Bogota is one of the largest cities in South America. There are about 9 million people – both Colombians and foreigners- living in Bogota.

It’s a city that attracts people from all over Colombia and all over the world. It’s a city full of opportunities and leisure activities.

Bogota is known for being a modern, cosmopolitan and multicultural city. People who are passionate about Colombian culture, about food and about music fall in love with Bogota easily.

Why?

Because in Bogota you can find anything!

Yes, in Bogota you can find all kinds of food, from street food to high-end restaurants. You can also find all kinds of music, from traditional Colombian rhythms to world-class festivals.

What is most interesting is that, even though some people call Bogota “ the concrete jungle” due to its size and population, it is a city with a green soul.

Bogota is located in the middle of the Andes mountain range. It is a city full of parks and it is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range in the background (Cerros Orientales).

In Bogota, you can enjoy activities such as mountain biking, hiking and climbing.

The views are outstanding!

Also, within the city, you can go horseback riding, you can go cycling, or you can go running to one of the city parks.

If, on the contrary, you are not a very sportive person but you enjoy being outdoors, there are plenty of flea markets to visit.

We know that keeping up with the fast pace of life in a city can be exhausting. That is why it’s important to find a work-life balance.

Believe it or not, in Bogota you can find it. You just need to be very efficient with your time and get up early to avoid the rush hour.

Thus, we have prepared this article about the best outdoor activities in Bogota.

It will help you to plan your getaways during the time you will be studying Spanish with us.

Keep in mind that these activities will get you closer to locals and will help you make new friends.

Cycling & Mountain Biking

If you like bikes then Bogota is the perfect city for you.

Why?

First of all, because Bogota has “Ciclovía!”

“Ciclovía” is either a permanent bike path or the closing of certain streets to automobiles for cyclists and pedestrians.

More than 120 kilometers of roads are turned into a cycle lane from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday and holidays.

All kinds of transportation are welcome —bicycles, roller skates, scooters, wheelchairs, skateboards— as long as they are not motor-driven.

Second of all, because Bogota’s surroundings are filled with cycle-friendly roads for mountain biking, little restaurants, shops and many outdoor activities.

Perfect for spending a day closer to nature.

Cycling and mountain biking are some of the most favorite activities for Bogotanos. Mostly after the success of Colombian cyclists in the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and La Vuelta de España.

Some well-known destinations are Alto de Patios (6 km, 380 m climb) and Alto de Verjón (11 km, 900 m climb).

These activities are not only good for getting away from city life and the traffic.

They are good for your health!

Remember that Bogota is a city located at 2,600 meters above sea level. And, high altitude requires a high level of cardio.

If you are into mountain biking check Wikiloc out. This website shows the peaks, the difficulty level and the distance of the main routes.

Or, if you are just visiting Bogota and feel like exploring the city and its iconic street art. Join one of the Bike & Graffiti Tours

Hiking

Bogota offers beautiful hiking routes within the city.

Who would have thought that?

Yes, that’s another advantage of being located at 2,600 AMSL and surrounded by a 14,000 square-kilometer forest reserve (Los Cerros Orientales).

There are three main walks which total 14 kilometers.

These may not seem very long, but remember they climb from 2,600 meters up to 3,200 meters at their highest point.

We warn you that the hike might get tough but the views are the reward!

For Hiking in Bogota, you can go to:

  • Monserrate
  • Quebrada la Vieja
  • Quebrada las Delicias

For a day-trip outside the city you can visit one of the National Parks nearby:

  • Páramo de Sumapaz
  • Parque Natural Chicaque
  • Parque Natural Chingaza

Climbing

Although Bogota itself doesn’t have outdoor spots for rock climbing, there are well equipped indoor climbing gyms.

In these centers, you can train your climbing skills while meeting new people and practicing Spanish.

And, whenever you want to go rock climbing outdoors you can go to any of the following places near Bogota:

Suesca

The most popular rock climbing spot in Colombia. It’s a small village located 1.5 hr North from Bogota. You can go by car or by public transport.

Suesca is known as “Colombia’s rock climbing Mecca.”

It has over 400 different climbing routes, which are good for beginners and experienced climbers.

It has over 70 years of climbing history!

Macheta

Macheta is for really experienced rock climbers.

It’s located only two hours from Bogota and it’s a beautiful little town to stay. You can enjoy time with locals and if you are not climbing you can enjoy the views of the mountains and the climbers.

Zipa

It’s the closest climbing spot to Bogotá. It’s located only 30 min from Bogota.

Zipa has over 80 available routes, primarily for sport climbing and crack climbing.

Horseback Riding

For those who love horseback riding, Bogota is also a perfect city.

You will be amazed by the panoramic views of the East Hills (Cerros Orientales) while horseback riding a Colombian Creole horse.

The landscapes are full of fauna, flora, rivers and small lakes.

You can also stop in the little villages, enjoy the local food and speak with locals.

If you want to try horseback riding in Bogota, check out the Tripadvisor’s suggestions.

Jogging & Running

If you are more into jogging and running you will also have plenty of options.

You can either run at any of the city parks or join any of the races organized in the city.

And, of course, you can do it at the iconic “Ciclovía” on the weekends.

Some of the most beautiful and popular parks for running are:

  • Parque Simon Bolivar
  • Parque los novios
  • Parque El Virrey

The most famous city races are:

  • Night Race 10K
  • Carrera Por los Héroes 10K
  • Nat Geo Run 10K
  • Carrera Atlética Allianz 15K
  • Media Maratón de Bogotá 21K, 10K
  • Carrera por la paz 10K, 5K
  • UNICEF 10K
  • Asics Golden Run 21K
  • Carrera Ascenso Torre Colpatria 48 Pisos
  • Carrera de la mujer 10

Flea Markets

If, on the contrary, you love being outdoors but you are not into any of these sports you can visit any of the city flea markets.

