April 21 – 24, 2017
1 pesos to 0.47 USD
I relied almost entirely on Uber to get around Bogota since rides were cheap. One thing to note though is that Uber is illegal there. You have to be very cautious and don’t call one out in the open or near taxi drivers. Often times the Uber drivers will ask you to ride up front or they have a cover that they are driving for some made up hotel. So just don’t flaunt it or talk about it.
We hopped up early and the morning and called an Uber from our Airbnb that drove us into the historical part of the city. Since it was early we didn’t have time to grab breakfast but were able to spot a small stand at the far end of the square where we got some empanadas and black coffee.
Our empanadas had chicken and boiled eggs in them. All for about 75cents. The street food here really is very cheap!
The tour starts at Parque de Los Periodistas where we meet near the statue of simon bolivar under the dome. They’re is great about sending out all the details when you sign up in an email so it’s easy to keep all the details in one place.
The tour had a pretty good turn out, I’d say about 20 people showed up. You never go too far from the square where we started. So it was easy to keep track of where we were and how to get back once it was over.
It’s actually run and guided by street artists and people directly involved in the Bogota urban art scene.
It’s offered for free but they accept donations based on your “satisfaction” (people donate about 20-30 mil pesos each) . That being said, it’s up to you to pay what you think the tour was worth. We did about $20 a person.
We found this experience to be really awesome! We learned so much about not just art but about the Colombian politics and how both the art and politics react to each other.
It was also really great to walk around the downtown part of the city to get a lay of the land and the culture around us.
It took a few hours and rained on and off during the time. It really wasn’t too bad being a walking tour with the rain. One thing we learned was that you have to be prepared for a little bit of everything here. It can be cold, rainy, sunny and then burning hot all in one day. So we had to pack for all types of weather.
After the tour…
We were hungry so we headed back to our neighborhood where there’s an awesome park and lots of restaurants. We stayed in an expensive neighborhood in the city that some compared to Buckhead in Atlanta. So the restaurants were more expensive than what you really can get, but we wanted to be able to walk back to the Airbnb when we were done.
One of the beer bloggers that Chip follows had recently been to the Bogota Beer Company so we decided to check it out!
They have this great beer with honey in it it was by far the best one there! They have normal bar food type of menu so we ended up getting two flatbread pizzas and splitting them.
Friday night festivities!
While Jen and Chris readied for Ches and Carolina’s rehearsal dinner, Chip and I ventured out to try one of the couples’ favorite dinner spots.
To say Andres DC was an experience is an understatement. I think there are 3 to 4 stories for dining and more than 100 waiters and 300+ people dining at the same time. The menu is massive, I think 30 pages of local Colombian food and drinks. We totally lucked out and got a wonderful waiter that spoke English and helped us decide what to try for both foods and drinks!
The environment is wild here, there’s lights and signs and themes and things hanging from the ceiling. Wait staff in costumes and mariachi bands that come to your table to play, dance and throw paper rose petals all around you.
What we ordered: I always like to get appetizers that way I can try more than one thing. We ordered the guac thinking it would be great, but it was more like avocado soup with no chips. I did get the Arepas that was stuffed with melted cheese..and you really can’t go wrong with that. It was so delicious.
After dinner we were invited to join the bride and groom at their rehearsal dinner spot for an after dinner drink. So we then walked over to Club Colombia where the rehearsal dinner was wrapping up. There’s also a beer called Club Colombia that the restaurant is based off of.
The wedding Day!
Saturday ended up being a short day due to the fact that we had to be at the hotel to catch the bus to the wedding venue by 1pm.
Chris and Bucky left early since they were in the wedding. So Jen, Chip and I walked down the street for a local breakfast spot.
What we ordered: This was a Caprese inspired skillet. It had soft boiled eggs, tomatoes, and bread to soak it all up. The Colombian coffee really is as good as they hype. It’s just so rich and bold…I couldn’t get enough!
After arriving at the hotel with several wedding guests, we quickly learned that the bus that was sent to take us, an hour and a half out to the country to the wedding, broke down. So there was a lot of coordination to line up a new bus and wait.
Nothing else to do, but have a photo shoot while we wait.
