Where to Stay in Bogota: The Best Areas and Hotels
Discover the best areas and hotels in Bogota, Colombia’s exciting capital and find out where to stay in Bogota for your upcoming trip to one of Latin America’s most popular destinations.
Bogota, the capital of Colombia has a unique blend of Latin culture and modern city living. It’s a pivotal city to visit to learn about Colombia’s history and culture before continuing on with your itinerary to see the rest of the country. Bogota (as well as Medellin) is one of the best cities in South America for museums, culture and modern living. In the last 10 years, the city has seen a lot of transformation.
Here you’ll find many things to do in Bogota that can easily fill a 2 or even 3-day itinerary. From gazing at the largest gold museum collection in Latin America to observing the city from above, from Monserrate Hill and checking out the National Museum, Bogota is rich in culture, restaurants, bars and of course cafes serving Colombia’s best coffee.
Bogota also has a great selection of all kinds of accommodation from dirt-cheap backpackers hostels to 5-star luxury accommodation offered at a quarter of the price you’ll pay in the US/Europe. They all make a great base from which to explore the city, its cafes, buzzing nightlife and cultural sights.
Keep reading to find out where to stay in Bogota, Colombia and discover the best areas for you and the best hotels in each area for every budget.
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THE BEST TIME TO VISIT BOGOTA
Bogota is a great place to visit at all times of the year. Temperatures in Bogota generally stay the same throughout the year and it’s a city that never gets hot- not even in the summer. This is due to its high altitude which always keeps the city cool. You can expect average temperatures of 15°C/60°F.
Because temperatures are pretty steady you’ll ideally want to time your visit during the drier seasons. Bogota’s driest months are January and February and also June, July and August. The wettest months are April and May and September, October and November.
This coincides with the wet seasons all over Colombia and I generally advise avoiding the country at this time, particularly during the main wet season of October/November, unless you really love the rain.
Plane: When arriving in Bogota you’ll most probably arrive at El Dorado International Airport. From here it’s about an hour’s ride to the center of the city. From the airport, it’s best to take an official (yellow) taxi or organise an airport transfer ahead of time through your hotel. A taxi to the center from the airport will cost about 50,000 COP. A taxi from the center to the airport costs about 30k.
Note that taxis in Bogota are notoriously small. If you are traveling with a lot of luggage you’ll be better off booking a transfer with your hotel ahead of time.
Bus: If you’re arriving in Bogota from other parts of Colombia then there are quite a few bus stations you could arrive at depending on your origin. Generally speaking, bus stations in Colombia are located quite far away from the city center. The best way to continue to your hotel is by taxi or Uber.
Uber: Uber works well in Bogota just be mindful of the fact that it’s still illegal there and for this reason, drivers might ask you to sit upfront or to explain you are so-and-so if pulled over by the police (there are many police checkpoints around the city). If you’re going to the airport make sure to take a taxi and not an Uber as they are not authorized to go into the airport so they’ll leave you on the side of the road near the airport- not ideal if you have lots of luggage.
Also, we found that Uber prices were quite elevated in Bogota compared to taxis, especially during some peak times so make sure to check the fare on the app as well as with a local taxi driver. On one trip Uber quoted us 12k, we went with a local taxi and it ended up costing 6k.
Taxi: A great alternative to Uber in Bogota is local taxis which are inexpensive and available on every corner. They generally use a meter but it’s always a good idea to ask about the estimated price you’ll need to pay. A little basic Spanish does help when taking taxis, however as most of the drivers do not speak English.
Public Transport: In general we didn’t use public transport when in Bogota as taxis and Ubers are very inexpensive. There is currently no metro in Bogota but the city does have an extensive bus system. Feel free to try to work it out.
WHERE TO STAY IN BOGOTA: THE BEST AREAS AND HOTELS
Bogota is a large sprawling city with so many exciting things to see and places to go. Because of its size and nature are many places to stay in Bogota depending on your interests and accommodation budget.
There are four general areas in Bogota where travellers prefer to stay; the historic center La Candelaria, cool and upcoming Chapinero, trendy Chicó and upscale Usaquen. These are also Bogota’s most central and safest neighbourhoods.
There are also a few good hotels near the airport on the main highway Avenida El Dorado for travellers wanting to stay near the airport.
In a nutshell:
- La Candelaria– the most popular neighbourhood for backpackers and budget travellers, good for being close to the main sights, restaurants and nightlife. Lots of colonial architecture and a good central location.
- Chapinero– A safe and commercial neighbourhood to the north of La Candelaria best for good accommodation without being too far from the center. A good option for where to stay in Bogota.
