Perhaps in defiance of the history of violence and economic hardship, Bogotanos seem to know a thing or two about celebrating life.
I’ve yet to come across a traveller who hasn’t been bowled over by the people, nightlife, and art.
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After 20 years of visiting the city, the attraction (and my marriage to a Colombian) remains intact.
While the quality of life in Bogota may not compare with Medellin, you can still live a solid life in the capital for a low price.
Living in Zona T in Bogota offers first-world amenities and luxuries at a fraction of the cost you’d find in the West.
Look out for “orchestras” playing salsa and boogaloo. Taxis can be networked with criminal gangs, and some bus routes are famous for leaving tourists fleeced. But use something inconspicuous, and only carry what you’re prepared to lose. My sons insist on arequipe (a kind of milky molasses), which we then all fight over once we get home.
If you can’t dance, no matter, someone will come forward to teach you. More seriously, don’t stray into unknown areas without security advice and having a plan to get back. Just never hail taxis from the street – drop into a nearby hotel/restaurant and ask them to call one for you. Emeralds are obviously seriously pricey, but pre-Colombian replica jewellery, sold at La Galleria Cano, is beautiful, reasonably priced, and makes a great gift. El Centro Commercial Andino, Carrera 11/calle 82 has many good stores under one roof, (including La Galleria Cano), from leather goods to knitwear and jewellery.
Curious about the biggest cities in Colombia and which one fits your needs?
You’ll usually spend more money in Bogota on similar items than you would in other parts of the country.
Costs in Medellin have been rising in recent years due to the influx of digital nomads and foreign travelers. For being the second largest city in Colombia, you can find some incredible deals here.
While Bogotanos have a reputation for being a cold and distant group of people around Colombia, I’ve yet to feel that.
People in Bogota are incredibly friendly and helpful to foreigners, especially if you speak a little Spanish. The culture of Medellin ensures that foreigners will rarely feel like an “insider” while living in the city.