathedral.

Visiting the Primada Cathedral is one of the most impressive places to see in Bogota.

Bonus: There was a live organ performance while we visited.

The inside of the Primadial Cathedral of Bogota - it's very white and tan, with columns, arches, intricate chandeliers, and wooden benches.

16. Iglesia de San Francisco

The Igelsia de San Francisco is located in the same plaza as the Gold Museum and the Emerald Museum, so it’s an easy stop to make.

The outside is really graffitied and some parts of the wall are kind of falling apart, and honestly doesn’t look like much. However, the inside has ornate altarpieces and chapels, with detailed gold leafing work all over the interior, and intricate designs everywhere.

I will note, the inside is unfortunately pretty loud because the doors are open to the street and plaza, which is very busy. 

No photos are allowed inside, so I only have the photo of the outside to show you. It’ll be a quick visit, but since it’s so golden and ornate, and literally across the street from other attractions in Bogota, I would say it’s definitely worth a stop.

17. Iglesia Vera Cruz

This church is located right on the backside of Iglesia San Francisco – from the exterior, it actually looks like they meld together and are one building. While this isn’t the fanciest church in Bogota, it still has some beautiful elements (that ceiling!), and is very peaceful and calm inside.

18. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria

The inside of the Church of Candelaria, with a lot of murals on the ceilings.

Yet another church! This one had a beautiful red/gold/pink drop ceiling at the entrance, which gave way to a higher ceiling with paintings on it! This style of ceiling with the distinct paintings on it was very unique and interesting. An added bonus to the ambiance was the music playing in the background as we walked around the church.

This church is kitty corner to the Botero Museum, which makes it an easy yet very pretty and enjoyable stop to make as you tour Bogota.  

There are a lot of churches on this list, but thanks to the entry way drop ceiling, the beautiful paintings on the higher ceiling, as well as the altarpiece, I do think this church is unique enough to warrant a stop!

Visit a Greenspace

While there are just two parks and gardens on this list, they pack a big punch!

19. Botanical Gardens

Rose bushes are at the foreground of the picture, with tall palms in the background.

Strolling the botanical gardens in Bogota is a great thing to do if you like calm, peaceful, beautiful greenspaces.

Thanks to the entrance fee, the gardens are not very busy, and we enjoyed the change of pace. There are several different areas in the botanical gardens, including a palm forest, a rose garden, a pond, a greenhouse, and many pathways throughout the grounds.

A pond is in the foreground, with a bridge, palm trees, and a flowering tree in the background.

This can be a shorter or longer stop, but I still think it’s worth the visit, especially since it’s very close to the Parque de Simon Bolivar (next). If you are interested in a more in-depth knowledge of the gardens, you can join the guided tour at 1pm Tuesday-Fridays, and 11am and 2pm Saturday-Sunday for 20,000 COP.

  • Price: 5,000 COP (~$1)
  • Hours: 8am-5pm Tuesday-Friday, 9am-5pm Saturday and Sunday, closed Monday

 20. Parque de Simon Bolivar

A wide walkway through the Parque de Simon Bolivar, with lots of greenspace on either side. Many people walk on the sidewalk or are lounging on the grass.

What Central Park is to NYC is what Parque de Simon Bolivar is to Bogota. This large, expansive, public park is located northwest of La Candelaria, has a lot of amenities. This is definitely one of the top local-favorites things to do in Bogota.

The lake in Simon Bolivar, its quite large, iwth several people on rowboats on the lake. Greenery and trees are lining the lake and some bigger hills/mountains are in the background. This park is one of the best things to do with 3 days in Bogota.

In this park, there is a large lake with boat rentals, a “beach” area (which was sandy, but not on the water, so you could play in the sand but not swim), playgrounds for kids, several workout areas with an impressive variety of exercise equipment, and lots and lots of food and wares vendors.

There are also a ton of grassy areas to play and relax on, and extremely wide walking paths that crisscross through the park.

When we went on a Sunday afternoon, there were a ton of people there. It was actually a really nice vibe – there were a lot of people walking their dogs, and just friends and families hanging out together and enjoying the beautiful day. And despite the high crowds, due to all the space and the extra wide walkways, it never felt crowded. It still felt like a really nice place to hang out and spend some time in nature.

I was into it!

