History and where to explore
Founded in 1538, the city is located in the centre of Colombia to the east of the Andes on a plateau that sits 2,640 metres above sea level. Such is its geographically strategic position that it enjoys good connections to Europe and the rest of Latin America. It was conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada who originally established the city when in search of El Dorado. Nowadays it is a heaving metropolis of about 7 million inhabitants; street vendors peddle local arepas (maize pancakes) and filled waffles, whilst suit-clad Bogotans go purposefully about their business.
The old town of the city, known as ‘La Candelaria’, is an atmospheric quarter of cobbled streets, colourful houses and historical buildings where the most characterful hotels are situated. The Gold Museum is the largest in the country and houses one of the most important collections of gold artefacts in Latin America - and the world, with glittering exhibits and informative guides that highlight the enormous significance of this precious metal in Colombia.
Outside of the centre take the cable car up to the dizzying lookout of Monserrate, the highest point in the city. One hour north of Bogota also lies an unusual attraction, the underground salt cathedral of Zipaquira. Here crosses are carved into excavated salt walls, and if your timing is lucky, when you descend into the cathedral you may witness a priest delivering a sermon 120 metres underground!