Perched on a plateau in the Andes Mountains, Bogotá is a bustling center of commerce, culture and politics, flourishing along with Colombia’s renewed prosperity. This dynamic capital is one of South America’s largest cities, with a population of 8 million, as well as one of its highest, set at 8,600 feet above sea level. Often called the Athens of South America, Bogotá teems with museums, art galleries, cultural events and world-class restaurants waiting to be experienced and enjoyed.
El Dorado International Airport is located approximately eight miles from the city center. For taxi service, visit a booth to the right of the international arrivals terminal and indicate your destination. You’ll receive a voucher quoting the price you’ll pay at arrival. Fares start from around $13, and travel time to the downtown area is about 40 minutes. Travelers can also take the buses marked “Aeropuerto” from the airport to the city center for around $6–7. Buses either drop you at the main terminal, Terminal de Buses, or at El Portal del Norte. If you arrive at night, it is recommended you take a taxi rather than a bus for safety reasons.
The city’s extensive bus service, TransMilenio, offers one of the fastest and cheapest ways to get around, operating weekdays and Saturdays 4:58 a.m.–12:15 a.m. and Sundays 5:55 a.m.–11:15 p.m. A single ticket costs between 59 cents and 71 cents, with fares fluctuating throughout the day according to peak and off-peak time frames. Bogotá also offers a wide-reaching bike-route network, with more than 215 miles of clearly marked bike paths called CicloRutas. The best day to rent a bike is Sunday, when the central streets close to traffic 7 a.m.–2 p.m.
Seal the deal over a midday meal at Bruto, where Chef Felipe Arizabaleta prepares superb Basque cooking for his restaurant, daily packed with the city’s business elite in northern Bogotá’s prestigious Quinta Camacho neighborhood. Along with tasty tapas like crisp squid croquetas, the restaurant features eclectic designer furniture and live music.
Negotiate terms over the best varieties of organic coffee from Colombia at Devotion Café in the Hilton Bogota. Devotion, the highest-end, 100 percent boutique Colombian coffee company, offers breakfast items and unique, exotic and cold slow-drip coffees from the trendiest coffee shop in the financial district.
Museo del Oro
For a unique meeting or event setting, consider the Museo del Oro, the Gold Museum, housing some 34,000 pre-Columbian artifacts. Groups can use the 130-person Café Museo del Oro and enjoy tours of the facility.
Andrés Carne de Res
One of the country’s most popular restaurants operates from two spots: one in the north of Bogotá and the biggest in Chía, located just outside the capital. The legendary venue, a combination of steakhouse and nightclub, is well-known for its range of Argentine and Uruguayan meat, seafood, signature Colombian dishes and party atmosphere.
Cerro de Monserrate
For a best-of-Bogotá view after dark, head to Cerro de Monserrate, a mountaintop overlook founded in the early 1600s. Take a 15-minute ride via cable car, available until midnight Monday through Saturday, to the summit for dazzling views of the mountainous city at night.
Dry Bar 73
Located in the heart of the financial and entertainment district, Dry Bar 73 in the luxurious JW Marriott Hotel Bogota is a posh yet comfortable spot for unwinding after work. The popular bar, well-known for its extensive martini menu, boasts 73 delicious choices.
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The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
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