Tree covered mountains, colonial architecture, breath-taking cathedrals and art on every street corner sounds like the perfect description for any tourist looking to visit a foreign city. These warm characteristics are probably the last that come to mind when discussing Bogota, Colombia. Sandra Scott brings this underestimated city to life in her intimate portrait of the city in, “New visions of Bogota, Colombia; Ready and Waiting for Tourists”.
Scott marks her journey with her first impressions of the city’s remarkable green surroundings (considering the city’s population is equivalent to that of New York City). Bogota’s popular Candelaria area promises to keep any visitor occupied. The streets are full of life with street performers, musicians and people selling their handicrafts. “Each street is a photo opportunity with brightly colored buildings, many with intricate balconies, some with privacy screens and others laden with flowers, but always with the green mountains as a backdrop,” says Scott.
Bogota is home to the world’s largest gold ornamentation collection. The appropriately titled Gold Museum has only a third of its 35,000 gold pieces on display. While on the museum circuit, catch a glimpse into Colombia’s tumultuous history at The Museo Nacional de Colombia. To make this experience complete, visitors often dine at Gostino’s which offers a view of the museum along with authentic cuisine and a unique touch. The restaurant is apart of the Slow Food movement; (a reaction to the fast food chains) where savoring a meal and relaxing go hand in hand.
Bogota’s green mountains make for not only infamous coffee but a sharp contrast to the city’s liveliness. Among them, lies Monserrate which is hard to miss since the El Santuario de Monserrate rests at the top. It is easy to see from many parts of the city but can only be reached by cable car or a challenging uphill hike.
For the more accessible mountain road trip, try Zipaquira to see the amazing salt cathedral. Scott compares the scenic ride as reminiscent to images of Switzerland but is seemingly more impressed with the town’s pride and joy.
“The cathedral is the focal point of Zipaquira’s brick central plaza…..the magnificent subterranean cathedral built in salt mines that were in use even before the arrival of the Spaniards,” says Scott.
Foreign tourism is on the rise for Colombia, and from the experience chronicled by Scott it is easily understandable. For those who have dismissed Bogota in the past or have not been there recently it is undoubtedly worthy of a second look.
By, Melissa Vitti