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Where We Are: Bogota, Colombia

My heart started fluttering the second I got off the plane in Bogota. There was a chill in the air that was a huge relief from the heat of Cartagena. There were tall buildings and traffic which meant there were millions of people trying to get to places worth going; something we’d missed in Salento.  There were mountains in the distance, but no steep hills for me to climb everyday like in Medellin. By the time we got to our Airbnb I had already decided I was going to love it here.

The Fall weather in Bogota meant I’d be wearing flannel everyday!

Bogota is our fourth and final city in Colombia. Each city has been so completely different, from the landscape to the weather to the population. What sets Bogota apart? It’s huge! At about three times the size of Chicago, this is a real city! There are neighborhoods and huge parks and shops lining streets in every direction. There are people are walking everywhere, crowding onto buses, and drinking beers on patio bars for happy hour. This city is alive.

It’s so alive that I’ve been here for four days, and I’m just now getting a second to update you on where we’re at! So here’s the lowdown on Colombia’s capital city!

Initial Reactions On Bogota:

  1. Perfect fall weather. Sometimes I’m not sure if like Bogota only because of how much I love the weather. With highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, it makes me crave pumpkin spice lattes and sweaters. I even tried to order my first pumpkin beer of the year before my October 1st fall kickoff date (don’t worry – they were out so I just had a summer ale). If Medellin was the City of Eternal Spring, Bogota is the City of Eternal Fall, and thus, I’m in love.
  2. Gold Coast of Colombia. Back in Chicago, we lived in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Not that I can (or ever could) afford to shop at Tiffany or Dolce & Gabbana, but it’s so nice to be in a city that has these stores to walk by! Zona T is absolutely the Gold Coast of Colombia and it feels like home. Traveling has taught me that I don’t need nice things, but darn it is it nice to be around fancy things again!
  3. A real city.  We didn’t realize how  much we’d missed the big city vibe until we got here. So much of this city reminds us of New York, with shops, bodegas and restaurants for miles (versus Chicago which is more neighborhood-y). Plus, I finally broke my 27 day Starbucks drought at the Starbucks Reserve Bar in Bogota (Cartagena and Salento didn’t have a Starbucks).

What you need to know:

  • Population: 8 million
  • Altitude: 2,640 meters
  • Exchange Rate: 2,989 Colombian Pesos to $1 USD
  • Primary Language: Spanish but some English
  • Walking Tour: Beyond Colombia Free Walking Tour
  • Time Zone: Central
  • Taxi: Yes
  • Uber: Yes
  • Public Transit: Bus only
  • Emergency Number: 123
  • Running: Ciclovia! I love that South America has this! Once again, here in Bogota, they have Ciclovia on Sundays when they close down the main streets for cyclists and pedestrians. We’ve got perfect fall weather and minimal hills, but our biggest challenge is altitude. Let’s see if we can get a 17 miler in!
  • American Football: We couldn’t track down preseason games at Wild Wings (their answer to Buffalo Wild Wings in the US) but that could be because it was preseason or because the local futbal (aka soccer) team was playing. We did see an American football commercial on a TV in a bar which looked promising!
  • Starbucks: YES! There are quite a few, including a Reserve Bar.
  • Coffee Price:  5,000 COP (~$1.67) – 8,000 (~$2.68)
  • Beer Price: 10,000 – 15,000 COP (~ $3.25 – $5 USD)