The capital city, Bogota is a great place to begin your Colombian adventure. An urban sprawl filled with smaller neighborhoods, each area different “zones” so the city truly offers something for everyone, from booming nightlife, amazing art galleries, outdoor activities and gastronomic treats. During the week large cities seem to exude the hum-drum feel of a standard work day, so I think the best time to get a feel for the personality of a place is over a weekend, especially when you can experience the vibe of a town on a Sunday and our Sunday in Bogota was no exception.
There are over 50 different museums in Bogota but one of the most unique is the Museo del Oro, or the Gold Museum. Sundays are a favorite time to explore the museum because they have free admission, so keep in mind it may be a little more crowded but we found it easy to poke around by mid afternoon. You can rent an audio guide on Sunday if you are curious to find out more about the exhibits, but know that guided tours are only held Tuesdays through Saturdays (they are closed on Monday).
The museum is set up like an art gallery, it adds another dimension when you see all of the artifacts ‘floating’ in front of of illuminated brightly colored walls. It has great visual representation of the history of the country before and after Spanish settlement and is home to the largest gold works display in the world. One of the more intricate exhibits is the Muisca’s Gold Raft, which is a representation of a chieftain ceremony of El Dorado, the mythical city of gold. It tells the story of the chieftain covered in gold dust, jumping into the lake with gold and emerald offerings to the gods.
Once on the third floor, if a museum staffer ushers you into a dark room don’t be alarmed, it’s just their interactive “Offering Room” exhibit and is worth the first few minutes of confusion. This light and sound show is a unique way to showcase some of museums sophisticated pieces of pre-hispanic metalwork.
If you are as silly as I am and plan on going to South America without knowing any Spanish fear not, this museum has bilingual plaques in the exhibits so you can learn as much about the history and artifacts as a Spanish speaking visitor.
Sundays are a cyclist dream with the culmination of every weekend being 7 hours of pure bicycle bliss, where they close over 100km of roads throughout the city and bikers and pedestrians come out to explore. Ciclovia got its start about 40 years ago when the city wanted to reclaim its streets and show bikers it was a safe environment for riding and it has become a weekend staple ever since. The “bike way” is a great way to see the city on foot and feel like a real Bogota resident participating in the Sunday street activity. The Ciclovia was such a huge success it is mimicked in other Colombian cities and is now instituted in several other countries.
Can’t cycle on a Sunday? Try checking out the city on two wheels another day with Bogota Bike Tours!
Be sure to make your way down through all the food vendors, musicians and street performers to the square towards La Candelaria where there are several people selling corn kernels to feed the birds as well as offering opportunities to get your photo taken with llamas and donkeys, it’s great people watching!
After a full day of biking, people watching and immersing yourself in Colombian history a delicious dinner is in order and you will be glad you went to Andres Carne de Res hungry. This quirky restuarant’s original location is in Chia, 45 minutes outside of the city but it’s reputation grew and now they are in several locations including in Zona Rosa in Bogota.
The food is as insane as the decor, loud and amazing. This is a place you could come for dinner and stay for many, many drinks and dancing. Did I mention my Mojito came in a soup bowl???
It’s a great way to end a weekend but because it is so good it can get crowded so I’d recommend making reservations. Need more convincing? If the ginormous Mojitos didn’t sell you Check out Latin America’s list of Top 50 Restuarants and read more about Andres Carne de Res to get your stomach rumbling.