Street art

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!

Bogota’s street art stole my heart

I had to stop for bit to just watch, and take in the moment. The colors were everywhere. Around any corner, on everything from an abandoned house to the façade of a small shop. The street art in Bogota isn't this kind of crappy stuff that I know from home where it seems like it is more the adenine kick of doing something illegal that counts than the art in itself. Bogota's street art was high quality art!

The street art is like a natural integrated part of the urban life in the Colombian capital, adding a lot more color, life and personality to the old colonial buildings. Not that the buildings in Candelaria actually need that much of color-adding. They are pretty colorful in themselves.

However, the street art adds an uniqueness and modern buzz to these old buildings. They are not just historical memories, they are an active part of the modern life. And from my first encounter, Bogota's street art completely stole my heart.

Street art in Candelaria, Bogota
Bogota's street art stole my heart
Colorful Candelaria

I had left the hostel in the historic center of Bogotá, La Candelaria, without any actual plan. I like doing that when I just arrive to a new place; just scroll around without purpose. Since then my camera had been on hard work, and various time I had to suppress an amazed "wow".

I just had to stop to take it all in. I think, I must have had a silly smile on my face because two police men kindly smiled mumbling buenos días to me. Didn't they notice all these amazing pieces of art?

Bogota's street art stole my heart

 

There is all kind of different street art in Bogotá...

Street art in Candaleria, Bogota's street art stole my heart

I had not excepted to find something like this. Well, I actually don't know what I had excepted of Bogota. It was my first stop on the Latin American continent. Until now I had only been to Cuba, and in Cuba you can not except to find street art like this. But for sure, I had not excepted to find this color heaven of street art. Later I was to find out that high quality street art isn't that rare in Latin America.

 

Bogota's street art stole my heart

A garage with a massive dragon on the wall - what is not to like?

Bogota's street art stole my heart
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Bogota's street art stole my heart
Legalizing street art

After doing a bit of research, I found out that the huge amount of impressive street art is due to an governmental legalization for painting in the public space. The artists don't have to be afraid of police or governmental fees, they can just freely paint in daylight.

 

Street art in Bogota

 

Or freely, freely... Apparently, they need an authorization from the property owner before they can paint. In some way fair; how would you feel if you suddenly woke up with a huge painting on your house? 

Okay, I wouldn't actually mind!

Bogota's street art stole my heart
Street art with a political touch

Most of the paintings are not just beautiful art, they are also a comment to relevant debates in the Colombian society.

They center around themes such as the country's violent past, indigenous communities rights and modern society's relationship with nature.

 

Bogota's street art stole my heart

"Memoria"... Memory for the victimas of the years long internal armed conflict

Bogota's street art stole my heart

A comment to modern society's abuse of natural resources...

Bogota's street art stole my heart
Bogota's street art stole my heart

"Esperanza"... Hope... For a better future...

 

More street art on Calle 26

Then I returned to Bogota after 3 weeks around Colombia, I discovered a whole new collection of street art away from Candelaria's touristic buzz. On Calle 26 most of the political street art is centered. Actually most of the pictures above are from there.

I was staying at a private home through AirBnB (btw. highly recommendable!) on the massive Calle 26 which leads from the airport toward the city center. And here walls upon walls were covered in amazing pieces of art

 

Bogota's street art stole my heart
Bogota's street art stole my heart
Bogota's street art stole my heart

How I wish that more cities with boring grey walls and commercial bill boards would follow the example of Bogota, and let the artistic spirit free!

Don't you? Leave a comment below

 

Bogota's street art stole my heart

... And then finally; some of the works are just small comments that make you smile...

 

Bogota's street art stole my heart
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Bogota's street art stole my heart
See all my photos of street art from Bogota here:

 

The hidden chic gems in the city of Tigre, Buenos Aires

The hidden chic gems in the city of Tigre

Most people visiting Tigre in the province of Buenos Aires go there for the boat rides on the delta but the city of Tigre has so much more to offer. If you take a scroll through the city you will be able to find incredible hidden chic gems.  

Street art in Tigre

Street art

When you least expect it; on the corner of a street, on an abandoned building or just on an empty wall, the street art pops up. These amazing pieces of art adds extra color and life to an otherwise grey and boring urban space.

As much as I dislike common graffiti, as much I’m completely in love with cities that allows for this kind of amazing works in the public space. And the street art in Tigre is no exception. I captured some of the pieces I saw on my scroll around the city but I believe that if you spend a bit more time wandering around the city you will be able to find more pieces.

Street art in Tigre, Buenos Aires
Street art in Tigre, Buenos Aires
Street art in Tigre, Buenos Aires

Bohemian Boulevard de Tigre

The largest concentration of art in Tigre seems to be centered on Boulevard de Tigre, or Boulevard Saenz Peña as the correct name is. This bohemian oasis of art is definitely not to be missed on your visit to Tigre! Here you will find small chic vintage shops to cute cafés.

Remember to enter in the side walk on the corner of Café Almacen de Flores! I’m sure you will be amazed by the pieces of arts that reveal in front of your eyes. Take a break and breathe in this bohemian atmosphere.

Café Almacen de Flores

Located just in the middle of the art heaven of Boulevard de Tigre you will find Almacen de Flores, a small restaurant and café with a relaxed atmosphere. And then they just serve some super delicious food. Make a stop here for a cup of coffee or a lunch break after touring the delta.

Hand craft shops

Along the way from Boulevard Sanez Peña toward the old port area of Tigre, Puerto de Frutos, you will find a great variety of shops selling all kind of chic handcraft.

Even though you might not have more space in your luggage for more souvenirs after visiting the San Telmo market, make sure to enter some of these hidden gems around the city. Take time to admire and get inspired by the crafts.

Hand craft shops in Tigre, Buenos Aires
Hand craft shops in Tigre, Buenos Aires
Hand craft shops in Tigre, Buenos Aires

Have you ever visit Tigre? What did you like about the city? Or maybe dislike?

 

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Tigre, Buenos Aires