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36 Hours in Bogota, Colombia

The prestigious international daily, The New York Times, dedicated a full page to the Colombian capital. In it, journalist Nell McShane Wulfhart, recommends to do in Bogota if one is 36 hours of visit.
The text below is a translation of the publication in the journal. See the original article at: http://nyti.ms/1OrFMuy

We are pleased to announce the special mention that the newspaper made to our Blue Doors Hotel, Continental All Suites. In the article, the author recommends our historic downtown hotel as an excellent accommodation option in the city.

36 Hours in Bogotá, Colombia
The Colombian capital has resurfaced and is home to beautiful colonial buildings, restaurants with signature cuisine and new art galleries and cafes.

By: Nell Mcshane Wulfhart

November 5, 2015

Bogota is increasingly positioned on the radar of travelers thanks to improvements in security and a new gastronomic wave very creative. Visiting Bogota today means leaving old stereotypes about Colombia as wars between drug cartels and drugs. Now, the city, it gives life. During your visit you will find trendy streets filled with new warehouses and restaurants with signature cuisine. The colonial architecture of the city together with the colorful graffiti and murals, make those who visit it are distracted and do not think about traffic and other small inconveniences. Try Colombian coffee and explore this city with the energy it deserves.

Friday

1. A soup to start: 3:00 p.m.

Start with the traditional and try the flagship dish of Bogotá in the restaurant of the neighborhood La Candelaria, "La Puerta Falsa". This is a simple and unpretentious place where Ajiaco is served since 1816. The Ajiaco (18,900 COP or $ 6.70 USD at the exchange of 2,828 pesos for the dollar) is a soup with chicken stripped and three types of potato. They serve with avocado, cob, capers and a little cream. In addition, it is seasoned with guascas, a typical Colombian herb. This is the perfect combination to warm up on a rainy afternoon in Bogota.

2. History and Art: 4:00 p.m.

Stroll through the streets of La Candelaria, surrounded by colonial buildings, cafes and bars full of students. Start the tour in Plaza Bolívar, a quadrant full of doves and home to four important buildings: the City Hall, the Congress of the Republic (neoclassical), the Palace of Justice, and the Cathedral Primada (dates from the century XIX). Stop for a coffee (espresso at 3,000 COP) at "La Peluquería", a café, beauty salon and colorful vintage clothing store where the city's "hipsters" gather. The coffee bean found there comes from Azahar, a new company that only distributes the finest coffee. Then walk to Calle 11 and enter the Botero Museum (free admission). This is home to an impressive collection of paintings by the country's most famous visual artist, Fernando Botero. Finish the tour of the Candelaria by drinking a glass of Chicha, an alcoholic beverage based on corn that you can find in any of the bars full of students in Calle del Embudo.

3. Great coffee: 8:00 p.m.

The renowned Colombian singer, Carlos Vives, is the owner of Gaira Café Cumbia House (value of the entrance: 10,000 COP), a restaurant - bar with its own platform and traditional Colombian music. On Fridays and Saturdays there is live music (a combination of vallenato and cumbia from the Colombian Atlantic coast) and an occasional appearance by Carlos Vives. The food is a tribute to the Caribbean coast with typical dishes such as the Posta Negra a la Cartagenera accompanied by rice with coconut or patacones with pork and cheese. A dinner for two costs approximately 160,000 COP. If you want to have a good view, with less noise, reserve a table on the second floor balcony.

Saturday

4. Grafiti Tour: 10:00 a.m.

One of the defining characteristics of Bogotá is its graffiti on the streets. Technically it is not illegal to paint the walls and this has led to consecrate a culture for street art. Take the Bogotá graffiti tour (welcome donations): a two-and-a-half-hour walk and an introduction to the work of some of the city's most admired artists. The guides are very knowledgeable about the subject and can tell you very technical details about how the templates are manufactured, for example, and others of a political and historical nature. Some of the most notable murals are those of the artist Bastardilla, who call for the violation of the rights of women in the country. The work of Guache, a member of the street art association of Bogota, is very colorful and indigenous in nature. At the end of the tour, go to Calle 20 and enter Ricardo Corazón de Papel's store to buy souvenirs. All notebooks sold in this store are made at the time you purchase them.

