Things to see in Bogotá

Tourist information

The City Institute for Culture and Tourism
Palacio Liévano, first floor
Corner of Carrera 8 and Calle 10
Tel: (1) 283 7115.
Website: www.bogotaturismo.gov.co

There are more than a dozen other puntos de informacion turistica (information desks) around the city, including at El Dorado airport (tel: (1) 414 7935) and at the bus terminal (tel: (1) 295 4460).

Cerro de Monserrate

One of the peaks overlooking the sprawling city (Sabana de Bogota) from the east, Cerro de Monserrate towers 3,160m (10,367ft) high. There is a church on the top, which was erected when the original chapel was destroyed in the 1917 earthquake. It gets very busy on Sundays when pilgrims and tourists flood the place. Apart from the church itself, the surrounding area is very commercialised with food and souvenir stalls. But the view from the peak is magnificent. On a clear day one can spot Los Nevados, the volcano range in the Cordillera Central, 135km (84 miles) away to the west. The peak is accessible via cable car, funicular railway or by foot.

Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Carrera 2E no 21-48 (at the foot of the mountain), Bogota, Colombia
Telephone: (1) 284 5700.
Church of Santa Clara

Probably the most representative of the cluster of colonial churches in town. Built between 1629 and 1674 as a part of the Poor Clares Convent, its walls are completely covered by paintings and statues of saints, all dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Carrera 8 no 8-91, Bogota, Colombia
Telephone: (1) 341 1009.
El Museo del Oro (Gold Museum)

Internationally renowned, the Banco de la República Gold Museum boasts some 34,000 gold pieces from all major pre-Hispanic cultures in Colombia, making it one of the most important gold museums in the world. Guided tours in English/Spanish are conducted twice/three times daily.

Opening Times: Tues-Sat 0900-1800.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Calle 16, corner of Carreras 5 and 6, Bogota, Colombia
Telephone: (1) 343 2222.
La Candelaria

This is the historic centre around the Plaza de Bolivar. Despite some unfortunate architectural influences from 20th century, the barrio remains largely soaked in the colonial spirit and lifestyle. Some buildings are being restored to their former glory, others remain dilapidated. The first buildings were built in the 16th century and today's La Candelaria is actually a group of old districts such as La Catedral, Egypto and La Concordial. The area was declared a National Monument in 1964. The streets of the old Santa Fe are full of old Spanish-style mansions with heavy doors, large halls, spacious rooms, patios, thick walls and various styles of balconies. The 19th- and 20th- century buildings are locally known as Republican. La Candelaria of today has a strong bohemian, cultural and academic flavour.

Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Plaza de Bolivar, Bogota, Colombia
Museo Botero

The art collection donated by Colombian artist Fernando Botero is thought to be one of the most important in the country's history. The collection consists of 120 artworks, mainly paintings, drawings and sculptures by European artists such as Picasso, Chagal, Dali, Renoir, Matisse and Monet.

Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Calle 11 no 4-21, Bogota, Colombia
Telephone: (1) 343 1212.
Plaza de Bolivar

This is the first port of call for most visitors to Bogotá; built in the centre of the historic district, this square has a statue of Simon Bolivar in the middle (built by Pietro Tenerani, an Italian artist, in 1846). Little is preserved from the original colonial times, but a walk around the square still makes for an interesting venture and will allow you to take in governmental, political and other buildings (including an astronomical observatory).

Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Plaza de Bolivar, Bogotá, Colombia
Tren Turístico de la Sabana (Savana Tourist Train)

Take a trip from Bogotá to Nemocón and the Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral and back to explore the Savannah around Bogotá. The train leaves on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays at 0830 from the Estación de la Sabana and at 0930 from Estación de Usaquen in the city’s north. Book advance tickets at the station. The trip usually includes a papayera (a small band playing Colombian music) and food is also available from one of the carriages. Nemocón is normally reached by 1145, and visitors have a couple of hours to stroll through the village and have some lunch before boarding the train for the journey back to Bogotá.

Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Estación de Usaquen, Calle 110 con Carrera 10 (north Bogota), Colombia
Telephone: (1) 375 0557.
Edited by Tina Banerjee
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