12 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Bogota

Jul 22, 2021

Located in the Andes Mountains, Bogota (population 1.6 million) is the vibrant capital of Colombia, the largest South American country and the third largest in South America.

Whether you want to check out the infamous Bacara Palm Club, savor one of the famous Bogota ice cream flavors or take in an opera or ballet, there are hundreds of things to do in Bogota. Here's your brief introduction to the best places to visit in Bogota.

Museo del Oro

Photo of Gold Museum, Bogotá
Gold Museum, Bogotá: en.wikipedia.org

Museo del Oro is a museum devoted to gold in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, south of Lake Guatavita and west of Cotaqua. The museum has a collection of about 1,000 pieces of jewelry, coins, and other precious objects found in the Orinoco River basin, more than 75,000 of which come from the Chiribiqui mine, one of the largest gold mines in Colombia. In addition to displaying treasures of great historical and archaeological value, the museum also serves as a space for Colombian art and craft expositions.

Plaza Bolivar

Photo of Plaza Bolívar, Bogotá
Plaza Bolívar, Bogotá: en.wikipedia.org

Plaza Bolivar is a monumental avenue in Bogota, Colombia. While not the largest avenue in the world, it is still one of the largest boulevards in the world, second only to Beijing Avenue in China. It measures nine kilometers (five.7 miles) from north to south and 1.2 kilometers (0.7 miles) from east to west. Bordered by tree-lined avenues and beautiful parks, the park also has an impressive nine-story central library that's been known to house many important works, including the Bible. The square has a restaurant on the 1st floor that is open year-round.

Cerro de Monserrate

Photo of Monserrate
Monserrate: en.wikipedia.org

Located in northern Bogotá, the Cerro de Monserrate (Monserrate Hill) is an interesting neighborhood with a peculiar shape, as it has evolved out of a former volcano and later became a volcanic cone. It has been urbanized over time, though the mountainside now contains the upscale streets and modern houses with gardens. Cerro de Monserrate is one of the safest in Bogotá, with only four homicides reported in 2007, but it is also known for its strict drug laws and low tolerance towards drugs. It is also a well-connected place, with a metro station and a frequent bus line passing through the neighborhood, and contains many upscale shopping centers.

La Candelaria

Photo of La Candelaria
La Candelaria: en.wikipedia.org

La Candelaria (1548) is the oldest barrio in Bogota, founded in 1548 by the Spaniard, Diego de Anaya, who named it after the candle his family brought with them to explore the area. It still reflects its colonial heritage today, with streets lined with 18th-century houses, churches, and bustling markets. The district's most famous monument is the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, a replica of the cathedral in Seville, Spain. The original cathedral was destroyed during the fighting of the Battle of Cartagena, but this replica has been faithfully rebuilt. It has survived the occasional earthquake and a succession of earthquakes, fires and floods since the 18th century.

La Catedral

Photo of Primatial Cathedral of Bogotá
Primatial Cathedral of Bogotá: en.wikipedia.org

This is one of the most iconic and beautiful cathedrals in all of South America, which makes it a must-see if you're in Bogota. Located in the city's old colonial quarter, the Cathedral of St. Augustine is built in Neo-Gothic style. The four-tower cathedral is topped with a spire and has 22 colorful stained-glass windows. The church was constructed from 1857 to 1886 and is the third-oldest church in all of Latin America. A number of locals consider the Cathedral to be an architectural masterpiece and one of the finest examples of Spanish colonial architecture. The cathedral is open to the public and can be toured inside and out. The church can also be reached by foot from the Old City.

Teatro Nacional

Photo of Bogotá
Bogotá: en.wikipedia.org

After three years of construction, the Teatro Nacional in Bogota is a jewel of Latin American architecture, with a cupola on top of a rotunda inside which is a statue of Colombian independence hero Simon Bolivar. The building's 2.5 million bricks were made with the aim of reinterpreting the concept of bricks as 'a revolutionary project'. A museum inside tells the story of Colombia's war of independence, the civil war and the guerrilla movement. There are also temporary exhibitions, films and a variety of shows from around the world including Russian productions. Access to the Teatro Nacional is through the Rafael Uribe Uribe metro station.

