Botero

Bogotarian memories and reasons to visit Bogotá

Exactly a year ago, I was sitting Bogotá's international airport, El Dorado, and waiting to board my onwards flight. Behind me was a month of traveling around Colombia. A country which had surprised me by its beautiful landscapes and diverse cities. It is with reason that Colombia is an upcoming travel destination!

 

Colombia has something for every taste; for those who love extreme sport, for those who adore small colonial villages (including some of the most colorful ones I have ever seen), for those who want to be cultural, listen to music and look at art, and for those who search for a pulsing cosmopolitan city vibes. Bogotá has exactly these cosmopolitan vibes, and a lot more to offer!  Therefore, I have put together a list for you of reasons to visit Bogota, and for myself as a little rip up of my memories about the Colombian capital.

In doubt whether to visit Bogotá or leave it out of your Colombia itinerary? Check out these reasons to visit Colombia's capital!
The contrasts

Bogotá is filled with contrasts. The old colonial houses of historical center, La Candelaria, against the modern skyscrapers. The fancy dressed business men and women against the hippies playing music and hanging around Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo. Bogotá has it all. Part of visiting the city, is to just take it all in. All the contrasts mixed together in one place. One city.

Reasons to visit Bogotá, Colombia
Reasons to visit Bogotá, Colombia
Reasons to visit Bogota, Colombia
The mountains

One of the first thing that caught my attention when I arrived to Bogotá was the green enormous mountains surround the city. Towering up with their mysterious white mist covering the tops. Almost everywhere you go, the mountains will make the background scenery in Bogotá.

Reasons to visit Bogota (Colombia)

Maybe it is because I come from a country which is as flat as anything can possibly be but this mountain scenery fascinated me completely. I never thought of myself as a mountain type of person. I usually prefer the ocean. But Bogotá had me with its mysterious mountains against the colonial houses and skyscrapers.

Reasons to visit Bogota

Hit to Monserrate to get a closer look at the mountains and for an amazing view over the city. The view point with the church, el Santuario del Señor Caído de Monserrate, is placed 3.152 above sea level which allows for amazing photos and a real feeling on how massive the Colombian capital is with its 8 million inhabitants.

The entrance to Monserrate is located at Carrera 3 Este. From there you can choose either reach the top by a cable car, a train or by foot. Monserrate is open for entrance everyday (except holidays and Sunday) from 7 am until midnight.

Reasons to visit Bogota
Museums, street art and architecture

If you like me like interesting art and fascinating architecture, Bogotá should be on your bucket list like... Right now! The city center is filled with all kind of museums and the streets of both La Candelaria and other neighborhoods are like small museum in themselves.

Reasons to visit Bogota (Colombia)

Bogotá is the home of some of the most amazing street art that I have ever seen. Walking around and suddenly discovering huge murals with high quality street art… I have said it before; Bogotá’s street art stole my heart of that!

Reasons to visit Bogota

However, there are also plenty of conventional museums where you can hide if the unreliable Bogotarian weather decides to give you rain while enjoying masterpieces or local history. Due to my huge fascination for the Colombian artist, Fernando Botero, my favorite museum was the Botero museum located in Calle 11, N° 4-41, Bogotá.

Nevertheless, just next to the Botero museum is the super popular Gold museum which should be worth a visit – I unfortunately didn’t do it. And around the corner from these two museums you have the city museum of Bogotá – just to mention a few!

Reasons to visit Bogota

The architecture in Bogotá is in itself worth the visit. Even though, the city doesn’t have as vibrant an architectural screen as my beloved Buenos Aires, you can still find impressive catholic constructions as the church at Monserrate or this small colonial patio in the photo below.

Reasons to visit Bogota
Gastronomy

What surprised me the most while visiting Bogotá was the quality and diversity of the food. Maybe it surprised me because I didn’t know what to expect… but food in Bogotá was G-O-O-D.

 

Reasons to visit Bogota

Apart from the more traditional food (which includes a lot of soup), then there are restaurants that uses the delicious regional foods in a new innovative way. A place that I grow to like a lot is El Gato Gris (the grey cat) located just by Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo in the sidewalk Carrera 1A in La Candelaria. They have amazing salads and juices, and a lovely decor where the restaurant is divided into lots of smaller rooms – and then, of course, a cat!

Reasons to visit Bogota

One of my first days in Bogotá, I accidently dropped into a small corner restaurant. The place wasn’t opened yet by the time I went but the staff let me sit at the bar to escape the rain while they prepared the last tables. Instead of getting a table, I ended up sitting in the bar chatting with the owner who recommended all his favorites from the menu.

It is a gorgeous; a modern decor in an old colonial house – exactly the way I love Bogotá’s contrasts. If you want to check it out yourself, head to Capital Cocina y Café on Calle 10 on the corner of Carrera 3. For more info and picture of some of their great food, check out their Facebook

La Candelaria's colorful streets

Now I have mentioned the neighborhood of La Candelaria a couple of times; the historical center with colonial houses and street art. La Candelaria is without doubt the touristic area of Bogotá, and doesn’t reflect the whole story of life in the Colombian capital.

However, what I liked about the area was that it didn’t feel that touristic after all. Many companies and ministries have their offices places in the area, and everyday life still goes on of the Colombian residents

Reasons to visit Bogota

And then, let’s face it! It is just overly charming to scroll cobblestone streets surrounded by colorful houses. When in Bogotá, it is definitely a must to just walk around La Candelaria and its colored houses.

