Bogota – Columbia’s Most Important City
Located on the west of the Savannah of Bogotá at an altitude of 2,640 meters above sea level, Bogota is the capital and the most important city in Colombia. With a population of over 13 million in 2015, Bogotá is the fastest growing major city in Latin America and is the third-highest capital city in South America. Often referred as 'The Athens of South America', the city has been listed as a Beta global city by the GaWC and is among the 25 largest cities of the world. Spreading on a land area of 1,587 m2, it owns the largest moorland of the world. The city served as home to migrants from Mesoamerica along with Spanish colonizers before becoming the capital of the Republic of Colombia. Spanish is the official language spoken by the majority of the people. However, English is the second language. Bogotá's utter size and obsolete vicious status are intimidating for visitors, but the city greets the savvy traveler with incredible natural as well as man-made attractions.
El Dorado International Airport is the primary airport and all flights coming to Bogota land at this airport. Located at the west of the city's downtown, it is among the 50 busiest airports in the world. It is a joint civil and military airport, around 15 kilometers from the city center. Having a subtropical highland climate, Bogota is dominated by dry and wet season which keeps alternating throughout the year. While March is the warmest month of the year and December, January, July and August are the driest months. The city on an average has 220 days of fog in a year and very few sunny days. The annual temperature has very little variation and ranges between 6 to 19 °C. April, May, September, October and November are the wettest months. The best time to visit the city is during the months from December to March when it is dry and comfortable. Carnival of Bogotá on 5th and 6th August every year is the major international festival. Ibero-American Theater Festival, Salsa at the Park, Rock al Parque, Hip Hop at the Park, Bogotá Film Festival and Ballet at the Park, Opera at the Park, and Jazz at the Park are other major events celebrated in Bogotá.
La Candelaria, the Downtown area of Bogota is most popular tourist place famous for its colonial attractions. Cerro de Monserrate which has a cable car ride taking tourists up to Monserrate, is another popular attraction. Located inside the Banco de la Republica, Gold Museum - Museo del Oro is one of the most unique museum, where tourists can learn how the metals, specially gold, were used in the pre-Hispanic societies. Plaza Bolivar is the historic center of the city. Plan a visit to National Museum, which is the oldest museum in Bogota and one of the oldest in America. Donacion Botero Museum is known for its unique displays and Iglesias del Carmen is a beautiful church.
A small park in the corner of Avenida Jiménez and Carrera, Parque de los Periodistas, is the place to spend a leisure day. Iglesia de la Candelaria (famed for its golden exterior), Luis Angel Arango Library (the venue for the major cultural events), San Fransisco Church (another landmark in the city), Plaza de Chorro de Quevedo (a lovely square filled with shops and restaurants), Candelaria (city's principal square and a major attractions), Torre Colpatria (Country's highest and South America's second tallest building), Eclisiastical niche, World of the Fat and Zipaquira Salt Cathedral are the major sightseeing spots in Bogota.
Eating and Shopping
Some of the local dishes, one should sample in Bogota are - Arepas, Empanadas, Tamal, Ajiaco, guascas, arequipe, Canelazo, aguardiente and aguapanela. While the city offers many restaurant and cafés but finding an authentic Chinese or Japanese restaurant is difficult. The city has numerous restaurants sporadically located in the different areas. Bogota is also popular for its street food and crepes and waffles is a popular Columbian food chain available across the town. Henry Comida Rapida, Dona Elvira, La Monapizza, La Taperia, Cadaqués, Astrid y Gaston, Clowns Delim, Harry Sasson Restaurante, Casa Mexicana and Hard Rock Cafe Bogota are the best places to enjoy a good meal. Bogota is eloquent for its trendy nightclubs and pubs where you can enjoy great drinks.
Inexpensive handicrafts, local jewellery, coffee products, shoes and bags made of leather, silver jewellery, cut and uncut emeralds and dress suits are some of the items indigenous to Bogota which tourist should shop for. Santa Fe, Unicentro, Gran Estación, Hacienda Santa Barbara, La Zona T and Salitre Plaza are the most popular shopping places in the city. The Sunday flea market held at Usaquen is the best place to shop for local stuff at good price. Bargaining is recommended.
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