COLOMBIA PT. 2
...Continued from Colombia Pt. 1
With a population of over 8 million, Bogota is the largest city of Colombia and also it’s capital. It is surrounded by the Andes Mountains which gives it a chilly vibe due to high elevation and also offers an urban experience that the other big cities of Colombia do not possess. The most popular area for travelers is the La Candelaria neighborhood because of it’s historical colonial architecture, entertaining street performances, and savory foods.
Museo del Oro is a museum containing over 55,000 pieces of gold making it the largest gold selection in the world. While there is a small entry fee during the week, Sundays are free admission to the public.
Another museum which has free admission for every day of the week is Museo Botero, containing 123 works of artist Fernando Botero as well as works of other artists including Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, and Pablo Piccaso. While Botero is not famous for a specific work, he is instead well-known because of his distinct style; depicting disproportionate objects, animals, and people. He donated all of his works to this museum on one condition: that the museum should remain free to the public.
Calle 7 is a fun street to wander down while watching the performances and browsing the vendors’ stands. This street is also closed in the mornings on Sundays to cars and is open exclusively to bikers, runners, and walkers. Exercising alongside the locals and then grabbing a fresh-squeezed juice afterwards can be an enjoyable experience.
Monserrate is a recommended hike up 1,500 stairs to the top of a point overlooking Bogota where a beautiful Church sits atop. The hiking trail is only open until 1PM so it is best to do in the morning or there is also a cable car that will take passengers who do not want to walk.
Holding the title of Colombia’s third largest city, Cali draws it’s charm from rhythm and dance; specifically salsa. It also processes rich ethic diversity due to the Afro-Colombian influence in the community.
There are many murals throughout Cali to stop and admire since they tell stories of the city’s history and folklore passed down for many generations. A fun way to see many of these and have them properly explained is to take the salsa and art free walking tour offered by Free Tour Cali. This is a fun way to meet other travelers and make sure that you see a lot of the important highlights of the city.
The one thing that you must try before leaving Cali is a frozen fruit drink called Lulada. It is freshly squeezed pulp of a local fruit, lulo and is simultaneously sweet and sour and also very refreshing. (If you want more information on Colombian food and drink that you cannot live without sampling, continue on to my next piece covering Colombian street food.)