Dags Marasigan





Wrongly Perceived Bogota, Colombia. Oct 12-14, 2013 (Day 1)

Arrived at Bogota at about 1:00 pm and immigration was a breeze. But as soon as I got out to arrival area, there was no tourist information and only a few people spoke few English.  So I had to reset my mind that communication was a challenge.  Good thing I came from the Philippines and had a little knowledge of some Spanish words.  So I was able to communicate a bit with them.

 From the airport, I took the yellow taxi and paid COP$25,000 or CD$12.50.  There were other drivers who offered COP$40,000 as they thought I was an easy prey as a tourist but the yellow cabs were recognized as official transportation by the city.  Talking to the driver about fare was not difficult as conversion was simple – for every COP$1,000, think of it as CD$1 and divide by 2.  So COP$1,000 was CD50 cents. 

On the way to the hotel and my initial interaction with the locals at the airport, I already surmised that Hollywood movies gave a wrong perception about Colombia.  Colombians were very friendly and they tried their best to communicate. I felt very safe around the city as there were police and army on every possible corner.  It was a bad perception that Colombia was overriden by drugs and killing as portrayed in the movies.

 Upon arriving at Crowne Plaza Tequendama, English of the front desk staff was also very limited.  Good thing the duty manager was around and was able to answer some of my tourist questions (e.g. map of the city and where to go from the hotel).

 Once checked-in, I started to explore main attraction of Bogota which was La Candelaria.  Crowne Plaza was strategically located to Carrerra 7 which was the main tourist road for the National Museum, Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), Monserrate, La Candelaria, Plaza Bolivar, and Presidential Palace.

 My first stop was Museo del Oro and entrance was COP$3,000 or CAD$1.50.  I am generally not into museums but this sparked my interest.  True enough, there were lots of gold artifacts wall-to-wall.

























































Had an early dinner at Lenos and Palos. Just like Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, Colombians love meat.  Had a mixture of grilled beef and pork ribs.  Total dinner including beer was COP$27,000 or CD$15, tip inclusiuve.  It was difficult to compare when I went to Oslo with my Mom last May 2013 where we paid CD$114 for 2 measly plates of fish and 2 mugs of beer.

 It was Saturday but Bogota slept very early.  Although Carrerra 7 was a main tourist spot, activities started to dwindle down by 6:00 pm.  By 7pm most stores were closed and I decided to go back to the hotel. 

Day 2 of Bogota Trip