MotoDreamer’s spotlight on Bogotá will most likely commence for you when you arrive in this South American city. What can you expect to discover?
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Now we know that Adventure Motorcycle Touring Riders the world over are not great fans of cities. They hate the traffic jams and the hustle and bustle of daily life. So why read about a city called Bogota?
Simple because the history buff in each of you know that many historical events and famous people are found in cities.
Did Bogota’s history begin with the Conquistador’s arrival?
Why would anyone want to build a city surrounded in all directions on a 2,600 m plateau?
What do Cachacos and Rolos refer to?
Are Bogota´s 15 touristy attractions safe to visit and explore?
Is it true there is a 200-year-old restaurant with a false door?
How would you like to ride on a 16-car refurbished train to an underground salt mine that houses a Cathedral?
History and Adventure Motorcycle Touring in South America should always begin with an incredible independent Adventure Motorcycle Touring Operator called MotoDreamer.
MotoDreamer´s spotlight on Bogotá commences with 5 pleasing facts.
Firstly, MotoDreamer´s spotlight on Bogotá commences with the city founders and planners, over the years, who paid particular attention to its structure and its unique location compared to many other cities around the globe. Let’s see what they achieved.
Well, firstly, they made sure you will live an incredible 8,660 feet above sea level, with a subtropical climate of 14.4C on average. That’s probably why you see so many of your neighbors wearing jumpers and cardigans.
Secondly, You will experience no seasonal changes here, just blue sky. Don’t get me wrong, you will still have a lot of rainy days and will need to add a brolly to your jumper.
Thirdly, If you are an avid bookworm, you are in “Literature Heaven” as there are nearly 40 Bibliotecas for you to get lost in.
Fourthly, If you prefer to spend your time listening, singing, or dancing, Bogota is definitely the place to live. It has over 60 annual festivals dedicated to the world of Music. Also, experience the many music venues cover the full spectrum of musical genres from Pop, to Classical.
Finally, to back up what I wrote in the above paragraph, in 2013, Bogota was named UNESCO’s City of Music.
MotoDreamer´s spotlight on Bogotá, continues with more interesting facts.
- Bogota’s history and rich culture began in 1538, thus making it 500 years old! It can trace its roots even further back to well before the Spaniards arrived.
- Its population comprises 68 Groups of indigenous people, Gypsies, and Afro-Colombian & Raizal Groups.
- You could almost class Bogota as Graffiti City, as nearly every building has sometimes written on its wall. (Well worth taking a tour to see the outstanding ones.) the local inhabitants and artists use these readily available canvases to express themselves.
- For generations, the inhabitants of Bogota have placed education high on the agenda. They now have over 36 Bibliotecas and over 48 museos to choose from.
- Bogota lies on a two thousand and six hundred meter plateau.
- The city on its eastern side is surrounded by mountain ranges that are well over 3000 meters.
- The other three zones of the North, South, and West lay below the fortress of mountainous rock formations.
- Like the rest of Colombia, the avenues and streets are referred to as Carreras and Calles. You will find them beginning from the center of the city and spread out in ascending number order.
- In the same vein, you will find the Carreras in parallel with the North to South direction.
- You can buy almost anything at Bogota markets, including emeralds!
- As a seasoned Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider, you will not take long to navigate your way around the city of Bogota.
Author´s Tip: After reading this article titled MotoDreamer´s spotlight on Bogota. It would not hurt if you downloaded a Google map of the city and worked out beforehand where the airport lies and where your hotel will be.
Then check out the rest of what I believe are great places to go.
So if you are contemplating spending a few days before or after your scheduled MotoDreamer Adventure Motorcycle Tour here in Bogota, we thought it would please you to have an idea of what you can do and see.
But first, let’s get the BIG question out of the way; Is Bogotá safe for us Adventurous Motorcycle Touring Riders to tour around?
What conclusion regarding safety did MotoDreamer come to after placing the spotlight on Bogota?
In a nutshell, yep, it sure is! (Just don´t show interest in politics and the drug trade.)
It’s like any city the world over; you don’t go round flaunting your jewels and tiaras. Rolex watches stay at home in the bedroom safe. Property deeds remain with your lawyer in his locked safe. Your insurance policies stay in your wife’s hidden storage area.
So do you get the picture? To be safe, just do the right things.
Author’s note: For those of you who binge-watch both Narcos and Narcos Mexico every couple of months like me, it would be easy to assume Colombia and its three cities, Cali, Medellin, and Bogotá, as a dangerous and non-tourist set of destinations.
But you gladly are wrong and can relax with the decision to come to Colombia.
