The Weekly Getaway: South American adventure in Bogotá
You can chill out; Bogotá is nothing like Netflix’s Narcos anymore!
Say goodbye to your outdated ideas: drugs wars, kidnappings and insecurity. I went to Colombia with my sister few months ago and from a young French girl’s point of view, you have nothing to be afraid of. Indeed Colombian people are determined to rid their country of its bad reputation and they will welcome you the best way you can imagine.
Book your tickets! It’s about time to discover South America’s latest hot spot.
Landing in Bogotá is an adventure itself; the city is located on a high plateau, part of the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes at 8,675 feet above sea level. So don’t be surprised by the cold weather or the lack of breath when you get off the plane (also try not to drink the first night if you want to avoid the worst headache ever ;))
From its vibrant cultural scene and alternative parties to cool galleries and chef-driven restaurants, Bogotá is the trendiest place to hang out in Colombia.
Start your day with a breakfast at Masa in the Zona G district. This super-charming place serves the best pastries of the city (croissants, French toasts, quiche, etc.)
Next stop: the historic district of La Candelaria for a cultural trip.
Among the colonial and baroque architecture do not miss the street-art, which is a true tradition of this district. Walk down Calle 11 to culture yourself at the Museo Botero set in a beautiful colonial house surrounded by luxurious vegetation. This museum offers an impressive collection of paintings by one of CThe Museo de Arte Del Banco De La Republica, which is just next-door, offers a sneak peak of the Colombian contemporary art scene.olombia’s most famous artists, Fernando Botero, but the collection also includes works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Baltus, Marc Chagall or Georges Braque.
The Museo de Arte Del Banco De La Republica, which is just next-door, offers a sneak peak of the Colombian contemporary art scene.
Take a lunch break at Madre, an incredible rabbit hole in La Candelaria. Located inside a little corridor, one goes through a shady entrance and into a recovered patio. The place has a hipster style with a brick oven for pizza and a bar. On fridays and saturdays you have a band playing live music. The restaurant is not far from one of Bogotá ’s most beautiful cathedrals, Iglesia del Carmen.
Dedicate your afternoon to discover The Escuela de Artes y Oficios Santo Domingo. One of the school’s students will showcase you the elegant works in silver, leather, wood and textile created by this new generation of highly skilled Colombian artisans. Their traditional craftsmanship techniques were evidenced by a pop-up boutique at Sotheby’s New York in 2015.
Take the funicular to Monserrate, a 10,000-foot mountain overlooking the city. Watch a spectacular sunset while drinking a glass a wine at Casa Santa Clara restaurant.
The restaurant I am going to tell you about is located an hour’s taxi ride outside Bogotá, but it’s a unique experience where locals and tourists are meeting every night. The restaurant Andres Carne de Res is a mix between Moulin Rouge and a Salvadore Dali’s painting, a party place like no other including 11 dining areas, an indoor and outdoor discotheque, 5 kitchens, and "angels" who will keep your car keys safe so that you can have as much margaritas as you like. On the menu you will find an endlessly Latin food offering from Argentine steaks and Peruvian ceviches to pisco sours and lamp chops.
- BARCÚ Art Fair - for the last three past years, at the end of October, this culture and art fair presents 17 galleries from Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, United States, Mexico, Cuba, France, Peru and Bolivia. Besides the art exhibitions, you can find music, theater, films, workshops, conferences, urban transformation and gastronomy
- ArtBo Art Fair - “We’ve been coming for four years,” said Julian Posada of Galería de la Oficina, based out of Medellín. “Every year is bigger, with collectors and curators and museums that are more important. The Colombian market and the Latin American market in general continue to grow
- Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá - an underground Roman Catholic Church built within the tunnels of a salt mine. A true jewel of Modern architecture.
- Zona Rosa - best shopping district
- El Retiro - huge shopping center
- Flora Art+Natura - a small gallery focusing on exhibitions by local and international artists that relate to nature
- La Peluquería - part hairdressing salon, part gallery, and a social space for emerging art
- Galería MÜ - the first gallery in Colombia entirely dedicated to fine art photography
- Tabula - “the foods that are the most delicious are the ones that can be attributed to specific memories.” Says the chief Tomas Rueda (pictures below)
- Abasto - trendy bodega located in an old renovated warehouse. This restaurant offers fresh produce and wines from local farms. Beautifully decorated (pictures above)
- Baita - Mediterranean dishes and Israeli cuisine
- Bruto - live music, tapas and great ambiance
- Amor Perfecto - taste the world-class Colombian coffee there
- Puerta Falsa - you have to try the “ajiaco”, Bogotá ’s traditional dish made with three kinds of potatoes. It's savory and hearty
- Mini-mal - seafood beautifully presented, pop-up stores of local arts and designers clothing, great place to meet young people
- Paloquemao Market - visiting this market is a great way to try several of Colombia’s fabulous fruits like: maracuyá, curuba and lulo
- Gordo Brooklyn Bar and Restaurant - Bogotá ’s hipsters are gathering there to eat the best burgers in town
- Gaira Café - live music and great atmosphere created by the famous Colombian singer Carlos Vives
- Au Room at W Hotel- trendy and fancy place to dance and listen to music.
- Andres Carne de Res: the ultimate nightlife spot
- Céntrico - great rooftop bar
- Zona T district - a pedestrianized sector with a large number of high-end clubs and bars (La Villa, Galeria Café Libro, Le Coq, etc.).