March 23, 2010

Tuesday’s Travel Tips- Bogotá

car

Image courtesty of Sebastian White

This week we visit Bogotá, Colombia! Our first South American BlueCity added in 2009, Bogotá is the country’s capital. The third highest city in the world at more than 8,500 feet above sea level, this Spanish-colonized city has been coined the “Athens of South America” because of its many libraries and universities. It is also the financial hub of Colombia. And with a population just shy of New York City, there are a plethora of activities one can enjoy both in and around the city.

Communications Manager, Mateo, suggests you pay a visit to the Luis Angel Arango Library (BLAA). It is the most popular library in America, with more visitors each year than the Library of Congress!

bogota

Image courtesy of Eddie Jones

Senior Accountant, Luz, offers that the Botero Museum, a wing of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogota (Museum of Modern Art in Bogota) filled with art all donated by artist Fernando Botero, is free to visit, and the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), which houses the world’s largest goldware collection, is a must-see. While you’re visiting the museum, be sure to explore the surrounding neighborhood, La Candelaria (Colonial District). Located in the downtown district, its quaint streets will leave you feeling like you’re in a town rather than a major metropolitan area.

For the best in cuisine, Luz recommends you check out the much-talked about the Andres Carne de Res. For budget eats, be sure to check out Cali Mio for the best rotisserie chicken at a reasonable price.

Wellness Programs Analyst, Eddie, suggests you take the tram up to Montserrat mountain, a fabulous way to see the whole city (even better lit up at night!). For some down and dirty fun, he also thinks it might be fun- though potentially embarrassing- to hit up La Guardia bar for karaoke night. “There were very few songs in English,” Eddie offers, “meaning, they only had High School Musical and Faith by George Michael.” Eddie was even honest enough to admit that they closed the bar early, not long after he had finished belting out his rendition of High School Musical- coincidence? We’re not so sure!).

Sr Analyst Financial Planning & Analysis, Peter, suggests you venture out of the city

Image courtesy of Eddie Jones

Image courtesy of Eddie Jones

about 40 miles to Zipaquira to check out the  Catedral de Sal (Cathedral of Salt) which is a breathtakingly beautiful and unique salt mine, complete with backlit religious paraphernalia. Even if you aren’t the least bit religious, this site is sure to amaze.

You can take one of the TransMilenio’s nine lines to many of the city’s different districts. Opened in 2000, this new public transportation train system runs 54 miles around the city and is a fast and easy- and cheap- way to get around.

Communications Manager, Sebastian, remarks that Bogotá is a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city – and one of the first in Latin America to extend its constitution to grant the same rights to same sex civil unions as to heterosexuals. The community’s nightlife is among the most lively of any our BlueCity’s, with numerous bars and clubs clustered around the pulsing and massive Theatron.

Worth checking out- though only with a local in tow for safety reasons- are the Milliones, Bogotá’s professional futbol (soccer) team. Even if you aren’t huge on the sport, it is sure to be an experience of a lifetime for the unmatched energy the fans bring to the stadium.

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2 Comments on “Tuesday’s Travel Tips- Bogotá”

  • Posted by Monte Isom on March 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Monte Isom
    Photographer in NYC and lover of Bogota
    @monteisom twitter

    These are some of my favorites in Bogota!

    La Castalia

    Cra. 19 A #82-61, Bogota, Colombia
    Cool 2 story bar where people are dancing on the 2nd floor. The bartenders, waiters, or anyone else you request tequila and mango juice from will snicker at you – any better tequila based cocktail alternative to the margarita is welcome at snicker(at)monte.com. Filled with hip 20/30 somethings that AREN’T hipsters. This place is the darling of Bogota’s advertising folks. Located between 82 and Calle T.

    BBC (Bogota Beer Company)

    Cra 11A No 93-94, Bogota, Colombia
    Simple: One of the only hand crafted beers (micro brews where I’m from) in Bogota. Zapaqueria de Abadia is the best beer and munch on the tres quesos pizza…avoid the nachos. 5 Locations in Bogota including in Usacan and Park 93.

    Mai Lirol Darlin
    571-236-5846

    Calle 80, No. 11-30, Bogota, Colombia
    Speaking of darlings…super kitsch and very pink. You are here for the environment and to have drinks with your friends. If you go after 1am, you may be the only ones there.

