After decades of internal strife, Colombia is as soon as again peaceful, flourishing and safe. Tourist is playing a substantial role in Colombia’s recovery; while other South American nations saw their visitor numbers decline in 2009, the number of visitors to Colombia climbed up by seven percent.
Bogota, the capital city and the country’s economic and cultural center, provides incredible chances for visitors. It has more than 2 lots museums, numerous parks, a wealth of colonial architecture, and a few of the most popular night life in South America. If you have two weeks to invest in Bogota, you’ll discover something new to see and do each day.
Exactly what if you’ve just got a day? Noted below are the “must-sees,” Bogota’s best destinations. Thankfully, all are clustered within and near La Candelaria, the old colonial heart of the city. There’s more good news, too: La Candelaria is just a brief, affordable taxi flight from Bogota’s El Dorado Airport.
Cerro de Monserrate First stop: Monserrate. This Roman Catholic Sanctuary, located 2,000 feet above Bogota, is accessed by means of either a cog rail or cable television vehicle. From this mountaintop the large panorama of Bogota expands before you. It’s an incredible view, but Monserrate has its own charms, including a splendid church, amazing gardens, and dozens of shops where you can bargain for local crafts.
Bolivar Plaza This vast area is the heart of Colombia. It is surrounded by the Catedral Primada (the nation’s “very first cathedral”), the Colombian House and Senate, and the Supreme Court. Simply one block away is Casa de Narino, house of the Colombian President. The plaza is constantly aswirl with activity; you’ll find chains of school kids making their method amongst the buildings, picketing (and serene) protestors, tourists, federal government workers and the dapperly-dressed elite. From here it’s an enjoyable walk to the other must-sees.
Museum of Colonial Art Found in a magnificent colonial estate, this museum homes hundreds of pieces from the time of the conquest and the early settlement of Colombia.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Cultural Center Colombians are justly pleased with their Nobel Prize-winning author, whose works are commemorated throughout the world. This new facility offers comprehensive information on the author, whose books consist of 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Come by to get more information about the author, and to have a cup of good Colombian coffee in the open air cafe.
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Botero Museum Fernando Botero is Colombia’s best understood artist, well-known for his depictions in paint and sculpture of “the fat ones.” The Botero Museum houses the artist’s own collection of art work, including a thunder-jowled Mona Lisa. The museum likewise consists of works by Picasso, Monet, Renoir and Matisse.
Museum of Gold This amazing museum is the home of more than 30,000 pieces of pre-Columbian art work, including the famous raft of Guatavita, source of the El Dorado legend. The Gold Museum is found on one of downtown Bogota’s busiest plazas, the site of a casual market for Colombia’s popular emeralds (and for its equally famous fakes!).
Colombia is still a deal. Simply remember: when you get hungry, avoid the American-style restaurants and rather choose among the local favorites. A McDonald’s hamburger, for instance, opts for US$ 7, and cannot measure up to the dubious standards of its American origins. La Candelaria’s Restaurante Masiz, on the other hand, serves a four-course Colombian meal with veggies and fresh-squeezed fruit juice for $3.
The coffee is terrific too – naturally. Oma and Juan Valdez are the huge chains (they are the Starbucks of Colombia), however try a locally-owned store. At Cafe Negro the service is as fun as the coffee is abundant.