The Bogotá 20: To Do & Remember

1. Eat at La Casa de la Paella: Cra. 58 #58-128, Bogotá. The house paella was simply amazing and the customer service was great. 2. Visit B&L Piano Bar...

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1. Eat at La Casa de la Paella: Cra. 58 #58-128, Bogotá. The house paella was simply amazing and the customer service was great.

2. Visit B&L Piano Bar on Jazz Night & Blues Night and do a 10 Whiskey Tasting. The owner and bartender know the area fairly well and hold great conversations.

3. Bogotá Graffiti Walking Tour. A must for all artists and all who appreciate amazing art. It’s not just a stop-and-see and keep walking kind of tour. In the 2.5 hours, you get in depth knowledge of style, politics, artist movements, and so much more. Contact: info@bogotagraffiti.com @BogotaGraffiti

4. Monserrate. You can walk up, run up, but trust me, the train or cable car is so much better, especially with the altitude. This is the greatest view of all of Bogota for those who, like me, love being on top of the world.

5. Eat at Crepes & Waffles. It’s a chain, but the food is amazing. I had one of the greatest breakfasts, outside of my grandma’s, that I’ve ever had, and I paid less than $8USD for it.

6. Visit La Candelaria: Drink Sugar Cane Juice, Eat Rice Pudding, Visit the historic streets and neighborhoods, people watch, and buy ALL of your souvenirs here.

7. Hop a bus at Portal Norte and head to Catedral de Sal. The tour is roughly an hour and a half. There is an English speaking option. Pay an extra two dollars for the mining tour (not English, but you get deeper into the mine).

8. Usaquen Market. This is one of the richer neighborhoods, but the prices are still amazing, and the finds are plentiful. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the lady singing Celia Cruz covers and her dancers.

9. Drink Hot Chocolate with cheese and eat and arepa. Both are national favorites and so very delicious. Don’t worry, it’s not cheddar or anything unimaginable.

10. Visit Zona T and dance to ALL the music you hear, pick any restaurant in site, get serenaded by a Mariachi band, and sing Feliz Cumpleanos to a party nearby.

11. Andrés Carne de Res. Easily one of the best parties I’ve ever been to. It’s about an hour outside of the city in Chia, but you can get there for very little, and it’s well worth it. The club is both inside and outside, it fits about 2,500 people, and the food is…OMG…so good! Oh! And the Reggaeton!

12. Bogota sits high above sea level, higher than most Americans are used to. This means your breathing will change. Plan accordingly. In some areas, it was almost impossible to take a deep breath after taking just a few steps. Chew coca leaves and drink tea.

13. Don’t be that fool who consistently asks about Pablo Escobar and the cartel.

14. Ask that the tip be included in your check when eating out. Service is good and worth it in most places.

15. Get a cup of coffee from Juan Valdez coffee shop. They’re all over the city. If you watched daytime television and soaps with your grandma like I did, you remember the commercials of the man with his mule.

16. Traffic seems to be all day. Some hours better than others, but the roads are rarely completely clear. Plan accordingly.

17. The driving is absolutely insane. At any given moment it’ll look like you’re about to be side-rammed by truck, but reflexes are quick, and nothing too awful will happen to you. Try not the sh$% yourself.

18. Learn the dances to the styles of music. Tango, Salsa, Bachata, and the others. It’s a great time, and the folks love to show you.

19. Shop! The exchange rate is in your favor! Grab a pair of cool shoes, a pair of jeans and a top for under $30USD.

20. Lotion is not enough! The climate will dry you out. I was forced to apply 5 coats of good lotion to my face to keep from being dry. My hands would ash up randomly, and my ankles…well, god bless them.

Enjoy Bogotá!

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Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.
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