Yes, Bogota has started the process of rebuilding its history for the better.
Twenty, even fifteen years ago, you would be right to avoid Colombia. It was indeed full of crime through the cocaine trade. In the last decade, tremendous strides have come into existence that have made everyday life for those who live here more acceptable and safe.
Yes, it’s true; Bogota has not reached the same levels of security we expect in Europe. Still, if you behave and follow the rules, in that case, there is no reason why you should not enjoy wholeheartedly the experience of traveling on your Motorcycle touring as a “slightly brave” Rider.
Another Author’s note: I have lived and worked here in Santiago de Cali, once the home of the Rodrigo Brothers, the arch enemies of Pablo Escobar from Medellin, for nearly a decade.
I walk during the day everywhere within reason and distance and never at night. But I was the same in London, Paris, and Berlin.
What has surprised me the most is that every Edificio (building) in zones 4 to 6 employs a Concierge or Security Doorman. I quickly became accustomed to not gaining entry, and no one was none the wiser.
Even deliveryman cannot gain entry “willy nilly.”
Author´s Note: Time for a wee visit to the toilet and the stirrings of a decent cup of Colombian dark roast. Back in the minute with the continuance of this article titled MotoDreamer´s Spotlight on Bogotá.
Here are a few background facts regarding living in Bogotá.
If you are concerned about the weather, here are four facts to help to decide when to come and what to pack:
- January is often the coldest month.
- April is by far the hottest month
- July the month often considered the windiest month
- November is normally the wettest month
MotoDreamer´s spotlight on Bogotá with Los Estrados (Zones) de Bogota
In Bogotá and other Colombian cities, the Colombian Government grades their Estrados (zones) from Numero Uno (1) to Numero Seis (6.) This grading acts as the official approval way of describing their Social Economic Zones.
Sadly, Numero Uno counts as the worst, and in comparison, Numero Seis counts as the very best.
So what does all this mean to the Bogotanos or “Cachacos” or “Rolos,” which translates to those born in Bogotá?
The term Rolo/a is believed to originated in the 2nd half of the 19th century as the descendants of the marauding Spanish – the Creoles started to be born in the Savanna of Bogotá. Rolos was not an excellent term but a mockery of how the Creoles pronounced their “Rs.”
The term “Cachacos” has many theories attached to it, but as one can expect, it refers more to the “superior quality” of an inhabitant.
Check out this link for a real in-depth explanation of both “Rolos” and “Cachacos” at
Rolos and Cachacos: what is the main difference between these words?
Now back to the Estrados de Bogotá .
How much a person pays for their utility bills is determined by which Estrado they dwell in. As you imagine, there must be considerable differences in what amounts the people have to pay.
For example, those living in zones 1, 2, and 3 will enjoy discounts on their public transport journeys. Their children will enjoy free public education and a degree of social security, which sadly does not equate to high-quality health care.
Now if you are living in Estrado Uno, and your next-door neighbors are living in Estrado Seis.
Whether commercial or residential, even the cost of the property can also alter according to which Estrado it sits in. Check out this map below that shows you the Zones from 1 to 6 in Bogota.
Now you have some idea what it’s like to be someone who lives in Bogotá, now let’s look at the city and what it offers to you guys.
Don’t be overwhelmed at the thought of this sprawling, bustling city of Bogotá, especially when you witness a population of approx 11 million (as per figures released in 2020) heading to and from work.
It has an abundance of history and is loaded with touristy things to see and do. Colombia’s capital is truly worth adding to your bucket list of places to visit.
The inhabitants of Bogotá love their Sundays. Not only that, but it’s also got a trendy, stylish, and modern side to it as well. If you are lucky to be here on any Sunday from 7 am to 2 pm, look out for La Ciclovía.
Witness and enjoy the weekly city shut down of nearly all its highways, streets, and roads to the vast community of runners, walkers, and cyclists.
The city has an abundance of upscale neighborhoods filled with a superb choice of restaurants to suit any pocket. Like all great cities, Bogotá has awe-inspiring parks and excellent nightlife for those younger at heart with energy to burn.
Authors Note: Time for another visit to the toilet and for me to answer the kettle for that decent cup of Colombian dark roast I promised myself. Back in the minute with the continuance of this article titled MotoDreamer´s Spotlight on Bogotá.
Bogotá is an authentic South American cosmopolitan city. As far as MotoDreamer´s spotlight on Bogotá is concerned.
At the same time, though, you’ll love all of the authentic culture, markets, and street art that you’re surrounded by daily. And after you’ve explored La Candelaria up through Zona Rosa, you can head out of town for some day trips to colonial villages, beautiful lakes, and dramatic waterfalls.
