I Love the Burg but… Bogota

Bogota, oddly enough a great destination for a long weekend— say like Thanksgiving. With the long weekend ahead, we started the hunt for a nearby destination suitable for four nights. Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, maybe Dominican Republic. All way too expensive for the short time to book. Expanding the search, Bogota was surprisingly affordable and just around 5 and a half hours with a quick layover in Miami— we decided to take the leap.

With no idea what to expect, I began some research and found that Bogota was more than just the capital of Colombia, it was a hotspot for culture and culinary arts.

Food
The restaurants alone are worth the trip. Impeccable service, presentation, value and above all taste.

Osaka peru


Dare I say one of the best Japanese restaurants I’ve ever eaten. After asking what was the best on the menu, we were told to close the book and let them serve us an impromptu tasting menu and just signal when we were done similar to how a traditional Japanese “omakase” or “chef’s choice” is typically served. Treats like white fish sushi sprinkled with orange rind and truffle were spectacular. Nearly six courses later and trust me when I say, just sit back and let them drive. Cra. 13, #8525, Bogotá, Colombia

Harry Sasson 

Perhaps the most famous must-visit restaurant, Harry Sasson is like the Bern’s Steakhouse of Bogota. It’s been around for over 20 years and has been recognized as one of World’s 50 Best Restaurants. As good as the food is, the space itself is a stylish combination of modern and traditional design that’s worth the ‘grams. Carrera 9 No75-70, Bogotá, Colombia

Criterion
The tasting menu is the way to go. It all starts with a delicious soup served in a vintage teacup and ends with a dessert that melds numerous levels of sweetness in one. Calle 69 A # 5 – 75, Zona G, Bogotá, Colombia

Andres Carne de Res
After getting recommendations from friends who have lived or visited Bogota and locals as well, we couldn’t leave without trying the staple. Known for its fun and quirky interiors and very extensive (maybe more than 20 pages) menu, best to experience Andres by ordering tapas style. Great selection of meats and seafood! One other tip, make a reservation ahead of time to get a good seat in the house. a 49-99, Cl. 185 #49-21, Bogotá, Colombia

Botero Museum
Born in Bogota, Fernando Botero’s iconic plus size figures are both amusing and pleasing to the eye. Portraits range from vibrant still lifes to a humorous take on the Mona Lisa. The museum’s collection also includes work by Picasso, Dali and other masters. Free at the time we went, well with a self guided hour(ish) tour. Cl. 11 #4-41, Bogotá, Colombia

Bike Tour by Bogo Travel Tours

Hands down the best way to see the city’s many sights, neighborhoods and murals. We literally saw every neighborhood from the historic to the modern as well as many of the city’s murals which tell stories from Colombia’s national heroes to its native heritage and wildlife.

One of our favorite murals is this one of Jaime Garzon, a Colombian journalist turned comedian. He used his humor and satire as an activist in the 90s until he was assassinated in 1999. He was 38.

While there’s so much more to tell, one would be remiss not to experience it themselves. I myself am looking forward to returning to try the many other restaurants and museums we didn’t get a chance to experience.

While there are no direct flights, you can connect on several airlines including American Airlines. For accommodations, there’s plenty of affordable hotels and Airbnb options. While nothing overly fancy, we quite enjoyed the view and affordability of our Celebrity Suites penthouse.

Dexter Fabian contributed to this article.

Written by Brian Bailey

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Brian Bailey is the founder of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. In addition to regular contributions to each blog, he's been featured as a commentator to Bay New 9, The Tampa Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times, The Tampa Bay Business Journal and The Business Observer as well as national outlets including The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal.