Bogota: A city full of surprises and wonderful people

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It wasn’t my first visit to Bogota and it certainly won’t be my last. Bogota is full of wonderful places to explore, good restaurants (but of course not as good as Peru’s), and _excellent_ places to dance and feel alive no matter your age.

After having visited the Colombian travel fair, where Peru and its travel agencies successfully promoted Peru, we took off to a restaurant called El Sitio (The Place), where you pay around US$ 8 to enjoy drinks, food and live music. We got there at 8:30 p.m. and, just half an hour later, the Colombians started to dance. There isn’t even a designated dance floor and yet, using the space in between the tables, happy people became happier, all to the rhythm of wonderful, live music. How cool is that?

bogota fair
(Photo: Carsten Korch/Peru this Week)

So what makes this place and others alike so special? People my age (nearly 50) can go out almost every night and dance. As I was mentioning to the local representative from PromPerú, we really don’t have anywhere in Lima that invites adult people (40+), married or single, to go out and have a great time dancing the night away.

My wife loves to dance and every Thursday and Friday I scan the event calendars to see if I can find a decent place to invite my wife for dinner and dancing, but I haven’t been lucky yet. If you know of a place to go dancing, whether it be rumba, salsa or any other popular genre, please send me an e-mail to editor@livinginperu.com and I’ll check it out.

People tend to start their nights out earlier in Colombia than here in Lima, so as not to kill the following day being tired and maybe with a hangover- like in my case 😉

thinking man
(Photo: Carsten Korch/Peru this Week)

The day after our big night out, a Danish friend of mine picked us up to see something else besides the fair and the office and took us to downtown, where we, among others, visited the Gold Museum. This historical part of the city was very interesting and reminded me a lot of Cusco with its Presidential Palace and a market offering the usual souvenirs as well as some interesting gift ideas.

bogota
(Photo: Carsten Korch/Peru this Week)

Colombia may not have the variety of food that Peru offers, but I enjoyed their traditional dishes and had some great food. Located 2,640 meters above sea level, they offer a lot of soups, meat, beans, potatoes, yucca- all of which are typically enjoyed with one (or two) of the many local beers. If you like artisanal beer, Bogota is the place to visit. Peru has started to make some excellent artisanal beer but Colombia is light years ahead of us and offers a huge variety with excellent quality.

Saturday night we collapsed early, but before doing so, we visited one of Colombia’s most famous family restaurants, “El Corral”. There are two versions’ of this restaurant that exist: the regular one and the gourmet version; we opted for the latter. Known for their burgers, excellent service, and affordable prices, we certainly couldn’t complain.

Sunday morning we decided to visit the church at Montserrat, which is located at nearly 3,200 meters above sea level and offers the best possible view over Bogota on a clear day (which you don’t see often). That said, we only had one day with rain, which was on our way to the airport; and it rained as if God opened the sky and let the Amazon River fall on top of us. After an hour, everything went back to normal.

Sunday night another good friend from Denmark picked me up at the hotel, which was placed in the best possible spot near parquet 93 to explore Bogota NIGHT & DAY and he took me to Andrés Carne de Res – Colombia’s most famous restaurant with food, drinks and entertainment. I just wanted to see it and didn’t expect to see much on a Sunday evening, but boy was I wrong.

When we arrived around 6:30 p.m. the place was half full. After filling up with a popular drink and a bowl of Colombian soup, we were about to leave when a 15-man orchestra started to play rumba and people got up and danced. An early and good evening started to become a dangerous, excellent and maybe even late evening, but what could we do? We were surrounded by happy people whose karma told us to stay and enjoy the moment, which we did. Luckily, most people had to get up and work the next day, so the band stopped playing around 10 p.m. and I was able to be in bed by 11 p.m.

Andrés Carne de Res has a second location in addition to the one mentioned above. Located almost 45 minutes away, thousands of guests meet up every Friday and Saturday and dance the night away. That’s where I’m going the next time. Be aware that despite having room for 2,000 guests, you must make a reservation. Without fault, it is packed every weekend.

carsten and funny guy
(Photo: Carsten Korch/Peru this Week)

Bogota has much more to offer, and I just wanted to share my experience and not necessarily write a complete travel guide. What I have yet to add is that ALL the Colombian people we met, were incredibly nice, service-oriented and helpful- not to mention ready to dance and enjoy life at the drop of a hat (or a musical note).

Bogota is a great getaway destination and is only three hours away by plane. Airfare can be found at less than US$ 200 with discount airlines (during special promotions), and you can also find great offers starting at US$300 with regular airlines. Hotels are very reasonable too.Mr. Living in Peru is back from Bogota!

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Originally from Denmark, Carsten returned to Peru in 2002 with his wife and eldest son. He started LivinginPeru.com in 2005, among other ventures in Peru. Before this, Carsten has worked in tourism, living in France, Sicily, and the U.S., and promoted bands like Metallica, Def Leppard and U2 for PolyGram Records (now Universal Music). Carsten loves pisco sours, Peru’s cuisine, and traveling with his family within Peru, a country that he believes is the land of opportunities.