It’s a perfect plan for the Capital’s sunny weekends.

You can find a wide variety of street food, local artists and handicrafts.

The most popular Bogota’s flea markets are:

  • Mercado de las Pulgas Usaquen
  • Mercado de las Pulgas de San Alejo
  • Pasaje Rivas

As many people would say, the only thing that Bogota doesn’t have is the ocean. But apart from that, in Bogota, you will find everything!

If you are still thinking about where to go to learn Spanish after the global pandemic is over, stop thinking and join our school in Bogota.

In the meantime, join our online classes and follow our weekly blog here.

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

Colombia increasingly appears in the world travelers’ lists of countries to visit. People dream about Caribbean beaches, Andes mountains ranges and small colonial towns. But its capital, Bogota, often remains behind the scenes.

When people travel they tend to avoid big and crowded cities, which is totally understandable. However, exploring and living in big cities is also fun and very interesting.

Bogota for instance is a city full of surprises. It is described by The New York Times as a “Beautiful, complicated city; an essential place to visit to understand the country”. If you want to understand Colombia, you should spend some time in Bogota, you will be greatly surprised by its authenticity.

You will fall in love with Bogota in a heartbeat. And here is why:

5 reasons to love Bogota:

1. Bogota is the best Colombian city for Art, Music & Culture

Theater

Bogota hosts the world’s biggest theater festival, Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro.

The Festival is enormous and has earned Bogota the nickname ‘World Capital of Theater’ within the industry.

There are more than 800 national and international performances across more than 100 venues and spaces.

Fashion, art and design

Bogota is a hub for fashion, art and design. The city’s cultural calendar is filled all year round with festivals, events, parades, exhibitions, concerts and cultural sites.

You can enjoy some of the best Latin American music festivals such as Estereo Picnic and Rock al Parque; world-class art exhibitions such as ARTBO; and local design fairs such as Buró.

Music

Colombia is well known worldwide for its Music. But when we talk about music we don’t just talk about Salsa, we talk about Vallenato, Cumbia, Champeta, Currulao, Bambuco, and many other music genres.

Every region of Colombia has its own rhythm. You can spend months traveling around the country to learn about these rhythms, or you can spend some time in Bogota.

In Bogota, you will find all kinds of music from Colombia and the best world music.

Museums

There are many nice museums around the world but Bogota has The Gold Museum. It is unique, it contains the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world.

It displays a large collection of pieces that testify the life and thought of the different societies which lived in Colombia before the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

Street Art

Bogota has been a mecca for street artists since graffiti was decriminalized in 2011. The city is known worldwide for its street art.

The city showcases some of the best work from local and international artists.

There is even a District dedicated to street art, “Distrito Graffiti”, in the Puente Aranda neighborhood. It’s an industrial area that has turned into Bogotá’s own Wynwood.

Books

If you love books, then this is another reason to love Bogota.

The city has one of the highest concentrations of libraries in Latin America. That’s why it’s known as “The Athens of South America”.

Also, every year Bogota hosts the International Book Fair (FILBO), one of the most important cultural events of Colombia.

Flea Markets

How would Bogota be on Sundays and National holidays without the Usaquen flea market?

The “mercado de las pulgas de Usaquen“, as we call it in Colombian Spanish, is located in the charming area of Usaquen. You can find all kinds of food, handicrafts, and street performances.

Emeralds

Bogotá has its own emeralds district. It is located in the heart of the city, on Jimenez Avenue between 6th and 7th street.

Colombia provides more than 90% of the global demand for high-quality emeralds. All emeralds come from the mines straight here to make their debut in the emerald market.

2. Bogota is the best city for foodies, coffee lovers and beer lovers

Bogota offers hundreds of mouthwatering culinary, coffee and beer experiences.

Culinary experiences

From high-end local and international restaurants in the Zona G, Zona T, Usaquén and Parque de la 93, to traditional markets such as Paloquemao and La Perseverancia.

Street Food

Lots of street food!

You will find Ensalada de frutas, salpicón, obleas, pinchos, mazorca, mango biche, churros, empanadas, arepas and many others.

Avocados

Who doesn’t love avocados?

Avocados in Colombia are big and cheap. In Bogota, you will find men and women selling avocados all around the city.

They are walking around with their wood trolley, or just parked in different corners of the city.

In Bogota, you will always find avocados nearby!

Coffee

And, how about coffee?

Colombia is also known worldwide for its delicious and high-quality coffee. Colombia has several coffee origins, each of them with specific characteristics.

Bogota, the country’s capital city, is the place you can find all kinds of coffee. Bogotanos love meeting up for coffee, there are so many nice and trendy cafés around the city

Beer

Although Bogota is not the most renowned city worldwide with regards to beer, there are very cool independent breweries. The most popular is Bogota Beer Company (BBC).

There are BBC pubs all around the city, you should definitely visit them. It’s a place where locals normally hang out. So, it’s the perfect place to meet new friends and to practice your Spanish.

3. Bogota is full of parks, nature and outdoors activities

Yes, one of the things everyone loves about Bogota is the number of outdoor activities you can do within the city and in its surrounding areas.

Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park

Bogota’s metropolitan park, Simon Bolivar, is located just in the heart of the city.s slightly larger than New York’s Central Park and it’s a perfect place to go if you love to exercise.

It has a huge lake surrounded by grass and trees. On the weekends if full of people enjoying the time with family and friends.

Also, it is one of the main locations for festivals and concerts.

Los Cerros Orientales

Bogota’s mountains are stunning! They are not only a beautiful background but they are also excellent for orientation.

It’s important you always look at the mountains, or “cerros orientales”, to have a good sense of orientation in the city.