The Simon Bolivar park is located about 20 minutes northwest of Candelaria by car and is a nice way to spend an leisurely afternoon during your 3 days in Bogota.

Viewpoints and Music and Games, Oh My!

You’ll excuse the cheesy title of this section – this section includes several attractions and activities that did not fit nicely into other categories. But don’t let that make you think these aren’t worthy and incredible things to do in Bogota – in fact, some of these places were favorite spots that definitely need to be on your Bogota bucket list!

21. Monserrate

The sunset lights up the city of Bogota, with skyscrapers and other buildings present. Greenery from the mountain is in the foreground. Admiring this view is one of the best things to do with 3 days in Bogota.
Views over Monserrate | 3 Days in Bogota

Monserrate is a church on the top of a hill/mountain overlooking Bogota. You get sweeping vistas of the city and a fantastic view of the sunset from up here.

You can see the pristine white church on the hill from many spots in the city, but when you are up at the summit, because the church is literally RIGHT on the edge of the mountain, you don’t really get a good up-close view of the whole thing.

A zoomed in view of the white church of Monserrate, with grenery framing the shot.
Zoomed in view of the church from the valley. It really stands out starkly at the top of the hill.

To access the summit, you can take a ride on the funicular or the cable car from the station at the valley floor to top the summit. While there are two different modes of transportation, generally you don’t get a choice of which one to take, its just whatever one is in use when you arrive. When we visited, the cable car was in use.

A cable car descends down the line off of the hill of Monserrate. Tons of greenery and trees cover the mountain.

At the top, there is a large open area for people to stroll around. You can enter the church, which is nice, but certainly not the fanciest or most ornate church in Bogota. The views are definitely the main attraction here, and there is a long balcony and wall/ledge for people to hang out and enjoy the panorama over the city.

Sunset is always right around 6pm in Bogota, no matter the time of year. Getting up to the top before sunset, watching the sun go down, and then watching the city lights come on as it gets dark is a great way to experience Monserrate and was one of my favorite things we did in Bogota.

There are some food stands and a pretty nice looking restaurant at the top, as well.

A man and a woman kiss in front of a ledge on a mountain overlooking the city of Bogota. The sun sets in the background.
The lights are on in the darkness in the city of Bogota. Views from the mountain.

A Few Notes on Crowds and When to Go: Due to the popularity of the attraction, there can be a decent wait to both ascend and descend the mountain. When we went, there didn’t appear to be much of a line, but it still took at least 30+ minutes from when we arrived at the ticket booth to when we arrived at the top of the hill.

As we drove by the next day, there was a massive line for the ticket counter, which easily was a several hour wait to get to the top of the hill. We went at sunset on a Saturday night, which I would have thought would be the most popular time to visit, but the line on Sunday morning was way longer.

Moral of the story: plan for longer lines and prepare for a bit of a wait. If you get through fast, great! I would imagine that weekdays would see lower crowds than weekends.

  • Hours: Mon-Sat 6:30am-11pm, Sunday 5:30am-4:30pm, Holidays 6:30am-5:30pm
  • Cost: 23,500 COP Mon-Sat (5.50 USD), 14,000 COP on Sundays (3 USD)

22. Try Some Traditional Colombian Foods

Two square plates sit on a restaurant table. One holds a bowl of ajiaco soup - a corn on the cob and some chicken are visible in the thick, creamy broth. The second plate holds 2 slices of avocado, a scoop of rice, a small bowl of capers, and a small bowl of cream.

If there’s one food you need to try in Bogota, its ajiaco soup. This is a very traditional and popular soup in Colombia, particularly in Bogota, where it originated. It is made with 3 types of potatoes, chicken, corn, and capers.

Sometimes the corn kernels are added into the soup, and sometimes, like above, a chunk of corn on the cob is served with the soup. Also, sometimes the capers are served on the side, like above. (I prefered this, as capers aren’t my favorite flavor).

Traditionally, you take a little bit of the rice and then dunk it in the soup and eat it. However, some people prefer to dump the whole thing of rice in and mix it up at the start.

I loved the ajiaco soup, and it felt particularly good in the cool Bogota weather! I ate some really delicious ajiaco at San Felipe Restaurant (Calle 12 #1-79, Candelaria).

