Leslie on the Go!

Discovering Bogotá

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Bogotá, Traveling

Culinary Delights and Friendly Faces

 

If you’re looking for a city that offers rich cultural experiences, friendly locals, and tantalizing cuisine, Bogotá should be at the top of your travel list. During my first week in this vibrant Colombian capital, I’ve been welcomed with open arms, enjoyed beautiful scenery, and savored unforgettable dishes. Here’s a glimpse into my exciting adventure.

Getting Settled in Bogotá

January 29

I made it to Bogotá! Though I haven’t ventured far from my building yet, I’m already impressed by the amenities right at my doorstep. Within my building, there’s a gym, coffee bar, coin laundry (with beer available!), a beer shop, a small grocery store, a convenience store, a nail salon, and at least one restaurant. There’s even a terrace with city views, although it seems to be closed on Tuesdays.

Navigating the ATMs has been a bit challenging, even with the translate app, but I’m determined to figure it out. Safety is a priority here, so I’ve been cautious about keeping my phone out of view while on the street, which means fewer photos than I’d like.

Culinary Adventures and Cultural Insights

January 30

I spent an afternoon with a delightful group of English-speaking food enthusiasts and travelers from the US, Canada, and England. We took a delightful food tour of Downtown Bogotá, tasting seven Colombian specialties, making for an informative and delicious start to my time here:

  • Cassava rolls with cheese
  • Ceviche with various chips and juice
  • Fig with dulce de leche and cheese
  • Tamale with rice, corn, yellow peas, chicken, and carrot
  • Cheese-filled plantain fritter
  • Veal with plantain, potato, and guacamole
  • Chicken potato soup with capers, avocado, and rice

The street art in Bogotá is stunning and now legal. Artists need permission, and the art must beautify the area—no tagging allowed. This change came after a tragic incident involving an artist and police, followed by a protest sparked by Justin Bieber’s visit.

I also visited the Mercado, where I saw some impressively large corn and other beautifully painted buildings.

A plate with fried cassava fritters served on napkins, accompanied by small cups of dipping sauces with spoons, placed on a light-colored table.
A bowl of ajiaco soup with corn on a table. Behind it, a plate with white rice, avocado slices, and a side dish of capers. Three people are seated at the table in the background.
A vibrant mural of a face with intricate pink and yellow patterns covers a wall next to a wooden door, under a blue sky.

January 31

For a quick lunch, I stumbled upon Muelle MacKenzie, where the owner insisted on making me arepas con pollo y queso, even though it wasn’t on the menu. We had a long chat using Google Translate while his wife listened in. Such sweet people—one of those wonderful travel moments that happen when you’re solo. I topped off the meal with some pistachio gelato during my walk back.

Dining Delights and Local Experiences

February 1

Dinner at Mini-Mal was a three-course delight (including the cocktail) for about $31. The Viche cocktail with citrus tasted a lot like a Pisco sour—yum! My meal included fish from the Pacific with tostone, rice, and a tomato-avocado sauce, followed by tres leches cake with “yellow fruits” like passion fruit, golden berry, and star fruit, topped with amazing ice cream. The cocktail and ice cream were the highlights!

February 4

Saturday night fun in Bogotá means heading to the spa for Turkish baths, jacuzzi tubs, and saunas. It was packed with families enjoying the baths and the restaurant.

Sunday was a “fun day” as I visited Monserrate for a gorgeous panoramic view of the city and storm clouds. Luckily, it didn’t rain while I was there. The Teleférico ride to the top was spectacular, and lunch at a restaurant with city views was both delicious and affordable, with leftovers for the next day.

Here’s what I enjoyed:

  • Corn empanadas with potato and peanut sauce
  • Salty cheese with chili guava sauce
  • Meringue and cream with blackberries, soursop, and mountain papaya—a Colombian twist on pavlova

For the return trip, I took the funicular, similar to the incline in Chattanooga. While waiting to board, there was a humorous “uprising” of passengers, upset about a delay. One person even yelled, “I want to go home!” in accented English.

February 7

Finally, I tried a local beer at my building’s beer bar, a “cervecera.” The Cerveza Blanca Tipo Session IPA, infused with mandarin and lemon, was quite good!

February 8

A change of scenery led me to Amor Perfecto Cafe, where I enjoyed a cortado while working. Lunch at Árbol del Pan followed—pumpkin soup with kefir and sourdough toast, yum! Both spots are in Zona G, the gourmet section of the Chapinero neighborhood where I’m staying.

 

street vendor selling steamed plantains with sweetened condensed milk
A cable car travels over a lush, green hillside with a stone terrace below featuring a carved face statue. Dark clouds loom overhead.
Meruengón, a dessert with meringue, berry sauce, and fruit is dusted with powdered sugar on a black plate. A cup of coffee and a small flower arrangement are in the background.

Conclusion

Bogotá has welcomed me with warm hospitality, breathtaking views, and mouthwatering cuisine. If you’re a travel enthusiast, foodie, or solo traveler, this city offers endless adventures and unforgettable experiences.

Ready to explore Bogotá? Don’t hesitate to book your trip and immerse yourself in everything this vibrant city has to offer. And if you have any questions or need recommendations, feel free to reach out—I’m happy to share more about my Colombian adventure!

Happy travels!

 

Watch for Bogotá part 2 coming soon!

Aerial view of Bogota with numerous buildings, streets, and a backdrop of mountains during sunset.
A small glass of coffee with foam on top sits on a saucer, accompanied by a plate with a slice of cake in the background on a table in a café.
A bowl of yellow soup garnished with a flower, served with a slice of bread on a white plate. A glass of water and a bottle are in the background on a wooden table.
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