Are you planning a trip to Bogota? Let’s figure out where to stay in Bogotá for your trip!
There are several things to consider when deciding where to stay in Bogota – are you coming to see the sites of Bogota or to party and hit the bars? Do you want to be in walking distance to attractions or do you prefer to transit in? What about safety – is Bogota safe? Do you prefer budget accommodations or have more money to spend?
All of these are considerations to take note of, and that we’ll cover in the following sections.
While there can be many nice neighborhoods to stay in Bogota , here I’m highlighting just the top 4 that I think you should consider. In each section, I’ll highlight what there is to do in that neighborhood and the pros/cons of staying, plus what kind of traveler that neighborhood is good for.
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Where to Stay in Bogota – 4 Best Areas
As the capital city of Colombia, Bogotá has a rich history, interesting architecture, great museums, and fascinating sites all around the city. It’s absolutely a city worth visiting. Here are four best neighborhoods in Bogota to consider staying in.
1. La Candelaria
La Candelaria is the historic section of the city, and is where the vast majority of the tourist sites of Bogotá are located. Here, you’ll find the Plaza de Bolivar, the Primatial Cathedral of Bogota, many of the big museums (such as the Gold Museum, Emerald Museum, Botero Museum, and Santa Clara Museum).
In La Candelaria, you can enjoy interesting and unique churches, like the Sanctuario Nuestro Senora del Carmen, affectionately referred to as the “candy cane church,” thanks to its alternating layers of red and white bricks.
You can walk through the Plazoleta Chorro de Quevedo and the adjoining Callejón del Embudo. These hangout spots have an trendy, yet somewhat alternative vibe, a lot of restaurants and bars nearby, and are a popular hangout place in the evenings.
You have to visit Monserrate when in Bogotá. This stark white church sits at the top of a tall mountain on the edge of Bogotá , and you can take a cable car to the top for amazing views and sunsets.
For a local experience, visit the Paloqueamo Fruit Market, an massive fruit market in a covered warehouse where you can buy all sorts of unique and delicious tropical fruits.
- Pros: You’ll be within walking distance to 90% of the sites in Bogotá when you stay in Candelaria. Colonial architecture dominates the landscape. Accommodations are very affordable in this area.
- Cons: This is definitely the most touristy area of the city. People say that this area is more unsafe, but we actually felt very safe here – just exercise caution, and be aware and more careful at night.
- Best For: This is the best area in Bogota to stay for people who like to be within walking distance of most attractions, first time visitors, and people on a budget.
Best Hotels in La Candelaria
Where to Stay in La Candelaria – Best Vacation Rentals
($) Fresh Loft in Candelaria: This loft apartment is clean, modern, and updated, with a balcony and great views.
($) Downtown Candelaria Suite: Situated in an old colonial building with a nice interior, this apartment has a terrace with views to the mountains, and is close to everything.
($$) Central Candelaria Apartment: Comfortable and cozy, with a really nicely decorated interior, this apartment is right in the middle of everything in La Candelaria.
2. Chapinero Central
Chapinero Central/Chapinero Alto is a subsection of the Chapinero neighborhood that is the most gay-friendly area in Bogotá. A large part of the gay population lives in this area, which is sometimes referred to as Chapigay.
This area is more upscale and trendy than La Candelaria and there are neighborhoods that almost resemble countryhouses of England. There are also areas that are more bohemian, with little cafes and university students abounding.
The Parque de Simon Bolivar and the Bogotá Botanical Gardens are nearby in Chapinero. The Parque de Simon Bolivar is the largest urban park in the world, with a range of large, wide walking paths, tons of grassy areas for people to spread out and play, park benches, a lake with boat rentals, a sandy beach area, entertainers, a stage area, vendors selling food, and more.
You can also see a show at the Teatro Libre in Chapinero. You can see a futbol game at El Champin stadium – if you’ve never experienced South American futbol (soccer), you are in for a treat!
The Theatron, located in Chapinero, is one of the biggest gay nightclubs in the world, and the sprawling Andres Carne de Res restaurant/salsa bar is popular for being a good time.
Finally, Basílica Menor Nuestra Señora de Lourdes is a beautiful and impressively built Catholic gothic basilica in Chapinero.
