America,  Bogota,  Colombia,  TDM,  Travel Journal

A day in Bogotá (Colombia): Gold Museum, Monserrate, la Candelaria

For his two weeks of annual vacation, Philippe (JB’s dad) decided to spend them with us, in Colombia! Our road trip is composed of 8 complete days of visit (the rest of the time, Philippe has to manage by himself because we work, eh yes). Follow our adventures on the blog!

Part 1: Travel Diary Part
2: Practical Tips

Part 1: Travel Diary

How do I get to Bogotá from Medellín?

We could have gone there by bus (9h of journey) but considering the limited time that Philippe has in Colombia (and that we have outside working time!), we opt for a late departure in the evening by plane. The airplane trip costs only 19€/person (one way), but at this rate, only one backpack is allowed in the cabin

Unfortunately, (because of the storm?), our plane is delayed and we wait for hours in the small airport of Medellín, without any compensation. For the same case in the European Union, we would have been entitled to compensation, a meal ticket, …

I am placed on the window side and once the plane passes through the clouds, I can see the storm in the distance, creating a spectacle worthy of Mordor. And since all the lights are off, or almost off, I can see the Milky Way, the stars, from the plane’s window. What a moving spectacle.

Arrived in Bogota, we take a cab, the driver puts himself the meter: 35 000 COP to our hotel (price of the trip + exceeding evening + airport fees). Everything was well specified on a sign at the airport so no bad surprise (except the rounding very advantageous for the driver but it’s fair game)

Our hotel in Bogotá

A former colleague who left for Colombia a month ago recommended me to stay in the city center, in the neighborhood la candelaria, because it’s very nice, pretty, lively and you can walk to the tourist points of the city.

Our hotel: Hotel Regina(link Booking) – 33€ per night including breakfast (buffet), we like it very much, the decoration is top, the location is ideal.

The candelaria

Walking in the candelaria (the historical center) reminds us too much of the beautiful city of Sucre in Bolivia. Here, the houses are more colorful, some are more than 300 years old.

We are at an altitude of 2640m and thanks to the acclimatization since one month in Medellin (1500m), I do not suffer any yéééé (remember, I am sick from 2500m). Philippe, who has been in Colombia for only 2 days, feels a small respiratory discomfort.

We will pass by several schools and universities and meet many college students in uniform. There are always traffic jams in the downtown area, it’s a bit unpleasant to walk while breathing the polluted air.

But when you get to the big, pedestrian squares, the air is suddenly purer all of a sudden. There are always a lot of people around squares like this. I don’t know what people are doing, anyway, they are talking, there are street vendors, street food, fruit juice stands..

Gold Museum

The Gold Museum in Bogotá is a must-see stop, with more than 55,000 different objects (made of gold or other materials). It is the most important pre-Hispanic goldsmith collection. The first rooms explain the techniques of jewelry making (casting, lost wax, regrowth…) and the other rooms (upstairs) show the ceremonial objects used by the shamans as well as the jewelry.

The showrooms are in fact giant safes, the door of each room must be at least 30cm thick.

Everything is super pretty, there are very small objects but so detailed that we think they will have their place in today’s high jewelry

Bolívar Square

I have the impression that there is a Bolívar square in each Colombian city, it is their General de Gaulle. As a major figure in universal history, Bolívar is today a political and military icon in many Latin American countries, and there are squares called Bolivar all over the area.

In Bogotá, there is the Capitol, the City Hall of Bogotá, and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Street vendors feed the pigeons, and encourage us to buy seeds to feed them for a nice picture

In the middle is a farmers’ market (I don’t know if it’s like this every day, we were there on a Thursday). You can buy vegetables, cheese, Colombian chocolate.

Many Colombians buy this Masato drink and encourage me to try it. It is rice and corn alcohol, very refreshing but not very good. I prefer sugar cane juice (sold nearby), acidified by a lime with a yellow inside (which looks a lot like a tangerine but isn’t). It’s delicious!

In the street, there are souvenirs made from… venezuelan banknotes, which are no longer worth anything because of the devaluation of this currency.

