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Things to do in Bogotá

Get on a salsa tip at Quiebracanto

This long-standing bar (www.quiebracanto.com) resides over two levels and is a legend amongst the locals. It's most renowned for live salsa, though it also showcases the best of new Colombian Folklore. If you'd rather mix with the traveller crowd, head down on a Wednesday night for electronic sounds.

Go hiking at the weekends

Hook up with this Bogotá hiking group (tel: +57 1 2833765; www.salsipuedes.org) and head into the Andean mountains with them at the weekends. Expect an early start and long hike (eight hours), so go easy on the aguardiente the night before.

Go market trading

Paloquemao Market (www.plazadepaloquemao.com) might not be the most popular market on the tourist trail, but is the real deal. The flowers outside will have your nose twitching, whilst indoors there's every Colombian fruit, vegetable, meat and street food delicacy under the beating morning sun. Only the most foolish gringo would leave without eating an arepa.

Hit the streets with the Ciclovia

On Sunday morning head out to the Ciclovía section of the city, where 120km of the city's main roads of the city are closed to traffic and from 0700 to 1400 approximately two million cyclists, runners, skaters and families take back the streets.

Take the city’s pulse at Plaza Simón Bolívar

Overlooked by the Andes and flanked by the Palace of Justice and the National Capitol, Plaza Simón Bolívar is the place to take Bogota's pulse. Sit at one of the nearby cafes and order local speciality Chocolate Santafereño, aka hot chocolate with cheese.

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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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.

Morrison 114

Smart and stylish at the same time, Morrison 114 is a boutique hotel that mixes up utmost comfort with designer touches. Expect tall windows, airy rooms and massive beds with plenty of mod-cons, including expansive plasma screen TVs, iPhone docks and soundproof windows.

Portal de Oxum Hotel

Located in the financial district, Portal de Oxum Hotel is a short ride on the TransMilenio from the bustling nightlife of the Zona Rosa neighbourhood. Clean and overtly colourful, this hotel only has seven rooms, but each comes with Wi-Fi. Ask for a room away from the street for the best night's kip.

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.