Check also our post: Bogota: A guide for getting around in the city.

Palm Trees

Have you ever thought that it’s possible to find palm trees in a city located in the middle of the Andes, where the altitude is 2,600m?

Well, it’s possible. That city is Bogota!

When you are walking around Calle 57, you will find beautiful palm trees along the streets with the beautiful Andes in the background.

These are things that amaze people when visiting and walking around Bogota. There is always something that will surprise you.

Hiking & Climbing

A city located in the middle of the Andes also offers amazing hikes for its residents and tourists.

If you like hiking, there are plenty of options.

You can go to La Chorrera, to Quebrada La vieja, or to the Sumapaz Paramo.

If you like hiking and climbing then you can visit Suesca. It’s a little town located just 1.5 hr from Bogota.

Ciclovía

Bogota is also known for its iconic “ciclovia” or bikeway. Ciclovia is either a permanent bike path or the closing of certain streets to automobiles for cyclists and pedestrians.

More than 120 kilometers of roads are turned into a cycle lane from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday and holidays.

All kinds of transportation are welcome —bicycles, roller skates, scooters, wheelchairs, skateboards— as long as they are not motor-driven.

4. Bogota has a unique architecture style

At first, Bogota’s architecture style might not be easy to define. But if you look closely, Bogota is a city of unique architecture among Latin American countries.

Bogota is known for its red brick buildings designed by architects who mingled their modernism with the colonial beauty.

One of the most influential architects is Rogelio Salmona. He gave an identity to the city. His use of red bricks and water as a connecting element revolutionized the aesthetics of the city.

Salmona’s work includes Torres del Parque, The Cultural Centre Gabriel García Márquez and the Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá.

What is even more interesting is that Bogota’s architecture has also English, Italian, French and Spanish influences.

You can walk around beautiful and preserved colonial districts like the Candelaria and Usaquen Districts. Or, walking around districts like Teusaquillo that resembles England’s rural architecture.

Bogota offers a photogenic fusion of past and present.

5. Bogota is the best place to learn Spanish

It might sound like a cliché but Colombian Spanish is considered one of the best Spanish in the world.

Although it’s impossible -also it isn’t fair- to affirm that there is one “best” Spanish language. It’s true that Colombian Spanish is one of the Spanish learners’ favorites.

Let’s start by clarifying that there is no such thing as a standard “Colombian Spanish”.

Like in any other language, there are many dialects within the country. However, for a matter of practicality, when people say “Colombian Spanish” they normally refer to the dialect spoken in Bogotá. Bogota’s dialect is known for being more polite, neutral and clear.

Why is Bogota the best place to learn Spanish?

  • In Bogota people speak slow and paused, which makes it easy to understand for new learners.
  • People pronounce almost all vowels and consonants in every word. That is why people say it is one of the “clearest”.
  • People tend to use traditional Spanish words whenever possible. Although there is not a problem borrowing words for new concepts. That is why people say it’s one of the “cleanest”
  • People find the accent itself very attractive. It has a slightly singing-tone that even native Spanish speakers from other countries love.

Bogota really does have it all. It’s a city that at first might not attract you because of its size, but it is a city that will surprise you every single day.

Come visit and learn Spanish with us!

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

Bogota is a city that stands out in Latin America due to the amount of free or affordable cultural spaces and activities.

There are a million things to do in Bogota. All year round you can enjoy cultural activities, concerts and city tours. You can also enjoy the great variety of national and international cuisine, bars and cafés.

Spanish language students might spend their first days exploring Bogota’s “Must see” attractions. Which include the Gold Museum, Monserrate, Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park, Usaquen Flea Market and Bolivar main square. They might also join a city’s graffiti tour, a salsa class or a night out in the popular Andres Carne de Res.

If you have done that already, great! Now you are ready to explore Bogota on a deeper level.

Bogota has so much more to offer. We guarantee you won’t be bored during your stay.

That’s why we have prepared this list of 12 unique things to do in Bogota while you are learning Spanish!

1. Visit The Botanical Garden of Bogota

Visit The Botanical Garden of Bogota

The Botanical Garden of Bogotá opened in 1955. It is home to almost 20,000 plants. It serves both as a recreation and research center with an emphasis on Andean and Páramo ecosystems.

It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the city.

We know Bogota could get chaotic sometimes. So, if you feel like having a break from your Spanish classes to have a walk and grasp some fresh air and tranquility, then The Botanical Garden is a place you should visit.

2. Travel back in time by Bogota’s Tranvía (Tram)

Travel back in time by Bogota’s Tranvía (Tram)

The tranvía, or Tram in English, is a cultural service that takes part in Bogota’s historic center.

This service seeks to immerse the visitors in a unique experience, in a journey through time. With the support of professional actors and audiovisual material, visitors have the opportunity to live the ancient Bogota.

3. Enjoy a panoramic view from Top of Colpatria Tower

Enjoy a panoramic view from Top of Colpatria Tower

If you have enjoyed the view from the top of Monserrate, then you will love the view from the Colpatria tower.

The building was finished in 1979. It is located in the International Center of Bogota.

The Colpatria Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Bogotá; it has 49 floors and a height of 561 feet (171 m). It is the second tallest building in Bogota and the third highest in Colombia. It offers a panoramic 360-degree view of the city.

The building has a LED light system that allows the projection of images on all four sides of the facade.

Interesting fact: An ascent race is held in the Colpatria Tower that is part of the Towerrunning World Cup world circuit of the 160 tallest buildings in the world. From 2012 it entered the Master Races group among the 18 best ascent races in the world.

Official Website: http://bogotaturismo.gov.co/mirador-de-la-torre-colpatria
Entrance Fee: $7.000 COP (1.8 USD)

4. Walk, enjoy street art and gamble on guinea pigs races at Carrera Séptima (7th Street)

The Seventh Street, or Carrera Septima in Spanish, is one of the principal streets which communicates the eastern side of the city north and south.

