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World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Colombia > Bogotá

Bogotá Weather

20°C

Local time Bogotá

Currency

Col$

Getting around Bogotá

Public transport

The bus system operated by TransMilenio (tel: +57 1 220 3000; www.transmilenio.gov.co/en) has revolutionised transport in the city. The network covers the whole city, including all the main transport arteries. Buses are clean, safe, cheap and efficient and plans are afoot to make the entire fleet electric. Preloadable cards (tarjetas) are available.

For a really South American transport experience, take a local buseta (minibus). They run all over the place and stop anywhere to pick up and drop off passengers. Routes are displayed on a board in the windscreen and passengers usually get on and off via the front door.

Taxis

Bogotá is well served by its big fleet of yellow taxis. They all have meters (always insist on the meters being switched on) and are inexpensive. They should also have stickers displaying day and night time fares. To book one, try Taxis Libres (tel: +57 1 211 1111) or use the popular taxi app Tappsi (www.tappsi.co). 

Driving

As the city grows in affluence, Bogotá’s roads are becoming increasingly traffic-choked. Driving can be a little chaotic and stressful, with taxi drivers particularly taking rather too many risks. With such a modern, well-functioning public transport, there’s little reason to get behind the wheel.

Car hire

Car hire is available with Avis (tel: +57 1 629 1722; www.avis.com.co), Hertz (tel: +57 1 288 2636) and Milano Car (tel: +57 1745 2996; www.milanocar.com). The minimum age for hiring a car is usually at least 21 years old. 

Bicycle hire

Bogotá is well known for its impressive and extensive bicycle network, which covers over 300km (186 miles) of cycle paths. These are mainly situated in the north of Bogotá. City-centre routes are heavily congested, so the best day for a ride is on traffic-free Sunday, known as cyclovía. The bicycle network is integrated with the TransMilenio bus system, which provides bicycle parking facilities. So-called ciclorutas (bicycle lanes) are on the most important streets in Bogotá. Unlike cyclovías, they are permanent, not just on Sundays.

Bike hire is not common, but Bogotá Bike Tours on Carrera 3 in La Candelaria (tel: +57 1 281 9924; www.bogotabiketours.com) offers rentals and guided bike tours.

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One of the biggest cities in the Americas, Colombia’s vibrant capital Bogotá embraces an outward-looking modernity while still celebrating its rich colonial past.

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Casa Medina

Atmospheric and full of character, this Bogotá hotel offers modern facilities with an Old World atmosphere. Located in a restored historic building, it feels more like a home than a hotel with roaring fires, thick rugs, timber-framed ceilings and leather armchairs. The king-size beds are enough to lose a weekend in, while its La Casa Restaurant offers fine dining in a country cottage setting.

Hotel de la Opera

Situated in two buildings next the Teatro Colon, the Hotel de la Opera is probably the best accommodation in La Candelaria. Housed in a wonderfully restored historic building, it has class, charm and character, and its rooftop restaurant offers great views over the old part of town. The hotel has 42 rooms, each decorated with Italian furniture, but the best have views over Plaza de Bolivar. Booking ahead is essential.

Hotel Augusta

Don't be put off by the aquarium feel of the lobby; Hotel Augusta is a smart, cosy little hotel in the La Candelaria area of the city. The sleeping quarters are light and open, and lead onto a contained living room. Equipped with modern amenities like flatscreen TVs, Wi-Fi and desks, the hotel is ideal for tourists or business travellers as well as backpackers with a little more in their pocket.

Hotel Abitare 56

While bedrooms give off a student dormitory vibe, the sleeping quarters at this budget choice are spotless. Rooms are bright and each of the 28 on offer comes with Wi-Fi, satellite TV and a private bathroom. Tucked away from the nearby bars and restaurants, this hotel also offers a little sanctuary from the buzz of central Bogotá.

Celebrities Suites

With contemporary touches and a modern palate of creams, whites and flashes of red, the Celebrities Suites could be modelled on a famous personality's own pad – if it weren't for the huge murals of superstars sitting above each bed. Each individually designed apartment comes themed around a superstar (think Brad Pitt or Beyonce) and is fully equipped with a kitchen, generous lounge area and beautiful bedroom. A flatscreen TV and Wi-Fi come as standard, while breakfast in bed with Brad is available on request.

Wyndham Hotel Bogota

While it may not look like a work of genius from the outside, behind the doors Wyndham Hotel Bogota flexes its creative muscles. Its 261 rooms are well-appointed and spacious with huge windows letting in plenty of light, but it's the blossoming of primary colours, mesmerising carpets and patterned wallpaper that make it such a pleasure to stay in. The steaks from the restaurant are more hearty than arty.