After years of internal strife, Colombia is when again peaceful, prosperous and safe. Tourism is playing a big role in Colombia’s healing; while other South American countries saw their visitor numbers decline in 2009, the number of visitors to Colombia climbed by seven percent.
Bogota, the capital city and the nation’s economic and cultural center, provides wonderful chances for visitors. It has more than two dozen museums, hundreds of parks, a wealth of colonial architecture, and some of the most popular night life in South America. If you have two weeks to spend in Bogota, you’ll find something new to see and do every single day.
However what if you’ve just got a day? Listed listed below are the “must-sees,” Bogota’s absolute best tourist attractions. Luckily, all are clustered within and near La Candelaria, the old colonial heart of the city. There’s more excellent news, too: La Candelaria is simply a short, inexpensive taxi ride from Bogota’s El Dorado Airport.
Cerro de Monserrate First stop: Monserrate. This Roman Catholic Sanctuary, located 2,000 feet above Bogota, is accessed via either a cog rail or cable television car. From this mountaintop the large panorama of Bogota expands before you. It’s a remarkable view, but Monserrate has its own appeals, consisting of a magnificent church, wonderful gardens, and dozens of shops where you can plan on local crafts.
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Bolivar Plaza This large space is the heart of Colombia. It is surrounded by the Catedral Primada (the nation’s “very first cathedral”), the Colombian House and Senate, and the Supreme Court. Simply one block away is Casa de Narino, house of the Colombian President. The plaza is always aswirl with activity; you’ll discover chains of school kids making their way amongst the structures, picketing (and peaceful) protestors, tourists, federal government employees and the dapperly-dressed elite. From here it’s an enjoyable walk to the other must-sees.
Museum of Colonial Art Found in a fantastic colonial estate, this museum houses numerous pieces from the time of the conquest and the early settlement of Colombia.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Cultural Center Colombians are justly happy with their Nobel Prize-winning author, whose works are celebrated throughout the world. This new facility offers comprehensive details on the author, whose books include 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Come by to learn more about the author, and to have a cup of great Colombian coffee in the open air cafe.
Botero Museum Fernando Botero is Colombia’s finest understood artist, popular for his depictions in paint and sculpture of “the fat ones.” The Botero Museum houses the artist’s own collection of art work, consisting of a thunder-jowled Mona Lisa. The museum likewise consists of works by Picasso, Monet, Renoir and Matisse.
Museum of Gold This spectacular museum is the home of more than 30,000 pieces of pre-Columbian artwork, consisting of the well-known raft of Guatavita, source of the El Dorado legend. The Gold Museum is located on among downtown Bogota’s busiest plazas, the website of an informal market for Colombia’s popular emeralds (and for its equally well-known phonies!).
Colombia is still a deal. Simply keep in mind: when you get hungry, prevent the American-style restaurants and rather pick one of the local favorites. A McDonald’s hamburger, for instance, goes for US$ 7, and cannot measure up to the suspicious requirements of its American origins. La Candelaria’s Restaurante Masiz, on the other hand, serves a four-course Colombian meal with veggies and fresh-squeezed fruit juice for $3.
The coffee is excellent too – naturally. Oma and Juan Valdez are the big chains (they are the Starbucks of Colombia), however attempt a locally-owned shop. At Coffee shop Negro the service is as fun as the coffee is abundant.