It is the most important thoroughfare of the city in the sense of history, culture, economy, and society.

It was built during Colonial times based on an old indigenous route that linked salt mining towns of Nemocón and Usaquén.

During the 1960s, it was common to walk and gather on this street. People started performing entertainment activities, selling street food, and offering a wide selection of curiosities.

Thus, it became a tradition to walk along Carrera Séptima as entertainment and as a place for buying handcrafts, food, art, and clothing. This activity was -as it is still- named “Septimazo”.

Check out the following video. You will have a glimpse of what a “Septimazo” looks like.

One of the things that tourists find more interesting and fun is the guinea pigs gambling races.

What? Do people gamble on guinea pigs races?

Yes! Welcome to Colombia.

Colombians never stop creating new ideas for earning money. They always use their creativity to find ways to make a little cash “para sobrevivir” (literally translated as “survive”)

Check out how a guinea pigs race looks like:

Entrance Fee: No entrance fee

5. Go on a Ghost Tour

Go on a Ghost Tour La Candelaria, Bogota

This is a unique tour, isn’t it?

It takes place in La Candelaria district. Bogota’s historic center is the perfect place to hear ghost stories and to learn colonial stories and interesting facts about the capital’s heritage.

It’s a journey from the times of Spanish conquest to the modern-day including the Bogotazo and the siege of the Palace of Justice.

Fear not! You will be accompanied by a group of locals and tourists. It’s a great opportunity to improve your Spanish listening skills!

Tickets available: here
Entrance fee: $35.000 (10 USD)

6. Try a Coffee Cupping

Try a Coffee Cupping in Bogota

We all know that Colombian coffee is renowned the world over for its quality and delicious taste, don’t we?

But, why is it considered one of the world’s best coffees?

Well, coffee is such an art. We could write a full article just on the characteristics of our beloved Colombian coffee.

But for now, we can tell you the three principal factors which determine the quality of our coffee:

Geography and climate

Colombia has the perfect geography for growing coffee. The richness of flavor is mainly due to the excellent climate, fertile soil and the exact right amount of rainfall.

The growing and harvesting process

Having good growing and collection methods are as important as having a perfect climate and fertile soil.

The best coffee is grown on steep slopes, surrounded by banana plants. They provide the needed shade and prevent the beans from being scorched in the sun.

With regards to harvesting, every bean is picked by hand. Yes, by hand! which makes only the best coffee beans make it to your cup.

The type of coffee

There are two different types of coffee bean: arabica and robusta. Colombia is one of the only countries that produce 100% arabica beans.

Arabica is considered to be the superior bean. It has a sweeter and lighter taste, and it contains less caffeine.

For Colombians coffee is not just coffee, coffee is part of the culture.

If you want to try some of the country’s best coffees you should definitely join a coffee cupping (or coffee tasting).

There are many nice cafes around the city where you can do it. Some of them are: Café Cultor, Kiri Café, Catación Pública or Amor Perfecto

You will have the opportunity to try different origins and to learn how to recognize its notes, aromas and flavors.

7. Go on a Food Tour

Go on a Food Tour in Bogota

Bogota is known as the gastronomic capital. It offers the opportunity to enjoy the flavors of Colombian, international and fusion cuisine. It’s not a surprise then that Bogota is one of Latin America’s major emerging culinary hotspots.

It’s a city that makes foodies fall in love. In Bogota, you can find from street food stalls to high-end restaurants.

That’s why Netflix has included the city in the new series “Street Food Latin America”.

If you are a local market lover, you should include a visit to the city’s most important “Plazas de Mercado”. You will be amazed by the variety of fruits and vegetables that we have in Colombia.

But, if you are one of those that prefer joining an organized tour, Bogota offers different gastronomic tours on a daily basis.

You can find some of the city’s most popular food tours like Bogota gastronomic wonders tour or La Macarena gourmet tour in Bogota.

8. Visit the Virgilio Barco Public Library

Visit the Virgilio Barco Public Library in Bogota

The Virgilio Barco public library was Inaugurated in 2001 as part of Bogota’s Capital Network of Public Libraries.

It is one of the most notorious works of architect Rogelio Salmona. He is considered the best Colombian architect of the 20th century and one of the most prominent in Latin America. He is known for his brick architecture and the conscious use of water.

This library is an important social and cultural development center. It is a peaceful area surrounded by parks and leisure complexes.

You can visit the buildings and open areas any day of the week.

Website: https://www.biblored.gov.co/bibliotecas/biblioteca-virgilio
Entrance Fee: Free of charge

9. Visit the National Observatory of Colombia

Visit the National Observatory of Colombia

The “OAN” (National Astronomical Observatory of Colombia) was founded in 1803. It was the first outer space observatory in the Western Hemisphere. It was also Colombia’s tallest building until the construction of the Primatial Cathedral of Bogotá in 1823.

Today, the OAN is still in operation. It is currently managed by the Faculty of Science of the National University of Colombia.

It marks the zero point of the longitude and latitude of Bogotá and Colombia. It is located at an intersection of two eights (the avenue and the street).

Visits to the historical buildings are only scheduled for Tuesdays and Friday. You should make an appointment in advance.

Website: http://ciencias.bogota.unal.edu.co/departamentos/observatorio-astronomico-nacional/el-observatorio/
Entrance fee: $4.500 COP (1.2 USD)

10. L’ Aldea Nicho Cultural

L’ Aldea Nicho Cultural is a multifunctional space that promotes human and social development through art, music and food.