23. Play Tejo

A man throws a disk towards a tejo target in a tejo hall. The target looks similar to a cornhole target.

Tejo is an exciting, unique game that is the national spot of Colombia. I have never participated in anything quite like it!

The idea is that you through a metal disk towards a target – if you hit the target, there’s a small explosion of gunpowder. It makes for some exciting rounds!

If you’re curious about the practicality of it, a metal ring is put on a bed of clay, where you are throwing the metal disk. On the metal ring, you arrange 4 paper triangle packets that have gunpowder in them. If the metal disk makes correct and sufficient contact with the gunpowder in the packets on the metal ring below, the small explosion ensues.

This is a tejo target - a metal ring is fastened to the clay, which has a lot of indents from previous metal disks. 4 different paper triangles filled with gunpowder are positioned on the metal ring.

While tejo is a common game for people to play together casually after work or on the weekends, there actually are professional teams and even a national tejo championship in Colombia!

We had a ton of fun playing Colombian tejo. Generally, to play you are only required to purchase a beer (or other drink) as your entrance fee.

This is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Bogota! There are tejo clubs all over the city. Here are a few options:

  • Club de Tejo La 76
  • Tejo Turmerqué (doubles as a restaurant/club)
  • Tejo el Virrey

24. Paloqueamo Fruit Market

A stand in a fruit market with a large variety of colorful tropical fruits. Trying tropical fruits is a must do on your 3 day Bogota itinerary.

The Paloqueamo Market is the main fruit and flower market in the city and is located in a covered warehouse. The flower market occurs in the morning. In addition to fruits and flowers, you can also find dairy products and meat and seafood products farther back in the warehouse.

Perusing this market was one of my favorite things to do in Bogota, as the warehouse was an absolute riot of colors, shapes, and sizes. We saw fruits that were familiar to us (e.g. pineapple, melons, strawberries, blackberries, pears) and a whole slew of unique and unfamiliar tropical fruits.

We interacted with a few different vendors here, and they were all very pleasant and helped us figure out what to buy, what the names of the different fruits were, and made some suggestions on other good fruits to try. It’s definitely worth visiting this fruit market during your days in Bogota!

  • Hours: 5am-4:30pm Mon-Friday, 5am-2pm weekends

Read More: 34 Delicious Traditional Colombian Foods to Try in Colombia (including 9 delicious tropical fruits common in Colombia – spoiler alert: mangosteen is a must!)

25. Teatro Colon Bogota

This theater is an absolutely stunning piece of architecture, inside and out. It’s also the only national theater in Colombia. You can come see a performance (check the schedule here), or if you’d rather just take in the architectural beauty, there’s also the option for a guided tour where you are taken to the foyer, auditorium, stage, and box seats.

  • Hours: Tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 12pm and 3pm
  • Price: 12,000 COP ($3)

26. Salsa Bar

The stage of a salsa baer, with a piano and drums on stage.

Colombians love their salsa music, and you can find salsa bars and dance clubs all over the country.

If you’re looking for a really fun salsa bar in the Candelaria section of Bogota, Quiebraconto is a really good option! This bar is great for listening to salsa music (live or pre-recorded), and watching or participating in some salsa dancing.

There are spots to sit on several levels, and a dance floor. The party starts late (the band starts playing around 11:30pm), but it’s a really fun spot to get your salsa on! (Or just watch others and listen to the music.)

Cover Fee: 15,000 COP (about $4) + expectation of drink purchases

Go on a Day Trip

There are several really exciting destinations not far from Bogota that you should consider visiting during your time in Bogota – it is definitely worth visiting some of the sites outside the city!

27. Zipaquira

The salt cave and cathedral of Zipaquira, with a cross in front of a cave.

The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is a really stunning example of a manmade/natural wonder. This cathedral is an actual working Catholic church, constructed in a salt mine 200 meters under ground. The mine is still a functioning salt mine, the church sees up to 3000 worshippers weekly, and the tour attracts thousands of visitors daily.

Back in the 1950’s miners worked after hours to construct this cathedral part of the salt mine and today there are 14 individual chapels depicting the last day of Christ’s life, that lead up to the large areas for worship and auditoriums.

It was an absolutely jaw-dropping feat of engineering and ingenuity and we were thoroughly impressed.