- Chicó – a nice, family-friendly neighbourhood that’s more upscale. A good place for restaurants, quality cafes and more luxury hotels. A great place for exploring and taking it easy. A safe area to walk around in after dark.
- Usaquen– Bogota’s most upmarket neighbourhood full of brilliant restaurants, cafes, markets and luxury hotels.
I often get asked with is the best area to stay in Bogota over on my Instagram but this is a difficult question to answer because the answer is based on your preferences and how much time you have in the city.
I’ve personally been to Bogota three times now and I stayed in many areas around the city. For first-time travellers to the city who are on a limited budget and have limited time, I’d recommend staying in La Candelaria. If you do have more time and a larger budget I’d recommend staying in Chicó or Usaquen for the evenings in those areas and taking a day trip to the center.
Note that Colombia also has some of the cheapest luxury accommodations in the Americas. In many Colombian cities, you can easily find 4 or 5-star hotels for as little as $60 per night.
This is something worth considering before disregarding luxury hotel names that you might not normally be able to afford. If you would like to upgrade your stay for a really lovely experience in Colombia, Bogota and other Colombian cities are the place to do so.
La Candelaria is located at the heart of Bogota’s Historic Center. It’s here where you’ll find most of Bogota’s sights such as the Museo de Oro, Plaza de Bolivar and Monserrate Hill. It’s the best place to stay in Bogota for quick access to the city’s hostels, tours and nightlife. Restaurants around the historic center tend mostly to be open for lunch.
Because most of the things to do in Bogota are located in Candelaria it makes a lot of sense to stay here, especially if you’ve only got a day or two in the city.
Generally, in large South American cities, the historic center is often the oldest and most culturally significant part of the city. It’s also a part of the city that sees a lot of degradation over time and therefore an increase in crime and other social issues. Bogota follows the same pattern.
Although there are very nice parts of La Candelaria, trendy stores and restaurants and amazing street art, the area as a whole is quite run-down, dirty and can be a little dangerous. While it’s fine to walk around during the day- there is a lot of police presence-, (even for solo females), you’ll need to take a lot more care at night.
For this reason, I personally prefer to stay elsewhere, in areas such as Chicó and Usaquen where it’s much safer to walk around in the evening.
Top Hotels in La Candelaria:
Hotel de la Opera – Housed in a beautiful historic building in the heart of La Candelaria, Hotel de la Opera offers guests a comfortable and stylish place to stay in Bogota. With large, traditional rooms with amazing views of the city, on-site restaurants, a pool, great breakfast and amazing service, this is a winner for the historic center.
Selina La Candelaria Bogota – For where to stay in Bogota with charm, style and the opportunity to meet fellow travellers and/or digital nomads, Selina is always an excellent option and this is probably the best hostel in Bogota.
We love their branch in La Candelaria for its amazing decor- a fusion of traditional and modern, spacious double rooms with vaulted ceilings and a private bathroom, a great cafe and plenty of places to relax, work or meet others. The hotel is within walking distance of most of the best places you’ll want to visit in the historic center.
Candelaria House Boutique – Another charming option in the heart of La Candelaria, this beautiful converted historical house with beautiful decor and finishings makes for the perfect place to stay. With an amazingly attentive host, delicious breakfast and great location, it really ticks all the boxes for amazing places to stay in Bogota.
Hotel Muisca – A great option on the edge of La Candelaria away from the hustle and bustle, this great boutique hotel is located on one of La Candelaria’s most pretty streets. With larger comfortable beds, big rooms with exposed brick, a living area, a sauna and the best part- a rooftop terrace with amazing views of the city.
Chapinero is a very large neighbourhood located between the historic center (La Candelaria) and Chicó. It’s a cool and trendy neighbourhood that’s always changing and evolving. For this reason, there are always new places to visit here, including some of the best cafes and restaurants in the city.
Chapinero is also the city’s more gay-friendly neighbourhood. You might also see the northern part of Chapinero also being referred to as Zona G.
Chapinero is a great neighbourhood to base yourself in because here you’re not far from everything. You’re just a short Uber ride away from the historic center but also from the more northern neighbourhoods of Usaquen and Chico, which are definitely worth exploring when in Bogota.
Top Hotels in Chapinero
HAB Hotel Bogota – Easily my top pick for Chapinero and quite possibly the whole of Bogota, HAB Hotel goes above and beyond to make guests feel at home straight away with authentic and top-notch service. The hotel itself is in a converted boarding school giving it a truly unique feel.