    Le Cadeques
    57 1 620 1199

    Calle 119B No. 5-43, Bogota, Colombia
    High end food that is very well prepared and presented. They have Iberico Jamon de Belotta from Spain…but I prefer to refer to it as descending from out of this world. If you don’t order the 100 gram portion you are not only cheating yourself but all of mankind from your exclamations of joy. The king dessert here is a molten chocolate cake with flakes of sorbet on top that the waiter pours liquid nitrogen over to create a smoking dish where the sorbet does not melt on the bed of lava chocolate. Pretty impressive…and delicious.

    Tienda de Cafe

    Calle 119 No. 6-16, Bogota, Colombia
    The mural covered walls of this restaurant are constantly rotating amongst artists that compete to paint their latest inspiration. This includes the walls, all the way down to the individual pieces of art on the menus. Several floors and open late. Try the ajiaco. In Usacan.

    Club Colombia
    571 249 5681

    Avenida 82 No. 9-11 Bogota, Colombia
    Typical Colombian food presented well and prepared as a high end meal. The ivy covered building is classic and ambiance is that of a steakhouse (lots of wood included), with several waiters for your every need… and you pay for it. You can buy 3 typical Colombian meals for the price of 1 at Club Colmbia…hence very few Colombians in attendence. Had a really great lunch here.

    Harry’s Bar

    Calle 70 #5-57 Bogota, Colombia
    A staple of G Zone (gourmet zone) that exudes from any Bogota native, “I love Harry’s”. High energy and good looking people in this large bar. No gimmicks here…just good crab cakes and well made and poured drinks. I can only account that they wrap things up here about 1am on a Thursday and don’t know about the rest of the week.

    El Diario

    Cra 14 #90-34, Bogota, Colombia
    A really great lunch spot with a rotating menu that is solid. I had carrot soup that rocked.

    Andres Carne de Res
    571 863 7880

    Calle 3 No. 11a-56, Chia, Bogota, Colombia
    If I tell you to go anywhere in South America it is here. Full of drink, dance and dames, this emporium of fun is set for all ages to eat the best food in or out of Bogota, drink more than they have since their 16th b-day, and still arrive in the safety of your (or her/his) bed. Margaritas are particularly strong and generous, the Lomo de res is outstanding and can be ordered in medio (half) portions to make room for all the other small goodies (like chicharones) on the menu. Shaking your ass is the name of the game here so bring your dancing shoes..or your bare feet if your latest African dance class has struck your fancy. There is no end of things to be stimulated by…and I’ll let you find out what that means. Smartest thing Adres offers is a safe service to get your drunk ass and car home…for a mere 60,000 pesos an Andres employee will drive you, and as many friends you can cram into a Twingo, to their respective homes with the final destination being that of the car owner’s casa.

    Cigarreria Diana

    Eldorado Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional El Dorado)
    Little breakfast kiosk at the Bogota Airport (located at the far west end – up the center stairs in check in and take a right). It has really good Huevos Gusto, arepa chocolo, fresh orange juice and a local favorite: airport cheese (a mozerrella like cheese sold in plastic packaging named San Pietro Quesodillo) If traveling within Colombia your friends at your destination will ask you why you didn’t buy them this cheese. Comes in Dulce (sweet) and regular.

    Park 93

    A really nice park to lay in the grass for 20 minutes and watch the world and the sky go by in between meetings. The perimeter is loaded with restaurants (least notably gato negro) and bars (most notably BBC-see above). Good meeting point for most as it is not far north or south.

    Usacan

    An area of the city with the highest density of quality food in the city. Some say T Zone holds this crown but I beg to differ (actually I’d cut their tongue out as they don’t know good food). Reasonably priced and not packed with tourists this is a great alternative to the G Zone (gourmet zone). Usacan is in Zona Rosa.

    G Zone

    The Gourmet Zone (Colombians pronounce the T in gourmet). Home of Harry’s Bar, Monkey Pub, El Corral Gourment (best burgers in town), Minimal and several other eating and drinking establishments. At the foot of Rosales (nice residential neighborhood – Upper East Side of NYC…but with a soul).

    T Zone

    The pedestrian walkway simply shaped like a T. Overpiced restaurants and discos that compete for how loud they can play their music and that is evident on the street. This is the gathering place for pre-game drinks around 9pm on Friday and Saturday. All restaurants present themselves as high end. I ate at 2 of them (la luna and 1492) and was underwhelmed.

  • Posted by Vandal Dome on August 17, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Hey, wonderful blog you got here! Keep up the good job

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