Notre-Dame-des-Carmes Shrine

It is while walking towards the bus station that we come face to face with this sumptuous sanctuary. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the protection of the Virgin of the Carmelites. Seen from the outside, we expect a bling-bling interior covered with gold, but in the end the whole remains very harmonious.


We take the bus to go to the cable car to Cerro Monserrate. In Bogota, you need a special card to badge and pay for the bus – about 2300COP. But we couldn’t buy this card. Not accepting any payment inside the bus, the driver still let us ride for free (it’s too nice).

To get to the top of the hill, normally there is a train (funicular) and a cable car. But today, no choice, only the cable car works. Cost: 21 000COP/person round trip. It isn’t a small cable car as we have in Medellín, but a big cabin that can hold up to 30 people. It goes up dry! Be careful if you have vertigo!

We have a very satisfying view of the whole city of Bogotá (we can even see the airport from afar). What luck! Especially that the weather forecast announces 4 days of non-stop rain, we are even entitled to some sun rays. We are at 3 152m of altitude, and I begin to feel the effects of the high altitude. Each step becomes heavy and my lungs are as if crushed by an invisible weight. There is a church here, which is closed for work, but we can enter the small chapel.

It isn’t too cold but the wind is blowing stronger and stronger. This is where a tourist watched helplessly as his cap flew off and landed on the mountainside. Adios!

On the opposite hill, there is a statue of Christ Rio de Janeiro style (can you see the white statue in the distance?) and a Way of the Cross takes us there. But no thanks, I’ll just make do with this hill.

Continuing to the top, we cross a street full of souvenir stores. I opt for an infusion based on coca leaves to fight against the mountain sickness (in vain, it is especially the taste of the infusion that I like) for 3000COP. The coca leaves contain a tiny part of cocaine, people chew these leaves or make infusions to fight against soroche (mountain sickness). If you really have a lot, a lot of pain, there are over-the-counter medicines at the pharmacy sorojchi

Then there are many restaurants with a breathtaking view of the mountains, selling Colombian specialties (such as chicharron, fried pork with a crispy skin, and a kind of sautéed rice wrapped in leaves). ) and Bogota (the soup on the right). Take the time to go around, the most beautiful restaurants are rather at the end of the alley. It really makes you want to, too bad we ate too much for breakfast 😀

We take the cable car to go down. Not wishing to abuse, we try in vain to find a place to buy bus tickets. We simply decide to walk to the city center (20 minutes only). On the way, we see pretty buildings named City U (universal city?) and pretty graffitis

We will spend a few hours looking for an emerald for Philippe, but I talked about it in detail here

If you aren’t interested in emerald, there is the Botero Museum, also very well known, to visit.

Tomorrow you will leave for Salento

Part 2: Practical Tips

How to get to Monserrate?

Open Google Maps, the location of the funicular/elepherique ticket office can be found here. Google Maps will tell you which bus to take or how long it takes to walk there.

There are two choices

  • or you take a funicular that will stop a little further down.
  • or you take a cable car.

The prices are exactly the same (21000COP round trip). Some choose to go up by cable car (12000COP) and down by funicular (12000COP).

Schedules & prices of the cable car or funicular railway

It’s half price on Sunday (of course, there will be more people)

How to get around by bus in Bogota?

A prepaid card is required. You can buy it in one of the following points of sale (come with an ID card or passport): https: //

It is easier to recharge the card in many stores and even in pharmacies (count 2300COP per trip).


  • Plane Medellin => Bogota : 19€/person
  • Transport Medellin => airport by cab: 60 000COP with the Cabifyapplication
  • Transportation Airport => hotel in Bogota by cab: 35,000COP with meter (airport fees, evening service included)
  • Hotel Regina(link Booking) – 33€ breakfast (buffet) included, we highly recommend you. The hotel is just in front of the emerald center and at the corner of the gold museum
  • Cable car: 21,000COP/person
  • Lunch: 15 300COP the menu of the day
  • Masato (corn alcohol drink): 2000COP
  • Sugar cane juice: 2000COP
  • Infusion of coca leaves: 3000COP
  • Entrance to the Gold Museum: 4000COP/person
  • Hotel transport in Bogota => airport during the day: 27 000COP with the Cabify app

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