MotoDreamer´s spotlight on Bogotá now, packed with at least 15 fantastic touristy things to do (safely):
Numero Uno Climb the 10,000-foot high mountain of Monserrate in the morning at Carrera 2 Este # 21-48
After a hearty breakfast, head to the Funicular Station at the foot of the mountain overlooking the city. You will travel up using the same cable cars with glass roofs and large observatory windows on all sides as the first visitors did in 1955.
Take in the lush and bushy tall tree vistas as you travel upwards over the canopy that makes up the mountainside vegetation. It is easy to assume you are a bird soaring upwards for 4 minutes when you mix the blue skyline with the earthly trees.
At the top, you will discover a church and a shrine dedicated to El Señor Caído. Behind the church’s courtyard, you can browse and explore the many stalls serving all kinds of food and selling souvenirs.
Check out the traditional handmade garments, artisanal jewelry, sombreros, and artisanal styled bags. Check out the Chocolate coffee beans and my favorite rather large corn on the cobs with a mug of piping hot chocolate.
Numero Dos Zona Rosa or Zone T (due to its T shape) at Cl. 83
If you still have the energy at the end of the day, head to Zona Rosa. It’s the go-to place for all-you-night birds. It’s full of up-market shores, noisy nightclubs, bars, casinos, classy restaurants, and fancy hotels.
MotoDreamer´s spotlight on Bogotá suggests this is an area that will definitely test your wallet.
At the Zona Rosa center lies the impressive-looking Parque 93, great for people watching and soaking in the atmosphere. Should you require the assistance of an Embassy, the chances are it is located in this area.
Numero Tres Zona G or Gourmet Zone at Carreras 3 & 7 with Calle 65 & 71
This zone of Bogotá is for those of you who love your food. Here you find a fanfare of delicious cuisine from many different prestigious restaurants.
In addition, there is a wealth of elegant hotels, and of course the odd expensive shop with no prices in the windows. Zona G has fast become the number one choice for those wishing to experience the trappings of fine cuisine.
Numero Cuatro Jardín Botánico de Bogotá José Celestino Mutis at Cl 63 # 6895
This is Colombia’s largest Botanical Garden. Here you will come across nearly every plant, tree, or flower from every region in Colombia. You will marvel at the locations they have come from; all regions, places, and altitudes are represented.
The park is now designed to meet every research possible and for those who wish to learn from such work. You will witness the massive emphasis on Paramo and Andean ecosystems. Definitely visit the 1802-built Astronomical Observatory of the Americas but remember to reserve your spot well in advance for three days.
Numero Cinco Parque Centro Simon Bolivar at Av. Calle 53 y Av. Esmeralda # S/N
This park in Bogota was named after the famous Liberator – Simon Bolivar. The park was created for those families who love to congregate and enjoy the city’s open spaces. The Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park is full of spaces, and it’s FREE. It caters to all admirers of sports, entertainment, and bags of greenspace.
Whatever you are into, walking, jogging, skipping, or bicycling, there is ample space for you all. There is also for the less energetic a lake, with ducks and small rentable boats. Bring a Colombian-style picnic and sit by the lake, enjoying the ducks chatting away.
Author´s tip. Do as MotoDreamer would do when in Bogotá, and that is to get stuck in and play Tejo.
It is Colombia’s favorite sport, well, the game really that involves gunpowder and loud bangs. Do not believe for one moment it is dangerous. It’s great fun, especially after a few beers.
If you are lucky enough to be invited to play, jump right in and enjoy yourself.
At times you will be throwing a metal disk that is surprisingly heavy across the room at a set of targets that are full of gunpowder encased in a clay setting.
If you are “bang on target,” you will be greeted with roars of approval, points for your chosen team, and a loud explosion from the target.
Numero Seis El Museo del Oro (The Gold Museum) at Carrera 6 No 15-88
It will set you back 8000 pesos (USD 2) per person, but it’s well worth it.
Since this famous Museo opened in 2000, it has become one of the most fascinating gold collections in South America. It contains more than 55,000 rare pieces of gold and other materials. Each encapsulates all of Colombia’s primary Pre-Hispanic cultures. In addition, ýou’ll discover all the collection, laid out logically, throughout its thematic rooms spread over three floors.
Numero Siete The Botero Museo at Cl 11 # 4-41
This museum houses many works by the famous Fernando Botero and proudly displays one of Latin America’s international art collections.
Walk amongst paints, busts, statues, and various pieces of art. Each doorway you walk past or corner you turn will bring you to a standstill.
