Art in the streets of Bogota - Colombia
Bogota is not the easiest city. It is a city which you have to get used to and that you need to give a chance. The first days in Bogota I was a little overwhelmed by the chaos in traffic, cars honking, the size of the city, its four seasons in one day, the complex system of the Transmilenio, ...
But after a short time I knew how to orientate and I began to see the beauty of Bogota! This city is located in the Andes at about 2600m (8500ft) altitude. So be careful if you are coming from sea level, headache is not exceptional.
Bogota is a megacity and officially has 8 million inhabitants. Estimated (unofficial) number is between 12 and 13 million Rolos. A native of Bogota they call a Rolo or also Cachaco.
At first glance, people seem less friendly. But isn´t it like that in each metropolis? I already had the luck to meet warm and friendly Rolos!
What to do in Bogota?
Bogota has several barrios. Let's start with the most touristic one:
La Candelaria is the oldest part of the city and has hundreds of beautiful graffiti's. All graffiti itself is impressive, but if you are going to look closer you see a lot of details and different ways of graffiti art that are applied. As Keebee who is painting with 2 hands at the same time for example. Or FCO who works primarily with real-life portrait of animals. Then you also have Chite Yarumo who has a latin-art-style and DJ Lu who is putting logos with a sense on the walls all over the city. And so you have many more.
Previously graffiti was seen as vandalism but since the death of Diego Felipe Becerra in 2011, a lot has changed. This 16-year-old artist was shot dead by the police because they thought he was a robber. That caused a lot of protest. Especially because just before Justin Bieber had a full police escort to put graffiti on a wall downtown. The Mayor now changed the law for graffiti artists. They now can enjoy more freedom and their work is finally appreciated and is now even legal.
I saw all the graffiti during a walk in La Candelaria, but I was told by some locals that the finest graffiti is outside the tourist area. Next time I try to arrange a bike ride. You also see green statues everywhere. Which are the work of artist Jorge Olave. He wanted to make these talented people immortal: you have a juggler, a shoeshiner, ...
In la Candelaria you have a lot of nice bars and restaurants. You can find delicious whole grain bread and there are also some delicious vegetarian options!
Plaza de Chorro del Quevedo is a fun, cozy place where you will see mostly students after school hours. There are also some artists who create beautiful works of art with special graffiti techniques. There is a nice atmosphere. At the weekend you can find a man who tells all kinds of stories in front of the church Ermita de San Miguel de Príncipe, just like in the old times!
In several bars you can drink chicha. It is a local alcoholic drink that is usually made from corn. It is a bitter fermented beverage. You love it or you hate it, I would say ... Learn more about Colombia food and drinks here.
You cannot miss Plaza de Bolivar. This is the main square of Bogota. You see people who sell corn to feed the pigeons, as you see on many important squares in South America. The buildings on the square all have a different architecture. Do not forget to watch the clock of the cathedral. Do you find the mistake?
The Botero Museum I found very interesting. You see sculptures, painting and drawings of the famous artist from Medellin; Fernando Botero. This museum is free and offers audio phones as well!
The gold museum has a lot of art in gold of the pre-Hispanic times. This is a very modern museum and is really worth going there!
Also in Chapinero there are a lot of hostels. This area is a little more up-class. You feel very safe and there are plenty of nice restaurants and bars. Again you can do a bike ride and get to know Bogota in a different way.
In the Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park annually rock concerts are hosted - completely for free. The festival Rock al Parque is very famous . Often showing well known international artists. The park itself is quite large and I loved to bike there.
In addition there is so much to do: Monserrate, the salt cathedral, the mountains around Bogota, ...
More travel tips for Bogota you can find here.
What I really like about Bogota is that there is so much room for culture, art and music. Every day there is something going on in the city. There are many free theaters, concerts, ... It is impossible to get bored here!
- For sure check out interesting places close to Bogota!
- A few tips about safety in Bogota perhaps? Make sure that you know prices of your hostel or places you go to in advance. Especially when you take a cab from the airport or from the bus station. Do not go home alone during nighttime.
- What kind of clothes do you wear in Bogota? I always wear a tank top with a sweater and I always have a light raincoat and a scarf in my backpack. Also sunglasses I always have in my bag. Never flipflops ... not only because I feel that this does not fit in a big city but also because it suddenly can be cold ... certainly bring a jacket!
- A taxi from the airport to La Candelaria is 30 minutes and cost approx. 25.000 cop per taxi.
- Nice and affordable hostels in Bogota? Look here under accommodation. As well you can find tips about what to do in Bogota and how to get there.
Written by Colombia Fácil Researcher Magali