By making Bogotá your headquarters for a week-long stay in Colombia, you get a little of everything: the rhythm of Colombian life and an opportunity venture further afield to explore one of Colombia’s best preserved colonial towns as well as take in an exhilarating nature hike.
Fly into Bogotá. Set in the Andes at an elevation of 2,625 meters (8,612 feet), the Colombian capital city can be especially cool and the sun particularly potent. Dress in layers and take along sunscreen and an umbrella. In the late afternoon, wander the historic Candelaria district and marvel at the treasures of the Museo del Oro. Stay at the Casa Platypus downtown or Cité in the north.
Visit the Quinta de Bolívar, Simón Bolívar’s old country home. Don’t miss the Cerro de Monserrate, a pilgrimage site with unsurpassed views of the metropolis. Hike up, then take a ride on the gondola or tram back down.
Learn about Colombia’s past from the time of the Muiscas to its shaky years as an independent nation in the city’s excellent museums, like the extensive art galleries of the Manzana Cultural and the mesmerizing Museo del Oro.
Take a bus or hire a car for the 3.5-hour trip to the low-key pueblo of Villa de Leyva, one of Colombia’s best-preserved colonial towns, in the department of Boyacá.
Enjoy the unique atmosphere in Villa de Leyva by walking its stone streets. Check out the woolen ruanas (ponchos) at Alieth Tejido Artesanal, and if you have time, visit the Convento del Santo Ecce Homo in the surrounding desert.
Stay at Renacer, a friendly hostel, or splurge at the Hotel Plaza Mayor, where the views of the plaza can’t be beat.
Visit the Santuario Flora y Fauna Iguaque just outside of town and hike to the mist-shrouded Laguna Iguaque for some morning exhilaration. Relax in Villa de Leyva for the evening.
Return to Bogotá. If it’s a weekend day, go to the top of the Torre Colpatria for an incredible 360-degree view of the massive city. If it’s a Sunday, enjoy the city’s Ciclovía by renting a bike and joining the thousands of Bogotanos hitting the streets in this weekly ritual.
Walk along the pedestrianized Carrera 7, spending some time at the fantastic museums of the Manzana Cultural, including the Museo Botero. Catch a concert in the Florentine Teatro Colón or hear the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá play at the Universidad Nacional campus.
Excerpted from the Edition of Moon Bogotá.