by Michael J. Shapiro | March 26, 2020

The Colombian capital, a bustling metropolis of nearly 8 million people, blends modern gastronomy and culture with historic sites and neighborhoods. The Andes Mountains providea stunning backdrop to the cityscape, as well as many lookout points to take in the urban views. Get a sense of place here.

Day 1: Art Through the Ages

10:00 A.M.

Kick-start your relationship with Bogotá at what National Geographic has called "one of the best museums in the history of the planet." Housing the largest collection of prehispanic goldwork anywhere, the Gold Museum tells the history of the region's customs and art -- by way of 34,000 gold pieces. Closed Mondays. 

2:00 P.M.

Every day of the year at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the free Bogotá Graffiti Tour (top) begins at the Parque de los Periodistas, next to the blue umbrella. From there, the walking tour of La Candelaria neighborhood delivers insight into the art form and the urban experience. 

7:00 P.M.

The Chapinero Alto tour from Foodies brings groups of 2 to 20 on a 3-hour tasting tour of this hipster neighborhood packed with creative chefs and restaurants. 

Day 2: Local Specialties

11:00 A.M.

Immerse yourself in a lesson on Colombia's second-biggest export with a Coffee Baptism at Café San Alberto Usaquén. Here you'll receive an introduction to the country's coffee production, learn about processes, learn about different flavors and aromas, and then "cup" three coffees to determine their flavor profiles. You'll leave, sufficiently caffeinated, with an apron and a diploma to commemorate the experience.

2:00 P.M.

Usaquén is a charming, vibrant neighborhood, so follow up the Coffee Baptism with some exploring. The nearby Boho Food Market and Expo provides a sampling of all things local: a market for produce, cheese, wines, delicatessen specialties, chocolate and more; a shopping mall that showcases local designers and artists; and a wide variety of restaurants, for the sustenance you need to get out and buy.

Day 3: New Heights and Old Favorites

9:00 A.M.

Rising more than 10,000 feet above sea level, the mountain of Monserrate is difficult to miss -- it's the most prominent, and visited, attraction in the city. There are a variety of ways one can ascend to reach the church perched on the top: by cable car, funicular railway or by good old-fashioned hiking. The last option requires climbing more than 1,300 feet to get there, but when you arrive, you'll have earned the gorgeous views from the 17th-century Sanctuary of Monserrate.

 

2:00 P.M.

Back in the historic Candelaria neighborhood, the Botero Museum showcases a collection of 208 important pieces -- 123 by the artist Fernando Botero himself and 85 by international artists, all donated by Botero in the year 2000.

7:00 P.M

You've tried the hipster foodie version of Colombian cooking; don't leave without sampling the dishes as they've been prepared for generations. Casa Vieja serves a menu full of traditional Colombian fare, with three locations to choose from.