To get here, you need to take a taxi to the Terminal del Norte bus station in Bogota, where you can catch a bus to the town of Zipaquira. From the bus stop in town, it’s about a 15 minute walk to the Salt Cathedral. Entrance to the cathedral starts at 78,000 COP per person and includes an audioguide in English.

Alternatively, you can remove the logistics from your visit to Zipaquira on this tour, which provides round trip transportation from Bogota, entrance fees, and also a visit to the famed Guatavita lagoon (more on that in the next section, but combining them in one day trip works really well!). Since the travel logistics were not trivial, this can be a really nice option.

👉Book this tour to Zipaquira + Guatavita here👈

28. Guatavita 

The blue-green lagoon of Guatavita is in a little valley, nestled among green hills.

Guatavita is an ancient mountain lagoon that is said to be the site of El Dorado. Here, a new leader was covered in gold dust and taken out on a raft filled with golden artifacts. The leader was rinsed in the lake and the gold was dropped into the water. When the Spaniards learned of this, they tried to dredge the lake, but only recovered a small fraction of the estimated gold. The lake was actually mostly drained in the by other gold seekers to collect even more. The lake has mostly been restored now and is protected from further exploitation.

On your visit, you can hike up to and around the lagoon. There are guided tour options, or you can just do the hike independently – and there are signs around the lake. Entrance to the reserve is 15,000 COP.

To get here, you need to take a taxi to the Terminal de Transportes de Bogota – Salitre, where you can catch a bus to the town of Guasca. From there you take a taxi the last few miles to Guatavita.

Alternatively, you can do this on a combo daytrip with Zipaquira. For this option, take a taxi to the bus station in Bogota, the bus to Zipaquira, a taxi from Zipaquira to Guatavita, the bus back to Bogota, and then a taxi back from the bus station in Bogota.

Or, you can just do a tour that provides the transportation and entrance fees to the two attractions. It is more money than the taxi/bus/taxi/bus/taxi option, but as you get picked up and dropped off right in the heart of Candelaria, there’s no need to worry about any of the logistics of transportation.

A tour also improves your chances of making it to both places in one day!

👉You can book this Zipaquira + Guatavita tour here!👈

29. Coffee Tour

A woman in a white shirt, green pants, and straw hat stands in the middle of about 7 foot tall coffee plants, holding a coffee bean.
Picking coffee beans

If you’re traveling to Salento, or another town in the Coffee Triangle of Colombia, it’s probably not worth visiting a coffee tour on your visit to Bogota, as you’ll for sure want to do a tour in the coffee region.

However, if you won’t be going to the coffee-growing countryside, I definitely would consider prioritizing a coffee farm tour outside of Bogota.

This excursion picks you up at your hotel and transports you 1.5 hours outside the city, making a stop at a local, pretty waterfall on the way. At the coffee farm, you’ll get to observe and often participate in all of the steps of coffee bean picking, from planting, picking, threshing, drying, and roasting. Finally, at the end you can try a freshly brewed cup of high quality Colombian coffee.

👉Book this Bogota Coffee Farm Tour Experience here!👈

Map of Sites to See with 3 Days in Bogota

3 Day Bogota Itinerary

Okay, now that we’ve gone through all the things there are to do in Bogota, here is my suggested 3 days in Bogota itinerary:

Bogota Day 1: Candelaria

Morning:

  • Kick off your 3 days in Bogota at the Gold Museum, the Emerald Museum, and the Iglesia de San Francisco & Vera Cruz
  • Swing by Pasaje Rivas if you have time

Afternoon:

  • Visit Plaza de Bolivar, the Primatial Cathedral of Bogota, and the Museo Santa Clara
  • Stop by Mama Lupe for Chocolate Santaferena (hot chocolate and cheese), a Colombian favorite
  • If it’s a Saturday or Sunday, you could also visit the Teatro Colon at 12pm or 3pm
  • Swing by the Candy Cane church (Nuestra Señora del Carmen)
  • Finish the Day at Monserrate. Aim to get there between 4-4:30pm so there’s enough time before sunset. Also, if it’s super overcast or rainy today, I would save Monserrate for another day when the sky may be clear.

Day 2: Bogota

Morning:

  • Start your day at the Botero Museum and the kitty corner Iglesia de Candelaria
  • Browse the fresh, tropical produce at Paloqueamo Fruit Market
  • Stroll through the expansive Parque de Simon Bolivar. If you have time, you can also visit the Botanical Gardens nearby.

