Birthday in Bogotá!

If you’ve been following me into 2019, you know I’m going kind of Marie Kondo on not just my closet but my life as well. So with another birthday on the horizon, I made sure to tell my husband Chris that I didn’t want any “thing.” I wanted experiences. So he went to work. And surprised me with 5 days/6nights in Bogotá, Colombia. Time to break out my high school/college Spanish — which is rusty at best…if I’m being generous!

WHAT I WORE

You know how I love JC’s street art, and Bogotá was filled with it. On our first full day we walked 9.8 miles! And I can report this outfit kept me warm in the shade and cool in the sun. Not to mention super comfortable and dare I say…casually chic.

Sweatshirt: (Grayson Threads X Target) Temporarily out of stock in most sizes but really like this one (under $20!), too.

Jeans: (Madewell, old) Lover this season’s tulip hem version.

Bag: (Prada, old consignment) Similar here and more affordable here (love this color!).

Sneakers: (Adidas, I bought men’s but converted with size chart.)

When you go to the Museo del Oro, you gotta rock a little bling. And yes, I wish this sweatshirt said “Hasta Luego,” but c’est la vie, right? (Good thing I speak French, too.) This museum is in La Candelaria, the name given to an amalgamation of seven neighborhoods of historical importance. Once crime-ridden and trash-filled, this historic district is definitely a must-see when in Bogotá.

Sweatshirt: (H&M, almost sold out online but still in-store in all sizes)

Jeans: (Madewell, old) But check out this year’s boyfriend version.

Sneakers: (Golden Goose, my first pair!) More affordable here.

Belt: (Mango)

When you are in Bogotá you are at an elevation of almost 9000 feet. I had a slight headache the first day but was otherwise unbothered by my new environment. But this elevation means that Bogotá weather is pretty much the same all year round — lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s. I found layers helpful so I could cozy up or shed as needed.

Cardigan: (Banana Republic, old) Great alternatives here and here.

Jeans: (Current Elliot, as seen here too, sold out.) Some great sale options here, here and here.

WHAT WE DID

Well, we walked. And walked. And walked some more. But we did avail ourselves of Uber and happily so. It’s so great when you open the app in another country, and it’s good to go. BTW, our Uber from (and back to) the airport was under $6!!!

Before I get into details, a bit about Bogotá and why Bogotá. To quote the New York Times, “Bogotá just gets better and better. The city hums with energy and possibility, offering a thriving environment for creativity that makes its negative aspects — the pollution, the traffic — not quite as noticeable. These days, Bogotá is blossoming with new ideas, from collectives that house everything from feminist bookshops to hair salons, to offbeat, all-day bars that organize gay tango events, to exquisite dining in rough-and-ready neighborhoods. The dazzling talents of Bogotanos, from culinary flourishes to chic shoemaking to visual art innovation, is on display like never before.”

All I can say is Bogotá exceeded our expectations in every way! And we can’t wait to go back. Not to mention experience more of the beautiful country and people of Colombia. Stay tuned.

Our first day out wandering, we stumbled upon the Museo Mercedes De Pérez El Chicó , as well as the beautiful surrounding Parque del Chicó. Housed in a grand casona, it features a breathtaking collection of historic objects of decorative art, including a serene chapel, an exquisite dining room and wonderfully elaborate bathroom. It was easy to take a moment and imagine living there at the turn of the century. And admission was $2!

On our 3rd day in Bogotá we spent hours in the Candelaria. After a mandatory visit to El Museo del Oro, which by the way we got into free! As Seniors over 60!! Then we strolled through the Plaza del Chorro del Quevedo, to the Teatro Colon where we purchased tickets for that night’s Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Columbia (orchestra seats were @ $20 each!)

Our last day, Sunday, was spent at the Usequen Flea Market. Everyone we met said we had to go, and they were right. Though we did not buy much, there was much to buy! And much to eat!! We had lunch at Boho Food Market, which if you know NYC it’s kind of the Colombian version of Eataly. Delish! And lots of cute pop-up boutiques to shop too.

WHERE WE ATE (AND DRANK)

Is Bogotá a foodie destination! Sí!!! Honestly we had some of the best meals we’ve ever had on any vacation anywhere, as well as some of the most gracious and friendly service — from coffee shops to upscale restaurants. I want to go back just to eat!

OUR RECOS

Luzia Another restaurant by the legendary Isay Weisenfeld. We had lunch. It was amazing.

Gamberro Located just a walk away from our Airbnb in the Chicó and Parque 93 neighborhood, this elegant wood-paneled restaurant serves delicious tapas-style dishes and has an excellent wine list. It also has a great bar for snacks and people watching.

Hotel de Opera We just had a beer but what a view! And impeccable service!!

Bogotá Beer Company After a day of walking (and walking) we enjoyed a few late afternoon craft beers at the Parque 93 location of this upscale chain located throughout the city.

Donostia We went here after the symphony — without a reservation and close to posted closing time. I was kind of freaking out. BUT…we were received as if we were friends, given a lovely table, and probably had the best dinner of out trip. Don’t miss the blackboard specials! Delicious food made from the best ingredients. Aside from the amazing food, the chefs play great vintage LPs that you could listen to all night. And we almost did!

La Despensa We had lunch here after a VERY long walk to the Quinta Camacho neighborhood. It was a quiet Saturday, but this was clearly the in spot in town. From Peruvian chef Rafael Osterling, this is a casual showcase of farm-to-table food.

Cabrera Colombia is a Catholic country, so much of it is shut down on Sunday. Luckily, our Airbnb Experiences host Martin (more on that below) came to our rescue with this primo reco for dinner. Food and service were excellent. And we would never have known about Zona T on our own.

Cafe 18 I would be remiss if I did not share the wonderful cafe where we had breakfast every morning — except Sunday. This charming spot was conveniently located in the lobby of our Airbnb. In addition to its superb artisanal coffee menu, it offered the most decadent (yet healthy) breakfast for two — under $20, including service. They would even deliver to your apartment, but the staff was so lovely we wanted to go there every morning. And I’m most definitely not a morning person.

All I can say, is our 5 days flew by. We didn’t make it to the top of Monserrat, but that just gives us another excuse to go back…soon. The people of Colombia are beyond lovely — every one. Most speak some English, but I had fun breaking out my Spanish when it counted. One of the pluses of this trip is that there are several direct flights from Newark/JFK, the flight is under 6 hours, and you are in the same time zone. That means just watch all those movies you missed and get vacationing when you land.

Our Airbnb was exceptional and so was our Airbnb “Clandestine Social Dining” Experience. Honestly, we are already planning our next trip. To Bogotá…and beyond!

Photos by Chris & MP Allegaert.

8 thoughts on “Birthday in Bogotá!

  1. What an awesome read! I’m ready to go…now!! Fantastic photos!! Thank you for sharing. Only six hours and a world away!

  2. A perfect birthday trip to a perfect city for all that you enjoyed. My first day there (about 5 years ago) was on a Sunday when miles and miles of city streets are closed to traffic and everyone comes out and walks and bikes and skates and there is music and food. I grabbed a bike from my hotel and couldn’t believe that within hours of landing, I was riding a bike on boulevards through the city. Great food, great art, even greater people. Viva Bogota y Colombia!

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Kathy! You are so right about the Sunday scene. We could not believe how many people of all ages were out and about, especially in the northern part of the city. We are already planning a longer trip back, not just to Bogotâ but also venturing off to Cartagena, Medellin, Armenia…

  3. What a great post can’t wait to visit. Can you mention the Airbnb you stayed at? Looking forward to visiting this lovely city..

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