Finding the Good Stuff in Bogota

Written by:

Maia James

3 days in bogota by the sign

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I recently was lucky enough to spend three days in Bogota, Colombia. What follows are the highlights of my trip to this truly wonderful city! Please comment if you’ve visited Bogota and share your Good Stuff recommendations.

Disclosure: We may have received discounted accommodations, meals, or other experiences at the locations referenced in this review. As always, the opinions expressed in this article are wholly my own.

Is Three Days in Bogota Enough Time?

I traveled with three girlfriends, and we all feel that three days in Bogota was enough to truly experience all the Good Stuff this city has to offer. We are working moms who try to travel together at least once a year, and these trips are always between two and four days. We’ve never felt that we don’t have enough time, but perhaps this is partly because we all share one room, and therefore we are ready to get home to our own bathrooms after several days!

If we’d had more than three days in Bogota, we would have loved to take a day trip, or perhaps to do another tour. Still, three days in Bogota gave us plenty of time to get to all the sights we most wanted to visit, eat some amazing food, and shop more than we should have!

Where to Stay in Bogota

We were hosted by the Four Seasons during out three days in Bogota. There are two Four Seasons properties in Bogota–Four Seasons Bogota and Four Seasons Casa Medina, and I can recommend each for different reasons!

Overall, my friends and I agreed that we liked Casa Medina better, if we had to choose. It’s located in what’s known as the “Gourmet District,” and indeed there are good restaurants and pretty streets all around. But the hotel itself is why we loved it–the colonial architecture, the charming lobby, a gorgeous restaurant, the beautiful outdoor seating areas surrounded by lush mountain views–there is a lot to fall in love with.

The Four Seasons Bogota features the same impeccable services as Casa Medina, and is in located in Zona T, an upscale shopping area. There are a number of good restaurants right on the block, and more shopping than you’ll possibly have time for right around the corner. The lobby and rooms here are both lovely in their own right, but less distinctive than Casa Medina.

What to Do in Bogota

We packed a lot into our three days in Bogota, and I would recommend all our activities. These included:

  1. A tour (or two!) of the city. The Four Seasons arranged one for us with Estevan, who was a wealth of info and took care of all our transport, snacks, requests for, stops and answers to all kinds of questions. My friends did this food tour before my flight landed on our first day, and they all gave it five-star reviews.
  2. A trip to the top of Montserrate. A short funicular ride ends at the highest point in Bogota, where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the whole city. Two tips from our tour guide: It’s not safe to hike up, and get the Fast Pass for the funicular or you’ll be waiting forever.
  3. Walking around La Calendaria. I think we somehow managed to miss the charming part of this neighborhood (people swear it exists!), but it’s still worth a stroll.
  4. Checking out the Botero museum. This is a small, easily accessible museum that’s free to visit. I happen to love Botero’s own work, but you can also view his personal collection here, which includes pieces by Monet, Renoir, Picasso, and more.
  5. Shopping for emeralds. The emerald district is on 12th Street and 6th Avenue, right next to La Calendaria neighborhood. I never buy jewelry when traveling, but we were there ON my birthday, and emerald is my birthstone so…
  6. Visiting an outdoor market. There are a number of flea markets in Bogota, but I can’t imagine a better one than Mercado de las Pulgas de Usaquén, where we spent our entire Sunday morning. We walked away with original pieces of art, handmade clothing, and gifts for our families, and all of it was super affordable!
  7. Shopping and having a drink in Campo Die Fiori. Within the Sunday flea market is this special spot, which has a few boutiques and restaurants, plus a giant chessboard which would be really fun for kids!
  8. Browsing the shops within the Retiro Mall. We found so many amazing items in the shops here, all of which felt markedly more affordable than similar brands at home. If you love Johanna Ortiz (who doesn’t!), the clothes in her shop were about 40% less than they are anywhere in the States.

Where to Eat & Drink in Bogota

I thought it might be tough being a pescetarian in Bogota, but it wasn’t at all! As I mentioned, my friends did a food tour before I arrived that they enthusiastically recommend. Here is everywhere we ate and drank and my thoughts on each:

  1. Dinner at El Cielo. This meal was unlike any dining experience I’ve had. It featured 16 elaborate courses of traditional Colombian food, each with a story related to the country’s history. They totally accommodated my dietary restrictions (no meat or poultry). Don’t miss this one.
  2. Drinks and snacks at Boulevardier, the speakeasy within the Four Seasons Casa Medina. While this is technically a whiskey bar, I have to recommend the cosmo–it was one of the best I’ve had. For snacks, our favorite was the fries.
  3. Lunch at Primi. This was one of our favorite meals during our three days in Bogota. I was craving a big green salad, and the Greek one was so good we ordered a second.
  4. Breakfast at Castayoles at the Four Seasons Casa Medina. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, you should get there for a brunch! It’s beautiful and vast and they even cut all the amazing tropical fruit for you in real time.
  5. Breakfast and dinner at La Biblioteca in the Four Seasons Bogota. The breakfast at this location was also delicious, if not as jaw-dropping as the one at Casa Medina.
  6. Drinks at Andres Carne de Res. We went to the “DC” location, where we had fun cocktails in a multi-floor space where we were definitely the only Americans. If I went back to Bogota, I’d make the trip to the farther-away Chia location, which is supposed to be even more impressive.
  7. Dinner at Harry Sasson. This was a fun restaurant, and again, they make a good cosmo! We all felt the food was fine but nothing was spectacular.

Final Thoughts on My Three Days in Bogota

We really sucked the marrow out of the city during our three days in Bogota. It is definitely enough time to get a sense of what makes it special, but there wasn’t a lot of downtime. Please comment below if you’ve been to Bogota, and what you thought!

Stay sane,

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