As it is mentioned on their website

“We are not a bar, nor a restaurant, nor a concert hall; neither are we a house, nor a theater, nor a workshop; We are La Aldea Nicho Cultural. Here you will find delicious food, variety in concerts, diversity in the theater. You will feel at home, you will have our workshops and you will find a great track to land your dreams.”

Tune your ears and watch the following video about L ‘Aldea:

Website: https://laaldeanichocultural.wordpress.com
Entrance Fee: Depends on the event. Normally is free of charge

11. Make a BBQ at “Parque de los Novios”

Parque El Lago (Lake Park), is also known as Parque de los Novios (boyfriends-girlfriends park). It is located on Avenida Calle 63 with Carrera 45 and it is accessible through the Transmilenio system.

It is part of the Simon Bolivar Metropolitan complex and has an area of over ​​23 hectares.

The park hosts several small festivals and events throughout the year. It has 19 kiosks for barbecue and picnic activities. It also offers boat and kayak rentals.

Website: https://www.idrd.gov.co/parque-lago-parque-los-novios
Entrance Fee: Free of charge

12. Visit the National University of Colombia

Visit the National University of Colombia in Bogota

The National University of Colombia or Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL) is the most renowned public higher education institution in Colombia.

UNAL is among the top 3 universities in Colombia. It is famous for its education quality in the following disciplines: Arts and Humanities, Engineering and Technology, Social Sciences and Management.

It was founded in 1867. It was one of the first universities in Latin America to adopt the “Campus” concept.

Its campus is located in the heart of Bogota, it is easily accessible through the Transmilenio system.

The university represents an urban, architectural, historical and cultural heritage of the city and the nation. 17 of its campus buildings throughout the country are listed as national monuments.

For instance, the Engineering School Rother and Violi) makes evident the influence of Bauhaus movement. Today´s Architecture Museum (Rother, 1948) was originally designed for the University´s printing house. And, Sociology School and Human Sciences Graduated Building was designed by the famous architect Rogelio Salmona in 1999.

UNAL is also home to the León de Greiff Auditorium, which is also considered a National Monument and it is home to the Bogota Philharmonic.

The National University of Colombia is a university for everyone and has a wide range of offers, courses, activities and services for all audiences. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit its campus.

Website: http://bogota.unal.edu.co
Entrance Fee: Free of charge

At Learn More Than Spanish, we really do believe it is important that you also learn about the culture while improving your Spanish.

As a student, you will have access to our year-round calendar of activities and events planned by our staff including a Grafitti, Quinta de Bolivar and Coffee Tasting Tours.

Know of any other tours and activities to do in Bogota while learning Spanish? Let us know your favorites in the comments!

Choosing the best accommodation in Bogota is as important as choosing the best Spanish school. It will impact positively – or negatively- your learning Spanish experience.

Thus, finding the right accommodation is one of the things you should definitely invest some time in. It doesn’t matter if you are staying in Bogota for a week, for a month, or for a year.

For Bogota’s first time visitors, it might be difficult choosing the best place to stay. A giant and cosmopolitan city as Bogota has all kinds of accommodations.

You will have plenty of options, from budget-friendly hostels to fancy modern apartments.

So, finding your ideal accommodation wouldn’t be a problem.

But, how to start?

Since you might not be familiar with the dynamics of the city and the different districts we have prepared this guide for you.

We will be looking at three aspects:

  1. Factors to take into account when choosing accommodation in Bogota
  2. Areas or Districts
  3. Types accommodations

Are you ready?

¡Empecemos! (Let ‘s start!)

1. Important factors to take into account when choosing accommodation in Bogota

Budget

Of course, this is the first aspect we should look at.

For Latinamerican standards, Bogota is a moderately expensive city to live in. At the moment, our currency is very weak, which makes Bogota an affordable city compared to any North American or European cities.

But like any other capital city, you can find outstanding but expensive options. So, first, look at your budget and the length of your stay. Then you can decide what kind of accommodation suits you better.

To give you a quick idea, the average monthly cost for a single person living in Bogota is about $500 – $800 USD per month, excluding the Spanish program fees.

Proximity to the Spanish School

As you can imagine, a city of nine-million inhabitants might be quite chaotic in terms of mobility and transportation.

That’s why it’s very important you consider getting a place to stay near to your Spanish school. By “near” we mean walking distance or 30 minutes by car or public transport.

Believe us, you don’t want to get trapped in Bogota’s traffic for hours!

For instance, our Spanish school is located in the Chapinero district. It is located just in the heart of the city, a very convenient location for you to explore the cultural diversity the city has to offer.

There are plenty of options in this district. We highly recommend it. But, if you prefer to stay in a different district read our post on how to get around the city.

Proximity to friends

If you are not new in the city and have already established a good group of friends is totally understandable that you want to stay closer to them -or with them.

In that case, try to find a middle point between your friends and the Spanish school. It will save you many hours of traffic and stress.

Ask your friends or better yet, ask our team. They will surely help you find the best accommodation for you.

Proximity to attractions

If you are a Bogota’s new visitor, then you probably would like to explore the main city attractions.

In that case, try to evaluate how often you want to visit them. And then, decide if it’s worth it to stay closer to the main attractions of if it’s better to organize day trips to visit them.

As you can see on the map below from Tripadvisor, most of the tourist attractions are located in the city center.

Bogota's main attractions map

So, to give you an idea, in normal conditions:

  • It will take about 30-40minutes From Chapinero to the City Center by car (taxi or uber)
  • It will take about 20-30minutes From Teusaquillo to the City Center by car (taxi or uber)
  • It will take about 45-60minutes From Usaquen to the City Center by car (taxi or uber)

Easy transportation access

One last thing you should definitely look at is access to public transport.

If you are staying in Bogota for only a week or two, it might not be necessary. But, if you are planning to live in Bogota for a few months you should learn how to move around the city with public transport.