Afternoon:

  • Do a tour of Bogota, be it a graffiti tour, a walking tour, a bike tour, or a food tour. All of these experiences are super interesting, engaging, and give you a more knowledgeable view of the city.
  • Visit the Plazoleta Chorro del Quevedo and the Callejón del Embudo passageway.

Evening:

  • Hang out at the Quiebraconto Salsa Bar for music, dancing, and good times.

Bogota Day 3: Day Trip

Morning:

  • Finish your 3 days in Bogota with a day trip to Zipaquira, Guatavita (or both!), or a trip to a coffee farm. Depending on which option you end up doing, you will arrive back in the mid-afternoon to early evening.

Evening:

  • Finish out your Bogota itinerary with a round of tejo, the beloved Colombian pasttime.

A fancy street in Bogota, with an archway on the street level, a golden building, with windows trimmed in red bricks, and a fancy cast iron balcony.

Getting Around Bogota During your 3 Days

➡️Public Transportation: For public transportation, Bogota has a bus system, but not a metro system. Honestly, we were really confused by the bus system, and usually we are pros at navigating public transit. Taxis, and ride-sharing apps are very inexpensive in Bogota, and will get you to your destination much faster. If you’re only spending 3 days in Bogota, I’d really recommend you just get a ride when you need transportation.

➡️Taxis: Note that the meters in taxis are a little different in Bogota. Instead of just showing you your total fare on the meter, it shows you a number, which then correlates to a chart – each number is associated with a price.

The meter always starts at 28, so make sure the cab driver resets the meter before you begin going.

The charts are usually posted on the backs of the seats in the cab so you can verify the number the cab driver gives you, except they don’t actually usually match. And it wasn’t just them saying a different number, sometimes the meter would display the final price and it wouldn’t match the chart. Honestly, the taxis in Bogota were where we had the most issues in all of Colombia. This included prices being different, getting taken to the wrong place, and even major scam attempts – so be on your guard.

Prices for rides around the city were between 8000-15,000 pesos. We paid 20k pesos and 28k pesos for rides between the airport and Candelaria.

➡️Ride-Sharing Apps: You can use Uber in Bogota, but we noticed that it was generally equal, or even sometimes more money than just taking a cab. There were two other apps we used in Colombia: Cabify and InDriver. Cabify is essentially the same thing as Uber. InDriver is a little different, in that you suggest a price for a ride, which potential drivers in the area can then either counter or accept. You pay in cash for InDriver. You can often get a ride for 1000-2000 pesos less than the cost in Cabify.

All of the ride-sharing apps in Colombia only worked marginally well. We often would try to get a ride through these apps, but more often than not we would never actually get connected with a driver, and ended up having to grab a taxi off the street.

We always preferred using an app, because they would have the address already in the app (instead of us having to tell them in our non-existent Spanish). We also just had genuinely better experiences with the drivers we got through the app.

That being said, we also had plenty of totally fine experiences riding in taxis… but I recommend the apps if they work for you.

Is Bogota Safe?

A big question people have before visiting Bogota (or even Colombia in general), is if it’s safe. While Colombia has had a very turbulent past, today it is considered a safe destination for travelers.

That being said, I would exercise caution and mainly stay in the tourist areas during your days in Bogota. Some neighborhoods in Bogota can be dangerous. In particular, the neighborhoods south of La Candelaria are places to definitely avoid.

However, Zona Rosa/Zona T, Usaquen, Chapinero, Candelaria, and Soledad, Palermo, Parkway, and Cedritos are all neighborhoods that can be considered safe.

Note: Candelaria can be less safe after dark. We noticed that parts of it did stay busy after 7pm, but I would for sure exercise more caution in this area after sundown, and definitely get a ride wherever you need to go.

Petty crime is common, particularly getting your phone snatched. Be extra vigilant with you belongings and phone, and be cautious about pulling it out on the street. We liked using these wrist lanyards for our phones to provide some extra security if we needed to have it out .

Walk confidently, be careful with your phone and money, say no immediately to people who come up to you on the street, don’t be out late, and stay in the tourist neighborhoods, and you should be just fine.

