Bogotá: Colombia's Kaleidoscopic Capital

Though consistently colourful, Bogotá is at its most vibrant on a Sunday morning. Every week, from 7 am until 2 pm, the city’s main streets are blocked off to cars and taken over by runners, skaters and cyclists. Parks host aerobics and yoga classes and like most things in Latin American, local musicians provide a lively soundtrack.

Cycling in Bogotá

The cilovía (cycleway) scheme has been immensely successful. Formally introduced in 1976, around 2-million people (almost a third of Bogotá’s population) enjoy the car-free streets. They whizz past centuries-old squares, bustling markets and brightly-painted streets, all in the shadow of the mighty Monserrate mountain.

Experience Bogotá on a Colombia tour. Click to view.

Much of city’s kaleidoscopic colour comes from its graffitied walls. Around 5 years ago, local authorities took steps to partially decriminalise graffiti. Today, Bogotá acts as a sort of mecca for street artists with an estimated 8,000 calling city home. Vast murals cover entire buildings and quirky stencils can be found on every street corner.

 Mural in Bogotá

Schemes such as these have played a part in the city’s remarkable transformation. A couple of decades ago, Bogotá was considered a no-go zone for tourists, synonymous drugs, crime and terrorism. However, these days, the biggest risk you’re likely to run by visiting is not wanting to come home.

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Posted by Rosanna Young

Rosanna is Travel Direct's Content Editor. Though she is Londoner, born, bred, and based, her wanderlust has led her to many far-flung destinations. Rosanna has visited over thirty countries with extensive experience of travelling through Latin America.

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