- Pros: Very gay friendly, with many gay establishments. The vibe is nice, and it’s a good area for families. It’s a good place to stay as a mid-point between the sites in Candelaria and the nightlife in Zona Rosa.
- Cons: Farther from the attractions in Candelaria
- This is the best area to stay in Bogota for: LGBTQ+ travelers, families, or anyone wanting a less touristy vibe
Best Hotels in Chapinero Alto/Central
Best Vacation Rentals in Chapinero
($) Great Chapinero Alto Apartment: Cozy and comfortable, with space for a family, this apartment has a great location – close to many interesting areas.
($) Trendy and Modern Loft: This loft is trendy, with brick walls, floor to ceiling windows, and a small balcony.
($$$) New, Spacious Apartment: This apartment has two bedrooms and a lot of space to spread out. It’s updated, modern, and close to a lot of amenities – perfect for a family.
>>Still looking? Browse all Chapinero vacation rentals here
3. Zona Rosa
Again north of Candelaria, Zona Rosa is actually part of the greater Chapinero neighborhood, and is also sometimes referred to as “Zona T.” However, locals usually differentiate these two areas, so we will too.
Zona Rosa is generally considered one of the nicer, more upscale places to stay in Bogota. There are large, wide streets, with modern buildings, and tons of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
There are less traditional tourist sites and attractions, but people usually come to the area or stay in the area for the high quality of the nightlife, the food scene, and the safety of the area.
Parque de la 93 is very popular with residents and tourists, as a nice place for walking, relaxing, and enjoying the views.
Zona G is nearby – the G stands for Gourmet, as this smaller, residential neighborhood is filled with high quality restaurants.
- Pros: Excellent nightlife scene, very safe, a nice neighborhood
- Cons: Can be loud, busy at night, is farther away from many of the main sites in Bogotá. This area tends to have the most expensive hotels.
- This is One of the Best Areas to Stay in Bogota For: Foodies, partyers, or anyone who wants to stay away from the most touristy areas of the city. This area is also good for families if you stay closer to Parque de la 93.
Recommended Hotels in Zona Rosa:
Recommended Vacation Rentals in Bogota Near Zona Rosa
($) Neat 1 BR Apartment: This cozy little loft is perfect for a couple, has updated amenities, and a cute little private terrace.
($$) Large and Bright Apartment: Light, bright, and airy, this apartment has a lot of space and windows, and a very large personal terrace.
($$$) Perfect for Families Apartment: This apartment has a lot of space, several bedrooms, and is great for big families.
>> Still looking? Browse all vacation rentals in Zona Rosa here!
Usaquén is an neighborhood on the north side of Bogotá . Usaquén used to be its own separate village, but was eventually swallowed up in Bogotá. The neighoorhood has retained it’s bohemian village feel, with its colonial center, the restaurant scene, and boutique shops.
The Sunday morning flea market is a can’t miss attraction, with lots of interesting second hand treasures, plus locally made food and craft items. You can visit the main square, Parque de Usaquén, and the lovely Santa Barbara De Usaquén church, which is on one edge of the sqaure.
Hacienda Santa Barbara is a historic estate converted into a charming shopping mall, with original architecture and cobbled stones still intact.
- Pros: This is one of the nicest areas to stay in Bogotá , and has a great village feel. There are less tourists and a more residential feel here. It’s also very safe.
- Cons: This is the farthest neighborhood from the center of Bogotá . You’ll spend more time in transit from here to La Candelaria.
- This is the Best Neighborhood in Bogota For: People wanting a smaller village feel (although the most historic part of Usaquén is surrounded by a lot of modern buildings) and out of the main touristy spots. Also good for families.
Best Hotels to Stay in Usaquén:
Top Bogota Vacation Rental Picks in Usaquén:
($) Lux Apartment Near Park: This charming apartment is in a great location, so close to Usaquén park.
($$) Colonial Apartment in Usaquén: There are a lot of beautiful features to this apartment, which is still in the colonical Usaquén zone and is great for families.
($$$) Smart Loft with Terrace: This incredibly comfortable and upscale apartment is just outside of the old colonial section of Usaquén , but still centrally located to a lot of sites in the area.
>> Still looking? Browse all Usaquén vacation rentals here!
What is My Top Area I’d Recommend for Where to Stay in Bogotá ?
