Top places to stay active in Bogotá

Alright, we know what you are thinking and we know you are on vacation, but some people like to keep their exercise routine when they are traveling and some people get motivated to move while discovering a new place. Some people would say it’s pretty easy, just google “gym near me” and pay for the day, well, fair enough, but to be honest gyms are pretty much the same anywhere, and in our opinion, they are a very boring place. So, we listed the best spots to sweat it out in Bogotá.

An important note before we start with our list: Bogotá is located at 2600 m over sea level, so the altitude can be a problem for some people. Please beware, take care of yourself, and don’t push it before acclimatizing well.

Monserrate trail

Everybody knows about going up Monserrate, but how many know about going up on foot? Just a bit above from the cable car/train station, you will find the entrance to this trail. The trail is 2 km in distance up to the church, with an approximate elevation gain of 500m. It’s not easy, but a moderately active and acclimatized person could do it in around 1 hour. Getting to the top, after sweating out all these steps, is very gratifying, especially when you see the beautiful view of the immense city from 3100m over sea level.

The trail is open every day but Tuesdays, from 5:00am to 1:00pm (you can go down walking until 4pm if you take the train or cable car up) and before 9am, you can get the cable the cable car for almost half the price, 6,000 COP.

TIP: If you plan on going on foot, avoid Sundays,  as all the Catholic families walk up and the trail gets pretty crowded. MAP

Ciclovía

Every Sunday and public holiday, many major streets in the city are closed for cyclists and joggers, skaters, rollerbladers, dogs, anything you can think of. These include Carrera Septima (7th Avenue) and Calle 26, two most important streets of Bogotá. From 7am to 2pm on these days, you can enjoy the wide streets on foot or bike. If you are visiting and might not be carrying your bike with you, there are many companies out there that rent you bikes by the hour or the day. Most of them are probably located in La Candelaria, but Bogotá Bike Tours and Rentals sets up a temporary office at the Hilton Hotel.

One great rout we recommend is riding along Calle 26, heading towards the airport, until you get to Salitre – El Greco Transmilenio station, turn right, and you will hit Simón Bolívar park. Ride around and explore that area!

Virgilio Barco Library

Simón Bolívar Park

Simón Bolívar park is the metropolitan park of the city. The star isn’t the 4 km² park itself but the whole complex in that area, including the metropolitan park, the Virgilio Barco library, and Los Novios Park. The library was designed by a famous Colombian architect, Rogelio Salmona, the man who caused the widespread of brick architecture throughout the country. This area of town is accessible by walking from the closest Transmilenio station, Salitre – El Greco, or biking there on ciclovía is also a great way. MAP

Frailejones in Páramo Verjón

Páramo Verjón

So you have probably heard this word before. A páramo is a very special high altitude ecosystem that is only found in Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. It is characterized by being cold and humid, and the alien-like plants called frailejón. These plants are to thank for the drinkable tap water here in Bogotá, as they filter rainwater. Páramo Verjón is only 20 minutes away by bus from the city center. First, you need to get to Terminal Transoriente, next to Tercermilenio Transmilenio station, and get a bus towards Choachí. Tell the driver to stop at Parque Ecológico Matarredonda, where you pay an 8,000 COP entrance fee to enter the páramo. There you can do different trails and get to know this unique landscape. MAP

View of the city from La Cruz

Quebrada La Vieja

Another popular option for Bogotanos to exercise is Quebrada La Vieja trail that goes up another part of the eastern mountain range of Bogota, just north of Monserrate. It’s a trail that takes you more into nature, and after a while, it separates into 3 ways: La Cruz, La Virgen and Paramo. La Cruz and Paramo are the hardest ones, with around 4km and 650m of elevation gain each. La Virgen is easier but semi-flat, but the view isn’t as rewarding. If you are adventurous don’t try to find alternative and unused trails, you will end up getting lost. Bruno did this on his first week in Bogota and got lost for the whole day, he doesn’t recommend it. The trail has just reopened after 1 year being closed because of environmental risks. MAP

Hours: During the week from 5 am to 9 am and 10 am is when they chase everyone down. Weekends from 6 am to 11 am, coming down from the top by 12 pm.

Parque Nacional

Parque Nacional is a park located in Chapinero, very close to the center of the city. It looks small when you look at it from Carrera Septima(7th avenue), but it goes up until the mountain, with a bunch of hidden spots (which can be dangerous, so always keep an eye out), different sports courts and outdoor gyms, but you can also just run around! It also has nice details, like statues, little maps of the different states of Colombia on the front sidewalk and the coolest thing (in our opinion), 2 very big topography maps that you can walk on, one of Colombia and another of the Cundinamarca department. Finally, it’s very close to La Macarena neighborhood, famous for its restaurants, where maybe you can find one of Bogotá’s hidden gems after your jog! MAP

Las Moyas

Another cool trail going up the eastern mountains is Las Moyas, close to Quebrada La Vieja. This one is interesting because you go up and down on different trails. Las Moyas was also closed for a while and has now opened again. On this trail, you will find some cool rocks and you get to Las Moyas, a páramo, some frailejones.

It gets cold up there so bring appropriate clothing. The trail is open, with police guarding around, on weekends from 5:30 to 9 am. It has a similar elevation gain and distance to the La Cruz trail of Quebrada La Vieja. MAP

Quebrada de las delicias

Quebrada de las Delicias

This short but beautiful trail follows a series of small waterfalls through the Las Delicias creek, Swimming is not permitted nor recommended. Bruno also did this and was coughing for 3 weeks, remember, Bogotá is not warm. MAP

Parque Virrey

This stretched beautiful park is located in one of the wealthiest zones of Bogotá. It is a great option if you are around the north. It is great for runners and you always will see lots of cute dogs and some people doing yoga. Keep your eyes open, sometimes there are events hosted there; like Alimentarte, a food festival that features a different country every year, this year was Argentina and last year was France, all that along with Colombian goodies. MAP

La Calera

This is a small town just over the mountain northwest of Bogotá. On cicliovía days, many people take that chance to bike from the city up over the mountain. One lane on that road is reserved for cyclists, so it’s totally safe! It is a tough ride, we recommend this for expert riders only. However, when you get to La Calera, you can enjoy yourself some fresh juice, some little Colombian snacks, while enjoying some fresh area and a nice little farm town view, then head back. MAP

Last but not least, don’t think that staying active means purely doing hard exercises; a nice walk around the city is always a cool option as well, and for that, you should definitely check Beyond Colombia’s walking tours!

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