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After decades of internal strife, Colombia is when again tranquil, flourishing and safe. Tourism is playing a big role in Colombia’s healing; while other South American countries saw their visitor numbers decrease in 2009, the number of visitors to Colombia climbed up by 7 percent.
Bogota, the capital city and the nation’s economic and cultural center, provides magnificent chances for visitors. It has more than 2 lots museums, numerous parks, a wealth of colonial architecture, and some of the most popular night life in South America. If you have 2 weeks to invest in Bogota, you’ll discover something new to see and do every day.
But exactly what if you’ve only got a day? Listed listed below are the “must-sees,” Bogota’s absolute best tourist attractions. All are clustered within and near La Candelaria, the old colonial heart of the city. There’s more good news, too: La Candelaria is simply a brief, low-cost taxi ride from Bogota’s El Dorado Airport.
Cerro de Monserrate First stop: Monserrate. This Roman Catholic Sanctuary, situated 2,000 feet above Bogota, is accessed via either a cog rail or cable vehicle. From this mountaintop the huge panorama of Bogota expands before you. It’s a remarkable view, but Monserrate has its own charms, consisting of a splendid church, fabulous gardens, and dozens of shops where you can bargain for regional crafts.
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Bolivar Plaza This vast space is the heart of Colombia. It is surrounded by the Catedral Primada (the country’s “first cathedral”), the Colombian House and Senate, and the Supreme Court. Just one block away is Casa de Narino, house of the Colombian President. The plaza is constantly aswirl with activity; you’ll find chains of school children making their method amongst the buildings, picketing (and serene) protestors, tourists, government workers and the dapperly-dressed elite. From here it’s an enjoyable walk to the other must-sees.
Museum of Colonial Art Found in a fabulous colonial estate, this museum homes numerous pieces from the time of the conquest and the early settlement of Colombia.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez Cultural Center Colombians are justly pleased with their Nobel Prize-winning author, whose works are celebrated throughout the world. This brand-new center supplies extensive information on the author, whose novels include 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. Stop by for more information about the author, and to have a cup of excellent Colombian coffee in the open air cafe.
Botero Museum Fernando Botero is Colombia’s best known artist, famous for his representations in paint and sculpture of “the fat ones.” The Botero Museum houses the artist’s own collection of artwork, consisting of a thunder-jowled Mona Lisa. The museum likewise includes works by Picasso, Monet, Renoir and Matisse.
Museum of Gold This amazing museum is the home of more than 30,000 pieces of pre-Columbian artwork, consisting of the popular raft of Guatavita, source of the El Dorado legend. The Gold Museum is located on one of downtown Bogota’s busiest plazas, the site of a casual market for Colombia’s famous emeralds (and for its similarly well-known fakes!).
Colombia is still a bargain. Simply remember: when you get starving, prevent the American-style dining establishments and rather choose one of the regional favorites. A McDonald’s hamburger, for instance, chooses US$ 7, and fails to live up to the suspicious requirements of its American origins. La Candelaria’s Restaurante Masiz, on the other hand, serves a four-course Colombian meal with veggies and fresh-squeezed fruit juice for $3.
The coffee is excellent too – naturally. Oma and Juan Valdez are the big chains (they are the Starbucks of Colombia), however attempt a locally-owned shop. At Cafe Negro the service is as enjoyable as the coffee is abundant.