In my previous post, I mentioned we were country hopping over the summer. Before heading to Ecuador, we made a short stop at Colombia. I decided to write this post in two parts. The first part was about tips and ideas on how you can spend a day in the colorful, eclectic city of Bogotá, the Colombian capital. The second part is about a day trip to La Chorrera, Colombia's tallest waterfall.
I did a lot of research about trips from Bogotá. Seeing as how we just had two days in the country, the trip had to be short but exciting. This one was the best fit trip that was within reasonable distance from the city.
What attracted me most was the fact that this place wasn't touristy - just what I was looking for.
Best time to visit
From June to September - when the temperatures are mild. Their busiest period starts from July when the U.S. and Europe enjoy time off from school but the temperatures are slightly higher too. Avoid the rainy December season.
Flights and Visa
We chose to fly with Avianca within South America. The flights were spacious, with good in-flight entertainment and courteous service.
Visa on arrival for Indians who hold a valid USA visa. Just carry your return ticket with you for immigration purposes.
Spanish is the official language in all Central and South American countries. Mr. A and I are quick to learn languages. We enjoyed learning a few useful Spanish words. Buenos Dias (good morning), adios (bye), hola (hello or hi), Si (yes), cuanto (how much), salida (exit), entrada (entrance), caliente leche (hot milk) and numbers from 1 to 10.
Travel and Medical Insurance, Currency
Travel Insurance is always recommended. Colombian Peso (COP) is the official currency. Note: they don't accept any other currency in the country, so be sure to carry enough cash in local currency.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the sustainable Biohotel Organic Suites in Bogotá. The room was spacious and beautifully designed. I chose this hotel for its eco-friendly operations. They are powered by solar energy with water-saving systems and even have a vegetable garden using vertical agriculture.
The breakfast spread was good with fresh bread, cheese, yogurt, fruits and pastries and of course, amazing Colombian coffee.
Pro tip: I would recommend saving yourself the trouble of haggling for a cab at the airport. When you book your hotel, make sure you ask for a pickup service from the airport. It should cost no more than $25 to get to the city.
Cost and getting around
Like anywhere in South America, taxis are cheap. However, given the situation in the country - taxis can be risky. I have read that taxis are pretty safe in Colombia, but our driver warned us against flagging a cab on the street. Apparently, you could be driven to ATMs, and be made to withdraw large sums of money.
PRO TIP: Stick to UBER or hotel taxis to get around town
There is lot of preconceived notions about Bogotá. Drug wars, gangs, violence and overall sense of the city being "unsafe". To be honest, we didn't feel particularly safe while roaming the streets without our driver guiding us but I felt that the government has realized the issues with the rise of tourism.
Yes, there were drunk people on