Urban Colombia centres in Bogota is home to about 20 percent of the country's inhabitants. This ancient city was the pre-Colombian capital of the Chibcha Indians and remains a blend of old and new, teeming with Spanish colonial buildings and plazas alongside modern skyscrapers. Beggars rub shoulders in the streets with smartly dressed businesspeople, while mule trains wind their way through traffic jams. Bogota is full of life - busy, vibrant and dangerous. The extreme diversity of lifestyles can leave a sensitive visitor somewhat uncomfortable.
Museums and colonial churches deliver a serene breather from the frenetic pace of the city. Browse through the numerous exhibits at the Museo Del Oro, one of the most reputed gold museums in the world with 10,000 pieces of gold on display, some of them from pre-Hispanic cultures, and the Museo Nacional, which chronicles ancient to modern Colombian art. Churches that will make your trip memorable are Iglesia de San Ignacio, Iglesia de Santa Clara, La Concepcion, La Tercera and San Diego.
Many historical areas in the city have been preserved, such as the main square, Plaza Bolivar, the center of the original town and the cathedral on it. Everywhere around the Plaza a mixture of different architectural styles, from classical to futuristic, can be observed.
The city panorama is breathtaking from the top of the mountain Cerro de Monserrate. This place is a must for those, who want to appreciate the majestic beauty of Bogota. The best time to do it is the dry season - December to March and July to August.
What concerns Colombian cuisine, local dishes are diverse and tasty, with Spanish influences. Recommended dishes are ajiaco (chicken stew with potatoes) and arepas (corn pancakes made without salt, eaten insted of bread). Colombian wines are only of average quality but Chilean and Argentinean wines are available.
Naturally, to see the city, you need to get there. And there are lots of ways to do this. You can reach Colombia by waterways, taking a coastal boat from Panama. Or by land, going on Pan American Highway, connecting Panama and Colombia, or take a bus from Venezuela. Unfortunately, there's no international railway connection with Colombia, but air connection is very well developed. You can fly to Colombia from major cities in Europe, Australia, the USA and the neighbouring Latin American countries. To get to Bogota most visitors fly to Colombia's main international airport Bogota Eldorado or to Villavicencio La Vanguardia Airport, Armenia El Eden Airport, Manizales Santiguida Airport or Pereira Matecana Airport, which are not far away. Practically all the airlines carry out flights to Bogota. Usually there are a lot of flight bargains available. You can find them calling the agency or visiting their web-sites.
All this will help you to get to know Colombia's capital city Bogota, a medley of the old and new, rich and poor, past and present of all things Colombian.