Face it, we all love art, and the Botero experience mixed with Picasso, Monet, and Renoir will not disappoint you.
Numero Ocho National Museum of Colombia at Av. 7N # 28-66
This is home to over 20,000 works of art, including antiquities and artifacts. Here you will find and explore Colombian history and its culture through the ages. Furthermore, it sits proudly as the oldest and largest of all Colombian museos.
Author’s note: If you are a history buff like me, you’ll spend hours here and be pleased that you did.
Numero Nueve Teatro Colón Bogotá at Cl. 10 # 5-32, La Candelaria.
Also known as The Christopher Columbus Theatre, built-in 1892 and now stands proudly as the National Theatre. And it’s for those who adore live displays of genuine acting skills such as concerts, operas, and the occasional morning play.
Don’t forget to check out what’s on via the Ticket office, and hopefully, you too will get the opportunity to sit on one of the majestic horseshoe-shaped seats.
Numero Diez Biblioteca Pública Virgilio Barco at Av. Cra. 60 No. 57 – 60
You’ll find this Biblioteca open every day of the week except Mondays. The designer and architect of this awe-inspiring library were Rogelio Salmona as part of his work for the Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park.
From the outside, you think it is only one floor high, but in fact, it is three floors high. Two floors integrated into the hillside. Giving it a unique effect on all who visit it.
The Biblioteca covers an area of 14 hectares and was inaugurated on December 21, 2001. The library was named after Colombian President Virgilio Barco Vargas from 1986 to 1990
Numero Once Plaza Bolivar or The Bolivar Square at Cra. 7 # 11-10, La Candelaria
This Plaza is where you will explore the beginnings of Colombia’s birth as an independent nation with the efforts made by the famous Liberator – Simon Bolivar.
The Square, constructed on April 27, 1539, It’s the Main Square in the Colombian capital of Bogotá. Previously the Square was called Plaza Mayor until 1821. The Square has been an open market, a bull Ring, even a Public Circus in its time.
But that all changed when the cry for Independence was proclaimed back in 1810. Plaza Bolivar is the heart of the area, and you will find it surrounded by all that is historical and truly Colombian.
Numero Doce La Puerta Falsa Restaurant at Cl. 11 # 6-50
This restaurant is over 200 years old! It first opened its False Door in 1816!
Furthermore, you’ll find it situated in an old colonial home and only a block away from Plaza de Bolivar.
Try not to miss out on their delicious Tamales, Ajiaco (made of chicken and potatoes,) and Chocolate Completo. A genuinely going back in time experience you will talk about for years to come.
Numero Trece Are you a flea market fan? If so head to Mercado de Pulgas in Usaquen at Cra. 7 # 2470
Remember, this is a Sunday outdoor marketplace with many vendors selling an array of antiques, with an abundance of jewelry, clothes, toys & home decor items. Definitely worth heading to and seeing what you can find.
Numero Catorce Do you like to buy your fruit and veg all fresh and ready to consume?
Then head to Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao at Av. Cdad. de Lima # 25-04.
You will find it open seven days a week with fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, and an abundance of flowers to ogle at. It’s a beautiful market with all manner of food on display.
Also, it’s effortless to get to negotiating around the stalls is a joy. Later, try out the many fruit juices on offer, and spend time checking out the myriad of exotic fruits. Well worth investing an hour or two exploring what you have never come across before.
Finally, I have saved the best that Bogota can offer to last. Believe me, I am not a devout follower of the faith, but I was moved by what I first saw in the salt mine back in 2013.
Numero Quince Why not relax on a 16 car refurbished train from Usaquen in downtown Bogotá to the Salt Mines and Cathedral in Zipaquila.
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, an underground Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of a salt mine. You will head down to the spectacular vistas via the 200 meters long underground.
Created in a halite mountain near the city of Zipaquirá in Cundinamarca, Colombia. It has been a tourist destination and place of pilgrimage in the country of millions of Catholics since 1995. Once seen, never forgotten.
This place of interest is a fitting end to MotoDreamer´s Spotlight on Bogotá
We at MotoDreamer firmly believe if you add this South American capital – Bogotá to your Bucket list, you will be rewarded beyond your dreams. Furthermore, it has everything that any capital in the world would be proud to associate and identify with. I suspect even Simon Bolivar would be very proud too.
This article was written by Mike Bowley (SEO Content Writer and Founder at Calibri.Pro)
If you loved MotoDreamer´s insight into Bogotá, then check out the following four articles with their spotlight on Medellin, Cartagena, Popayan, and Santiago de Cali:
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