The Teatro Colon

Photo of Teatro de Cristóbal Colón
Teatro de Cristóbal Colón: en.wikipedia.org

A teatro (Spanish theatre) in Colombian Spanish, the Teatro Colon was built in 1829 in the commercial and administrative district of Bogota. Constructed as a wooden venue with galleries and covered corridors, its cavernous interior provides a cool space for outdoor summer concerts, thanks to its roof of canvas that helps shade the audience. It's a music venue, though, and besides playing host to everything from Colombian folk music and jazz to orchestral and pop performances, the Teatro Colon plays host to a yearly classical music festival. And it's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Villa de Leyva

Photo of Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva: en.wikipedia.org

Villa de Leyva is one of Bogota's more unusual tourist destinations. Sitting above the picturesque valley of Tota, this beautiful colonial villa was constructed between 1639 and 1651 for the Conde de Valencia, a Spanish nobleman who managed to do his vast business transactions from this comfortable perch. Visiting the ruins, which are now the most important museum in the country, allows visitors to appreciate the atmosphere of the past. Visitors can walk through three of the original palaces, with magnificent ceilings and paintings, which have been restored to their original splendor.

Museo de Arte Moderno

Photo of Bogotá Museum of Modern Art
Bogotá Museum of Modern Art: en.wikipedia.org

Museo de Arte Moderno is one of the most fascinating museums in Bogotá. Built in 1916, the design of the museum is very eclectic in its mix of styles, including Neo-classical and the Art Nouveau. Inside, there is one of the most important collections of works by Colombian artist León Felipe Orozco (1892-1952). There are regular guided tours, with a 5-minute video running through the museum while you wait. The museum is located at one of the most beautiful squares in Bogotá, the Plaza de Bolívar. Around it, you'll find the surrounding attractions, such as the stunning architecture of the Bolivarian museum. For details about travel around Colombia, see the Contadora chapter (page ).

The Obelisk

Photo of Guatavita
Guatavita: en.wikipedia.org

Built in the 1930s, this 24.5-meter-high obelisk made of pink granite is a major symbol of the city of Bogota. It was erected as a memorial to the independence of Colombia in 1947. Much of the monument is underground, covered with pictures of political figures who were influential in the country's history. It was removed from Bogota and reconstructed in Paloquemao in 1963, where it remains today. It's just a short walk from the Calle 83 and on the corner of the Plaza del Quirós, to be enjoyed as the end of a day exploring the city and its museums.

Historical Patio

Photo of Casa de Nariño
Casa de Nariño: en.wikipedia.org

The Historic Patio is a unique tourist attraction on Bogota's western outskirts. Completed in 1991, this unique concept building houses a number of galleries and museums. The grounds are decorated with orchids, and its wall-size flower displays are particularly beautiful at the end of the summer when the blooms are at their peak. The Patio, which offers views over the Cundinamarca Valley and the mountains that surround Bogota, is designed to replicate the look and feel of a colonial Spanish fort. It is a museum, art gallery, library, and theatre that offers a permanent collection and a series of temporary shows. Guides take visitors through the exhibits and installations showing them pictures from history in the buildings and patios.

Gili Islands

Photo of San Andrés (island)
San Andrés (island): en.wikipedia.org

Bogota is the capital city of Colombia, and home to the iconic Church of Santo Domingo, which was started in 1563 as a monastery and cathedral to a Catholic saint. Today, the plaza in front of the church is where large and small rallies often take place during political crises, and is a popular meeting point. Gili Island is a must-see destination, especially for snorkeling enthusiasts. The islands are small and tropical and are only accessible by boat. You'll need to pay a small fee to visit the area, but it's an experience that is well worth it as you can visit the mostly unspoiled islands and dive among colorful fish, sea turtles, and manta rays.