Sometimes it’s faster to walk or to take public transport than taking a taxi or an Uber. So, check out the TransMilenio map below and try to look for your accommodation accordingly.

Bogota Transmilenio map

2. Where to Stay in Bogota: The Best Districts

In our previous post, we mentioned the districts of Bogota you will more likely be living in or hanging around.

Thus, it makes sense that you look for accommodation in any of those districts: La Candelaria, Chapinero, Teusaquillo, and Usaquen.

Let’s look at those districts on the map!

It will get you a better idea of how the city is organized.

La Candelaria

La Candelaria is also known as “El Centro Histórico (Old City). It has a unique Spanish Colonial, Baroque and Art Deco style. It is one of the most popular districts for students to live in.

It’s right in the city’s downtown, it’s budget-friendly, and it has an immense cultural offer. You will find a wide variety of cafés and restaurants, museums, and libraries. La Candelaria hosts some of the Top Colombian universities.

Chapinero

Chapinero is one of the more affluent and diverse districts of the city.

It hosts the Central Business District and several important leisure, dining and nightlife areas of the city.

In Chapinero you will find dozens of local cafes, markets, and microbreweries as well as the largest LGBTQ+ nightclub in South America.

Teusaquillo

Teusaquillo is located in the geographic center of the city. It’s one of the favorite places to stay in Bogota due to its proximity to the airport, city center and other trendy districts.

It is home to the biggest park in Bogota (Simón Bolivar Park), the campus of the National University of Colombia, and the convention center Corferias. It is also known for having the best street art in the city.

Usaquén

Usaquen used to be its own small town until it was incorporated in the 1950s to become part of Bogota.

It’s located in the north of the city and it is considered as one of the city’s cutest districts.

Usaquen has also an immense cultural offer. It is rich in gastronomy, boutiques, bakeries and pubs. On Sundays and National holidays, it hosts Colombia’s most famous flea market.

3. Types of accommodation in Bogota

Now that you are more familiar with the most popular districts in Bogota, we can look at the types of accommodation.

If you are going to study Spanish in Bogota for only a couple of weeks it makes sense for you to choose a hotel, hostel or Airbnb. But, if you are planning to study for a longer period of time you can choose between a shared or a private apartment.

Hotels, Hostels & Airbnb

It all depends on your budget and preferences.

For example, if you prefer a private room and a quiet environment, a hotel or hotel boutique would be a good option for you. You can find budget-friendly hotel rooms for 60USD per night to luxury hotel rooms for 150 USD per night.

If you want to meet other travelers and students, a hostel would be a good option for you. If you stay in a hostel you can choose dorms or private rooms. There are many trendy hostels in the city, they are well located, well designed and offer a wide variety of activities. This would be a good option if you are traveling alone and want to meet new people.

If, on the contrary, you prefer your own space. You can rent a modern studio in any of the most trendy districts of the city via Airbnb. Prices also vary depending on the exact location and the size of the apartment. You can find one-bedroom studios for 60USD per night up to 150 USD per night.

If you want to get a better idea of how hotels, hostels and short-term apartments look like in Bogota you can check the following websites:

Shared & Private Accommodation

On the other hand, if your plan is to live in Bogota for at least three months it makes much more sense to find a shared or private accommodation.

We highly recommend to stay at first in a short-term accommodation, get to know the city and the different districts. Also, get to know some people and then decide where you would like to live your Spanish immersion experience.

Bogota short term rentals is a very useful Facebook group. You can take a look and contact the landlords directly.

With regards to prices, you can find a one-bedroom apartment for $300 – $500USD per month, or a private bedroom in a shared apartment $200USD per month.

Keep in mind that if you are renting a place long-term you would need to pay utilities separately. It would be about 100USD per month if you rent the whole place for yourself, or about $40 USD if you are sharing the place with someone else.

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Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

Planning to study Spanish in Bogota?

Great! We are here to help you learn Spanish and get around the city.

Let’s start by telling you that you have chosen a wonderful city. Bogota is a fantastic starting point for any trip to Colombia. It is a vibrant, diverse and cosmopolitan city.

Bogota is a huge metropolis; there are about nine million people living in the city. Thus, you can imagine how overwhelming it could be to get around the city.

We want you to have the best experience while studying Spanish in Bogota. So, we have prepared this article with basic information for you to learn before your arrival.

Bogota’s Neighbourhoods

Bogota is divided into 20 districts or “localidades” as we called them in Colombia.

When you are in Bogota you will more likely be living or hanging around in a few districts: La Candelaria, Chapinero, Teusaquillo and Usaquen. Those districts are where most of the fun happens.

Our Spanish school is located in Chapinero District. It is located just in the heart of the city, a very convenient location for you to explore the cultural diversity the city has to offer.

Now that you are familiar with the Districts, let’s move to one of the topics people are usually most confused about: addresses.

How to find an address in Bogota?

Bogota School Google maps

Contrary to most of the countries, Colombia uses numbers instead of names for streets. Even though at first, it might seem a bit complicated, it is actually easy and straightforward.

Foreigners usually have a hard time when reading an address in Bogota for the first time. It’s totally understandable, they are not used to our system based on numbers.

They are also not used to the different words we use in Colombian Spanish for “street”. We accept, this is a bit confusing but here we are to guide you.

First of all, you need to learn that in Colombian Spanish we use two different words for “street”:

  • Calle (Abbreviation Cll.)
  • Carrera (Abbreviation Cra.)

Calles and Carreras generally run perpendicular to each other.

  • Carrera runs north and south. Carrera street numbers increase as you go further west.
  • Calle runs east and west. Calle street numbers increase as you go further north.

