Bogota City Guide
OVERVIEW: The capital of Colombia. The third-largest city in Latin America after Sao Paulo, Brazil and Mexico City, Mexico. Over the years, Bogota has had to cope with a influx of migrants from the countryside looking for work, and as a consequence the city comes across as poorly planned and a bit chaotic in certain areas. However, it's still a can't-miss city if you come to Colombia.
WEATHER: Subtropical highland (6-20 °C). Dry and rainy seasons alternate throughout the year.
SAFETY: Slightly dangerous. Don't believe any hype about Bogota being safer than many other Latin American cities. It isn't. You need to be extremely careful in certain areas (I wouldn't recommend even going to south Bogota unless you're familiar with the area), and I don't advise walking alone at night.
MUST DO: Walk La Candeleria. This is the historic district, and where most iconic images of Bogota are taken. The photo above depicts the district.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN BOGOTA: $500.00. You can find places for less, even in La Candeleria, but in north of the city, $500.00 is the least you're going to pay for an apartment. Some good deals can still be found in Chapinero, about 4 km from the Zona Rosa.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $12.00
NIGHTLIFE IN BOGOTA: 9/10
Like Medellin, an overwhelming number of nightspots in this city. To make this massive ciudad more digestible, I'll recommend three areas that are relatively close to one another: La Candeleria, Zona Rosa and Chapinero. La Candeleria is touristy, Zona Rosa is upscale and Chapinero is popular among university students. Pick a bar according to your tastes.
I recommend: El Chango Bar. I highly recommend this place for mingling and meeting people.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $2.00
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN BOGOTA: 7.5/10
Because it is a large metropolis, people are generally more liberal so there isn't as much as a stigma against one night stands. The attitude and values of middle/upper class girls from Bogota are similar to middle/upper class girls from Mexico City (read: more liberal, more independent, more career-oriented), but Rolas are a bit harder to bed than the Chinlangas in Mexico. This is because there is less intermingling between groups in Colombia than there is in Mexico. Also, as a stranger, girls are more paranoid of you in Bogota than they are in D.F. Students will be more receptive to your foreign status, and if you befriend some of the gay guys in Chapinero, you'll be able to run the town.
***If you want to meet girls in Colombia the easy way and set up dates before you arrive in the country, I highly recommend checking out Colombian Cupid.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN BOGOTA?: 7.5/10.
Girls in Bogota resemble girls in Mexico City. There are plenty of cute, hipster students peppered in with high-society stunners. The hottest girls you will see as a short term tourist will likely be in Zona Rosa, but in Chapinero they are more down to earth and easier to interact with. La Candeleria is good for mingling as well, but you'll have to deal with more gringos and the annoying little gringo-hunters who hang out in duos in hostel bars. Overall, Bogota doesn't have the best looking girls in Colombia (I'd give the crown to Medellin), but it is still above-average.
If you want to meet women in Colombia, you will need to speak some Spanish. PickUp Spanish is the best resource of its kind, designed specifically for teaching you the Spanish you'll need to meet girls from Latin America.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.20 Loaf of Bread= $1.50 Eggs= $2.00 Water (1.5L)= $1.20 Cigarettes= $2.00
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: You can teach English in Bogota. It is also an international city, so if you are a businessman or involved in finance, you may find opportunities here.
TAXI: $4.00-$6.00 for about 6-8 km. Be careful hailing cabs off the street, as express robberies can occurr. Taxi drivers here aren't the most honest kids on the block so try not to get ripped off.
NOTES: A very hip and modern city. However, not everyone will like it. Bogota suits a particular type of person. For instance, a person who loves New York, Mexico City or Toronto will probably love Bogota. If you are a big city type, somewhat business-oriented, don't mind cold weather, and speak Spanish fluently, there's a good chance you'll be well-suited to Bogota. If you are planning to relocate to Colombia and don't have experience living in a massive city, I'd suggest a few months in Medellin or Bucaramanga first. If you're just visiting Colombia though, definitely take some time to check out this city.
OVERALL RATING: 8.75/10
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*More city guides from Colombia here!