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10 Reasons to Visit Bogotá Now

National Geographic logo National Geographic 8/10/2018 Eric Rosen

Colombia’s crime rate has hit a four-decade low, the government made peace with FARC rebels, and tourism has doubled in the last 10 years. The country is finally becoming the major destination it deserves to be. Here’s how to make the most of a trip to its capital city.

Fare Game:American, Delta, JetBlue, and United fly nonstop to Bogotá from U.S. hubs for as low as $300 round trip. You can redeem United miles for award tickets on Colombian airline Avianca.

Hotel with History: Many global chains are here, but the city’s most distinctive property may be the Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogotá, set in a 1946 edifice that’s a registered national landmark.

Higher Ground: Though Bogotá’s motto—2,600 meters closer to the stars—is poetic, the altitude can be a challenge for some visitors. Skip rigorous activities the first few days, and stay well hydrated.

View from the Top: Towering above the city, the mountain of Monserrate offers an invigorating hike. If you don’t feel like making the climb, get whisked to the summit via funicular or cable car.

a group of people on a stage: One of the city's most popular museums, The Gold Museum, provides three floors of shine. © Photograph by Alex Treadway, National Geographic Creative One of the city's most popular museums, The Gold Museum, provides three floors of shine. a building with a mountain in the background: The Andes mountains provide a stunning backdrop for downtown Bogotá. © Photograph by ERIKA SKOGG, National Geographic Creative The Andes mountains provide a stunning backdrop for downtown Bogotá.

Keeping It Real: For authentic souvenirs, browse student works at the Santo Domingo School of Arts and Crafts or fair-trade wares from indigenous communities at Artesanías de Colombia.

Caffeine Buzz: Colombia is famous for its coffee, but not (yet) its café culture. Arte y Pasión Café is changing that with beans sourced from around the country and a training program for baristas.

Tempting Tables: Foodie capitals Lima and Mexico City claim the glory, but Bogotá also has chef-driven restaurants. Harry Sasson and Leo regularly rank on lists of South America’s best.

a man with graffiti on the side of a building: Large-scale artwork in the "Graffiti District" hopes to encourage responsible graffiti practice on city walls while celebrating both local and international artists. © Photograph by Juancho Torres, Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Large-scale artwork in the "Graffiti District" hopes to encourage responsible graffiti practice on city walls while celebrating both local and international artists.

Culture Crawl: Visit the Botero Museum, dedicated to Colombia’s most-celebrated artist, plus the next-door Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia (MAMU) and the nearby Casa de la Moneda currency museum.

Take It to the Street: Some of the city’s most eye-catching art is outside. Join a Bogotá Graffiti Tour to check out the colorful creations along the lanes of downtown neighborhood La Candelaria.

La Vida LGBTQ: Bogotá may not have the rainbow culture of cities like Buenos Aires and Rio, but the scene thrives in hot spots such as Theatron, one of the continent’s biggest gay nightclubs.

Eric Rosen is a freelance travel writer and loyalty-program expert who contributes regularly to National Geographic Traveler, the Los Angeles Times, The Points Guy , and more. He is also the founder ofClusterCrush.com, an insider’s guide to the world of wine from grape to glass. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

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