Reasons to visit Bogota
Reasons to visit Bogota

It is often discussed in different Latin America travel groups whether Bogotá is worth a visit. Many times, I have heard strong arguments against the Colombian capital. However, my own experience of 1,5 week in the city was positive, and I think there are plenty of reasons for visiting Bogotá.

What do you think? Is Bogotá a city that you would like to visit? Or did you already visit Bogotá? What was your experience of the city? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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In doubt whether to visit Bogotá or leave it out of your Colombia itinerary? Check out these reasons to visit Colombia's capital!
In doubt whether to visit Bogotá or leave it out of your Colombia itinerary? Check out these reasons to visit Colombia's capital!
Don't miss Botero when in Colombia

Don´t forget Botero when in Colombia

I was 15 years old the first time I met him. It was love at first sight. It was autumn in Berlin, and the sun shinned from a clear sky. I was in my teenage hippie period where everything had to be crazy. The more colorful, the stranger; the better.

And there he was in a park in the center of Berlin. He fitted into all of that.

Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!

I was immediately in love! Fernando Botero’s art fitted perfectly into my mind set of seeking to challenge the existing society. Be provoking and thinking differently than the rest – and telling them, most importantly.

His big deform sculptures of overweighed people and animals challenge our perception of the body. What is a beautiful body?

My fascination for Botero's art has never stopped. His art made an inevitable mark in my mind. Today, here close than a decade after from my first encounter (ha ha, THAT made me sound old! I’m not!), my clothing has become more conservative than that sunny autumn day in Berlin.

However, my inner-hippie with a love for strange things is still alive, and with that my fascination for Botero and his art.

Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
Colombia is the perfect choice for Botero art

When I planned my visit to Colombia, I had completely forgot that Botero is Colombian citizen, and Colombia therefore (of course!) is the perfect choice for seeing his art!

I had arrived safety to my hostel in Bogotá on my very first day in Colombia, and I received a text from my mum (equally a Botero-admire). She knew I had been way too busy with exams to do any significant research on Bogotá, so she just wanted to point out to me there is a whole Botero museum in Bogotá.

I quickly found out that this was not the only place to explore the Colombian artist’s work! So, keep on reading to get to know the main points for enjoying Botero’s art!

Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
But… Who is this Botero, you might ask?

Okay, let me face the fact that everybody might not be as passionate about sculptures of overweighed men and women as me… So, here a quick introduction to artist Fernando Botero:

He was born in 1932 in Medellín, Colombia. When he was only 16 years old, his paintings were for the first time exhibited. Today, he is a world-famous artist. His art has been exhibited all around the world, and he has won prizes for his work. He has lived and studied in places like Madrid, New York, and Paris.

Botero's art is know for is bloated, round and oversized humans and animals which he both uses in paintings and in his sculptures. In some way, you can say that it has become his artistic trademark.

Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!

Main spots for enjoying Botero’s art: 

Museo Botero, Bogotá

The Botero museum is in an old beautiful colonial-style house in the historic neighborhood Candelaria in Bogotá. Everything from paintings to sculptures over paintings of Botero are decorating the old house.

In the middle of the house is a huge patio with benches where you can sit down and relax from the hustle and bustle of Bogotá. Take a break and take in this atmosphere which stands in scrap contrast to the life just outside the heavy entrance’s doors.

TIP! The museum is closed on Tuesdays! Just so you don’t end up like me standing outside knocking on the door when there is nobody.

The museum is opened Monday, Wednesday-Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm, except Sundays (10 am to 5 pm). Closed Tuesdays. Admission is free.

Location: Calle 11, N° 4-41, Bogotá

For more information click here

Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
Plaza de Botero, Medellín

In Medellin, they are so proud of their local superstar artist that they have named a whole square after him. Plaza de Botero is located in the center of Medellín, and it is decorated with some of Botero’s massive sculptures.

The sculptures on the square are amazing! But the square itself has turned into a tourist trap. It is far too crowded with tourists and sellers – not my cup of tea! To avoid the crowdedness my best recommendation is not to do like me, but get up and go there early!

Location: between calle 52 and Avendia Carabobo in the center of Medellín

Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
Museo de Antioquia, Medellín

On the corner of Plaza de Botero you have the Museo de Antioquia which has a large Botero collection. I really enjoyed getting away from the chaos on the square, and just scroll around the exhibition halls with the peace and quietness to enjoy the art. Apart from Botero pieces, the museum also offers pieces of art from other Colombian artists.

I would have been disappointed with my visit to Plaza de Botero if Museo de Antioquia hasn’t been there. So, I high recommend that you spent some time visiting the museum. Additionally, the museum has a nice café where you can sit and observer the square at a nice distance. 

Admission charged. Open daily from 10 am to 5.30 pm (except Sunday to 4.30 pm)

Location: Calle 52, no. 52-43, Medellín

For more information about Museo de Antioquia click here

Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!

In 2004, Botero created a series of paintings and drawings focusing on the violence in Colombia stemming from drug cartels. His natal city, Medellín, was for many years considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world because of these activities.

The death of the infamous Pablo Escobar who had managed most of the drug tracking around Medellín inspired Botero to this painting:  

Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!
What do you think of Botero's art? Or what is your favorite Botero spot? Share your points and tips about Boero in a comment below! 
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Colombia is the perfect choice for seeing Fernando Botero's art. Check out the main points for enjoying his art here!