Colombia- Our first trip together.
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
Our first trip to a far away country was to Colombia, which happens to be the country where Monica was born. We visited Bogota, Colombia in 2016. We arrived in El Dorado Airport in the early afternoon where we got picked up to go to the city center. We first stopped in a tiny restaurant to have the typical Colombian Bandeja Paisa. A large plate of food which consists of ground beef, rice, beans, avocado slice, egg, pork grinds, sausages and arepa! After such a large meal we were ready to wander the streets of Bogota! We had about two weeks in this large city with no plans or places to see. Luckily we have family there!
We checked into a small hotel in the heart of the city which for the service and size of the rooms was extremely inexpensive. The Lancaster Hotel --http://www.booking.com/Share-EPrNqk is a very affordable hotel which is pretty central to everything you would like to see.
We visited a few locations like the Museo de Oro, La mina de Sal de Nemocon(HIGHLY RECOMMENDED), Plaza Bolivar is the beautiful city center with lots of pigeons and great architecture.
There is so much to see and do in the salt mine! From chapels to beautiful salt sculptures this mine has it all. With tours being very affordable and the cool temperature in the mine; it is something for everyone to do. The movie "The 33" was also filmed in this mine and you could see some of the props and areas where filming took place.
With views of the city and numerous restaurants on the hill(don't fall for the larger restaurants before the church, if you walk past the church a couple hundred feet you will be greeted by smaller and more authentic Colombian restaurants)
Also, another tip we can suggest is: to not visit the hill on your first day in Bogota, as the altitude can give you a hard time breathing.
Try visiting during the week as on the weekends the locals also come here and it could get pretty busy and the lines for the cable car do get long!
The following day we visited La Plaza de Bolivar. The main square of the Colombian Capital!You could purchase bird feed from some of the people in the square to get the famous photos of all the pigeons around you. I would be weary at times as a lot of people will surround you if you do buy lots of feed and will begin to beg you for money.
There are also a lot of cute and good little restaurants that surround the plaza with lots of gift shops as well!
Lots of rich architecture and very large buildings surround this plaza. The plaza has had a lot of riots and manifestations in the past due to political reasons. You could definitely spend all day in the plaza viewing the cathedral, the justice buildings and the many museums that are in the area.
Are you a fan of gold and pricy things? The Museo de Oro is the place for you. The Gold Museum is the most famous and most visited in South America so be prepared for long lines during peak months.Most of the gold in the museum is from pre-colombian times. The halls are separated into the different cultures that inhabited Colombia.
This is definitely a 2-4 hour visit. I'm not too sure kids would really enjoy being in the museum due to the lack of activities for them so be weary of bringing the young ones.
Located in Sopo, Alpina is a major manufacturer of dairy products like Dulce de Leche, Dutch cheeses, arequipe. With a small dining area and places to picnic around the store this is an attraction in itself in the small city. Prices are a bit higher here for the food due to it being considered a tourist attraction.
It's a bit far from Bogota so if you're not a fan of Alpina already I would not suggest the drive to it.
Great little museum containing works of renowned Colombian painter and sculptor, Fernando Botero. The museum itself does not have a entrance fee.
The first floor of the museum boasts artwork from various Colombian artist. Once you go to the 2nd floor of the building you will be greeted by the artwork and sculptures of Botero. We visited in March and it was not very busy at the times. His artwork is of robust women,men and animals.
The museum is also linked to two other museums which include art work from other artist and another museum which includes the history of coins and the process in which the coins are made. All of these museums are about a five minute walk from the Museo de Oro and the Plaza Bolivar.
Now, Eriks favorite place in all of Bogota. He had been saying he wanted to visit one of Andres Carne de Res's restaurants. Lucky for him we went to four. The most beautiful one was in Chia. The food there is delicious and for us “North Americans” it was really inexpensive. It mainly consist of meats. So if you can't or don't like meat I would not recommend. Here is a website link to his restaurants and the locations to which they offer http://www.andrescarnederes.com/en/
Our time in Bogota felt short. We did get to see a lot of the things we wanted to see on this really unplanned trip. At the time that we flew to Colombia, "planning" was not all that important to us. We would highly recommend to spend at least a week in Bogota even though it is not one of the more highly visited places in Colombia it does offer lots to do with a lot of history. If you do have any questions do not hesitate to contact us!