Will be traveling there for a 2-day business trip alone and would like to do a bit of sightseeing as long as I'm there. Any recommendations for tours, things I am okay to do on my own, etc.? I'm fairly adventurous, but not great at hiking, biking and other sporty things. I'd rather do non-touristy things, but since I'll be on my own and my Spanish isn't that great, I think I'm better off joining a tour. Also, how many extra days should I plan to stay there?
I have been both at the JW and at the Marriot (the one relatively close to the airport) and both are wonderful upscale hotels. The service is impeccable. Mostly all service providers there speak English. I recommend you go with a buddy or friewnd and take the cable car and o to the Montserrate mountain overlooking the city. There is a litthe town, a church and a great restaiurant I recommend there called San Isidro
. I also recommend visiting the Gold Museum (Museo de Oro) and do not miss a restaurant call Andres Carne de Res.
IVe been staying at the JW here in Bogota for a while, here for business as well and love it., the service is really good. My recommendation, if your just coming for business and you want to be next to the airport. stay at the Marriott. Nice hotel but nothing around but other hotels! Not so great of a area to walk around at night.
THe JW is centrally located to popular night spots and restaurants and malls.
Depends on what you want to see, 2 or 3 extra days you can see plenty. JW concierge staff can help you with seeing it all..
Thank you aurgelles!!! That helps make my decision...the JW it is!!!
lone6star, I'll be sure to give a detailed review of my trip! I'm planning to go a few days before my meetings. I plan to see Bogota and a bit of the nearby countryside while I'm there. I've also booked a Foodie tour with a blogger!
Might want to invest in secure transportation. A co-worker traveled there and dad armed guards, so definitely check in to the location and personal security before traveling. Keep your laptop etc with you at all times and do not leave it in your room unattended. I use www.state.gov before traveling for must recent information for the country I travel too. Read the terrorism alerts for locations as well. Travel Safe.
This is good advice for any country with risky transportation though I have never gone the armed guard route, but I do always have the Marriott send a car service. This way I know its a reptuable company that Marriott has used, and often I get a discount as well. Mos of the problems in Central, South America and even NYC airports have been with getting into unknown taxis. In the NYC airports there are even signs warning you not to accept offers for transport from miscellaneous people approaching you in the baggage area.
Thank you all for the help!
I found that one of my employees has a relative that is a guide/transport service in Bogota. I've booked them to take me everywhere I want to go, except for the Foodie Tour I'm going on. For my business days, I've been advised to move over to the one that is connected to the meetings I'm attending (AR Salitre). Hope it's okay...not happy to leave the JW, but guess I have to.
As far as the computer goes, my Samsung Galaxy 10.0 Tablet is sufficient for my needs and easy to carry around with me. My phone is set-up as it's wi/fi hotspot to keep things secure.
I'll provide a complete report when I return!
Wow! What a wild destination. Really cool! I have been to Venezuala, but have yet to hit where you are headed. Would do it in a second, given the opportunity! I am envious. Please have a great time. I wish I had some advice to give you but do not. Waiting for any advice you can share when you get back! Really interesting destination, and as others have said, be safe, and enjoy your time! Cannot wait to hear some feedback hopefully.
Thank you all for the advice and comments! Getting very excited for this trip...even looking forward to the business meetings
I have things fairly well planned. Sister-in-law and her husband of one of our employees has been hired to not only pick me up at the airport, but take me everywhere in Bogota and the countryside I want to go. I have a dinner planned with a food blogger for Saturday night...really looking forward to this! Here's the link for her blog : http://bogotaeatsanddrinks.com/
I've also started a pinterest!
Bogota is a wonderful city. Keep in mind, because of the altitude it is almost always cold and drizzly. The JW Marriott is one of the best I have ever seen, and to other's points the staff and service is impeccible. The Gold Museum is nice, and so it the museum of modern art (Boteo exhibition). The central plaza of Bogota is interesting and around the area are narrow cobblestone streets with small restaurants that serve local food like Ajiaco, a must have. I also highly recommend the Salt Cathedral. The hotel can either book you a car there, or you can take a bus. It is about an hour ride, and you can spend most of the day there. If you are there on a Sunday, the main city streets in Bogota close for bikers. You can rent a bike at the JW and ride, it is really fun.
Bogota is 8,600 feet high, compared to Denver, which is one mile (5,460 feet) high. So there is quite a difference in altitude. The altitude affects many visitors, but I have learned that it also affects Colombians, who may now live in lower areas, or who used to live in Colombia, but now live overseas or in the U.S. Altitude sickness, called "sorocho" in Colombia, is usually light-headedness, dizziness, headache, etc., but can also get you if you try to climb one or several flights of stairs, or exert yourself too quickly without being accustomed to the height. Remember, there is less oxygen up there than at sea level, so if you do something that's normal for you at sea level, such as climbing stairs, you will feel "short of air", until you get used to it. Usually, the light-headed feeling will go away in a day or so, so rest, drink plenty of liquids, and allow yourself to acclimate to the altitude over a few days, if it bothers you. It is best to walk slowly, ask for help with luggage, etc. until you feel normal again.
I first came to Bogota when I was 21 years old, and on up through my 30's, the sorocho didn't bother me. I am now in my 50's, and it seems to bother me more now, when I visit, than it did years ago. Young folks probably might not notice a difference In the altitude. It just depends on the individual and their health, I guess. If you have any concerns, check with your doctor first, about visiting high-altitude areas.
I have been traveling to Bogota, Colombia for over thirty years, so a two-day trip is rather hard to tell you what to do. What I would recommend is to be sure to see the Gold Museum (Museo de Oro) in downtown Bogota, and also downtown, is transportation up to the top of Montserrate mountain, 2,000 feet above Bogota. On Montserrate, there is a church and many religious artefacts, but also there is a gourmet restaurant, hand-crafted items, and an incomparable view of the city. Also in the downtown area, is the oldest part of Bogota called "La Candelaria" and I would recommend a stroll through that area. If you are a fan of art, then you should visit the Museo de Botero or Donacion Botero in the Candelaria. This features works by Colombian artist Fernando Botero, who is probably the most famous living artist in the world now. He is in his 80's, and lives in Italy, but most of his themes are Colombian. Also part of this museum are works by other artists and all of this is a donation by him from his private collection. When it was donated, it was said to be worth over 70 million dollars! Botero is a native of Medellin. The museum is free to enter. Next door to the Botero museum is another museum about Colombian money over the years--how it was minted, etc. I'm not sure, but I think this is the Casa de la Moneda. If it is not, you can ask where that one is.
One note here is that I would not recommend a visit to the downtown area after dark. Downtown is more dangerous than the northern parts of Bogota, and you must be more vigilant of your pockets and personal items when you are there, than you would be in the north. But you should also see the Main Plaza (Plaza Mayor) where the Cathedral, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the City Administration buildings are located. It is a large open plaza and you can get several good photos of these buildings and also of Montserrate above the city. The other mountain to the right of Montserrate, that has a large Cross on it, is called Guadalupe, in case you are curious.
In the area around the Gold Museum, there are several old churches that you should visit. They date from the late 1500's and have very ornate altars covered in gold leaf. Their arquitecture is also interesting. These places would be my recommendations to someone on limited time, who wants to see some of the city in a short period of time. If you have a few days more, there are also interesting sites to see an hour or so outside of Bogota.