May 17

Bogota Colombia – Not Just a Big Dirty City


In Medellin we were told that Bogota Colombia "is just a big dirty city". From our experience there's nothing further from the truth. While there are parts that are "big" and that there are parts that are "dirty" there’s a lot more to the city than the “big” and “dirty”.


Located in the Colombian savannah at an altitude of 2 640 metres (8 540 feet) it sits in the shadow of two iconic mountains the 3 150 metre-high (10 238 foot) Monserrate mountain  and its 3,317-metre (10,883 ft) neighbor Guadalupe Hill.

Bogota is like many big cities – a metropolitan of many parts.

Unique AirBnB

We booked our accommodation through AirB&B ... described as:

“The room is big and comfortable in a beautiful Italian style house with three levels, a lovely kitchen, patio and perfectly located for tourism. Nearby touristic attractions and the airport, Casa Kilele is a cultural hub where you will find art and love. La Candelaria (historic centre) it's only 20 minutes walking!”

Previous experiences with AirBnB’s had made us somewhat sceptical about pictures and descriptions

But it was far more than a room; it was far more than a house … it was an experience. And the reply to the person who made the comment to us in Medellin … “you obviously didn't go to the right places”.

After hearing a number of negative opinions about Bogotá we went there with some reservations. We left with feelings of regret that we didn’t stay there longer and experience more of the life in Bogotá.

Bogota Colombia

After a long bus ride from Medellin … we arrived in the pouring rain. Against our better judgement we took a local taxi … which turned out to be an expensive mistake. The final price after riding up and down and round and round the same block was way in excess of the Uber quote!

The house is charming and very well located. Within walking distance (sometimes a longish distance) from everything we wanted to do.

Over the few days we did the Free Walking Tour. Experienced three very different nights in our cultural centre and walked to the top of Monserrate (the altitude making it a good walk in preparation for the Inca Trail hike!)

Casa Kilele

On the first night there was a free evening where local groups can come and play and get public exposure … this initiative has been very successful and a number of the bands who have been featured have gone on to greater things.

The next night there was an evening of Pacific African inspired music and a ceviche making demonstration followed by the ceviche for supper ... at about 11pm!

The group was heavily influenced by their African traditions and featured marimbas and drums … making me feel at home … and quite proud to be an African! This was a very festive evening and after we went to bed the party went on … until a visit by the local policia brought the party to an end.

On the last night there was a play reading by three women. Unfortunately as our 32 hours of Spanish lessons was not enough for us to be able to appreciate this we spent the evening with Henry finishing off drinking some fine Colombian rum … it’s delicious … but not the best thing for the head!

Our visit to Bogota turned out to be a revelation. It's one city we would quite happily return to.

If you agree or disagree please leave your comments below.


Bogota, Casa Kilele, Colombia, Free Walking Tour

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