We want your experience in Bogotá to be unique and, especially, authentic, that’s why we’ll let you in on a few secrets you must know if you want to experience the city just like a local would.
- Transportation. This is a topic that is always addressed when talking about Bogotá. It is said that traffic is tough and that transportation is uncomfortable and unsafe, although this is true there’s no need to worry.. The secret is to keep calm, to look after your personal items (not keeping them in sight) and to be well-informed of the route you have to take (you can search for it using apps like Moovit or Transmilenio y SITP).
- Addresses. Bogotá is divided mainly between calles (streets) and carreras (avenues) identified with numbers, when the street number increases, it means you’re going north, if it decreases, you’re going south. There is an important piece of information that is given to everyone who comes to visit Bogotá: if you see the mountains in front of you, you’re on a calle, if you see them to your side, you’re on a carrera. If you don’t see the mountains… ask someone, you are most likely lost.
- Gastronomy. If there is something Bogotá can take pride in, it’s its gastronomic scene. There is a wide variety of food types and restaurants to explore here. In every area of the city, you’ll find options to try, the real challenge is not to miss out on all the opportunities. To avoid this, the secret is to research well (some restaurants have their menus online) and follow the advice from foodies who know the scene. That way, you’ll know which restaurants are better, what the prices for each one are, and what their specialty is.
- The weather. The weather in Bogotá can go from 3 °C to 20 °C in the same day, that’s why we recommend wearing several layers of clothing that you can take off and put back on according to your need. Keeping an umbrella at hand is also essential; you never know when it will start raining.
- Cultural scene and nightlife. Bogotá has activities every day of the week. The city’s cultural scene is very well-stocked and there are activities for all tastes. Here you can grab dinner, drink a beer, and then dance until dawn in one same night; you can also visit art galleries, watch independent films at the Cinemateca Distrital (City’s Projection Room), go to a karaoke bar or see your favorite bands play live. The secret for being up to date on all the activities happening in the city is to follow the City Hall’s cultural guide, or Instagram accounts that specialize in reviewing activities.
- Free things to do. There’s no reason to worry about spending a lot of money in Bogotá; there are free things you can do here. There’s the open-air, ‘at the park’ music festivals (Rock al parque, Salsa al parque, Jazz al parque, and Colombia al parque), you can also visit the government-run museums on the last Sunday of every month to get free entrance, go for a picnic at El Chicó or Simón Bolívar parks, or you can enjoy the ciclovía (bike routes) every Sunday. To learn more about free things to do you can visit this website.
- Soroche or altitude sickness. Bogotá is located at 2600 meters above sea level, which means there is less oxygen than in other cities with less altitude. Therefore, it is common for those who visit from other parts of the world to experience headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and an elevated heart rate for a few hours. These symptoms are temporary and you will end up getting used to the capital’s altitude.