One thing you might not notice from your first second in the city, but Bogotá is HUGE. It is the fifth largest city in the Americas, just after New York City at fourth place. Fascinatingly, each neighborhood of Bogotá is completely different, whether it is La Candelaria; the infamous historic center, Usaquén; the European-style hillside barrio, or the other usual glasses or leather neighborhoods. Choosing where to spend your time here is, of course, pretty important. Depending on your travel style, you might want a calmer and quieter area to relax in or you may want to be in the heart of the party all the time. Luckily, we’re experts at this (from moving around a lot these past few years) and we are here to help you!
The Cathedral and the Sunset
First up, the classic! Anyone who has been to Bogotá would probably recommend you to stay here. The historic center is home to the most hostels per square inch in the city. Every block, every nook and cranny will have at least one hostel in it! It really is the perfect place to stay if you are visiting for a short period of time. It is where most of the tourist attractions such as Plaza Bolívar, Museo del Oro, and the Museo de Botero are located. Not only that, but there are also many, many bars and restaurants in the area; your whole weekend already set! There, you can find two of the best Colombian restaurants, ‘Fulanitos’ and ‘Puerta de la Catedral’. To really experience the Bogotan student life, head to ‘Doña Ceci’, one of the most iconic bars in town. Most of these hostels are amazing and really cannot be compared with one another, but for our top picks, check them out here.
One of the colorful facades of the neighborhood
Is known as the restaurant neighborhood of Bogotá. This artsy neighborhood is made up of 50% residential area and 50% food scene. Here, you can find restaurants from all over the world; Serbia, Brazil, Thailand, Sweden, and many more. La Macarena is located across Calle 26, the main road that runs to the airport, from La Candelaria. It is the neighborhood located up on the hill from Bogotá’s Centro Internacional, or business center, and National Museum. The only hostel in this neighborhood, El Pit, is a nice little hostel that opened up last year offering great accommodation and staff. This colorful sloped area is nice to stay as it is quieter and is more local and residential than touristy, and is only about a 25-minute walk to La Candelaria.
Small apartment buildings on the hills of Chapinero
Chapinero is the “hip” neighborhood of Bogotá. The area spans near Carrera Septima, from around Calle 45 up to Calle 65, where you can find a mixture of many different kinds of activities. A couple universities are found here, so you can also find many bars, cheap restaurants, as well as boutique clothing stores. As you travel up and down Septima, you’ll see the man graffitied buildings lined up one after another. This, we would say, is the most central of the neighborhoods, located right in the middle between the historic La Candelaria and Zona T, Bogotá’s party street. Chapinero is a great area to see how Bogotanos live their daily lives without being surrounded by huge herds of tourists flooding, for example, Calle 11.
One of the prettiest streets in Bogotá
This is considered to be the most beautiful area in Bogotá. This also semi-residential-semi-commercial zone is filled with Victorian style houses and streets lined with huge trees, kind of a nice change from the rest of the city. The neighborhood is very quiet and is perfect for someone who really just wants to relax far from people, noise, and cars. Quinta Camacho is part of an area called Zona G, or the gastronomy zone of Bogotá. Restaurants here are a bit in the upper scale compared to the usuals in Chapinero or some in La Candelaria, but we do really recommend them for a nice romantic dinner. There are also quite a few options for hostels to choose from.
Zona T or Calle 85 is the party zone of Bogotá. Both the street, Calle 85, and that whole area are pretty commercial during the day, and by night, it completely transforms itself into a vibrant place to go out. Lined with tons of clubs and bars, Zona T really is fun see and be in, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, when the streets are filled with hundreds and thousands of people who all come to this one place to dance their night away. There aren’t any hostel on Calle 85, but they are all located around Calle 80 and Calle 82, quieter streets in that same zone than the party street itself.
In general, whether you choose to stay in the center or more towards the north, it is pretty easy to get around. All of these neighborhoods mentioned are near bus stops or transmilenio stations, where you can easily catch the bus to the other end of the city. Make sure you have apps such as Google Maps or TransmiSitp, the app for the official transportation system here in Bogotá, which will really facilitate your travels around town.