Bogotá – a city of contrasts

In many ways Colombia‘s capital, Bogotá, epitomizes the Latin American city, with its mix of crumbling colonial architecture and modern office blocks, vast divide between the rich and poor, and soaring population. The third highest capital city in the world (it stands at 2,600 meters – 8,530 ft – above sea level), it is both highly cosmopolitan and, in some regards, stuck in the past. With much to attract the artist, the historian and the pleasure-seeker, Bogotá has become a big destination for world travelers.

Bogotá by night

Though it may not immediately appeal (the daily rain and cloudy skies may have something to do with this), give it time and Bogotá will surely win you over with its abundance of museums, beautiful churches and plazas, sprawling parks, first-class cuisine, and, of course, its famous nightlife. In addition, you will find a thriving art and music scene. Any trip to Bogota should incorporate the historic and cultural center of La Candelaria; the world-renowned Museo del Oro; northern Bogota (in particular Parque de la 93, the Zona T and the Zona Rosa) with its diverse mix of flashy restaurants, bars, clubs and malls; the famous Sunday flea market in Usaquén; and finally, if you’re lucky, a performance at the beautifully ornate Teatro Colon.

Plaza de Bolivar, Bogota by Szeke

Travelers will find that Bogotá has recently undergone a serious makeover, though crime is still prevalent and visitors should be alert around tourist areas and government buildings. However, with massive investments in reviving public spaces, expanding infrastructure and improving social services, the Colombian capital now thrives as a case study of urban transformation in South America.

Old street in La Candelaria by NapaneeGal

Find out more about Bogotá and Colombia in VIVA’s new Colombia Adventure Guideavailable in a variety of e-book applications directly from VIVA, as well as in print format from and Barnes & Noble.

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