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Bogota - r.g. photo

Bogota is a vast metropolis with over 10 million people living in the greater metropolitan area. It’s also interesting to note that Bogota sits at over 2,600m, on the Bogota Plateau. One great initiative is the so-called ‘ciclovía’: Every Sunday and public holiday between 7am and 2pm, they close many of the city’s bigger streets to motor traffic, freeing up space for runners, walkers and cyclists.

The atmosphere on these days is idyllic, with both young and old savoring this fantastic opportunity to get outside. What makes such physical activity difficult, however, is the city’s 2600m altitude – it’s hard for a foreigner to acclimatize sufficiently to go for a run.

It’s also a positive sign that every kind of outdoor sport is available: there are basketball courts, football pitches, and simple workout machines in the parks.

Bogota (or at least significant parts of it) is laid out on a logical plan. As already mentioned, the city lies on a 2600m plateau. It extends to the north, west and south, but is bounded on the east by 3000m high mountains

The streets (calle) and avenues (carrera) extend outward for the center and are numbered sequentially. The avenues run on a north-south axis, while the streets run parallel to them. This makes it fairly easy to orient yourself in the city, since both distance and direction can be easily calculated. (2018)



Practicals

Transport

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Bogota - public bus - r.g. photo

Public safety

“After the guerilla conflicts and drug wars of the past half-century, the country has become increasingly consolidated since the end of the 1990s and is no longer the most dangerous place in the world. You don't have to fear being shot on the street or kidnapped, but being careful is still important.

One characteristic of Colombian and South American cities, more generally, is that there are neighborhoods you should avoid, especially as a tourist. In Bogotá, it is not recommended to venture south of the main road that crosses the city in an east-west direction, which means almost half of the city. After dark, i.e., after 6 or 7 o'clock, it is better not to walk on the streets, especially alone.

If trouble does happen and someone wants to rob you – they usually threaten victims with a knife – give them your money and phone because, according to local etiquette, they won’t hurt you. If you resist, attackers can quickly become violent. Nothing of that sort happened to us, but almost all travelers who spent several months on the continent have been robbed.

When walking the streets, it is best not to carry valuables except a few dollars in cash and a not-so-valuable phone. And especially not your passport.” (2016)

“Colombia is not yet among the most popular tourist destinations because most people remember only two things about Colombia: violent crime and cocaine.

This was a pretty accurate summation of the country twenty or maybe even fifteen years ago. In the last ten years, however, radical changes have begun. Although we are not yet talking about a country with European levels of safety, if you follow the rules, you will feel very comfortable and can travel without fear.

So far, I have not experienced any crimes either in Bogotá or in the rest of the country, and in fact, I have not even run into any really ‘unpleasant’ situations. I live in the northern part of Bogotá, which is much safer than the city's south.

What are the rules? Nothing very original:

- leave expensive, eye-catching jewelry and watches at home

- don’t carry too much cash

- don't go into certain parts of the city (even in big European cities, there are neighborhoods you don’t want to stray into, and it’s the same situation here, with the difference that there are proportionally more such neighborhoods here than in Europe or the USA).

It's also a good thing that they don't try to scam you just because you're a tourist here, and Colombians, whether street vendors, policemen or bankers, are more than happy to help foreigners out.3 (2018)


Others

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Bogota - street art 1 - r.g.

Background

Bogota - Bacatá in the backgound - r.g.

Destination in brief


Bogotá's altitude is 2,66 meters (8,675 feet)

Population (in 2020): 10.9 million (in the Metro area)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 320 USD

Climate

“It would have been advisable to pay a little more attention to where exactly my plane was landing – Bogotá sits at an altitude of 2,600 meters above sea level, so it is a particularly cool place. During the day, it is not typical for the thermometer to climb above 20 degrees Celsius; at night, it drops below 10 degrees. This sort of thing doesn't particularly bother me, and I feel good in light clothes, even in such temperatures. Still, the locals found me pretty amusing when, the day after my arrival, in shorts and a patterned summer shirt, I sat down to have breakfast next to the flower market at the only free table on the terrace of a bakery that had a confidence-inspiring aroma. (2021)

Attractions

Botero Museum

Bogotá - Botero Museum - Couple dancing (Pareja bailando) r.g. photo

Bogota - Botero Museum - A Family - r.g. photo

Bogota - Botero Museum - Mona Lisa a version by Botero - r.g. photo

Bogota - Botero Museum - before or after bathing? r.g.

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