I visited Bogota, Colombia in December 2018 for 2 days. This trip was part of a $599 packaged deal “5 Day Highlights of Columbia” with Gate 1 Travel. The package includes 2 days in Bogota and 3 days in Cartagena, hotels, transportation, flight from Bogota to Cartagena, breakfast, welcome dinner with drinks, and entry fee for museums. The package also provides the option to book the package as land only or with a flight included (to Bogota and from Cartagena). I chose to do land only and book my flights (to Bogota and from Cartagena) separately because I could find a better flight deal than what was offered.
Note #1: I found a coupon (via google) for $100 off for the trip above. So it was actually $499 land only. You can also find deals/sales for this trip or many others on Gate 1 travel website or sign up for their weekly deals e-mail (Monday’s and mid-week). Groupon and Travelzoo also have deals for Gate 1 Travel trips.
Note #2: Bogota is 8,660 feet/2,640 meters above sea level. As such, you might experience high altitude sickness. Take appropriate measures prior to your arrival or once you arrive as needed. When I arrived, I experienced a headache and excessive thirst. Once I realized what I was happening, I drank water, Gatorade, and took a nap. I felt much better.
The total cost of my flight was $490 roundtrip which included the following route for my departure: Washington, D.C to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Fort Lauderdale, to Bogota, Colombia. For my return flight my route was: Cartagena, Colombia to Panama City, Panama, then Panama City, Panama to Fort Lauderdale, and finally Fort Lauderdale to Washington, D.C.. A long day, but better than paying $600+ for a roundtrip flight with Gate 1 travel. Understand that chasing flight deals sometimes comes with sacrifices (many connections or short/long layovers), but it leaves more money in your pocket.
I stayed at the Estelar Windsor House. This hotel is close to Parque de la 93 which is a park surrounded by many restaurants and cafes. This park also hosts festivals and events.
All transportation was provided by Gate 1 Travel.
What I Did In Bogota
Monserrate Funicular Train Ride
This was an optional activity available for purchase with Gate 1 Travel. The funicular takes you to the top of Monserrate Mountain (10,341 feet/ 3,152 meters above sea level) to see beautiful views of the city of Bogota. You will definitely have to adjust (breathing) to the altitude of the mountain (remember Bogota is 8,660 feet/2,640 meters). After getting off the funicular and walking up to the church, El Señor Caído Shrine, I initially felt like I just finished sprinting up a steep hill and was trying to catch my breath. But then I remembered that the key is to take yoga breaths/engage in yoga breathing. It makes a HUGE difference. Shortly afterward, I was fine.
Plaza de Bolívar
Named after Simón Bolíva, this is the main square in Bogota and home to Primary Cathedral of Colombia, Liévano Palace, National Capital, and the Palace of Justice. No matter where you stand in this plaza, you can get a great view of each of the buildings. As seen on instagram, this is also the plaza where people feed and take pictures with lots of pigeons in their hands or arms.
Fernando Botero Museum
Fernand Botero is a famous Colombian artist most notably known for his contemporary and modern art that displayed very exaggerated and inflated humans, animals, food, and other things. Botero dedicated around 200 of his paintings toward the museum named in his honor. Whether or not you are an art lover, you will enjoy this museum as each painting is very interesting and unlike any other paintings that you see at other art museums. My favorite art piece is Botero’s version of the mona lisa (pictured below). Botero also has recreated many other famous paintings and adjusted them to his unique style. This museum was included in the tour package.
A museum containing the largest collection of gold in the world from indigenous groups that resided in pre-colonial Colombia. Although it was initially interesting, one floor level of gold was enough for me. There is a lot of gold in this museum (obviously) but I could only see so much before losing interest. This museum was included as part of the tour.
Game of Tejo
Tejo is a popular Colombian throwing sport. The goal of the game is to throw a heavy disc (almost as heavy as a shot put weight/ball) at the center or near the white targets for points. If you hit any of the white targets (which have gunpowder) they will explode (loudly). I had so much fun playing this game! Also, drinking (usually beer or liquor) while playing Tojo is part of the culture. This was included in the tour package.
The next stop was Cartagena. Be sure to check out my post tomorrow for my review on the rest of this packaged deal with Gate 1 Tours.