And we’re off! 16 of the 19 people waiting made it on the “bus”. Grooms parents in tow down a dirt road for an hour and a half….
It was absolutely over the top! The most beautiful setting, venu, and people, I have ever seen. It felt like something from a fairy tale. We were just so honored to be part of this moment in a little slice of heaven on earth.
Carolina arrived to the chapel around this lake on a horse drawn carriage…
After a late night at the wedding we slept in a bit then walked to a yummy breakfast spot down the road from our Airbnb. We then went to hit up a local market on the other side of town.
Market Shopping at the Usaquén market!
Come ready to haggle! There are great markets all over Bogotá and they are the best places to get a souvenir.
Be sure to check out the woven bags! These bags are hand-woven mochilas, or shoulder bags, come in every color you can imagine. Most well-known are the Wayuu mochilas, made by indigenous tribes in La Guajira, on the north-west coast and the Arhuaca mochilas, made by the Arhuaco people in the Sierra Nevada. The Wayuu mochilas are the most colorful and take more than a month to weave. (Helpful Tip: Bags are priced differently based on the quality of their weave, but 60k to 70k is a fair price to aim for on a nice bag)
The market is one long street with a neighborhood park in the middle. You really can find anything you want in these markets from local craftsmen. Chris, Bucky and Justin found another BBC and posted up to watch a soccer game, while Chip toughed it out and shopped with Jen and I.
There might have been some hard cider tasting along the way…so maybe not ALL bad for Chip.
We bought coffee to bring back….because…when in Rome. I bought a mix between beans and grounds. (But make sure if you buy beans you have a way to grind them when you get home…because I kinda sorta forgot about that part)
We stopped by BBC to visit the boys, have a beer and get out of the heat! This was the hottest day by far! One day it’s rainy and cold and the next we’re getting sunburnt on the street!
We decided to try some of the local street food for a snack!
What we ordered: Obleas Colombiana
A traditional item, obleas can be found in every major Colombian city, and are a popular sweet treat. Pretty much a giant, thin wafer, obleas can be made even more deliciously sweet and decadent with toppings. Toppings include Colombia’s special caramel, fruit sauces, cream, cheese, or even coconut. If you’re feeling like you really deserve a treat, ask for ‘todo’ (all). But don’t be surprised when this really does mean ‘todo’, caramel plus cheese included. Forget any diet – this desert sandwich is a must-try.
We followed the market to the end and by that time our obleas snack made us hungrier.
We hit up a taco stand in the middle of the market and then headed back to our Airbnb to get ready for our last dinner out before heading home in the morning.
Our buddy, Bucky, had been pretty sick the whole trip.We think he picked up a bug from his previous travels to the coast and eating some chicken from a street vendor (so be careful what things are you eating over there, often times they let meats sit out too long)
So we had some excitement when he had a Colombian doctor make a house call to check on him and give him some prescriptions
And because we just couldn’t stay away….we were back at Andres DC for a second time this trip. It was Jen and Chris’s one year anniversary so a toast was in order!
Things I wish we’d had time for
Walk Around and See…
La Macarena is known as one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Bogota. It’s characteristic bohemian vibe and extensive variety of restaurants serving up cuisine from all over the world make La Macarena the go to spot for foodies, travelers and curious Bogota locals in search of culture, amazing food and a magical atmosphere.
Home to Bogota’s oldest buildings and attractions as well as some of the cities most colourful, characteristic little streets and alleyways, La Candelaria is truly worth a visit if you are interested in experiencing Bogota’s cultural heritage.
Food to try:
Here are a few Colombian cuisine classics just to get you started:
- Bandeja Paisa – Colombia’s national dish of rice, beans, chicharron, avocado, arepa, fried egg and other optional ingredients.
- Ajiaco – A traditional Colombian soup from Bogota region, made of chicken, potato, corn, served with avocado and rice.
- Pescado Pacifico (Pacific Fish) – Not actually from Bogota, but there are plenty of great coastal-style fish restaurants in the city. Fried, with plenty of sides including rice, avocado, fried platano, but usually with a bit more flavour than the inland dishes.
- Arepas – A corn-based patty or biscuit, which on its own is bland and flavourless, but with the right combination of other ingredients can make for a tasty meal.
- Eat a Traditional Tamale Breakfast