Full Bogota Guide

I took a solo trip to Bogota, Colombia without knowing too much about the city. I truly had an amazing time in Bogota and would recommend it to anyone. It my first time in South America and there were things I wish I knew beforehand so I put together this guide to help anyone who plans to visit.


Before going to Bogota I was a bit anxious about getting around in the city. I knew I could take taxis but as I don’t speak the language I was afraid of getting ripped off by taxi drivers. I did a tiny bit of research which also confused me because some sites said you can’t use Uber at all and some say Uber is illegal in Colombia but you can use it and everyone does.

The truth is Uber is illegal, but literally everyone uses it. The only thing is, you have to sit in the front seat not in the back, just incase you get pulled over by a cop. Since it is illegal, if a cop stopped you, you would have to pretend you and the driver were friends and your friend was just giving you a ride. I am not sure how that would work since I speak no Spanish, but thankfully none of my Uber drivers got pulled over while in Colombia. Taxis are an option but the traffic in Bogota is absolutely horrible. It is like NYC during rush hour but 10x worse. I chose not to take any taxis there because I didn’t want to be surprised at the cost once my ride was over due to the traffic. I wanted to know what I was paying up front.

Public transportation is also obviously an option. I believe they have a light rail/ train system and busses. I was able to afford Uber’s, so I took them most of the time or just walked. The busses are extremely crowded and you often sit in a lot of traffic so I wouldn’t suggest them. If I were to take any public transportation it would be the trains as they don’t sit in traffic and are supposedly the most efficient way to get around in Bogota.


Unfortunately, Colombia has a pretty bad reputation , especially among Americans. Bogota is as safe as most major cities in the world are. The most that would happen to you in Bogota is someone stealing in your iPhone. I feel as though you run the same risk of that happening (or worse) in NYC, Paris, or Shanghai. I personally cannot speak on the safety in the rest of the country as I was not there.

There are a lot of cops out, especially in the tourists area. In La Candelaria you will find military personnel with assault rifles which may be alarming to see for some. The military patrolling tourist areas are the ones with the heavy weapons. This is normal to me because if you go anywhere in time square or penn station in NYC you will see many military personnel with assault rifles. From what I gathered from locals, there are different rankings of officers who do each tasks. Most regular cops do not have too much authority and do not carry guns.

Overall, the north is much more safe than the south of Bogota. The north is touristic and a bit more wealthy than the south. The south can be compared to “favellas” in Brazil, where there is overcrowding and impoverished people. Where people are impoverished, there usually is a higher crime rate which is why people say the south is dangerous. You would pretty much have to go out of your way to go to the south, most tourists stay in the north and it was perfectly safe.


Oh my goodness Bogota has some of the BEST food I’ve ever had. I know I say that a lot, but I mean it this time! Everything from the street food to the fine dining was absolutely incredible. Since I was finally in a country where I could afford higher end food, ya girl splurged! The two most memorable restaurants were Local by Raush and Mini Mal. I went to Local by Raush twice, once for breakfast and once for their five senses tasting menu. The breakfast I had was labeled as “Colombian breakfast”, as the menu was in Spanish I had no idea what I was getting into but thought I should try it out. It was a delicious, rich, heavy breakfast full of protein and carbs to help me walk up and down those infamous hills that Bogota has. The second time I went for dinner for their 5 senses tasting menu which was one of my favorite culinary experiences ever. It was a 5 course dinner with each plate focusing on each one of your senses. The dinner included everything from citrus ceviche, to crispy salmon, to creamy polenta.

Mini Mal was my other favorite restaurant in Bogota. Mini Mal is a modern restaurant that creates delicious meals with traditional ingredients you can find in different regions in Colombia. They focus on fresh fish and exotic fruits. I had dinner there and started the meal with the crab and plantain fritters. I thought they might have potential to be dry, but they weren’t. They were filled with crab which you got in every bite and the fritters were topped with coconut cream. My entree was blowfish which I had never tried before. The dish was served with two blowfish in a lulo (citrus fruit) sauce. The meal was phenomenal and unlike anything I’ve had before. I didn’t have one bad meal while I was in Colombia but Local and Mini Mal were for sure my favorites.


Things to do

Whenever I travel to a new city, I do a free walking tour to gain information on the city’s history and try to learn where things are located. On my first day, I did a free walking tour with Beyond Colombia. The next day I did their food tour which was a cool way to try authentic Colombian food.

Most tourists walk around La Candelaria as there are many shops and restaurants. This section of town is older but most buildings and houses are painted vibrant colors which makes it a perfect place to take photos. Another thing to do is taking the tram or sky lift up to Monserrate which is a church on top of a mountain. The ride getting up there alone is worth it as it is a straight shot up, and if you go on a nice day you get beautiful views.

If you have time and are interested, I highly suggest doing a coffee tour. I was on the fence about it as most of them are $75 or more and are all day tours. On my last full day in Bogota I made the last minute decision to go with the coffee tour because I felt I had already seen a lot of the city. I booked a tour with Andres Ecotours. We drove two hours out of Bogota and went to coffee farms where we learned where coffee comes from and how it is made. We even picked and roasted our own coffee. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I highly suggest if you are in Colombia.

Traveling alone

I felt perfectly fine traveling alone to Bogota. As I mentioned, it was relatively safe there. When traveling alone I typically don’t stay out late and I don’t drink. If I do I’ll have a maximum of one glass of wine at dinner. I feel as though this is an unfortunate boundary I need to set as a woman traveling alone, no matter where I travel. I did stay out late and walked the streets some nights until 10 pm and no one bothered me.

If you do not know the language and you are alone, it is a bit challenging, but not impossible. I had a bit of trouble communicating as almost no one speaks English in Bogota. Perhaps if I was with someone who also knew a few words in Spanish, we could have put what we knew together and communicated better. Since I was alone, I communicated the best I could.


I’m including a full cost breakdown in this guide because it is something I wish I had when I go to new places especially when I’m traveling on a budget. To give you background, I flew Spirit Air which is why my flight was so cheap. With Spirit, you get what you paid for but it works fine for me. I stayed at a budget hotel, which I did not wind up enjoying. If I stayed at a hostel I obviously would have spent less. Also, there were nicer hotels for about $60 per night but I chose to stay at a cheaper one. If I needed to spend less money, I could have significantly cut down my spending on food. I went to some of the nicer restaurants in the city which are more expensive. I also could have cut down on the tours. I did one walking tour which was $10, one food tour which was $10 and then a coffee tour for $80. The coffee tour you drive two hours into the mountain and it is a whole day adventure. Although it was expensive, it was 100% worth it to me and felt like a once in lifetime experience. If I was traveling on a more of a budget, I could have comfortably done this trip on about $600.

Flight: $325

Hotel for 4 nights: $119

Food: $127

Uber’s: $43

Shopping/ gifts: $26

Tours/ activities: $100

Total for 5 days, 4 nights in Bogota: $740

Thanks for reading! If there is anything you want to know that I didn’t touch on, please feel free to contact me!


Finding Francesca

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