An address in Bogota normally follows this format:

Address Example 1 ADDRESS Example 2
Main Street Calle or Cll. Carrera or Cra.
Number (Could be combined with a letter) 79B 13
# sign # #
Street intersection number, the nearest Calle or Carrera (Could be combined with a letter) 7 77
– sign
House or building number 12 44
Complete address Cll. 79B #7-12 Carrera 13 #77-44

You can also find Avenida, Transversal, Diagonal, Vía or Circular for Street names.

For example, this is the address for Learn More Than Spanish: Carrera 13 #77-44 Piso 5
Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

Learning how to read the addresses in Bogota will save you a lot of time and stress while getting around the city.

You will use addresses all the time. When going to your Spanish school, to a restaurant, or when visiting your new friends.

So, it’s important you know how to explain the address to the taxi or Uber drivers.

Navigating the city

Now that you have learned how to read the addresses, you can learn how to move around the city.

In a city like Bogota, you have to be smart when choosing how to go from one place to another. Keep always in mind than during rush hours it would be sometimes better to walk or cycle than taking a taxi, Uber or a bus.

Let’s see what transportation options we have in Bogota:

TransMilenio

Transmilenio is a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that operates from 5 am until 11 pm, from Monday to Friday. Keep in mind that routes and frequencies might change during the weekends.

It covers almost all the city, from North to South and from East to West. There are some stations that are usually busier than others.

Also, like any other capital city of the world, during rush hours, stations and busses might be packed. So, try to avoid taking Transmilenio from Monday to Friday from 7 am – 9 am and 5 pm- 7 pm.

Transmilenio tickets cost about $0.70USD. You can take as many busses as you like with the same ticket as long as you don’t exit the station.

Cultural Tip: In Colombian Spanish, we like to speak with diminutives. You would hear everybody saying “transmi” instead of “transmilenio”

SITP

Another option is SITP busses.

SITP are blue busses. They don’t have independent stations but “paradas” (Stops). They also run all around the city.

SITP tickets cost the same as a Transmilenio ticket. You need the same card you use for TransMilenio to take one of these busses.You can buy one of those cards at any of the main Transmilenio stations.

Check SITP official website for more information (It’s also an opportunity to practice your Spanish). If you feel confident enough to go and explore the city with Transmilenio or SITP you can find the routes here.

Cycling

If you are more like a cycling person, then Bogota is the perfect city for you.

Bogota has one of the most extensive cycle path networks or “ciclorutas”  in South America and one the largest in the world.

The routes are also integrated with TransMilenio; it has bicycle parking facilities. So, you can combine cycling for short or medium distances, and taking TransMilenio for long distances.

On Sundays and National Holidays, several streets closed to traffic from 7 am until 2 pm. We call this practice “ciclovia”. It is when the streets are reserved only for cyclists, runners and skaters.

Walking

You might not believe us but sometimes you will arrive at your destination more easily by walking than by car!

Yes, traffic is one of the things we, Bogotanos, are not proud of.

That’s why we always suggest people find accommodation near the Spanish School.

In Spanish you will normally hear “a pie”.

“A pie” literally means “On foot” but when we say this we refer to walking from one place to another.

For example:
“Vamos al centro comercial en carro o a pie? – Vamos mejor a pie. A esta hora hay mucho trancón”
Shall we drive to the mall or shall we go walking? – Let’s walk. At this time there is so much traffic

Taxi or Uber

Taking taxis or Uber is very common in Bogota. These services are not as expensive as they are in other world’s capital cities.

15min – 30min Taxi or Uber trip costs about $4-8 USD
> 1-hour Taxi or Uber trip costs about $8-10 USD

Download these Apps. They will make your life easier:

For Android

For iPhone

We highly recommend not to take taxis on the street. Not only because of safety reasons but because it is easier to type the address in the App than to explain it to the driver.

If you use the Apps instead you make sure that you type the address you need and the driver will take you to the right location.

Arriving in Bogota: How to get from the airport to the city?

Your first “adventure” in Bogota will be getting from the International airport to your hotel or apartment.

It is actually pretty easy. Your options are Taxi, Uber or TransMilenio.

Also, at Learn More Than Spanish we offer pick-up services from and to the international airport. We know people don’t like getting into such adventures after a long flight.

If it’s your first time in Bogota we recommend taking one of the airport taxis. All taxis at the airport have an extra fee but after a long flight, you wouldn’t like to get stressed figuring out how to get to your hotel or apartment.

It is also possible to take Uber. However, Uber drivers can’t park on the main airport street. You would need to call or message them to arrange the pickup point. That would be a great opportunity to test your Spanish skills, but be aware it can also be a bit frustrating.

Finally, TransMilenio is a good option depending on where your hotel or apartment is. You would need to be very clear about the route you need to take. The only route that goes directly to and from the international airport is M86

Whatever option you choose make sure you know the basic vocabulary to get directions!

But, if you prefer us to pick you up, feel free to contact us here!

We hope you enjoy reading this article. If you have any questions about studying Spanish in Bogota do not hesitate to contact us. Our team will be happy to assist you!

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

We know that deciding where to learn Spanish might take some time. You should look for the best Spanish school, the best city to learn the language and the costs involved.

If you are reading this article it’s because you are interested in learning Spanish in Bogota.

That’s a great idea! You will have an unforgettable experience!

One of the questions people have before traveling to a new city is about the budget.

Let us help you with this.

In this article, we will share with you the average costs of Spanish programs and expenses for living in Bogota.

How much does it cost to learn Spanish In Bogota?

Let’s start with giving you the conversion rate to the COP (Colombian Peso) with regards to US dollars:

1 USD = $3.845 COP as of August 22, 2020.

For Latinamerican standards, Bogotá is a moderately expensive city to live in. Obviously, it varies depending on your lifestyle.

At the moment, our currency is very weak, which makes Bogota an affordable city compared to any North American or European cities.