5. Shake it! 1:00 pm.

Colombia has a large variety of exotic fruits that do not always reach supermarkets in the United States. Go to the market in Paloquemao where the vendors will offer you from tree tomatoes, to feijoas or granadillas. Take a seat at a juice kiosk and try some of the local juice shakes. Some are based on milk and ice, something that surely has never tasted before. If you are brave, take the juice of borojó and crab - this costs around 8,000 COP and what was once a tradition of the field today is more novelty. It carries live river crabs and is supposed to be a natural aphrodisiac.

6. Stay awhile for lunch: 3:00 p.m.

Chef Tomás Rueda cooks in one of the most beautiful restaurants in the city: Tabula. The bright ceiling and the fine wooden tables will make you want to stay to enjoy a long lunch accompanied by some drinks. Tomás Rueda uses traditional ingredients produced in small local farms. Delight the menu: New Colombian for two (180,000 COP) which incorporates dishes such as fish croquettes with cosmeted coastal serum.

7. Fashion / Coffee / Art: 4:30 p.m.

Chapinero is a fascinating and central district. Explore the area by first visiting "La Percha": a warehouse in Quinta Camacho where you will find clothes, jewelry and other accessories made by Colombian designers. Some items, such as the portfolios of daily use of the nascent Bogota brand, Mago Maga are entirely modern while others like jackets of the brand Hipolito combine indigenous patterns. Then, energize yourself with a delicious coffee in Bourbon, a brick and wood establishment with a quiet garden and excellent pastry (try the Aeropress, 6,900 COP). Then head to Flora Ars & Natura, a small gallery inside a garage in an industrial area. There you will find exhibitions of local and international artists who focus their work on nature.

8. An alfresco dinner: 8:30 p.m.

Make a reservation for dinner in the courtyard of the Brutus restaurant (dinner for two, approx 130,000COP) where you will be surrounded by a chic and elegant clientele. The chef, Felipe Arizabaleta, is Colombian, the food is Spanish and the atmosphere is lively with good cocktails and live music from Tuesday to Saturday. Try the Salmorejo, a cold tomato soup with egg and bacon; The squid croquettes with garlic oil; And enjoy a sparkling wine.

Sunday

9. Chocolate and cheese: 9:00 a.m.

Have a Bogotá-style breakfast at Florida Pastry, a favorite spot of locals. Florida has served for decades, fresh baked breads, fresh cheese and cups of hot chocolate. The decor is casual but the service, as in almost every restaurant in Bogota, is very formal. Dip the cheese in hot chocolate to live the local experience and order a delicious chicken tamale, served on banana leaves. A breakfast for two costs around 38,000 COP.

10. Gold rush: 10:00 a.m.

On Sunday mornings many of the city's avenues are closed for vehicles and open only for pedestrians, cyclists and athletes. This gives a different air to a city that is usually dominated by large tranways of cars and buses.
Walk for the new seventh pedestrian race to the Gold Museum (free entrance on Sundays, 3,000 COP otherwise). There you will find a stunning collection of figures in gold, jewels and pre-Columbian art.

11. Monserrate: 12:00 p.m.

If you feel energized, be a part of the multitude of people climbing Monserrate, a 10,000-foot-high mountain with a great view of the city and home to a seventeenth-century statue of Christ. It is important that you climb 1.5 miles on foot if your visit is for religious reasons, otherwise there is a funicular that works in perfect conditions (10,000 COP round trip). The view from the top of the mountain is simply spectacular.

12. The Drum: 1:30 p.m.

Take a break from the hectic life in the city and rent a taxi (140,000 pesos) heading towards the mountains. The people of Bogota usually go to La Calera on Sunday afternoons to take in fresh air, photograph the green landscape and eat delicious roasts. "El Tambor" is one of the places at the foot of the road where you can have a beautiful view while enjoying a basket of grilled meat, cassava, chorizo, chicharrón and corn cob (lunch for two: 70,000 COP). Add to this delicacy a couple of beers Club Colombia and stay an entire afternoon in this charming place.

Lodging:

Strategically located for those who want to explore the area of ​​La Candelaria is the Continental Hotel (Avenida Jiménez No. 4-16; hotelcontinentalbogota.com.co) where you get double rooms from $ 56USD. Spacious suites, all with kitchen and excellent service. It is a hotel that offers lots of space for the price; Ideal for long stays.

Known for its central location in the neighborhood of Chapinero Alto and a few minutes from the busy gastronomic area, Zona G, there is the Book Hotel (Carrera 5 No. 57-79; thebookhotel.co). There you will find double rooms from $ 172 USD per night. This is a Tudor house with a cute bookcase and coffee shop on the first floor. The rooms are standard but its strategic location is unparalleled.

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