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Ways to Explore Bogotá

Since arriving in Bogotá roughly a week and a half ago I have been more than happily surprised about how easy it is to get around the city. Part of this simplicity is due to the block system that Bogotá uses and which is essentially the same as Manhattan. Carreras run parallel to the mountain whereas Calles run perpendicular. From a central point these streets are numbered making it very easy to get from one place to the next without getting lost.

I have personally enjoyed a number of walks from where I am living in La Candelaria, the historical center of Bogota. It also happens to be littered with a plethora of hostels and cultural locations, be they museums, parks, or plazas. My most recent trip included me walking and visiting the Museo del Oro, the Plaza Bolivar, and the Museo Botero. Each location was roughly 10 minutes from each other by foot. These walks are made all the better from the mix of colonial architecture and more modern buildings. Along the way you can also enjoy a variety of cheap street food from arepas to empanadas, or a cup of freshly cut fruit, most often for less than a dollar each.

If you are planning to explore somewhere that is more than 20 or so minutes by foot from where you are, it is often better to take the bus or taxi. The bus system, under the name of Transmilenio, basically runs like a subway. It is the bloodline of the city and the busiest bus system in the world, moving an estimated 2.5 million people per day. To ride the Transmilenio you simply need to buy a rechargeable card for 3000 COP and then you are good to go. Depending on the time of day, fares range from 1500 to 1800 COP, or between US$.62 and $.75. Most buses that you will likely want to take run every few minutes. To facilitate navigation you can also download one of two applications, Moovit or TransmiSitp.

Finally, if you prefer more privacy and comfort you can also use a more than affordable taxi. My roughly 30 minute ride from the Airport to where I live for instance only cost 25.000 COP which is roughly USD 10. For simplicity and safety you can call either 311 1111 or 411 1111 from any landine for a 600 COP surcharge and have a taxi arrive at your door.

With these three options you should be fully set to discover all the joys of this city. Naturally, like in any city, you need to be wary of rush hour traffic, but otherwise it is an absolute delight. On that note, it is time for me to head out for another leisurely walk through the city. Today I am thinking the Quinta de Bolivar and Monserrate.

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