The average monthly cost for a single person is about $500 – $800 USD per month, excluding the Spanish program fees.

For example, below are some rough costs (USD) for somebody living in a neighborhood like Chapinero, Bogota near our Spanish school.

1. Accommodation

The most substantial portion of your monthly budget will go towards rent.

Apartments in Bogotá have an extensive range of prices. You can find a one-bedroom apartment for about $300 USD per month, to a luxury two-bedroom apartment for about $1000 USD per month.

Most apartments do not include utilities and internet, so you will have to add them to your monthly budget. That would be about $100 USD per month.

If you plan to stay longer than 3 months, renting your own apartment or sharing one with friends would be the best option.

And, if you are planning to stay only for a week or two, you could stay in a hostel, hotel, or Airbnb. Rates vary from $10USD per night in a dorm to $60USD per night in a comfortable private room.

Let’s summarize:

  • One-bedroom apartment $300 – $500 per month
  • Utilities $100 per month
  • Private bedroom in a shared apartment $200 per month
  • Utilities in a shared apartment $40 per month
  • A dorm bed in a hostel $10 per night
  • Private room in a hotel $40 per night
  • Airbnb one-bedroom apartment $60 per night

2. Transport

Keep in mind that Bogota is a big, very big city. There are about nine million people living in the city; you can imagine how traffic and distances are.

In Bogota, from 15min to 30 min drive is considered “near”. From 30min to 1hr drive is considered “moderate distance”. And, if a place is more than 1hr drive, then it is considered “far”.

Thus, it is important you try to find your accommodation near the Spanish school you have chosen. It will not only help you save some money but it will save you a lot of time in traffic.

Average costs to move around Bogota are:

  • A local city bus or Transmilenio – $0.70c USD
  • 15 min – 30 min Taxi or Uber trip – $4 USD
  • > 1 hour Taxi or Uber trip – $8- $10 USD

If you plan to travel outside Bogota the average costs are:

  • Bus trip to cities like Medellin, Cali or Bucaramanga (8-10 hours) – $25 USD
  • Bus trip to closer cities (3-5 hours) – $8 USD
  • Round-trip flights to the Caribbean coast – $100 USD

3. Food & Drinks

Eating in Bogota is such an experience!

Bogota is known as the gastronomical city. You can find all kinds of local and international food, for all kinds of budgets.

You can also find small local shops, markets and big supermarkets. In Bogota, you can basically find anything you want.

As in any other city, going out for dinner and drinks will take a big portion of your weekly/monthly budget. The best would be to combine cooking at home and going out for dinner once or twice a week.

Here is the average costs for food and drinks:

  • $100 – $250 USD per month for groceries.
  • A “menú del día” (lunch menu), which is normally a traditional Colombian dish that comes with soup, juice and sometimes even dessert – $4
  • Street food – $1- $2
  • Main course meal at a mid-level restaurant – $10
  • Main course meal at a high-end restaurant – $25
  • Craft beer in a Pub – $3
  • Cocktail in a trendy rooftop– $10-$15

What are the average prices of Spanish programs in Bogota?

If you decide to join a Spanish school, the price range for group and private lessons are as follows:

  • Type of
    Class
  • Group Lessons
  • Mini-Group Lessons
  • Private Lessons
  • Price Range
    per hour
  • $9 – $12
  • $12 – $15
  • $15 – $25
  • Price Range per Week
  • $175 – $250
  • $235 – $305
  • $295 – $495

Instead, if you decide to study Spanish at any of the university programs of the city, the price range varies from $300 USD per level to $500 USD per level.

If you have any questions regarding our programs, prices or about living in Bogota contact us here. We will be happy to guide you.

Hope to see you soon in Bogota!

Learn Spanish in Colombia: In-Class & Online Courses

 

Imagine a city that offers you beautiful landscapes, vibrant a modern architecture, world-class museums and art galleries and a story to tell.

We love our city and we like to show it off to visitors! From La Candelaria to Monserrate there are so many awesome things to do in Bogotá, you’ll wish you could stay longer.

These are the things to do in Bogota that should be at the very top of your list. Go on, get out there.

1. Learn Spanish, of course!

Learn More than Spanish School offers a variety of courses in General Spanish or Spanish for Business to help you boost your education and increase career prospects. One of the best things about learning Spanish in Bogota is that you’ll make friends and memories to last a lifetime!

2. Visit “El Cerro de Monserrate”

3,152 metres above the sea level, Monserrate is a mountain that you can’t ignore.

Monserrate dominates the city center of Bogotá, it is a pilgrim destination, as well as a tourist attraction.

You can take the regular teleférico (cable car), funicular or walk up Cerro de Monserrate, visit its church, built in the 17th century, take a look at its jaw-dropping panoramic view and eat and drink typical Colombian food.

3. Take a Graffiti Walking Tour

What happens when a city let graffiti artists do their thing? Well, the city evolves, you see colour, self-expression and thoughtful pieces of art everywhere. This is a must try tour!

4. Visit “La Candelaria”

With an Spanish Colonial architecture of houses, churches and buildings, La Candelaria is the historic neighborhood in downtown Bogotá.

La Candelaria is home to the La Candelaria top museums, the government and beautiful colonial buildings along narrow cobblestone streets.

5. Visit “La Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá”

about an hour outside of Bogota, The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is an underground Catholic church built within the tunnels of a salt mine, 200 meters underground.

Built by miners as a place for their daily prayers, now It is considered one of the most notable achievements of Colombian architecture.

The Museo del Oro of the Bank of Republic is an unmissable stop for every single visitor to Bogotá where you can discover the amazing world of Prehispanic iconography. And gold. Lots and lots of gold. Its collection has been declared a National monument and it is considered the most important Prehispanic collection in the […]