I’ve been living and working online in the capital of Colombia for nearly two months now, so I have a pretty good grasp of the city. After these couple months, I’m ready to put out a Bogota travel guide for digital nomads and travelers alike.
Bogota is a large metropolitan city with first-world amenities in certain areas and third-world crime in others. The city is gigantic, and it’s near impossible to explore every nook and cranny.
If you like big cities, Latin culture, bumping nightlife, and a bit of chaos – Bogota may be for you. While the weather is pretty marginal here, it’s hard not to have fun in the capital of Colombia. Learn more in my Bogota travel guide below.
Population: A little over 8 million people live in Bogota, while the metro boasts nearly 11 million. The city is huge and packed with people.
Weather: Terrible. If there’s one major knock on Bogota, it’s the weather. Bogota weather is dreary and rainy nearly all the time. The sun comes out in the morning, but you can almost always expect rain in the afternoon.
Safety: Certain areas of Bogota are perfectly safe, like Zona T and Parque 93. Other parts of Bogota are incredibly dangerous. You wouldn’t want to walk around at night in La Candelaria.
Language: Spanish is needed in Bogota, and throughout all parts of Colombia. While Bogota is an educated city and many younger people do speak some English, you’ll want to speak some Spanish here.
Bogota is the most expensive city in all of Colombia, but it’s not that costly compared to other places. While nothing will be dirt cheap in Bogota, you can still find some deals. Plus, access to some of the best nightlife in Latin America is certainly worth the few extra bucks here and there. All costs in USD.
Apartment Costs: Depending on the area of the city and the quality of the apartment, one can expect to spend anywhere from $350-1,500 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in Bogota, Colombia.
Gym Membership: The gym has recently gained popularity in Bogota, and all of Colombia. You can find gym memberships for as cheap as $15-25 a month. A nicer gym like Body Tech could cost up to $75 a month.
Typical Meal: Meal prices are wide ranging in Bogota. Cheap breakfast lunch spots may cost $2-3 for a full meal, while an excellent meal in Zona T could easily cost $25 per plate. Typically, you’ll pay $4-8 per meal.
Beer in Bar: $2-5 USD
Bottle of Wine in Bar: $20-50 USD
Bottle of Liquor at Club: This is wide ranging. You can get a cheap bottle of rum for $30-40 at some clubs. Other places in Zona T you can easily pay up to $300 for a bottle of nice whiskey.
As Bogota is such a big city, it can be somewhat difficult finding the perfect place to stay. However, most foreign travelers choose to stay in one of four zones or areas. These areas feature more amenities and make the life of a traveler easier. Most gringos decide to stay in:
These areas are chalk full of cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms, and more. Everything a digital nomad would need can be found in these places with little issues. Plus, all of these neighborhoods will have fast internet connections.
There are a few things you need to understand about Bogota. First, it’s huge. With 11 million people in the metro area, you can imagine the city is quite spread out and hard to navigate.
Second, with all those people, there’s almost always going to be a decent amount of traffic. You shouldn’t plan on moving around the city too much between the hours of 2:30-7:30 PM. It’s just not worth it.
The Transmileno is Bogota’s public transportation system, and it works pretty well. This is especially true if you want to get from the North of the city (Parque 93 or Zona T) to a Southern area like Chapinero or La Candelaria. However, the Transmileno is a bit dangerous, and you won’t want to ride it alone past dark.
Personally, I use Uber when I move around Bogota. The app works incredibly well here and is relatively cheap. I’d highly recommend it while in the city.
Just be forewarned – Uber is technically illegal in Bogota, and many of the taxi drivers hate Uber. Some taxi drivers will even try to trap an Uber driver in by surrounding him with taxis and calling the police.
As previously discussed, you’ll want to speak some Spanish while in Bogota. The capital of Colombia may be the most educated city I’ve been to in Latin America, but that doesn’t mean everyone will speak English.
In fact, I’d estimate maybe 10-15% of all the people you meet in the city will be able to speak more than a few words in English. Spanish is incredibly important here, even with the excellent education levels in the city.
A Bogota travel guide wouldn’t be complete without a list of things to do in the city. While I’ve done many of these things, the city is so vast that’s it’s nearly impossible to complete them all.
There’s no beach in Bogota. The weather isn’t great. It’s pretty hard to find much nature to explore. However, there’s still a lot of fun things to do in Bogota.
Here’s a list of a few great things to do in the city:
Monseratte: The only absolute must-do in Bogota, Monserrate is a mountain with a cable car going up the side and a small church at the top. The “Cerro” boasts the best views in all of Bogota, as you can see the whole city from the peak.
Cicolvia: Every Sunday morning / early afternoon Bogota shuts down a few of the main streets in the city and “Rolos” (the people of Bogota) take the streets to bike. You see thousands of people bicycling every Sunday, and you should join them! Click here to learn more.
Gringo Tuesday: A Bogota nightlife classic, Gringo Tuesdays is, of course, held every Tuesday at a club called La Villa in Zona T. If you’re a foreigner new to Bogota who liked to party, you won’t find a better spot. Early in the evening, you’ll be able to practice your Spanish. Once the clock strikes 9 PM, the event turns into a huge party.
Museo de Oro: I’m not a museum guy, but checking out one of the best museums in South America shouldn’t be missed. Museo de Oro in the center of Bogota is a cool place to visit for an afternoon and learn about Colombia’s history.
Bogota Graffiti Tour: This one is on my to-do-list, but I’ve only heard good things. You walk around certain neighborhoods in Bogota with a guide, and they explain the thought process behind some stunning works of graffiti.
Zipaquira: There’s a whole cathedral made of salt in a town about 45-minutes away from Bogota called Zipaquira. The cathedral is massive and stunning, so it quickly became a fun half-day trip for travelers from Bogota. Don’t pay a tour guide to take you. Just make friends with a local and take public transportation to save a ton of money.
Andres D.C.: While it’s expensive, you’ll want to eat at Andres D.C. one time while you’re in Bogota. The food is absolutely incredible, but the atmosphere is even better. Come on a weekend night to enjoy a delicious meal and some festive nightlife.
Nightlife in Bogota
Speaking of nightlife, Bogota features some of, if not, the best nightlife in all of South America. See, people work a lot in Bogota. On the weekends, they like to unwind and have a few drinks. So they do. A lot.
Rumba is a way of life in Bogota. If you like to party, you may find Bogota becomes one of your favorite cities in all of Colombia.
Bogota’s airport is massive and features hundreds of national and international flights each day. I’d highly recommend flying while you’re in Colombia. Flights from Bogota to other major cities in Colombia like Medellin, Cali, or Cartagena will only cost between
Flights from Bogota to other major cities in Colombia like Medellin, Cali, or Cartagena will only cost between $40-80 roundtrip. The bus isn’t much cheaper and can be quite uncomfortable due to the mountainous terrain of the country.
While Bogota certainly doesn’t get a lot of love compared to Medellin, the city is still an exceptional place for digital nomads to base up and travelers to check out. If you like nightlife and Latin culture, there may not be a better place in South America to stay.
For more Bogota travel guide information, check out these posts:
Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel – one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.