Bogota Weather

Bogota’s weather is very unusual, as it is located very close to the equator but stays relatively cool all year round due to its high elevation. Average highs are around 65 degrees F throughout the entire year, with average lows being in the mid-40’s.

Again, thanks to the mountainous region where it’s located, Bogota is often overcast. June, July, and August see the most clear skies.

Rain: You will also see rain frequently in Bogota. Think Seattle frequency. Rainfall is most frequent in April and May, and then in October and November. The least amount of rain falls in January and February, with June/July also having lower rainfalls. But rain can and does fall all year round!

Best Months: Overall, the months of June-September, and Jan-Feb are usually best months, weather-wise, to visit Bogota.

Still, be prepared for chilly, overcast, and rainy weather when you visit. We had a great trip in July, with some periods of sun and just a few periods of showers, but people we met said the week before was a complete downpour.

Pack some warmer clothes, be prepared with your poncho and an umbrella, and you’ll be fine!

What Should I Wear For 3 Days in Bogota

My ideal “uniform” for Bogota included pants, a long sleeved shirt or sweater, and a jacket, ideally a waterproof with a hood. Jeans are very common in Bogota. I did wear a dress and jean jacket one clearer day, which I did fine with until the evening got chillier.

Water resistant shoes are a good idea. I wore my favorite travel sneaker every day and they were good for the light rain we experienced, plus super, super comfortable for long walking days.

Read More: 35+ Favorite Travel Essentials for Women in 2022: Outfits, Accessories, and Gear

A Few More General Tips for Visiting Bogota

➡️ELECTRICITY: Colombia uses 110 voltage and type A or B plugs. This is the same voltage and plugs as the USA, so if you are coming from the states, you won’t need any type of travel adaptors.

➡️MONEY: The currency is the Colombian peso, which uses the sign “$” and is abbreviated as COP. At the time of writing, about 4500 pesos equal 1 USD.

Cash is king in Colombia – while occasionally you will find a restaurant or hotel that takes credit card, the vast, vast majority of the time we had to pay in cash. ATMs are plentiful around the city.

➡️LANGUAGE: Spanish is the main language in Colombia, and most people in the country do not speak English. Do not plan on speaking to locals in English in Colombia. We do not speak Spanish hardly at all (just a few words) and we got along okay by relying heavily on Google Translate.

I would highly recommend downloading the Google Translate app – it works a little bit faster than the web browser, and there are options where people talk to text translation feature, as well as a camera translation feature.

The camera translation is a nifty little feature in the Google translate app. In the app, point the camera at a paragraph of text and the translation will appear over the words on the screen. This feature is very helpful for reading restaurant menus and placards in museums).

➡️PLUMBING: Do not flush your toilet paper in Colombia – the plumbing pipes are old and not set up to handle the TP in the system. Just toss your toilet paper in the bin next to the toilet.

Also, occasionally at public bathrooms, there won’t be toilet paper in the stall, there will be a dispenser at the entrance to the bathroom that you have to take toilet paper from and into the stall with you. We only saw this a few times, but it does happen, so be aware.

Is Bogota Expensive?

No, I felt like Bogota was very inexpensive and reasonably priced in Colombia.

Taxis were around $2-4 around town, and only $5-7 to get to/from the airport. Restaurant meals were between $10-15 total for two people, and our hotel cost about $34/night. Entrance fees were extremely low (some museums were free, others only cost $1-2).

Overall, we enjoyed all the things to do in Bogota without spending very much money.

Read More: Our Colombia Travel Budget: What Does a Trip to Colombia Cost?

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

Securing some travel insurance is an important part of prepping for any international trip – you never know when something might happen, and your regular insurance generally won’t cover you overseas. Costs for a medical emergency on vacation can add up extremely fast, so it’s just better to be safe than sorry. (If covid has taught me anything, it’s that you never know what could happen!)  

I like booking insurance at Insure My Trip, as they offer a variety of plans with different coverages to choose from, so you can find the right option for you. Plus, they have great customer support if you need help before, during, or after your trip.

👉Check rates at Insure My Trip here!👈

Final Thoughts on Spending 3 Days in Bogota

As you can see, there are so many fun and beautiful spots in Bogota – I hope you love your 3 days in the city as much as we did!

Check Out My Other Colombia Articles Here:

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