Without a doubt, I would recommend staying in La Candelaria when you visit Bogotá . I know a lot of people like to stay in the trendier neighborhoods in the north, but I really liked being immersed in the old world, colonial architecture and experience that you can only really get in La Candelaria.
Plus, I love being able to walk everywhere!
While you should always be on your guard, La Candelaria did not feel particularly unsafe to us.
However, I know that that choice may not work for every traveler! Here is a breakdown of the best neighborhoods in Bogota, depending on your needs and wants:
- Where to Stay in Bogotá for First Time Visitors: La Candelaria, Chapinero
- Where to Stay in Bogotá for LGBTQ: Chapinero
- Where to Stay in Bogotá on a Budget: La Candelaria
- Where to Stay in Bogotá for Best Nightlife: Zona Rosa, Chapinero
- Where to Stay in Bogotá for Best Restaurants: Zona Rosa
- Where to Stay in Bogotá for Families: Usaquén
- Where to Stay in Bogotá Away From Other Tourists: Usaquén
- Where to Stay in Bogotá For Prettiest Neighborhoods: La Candelaria, Chapinero
- Where to Stay in Bogotá for Most Cultural Sites: La Candelaria
- Safest Spot to Stay in Bogotá : Zona Rosa, Usaquén
A Few More General Tips for Visiting Bogotá
➡️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. We only speak a few words of Spanish, and we got along okay by relying heavily on Google Translate.
The Google Translate app was an incredibly helpful tool in Colombia – 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.
➡️PLUMBING: Do not flush your toilet paper in Colombia – the plumbing pipes are old and not set up to handle TP in the system. Just toss your toilet paper in the bin next to the toilet.
How Many Days Do You Need in Bogotá ?
I think anywhere from 3-5 days is a great amount of time to see the city. With 3 days, you can explore Candelaria, do a day trip to Zipaquira, and/or hit up one of the northern neighborhoods. With 4 or 5 days, you have time to really explore all the neighborhoods and areas discussed in this list.
Is Bogotá Expensive?
No, I felt like Bogotá 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, as you can see from the list of hotels in this post, you can easily find hotels between $30-60 per night. Entrance fees were extremely low (some museums were free, others only cost $1-2).
Overall, we enjoyed all the things to do in Bogotá without spending very much money.
Is Bogotá Safe?
A big question people have before visiting Bogotá (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 or the neighborhoods listed in this post during your days in Bogotá . Some neighborhoods in Bogotá can be dangerous. In particular, the neighborhoods south of La Candelaria are places to definitely avoid.
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.
Getting Around Bogotá During your 3 Days
➡️Public Transportation: For public transportation, Bogotá has a bus system, but not a metro system. There are actually two somewhat separate bus systems.
One is more extensive, but has random times, complicated routes, and was very hard to navigate and to find information for.
The second one – the TransMilenio system – is a little bit more straight forward. This bus network is more limited in its routes, but they are faster, more regular, and you can find information more readily. If you end up staying in Chapinero, Zona Rosa, or Usaquen, the A line brings you down to La Candelaria quite well – check out the bus map here.
One fare on the bus system costs 2650 COP (about 60 cents). Learn more about how to use the TransMilenio system here.
➡️Taxis: Note that the meters in taxis are a little different in Bogotá . 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 Bogotá 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 8000-30,000 COP. We paid 20k pesos and 28k pesos for rides between the airport and Candelaria.
➡️Ride-Sharing Apps: You can use Uber in Bogotá , 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.
Bogotá 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, you will likely have overcast weather during your stay in Bogotá. June, July, and August see the most clear skies.
Rain: You will also see rain frequently in Bogotá. 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 Bogotá.
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!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Bogotá!
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.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Bogotá
There are a lot of great places to stay in Bogota in the La Candelaria, Chapinero, Zona Rosa, or Usaquén neighborhoods! Have a great trip!
Check Out My Other Colombia Articles:
- 14 Best Things to Do in Salento (A Travel Guide)
- How to Get from Pereira to Salento
- Where to Stay in Salento (3 Best Areas + Hotels)
- A Detailed Guide To the Cocora Valley Hike in Colombia in 2023
- How to Spend a Perfect 3 Days in Cartagena
- 34 Traditional Colombian Foods to Eat in Colombia