Bogota is a city of contrasts. On one hand we see steel-and-glass towers and avant-grade infrastructure then on the other hand we see colonial churches and historical monuments that have been so well-preserved. The capital of Colombia is a metropolis of extremes for the excessively rich and the stark poverty reside in the city side-by-side. This South-American megalopolis appeals to all for it displays a wonderful balance between the east and the west, old as well as the new.
Spending some time at the Plaza de Bolivar is often the first thing most tourists do while visiting Bogota. Constructed in the hub of the historic district, this square comprises of a statue of Simon Bolivar in the middle. Be sure to walk around the square and take in the governmental, political and other buildings, including an astronomical observatory. One of the key 'must-see' places to visit is the historic center (La Candelaria) around the Plaza de Bolivar. The buildings around the area depict the colonial spirit in the area. Go back in time and revisit old Colombia for it gives out a powerful bohemian and cultural vibe.
Head over to Catedral Primada which is the biggest in Colombia and one of the largest in South America. The church is considered to be a neo-classical masterpiece that resembles the ones in Spain. Another incredible religious shrine is the church of Santa Clara, built between 1629 and 1674 as part of the Poor Clares Convent. Renowned to be one of the city's oldest churches, it is luxuriously adorned with 112 paintings and 24 sculptures dating as back as the 17th and 18th centuries. History aficionados will love exploring the Presidential Palace as it an incredible neoclassical piece. Folks will love visiting the palace for they open their gates every afternoon for the changing of the guard and it is an incredible festive atmosphere to view this lavish march, full of pomp and fanfare.
Trek over to Cerro de Monserrate for it towers over the city at a height of 3,160m (10,367ft). There is a church that is placed upon the summit. On Sundays, this place is flooded with pilgrims and tourists who come from far and wide to visit it. One can access Cerro de Monserrate via cable car, funicular railway or even by foot along a recently restored footpath. Some museums worth visiting are: Gold Museum (34,000 gold pieces from all major pre-Hispanic cultures in Colombia) and Botero Museum (dedicated to Colombian artist Fernando Botero and consist of artworks by numerous accomplished European artists).
When it comes to shopping, be sure to procure certain products such as handicrafts, coffee-based products, leather handbags, shoes, uncut as well as cut emeralds, silver jewellery and so forth. There are many small stores in the narrow winding lands at Plaza de Bolivar. Be sure to head over to some of Bogota's best known flea markets to bargain and haggle for local quintessential items to be procured at affordable rates.
When it comes to cuisine, be sure to dig into some of their local delicacies such as Arepas - corn flour based pancakes, occasionally prepared with cheese or slightly salted or Tamal - a breakfast item and is prepared from a mixture of meat, chicken, potato, vegetables and yellow corn wrapped in plantain leaves and then boiled. It is usually served with a huge pot of hot chocolate and a piece of bread.
The stay options in Bogota are abundant with the richie-rich craving to be put up at the best luxury hotels or swanky private apartments. Similarly, budget tourists can choose from the many cheap accommodations and modest lodgings available.
Bogota experiences sub-tropical highland climate. The best time to visit the city would be between December and March for it is the driest season and the temperatures are comfortable enough for a travel.