Before starting a WorkAway experience, I had five days to explore Bogotà and its surroundings
- + 22
South America4 days / December 2020
Highs & Lows
The outdoors activities near San Gil and the Usaquen Market in Bogota
The administration of the bus companies and the hours spent in the bus
On the first day, I went to the Salitre Bus Station of Bogota to take my bus to Villa de Leiva. When I arrived there, I went to the hotel to leave my stuff and then walked around Villa de Leiva for the day, stopped at a nice restaurant for a vegetarian meal and visited the museum of archeology. Unfortunately, the Casa Terracota was closed at this time so I was not able to visit it. The town is colonial and very nice to walk around, there are many nice little shops and also some good chocolate shops to visit, where you can eat some strawberries coated with chocolate. Yummy!
The next day, after the lovely breakfast at my hotel, I caught the bus for Raquira (45 minutes drive). Raquira is a very small town but so colorful and famous for his pottery. There are many souvenir shops when you can buy mugs, tea sets, piggy banks, etc, all handmade. On the central place, there is as well a nice coffee, where you can order a really good infusion with fresh apple and fresh cinnamon. The locals are very friendly there, a guy just came to my table to have a drink and have small talk. It was very good to practise my spanish. After having spent a few hours there, I wanted to take a bus for San Gil. However, there are no direct buses, I had to go first to Chiquinquirá, then take another bus to Barbosa and finally took my last bus to San Gil.
I arrived in San Gil early evening and this is not a pretty city, this is big, polluted and with a lot of traffic. But I'm here only for the outdoors activities around the city. The next day, the paragliding company Paravolar came to pick me up at my hotel around 9am. We drove to the Parque Nacional del Chicamocha and there we hada briefing and then everyone flew between 20-30 minutes. The tour took approximately 6 hours, we came back to San Gil at around 2pm. I asked the driver to drop me directly to the bus terminal where the buses for Barichara are. So as soon as I arrive, I took a bus for Barichara (45 minutes drive).
The town of Barichara is very similar to Villa de Leiva, but with a warmer climate. This town is famous for it's colonial architecture, for eating ants and for their arts and crafts. This is a nice town! There are many bakeries as well, which are delicious! The next day, I decide to walk the Camino Real, from Barichara to Guane, for the sunrise. I did it in one hour and fifteen minutes. When I arrived in Guane at 7:15am, there were not a lot of people, but after waiting a few minutes, I was able to find a tuktuk that drove me back to Barichara. When I came back, I pickedup my stuff at the hotel, had the breakfast and then I directly took a bus to San Gil. From San Gil, I took a direct bus to Bogota, which lasted between 7 and 8 hours.
For my last day, I visited Bogota. I went first to the market of Usaquen, which is very famous for arts and crafts. The neighbourhood is as well very nice to walk around! Then, I went to Cerro de Monserrate, took the funicular up the mountain and went back down by feet (about 45 minutes). From the top, the view on all Bogota is incredible! After this, I walked to the Candelaria, which is like the old town of Bogota. There are a lot of nice cafes, vegetarian and vegan restaurants, etc. Finally, I walked to the Plaza Bolivar.
Q & A
Anything go wrong during the trip?
Once, I booked a bus ticket on the app RedBus with the company Flotta Aguila, for their bus at 6:30am. So I arrived at the bus station around 5:45am and when I found the counter of Flotta Aguila they told me it was not here but did not help me much. After wandering around for 20 minutes, I managed to find the right place, which was actually not a Flotta Aguila counter. The woman did not want to accept my mobile phone confirmation and asked me to go to a shop next door to print it, she also told me that the bus will be at 7:30am and not 6:30am. Apparently, the timetable on the app RedBus was wrong. After all that, I managed to take this bus at 7:30am and arrived at Villa de Leiva. After that, I never booked any bus in advance and it was better....Read More
Weather a bit fresh near Bogota and warmer near San Gil. Pack enough layers.
From a city to another, there are a lot of buses connections. I would suggest you not to book any bus ticket in advance and just go to the bus terminal, where there are many many different bus companies, you will for sure find a seat available in one of them. Bogota is really really huge! You can travel into the city by bus, which is very cheap, but also very hard to understand when you don't live there. Otherwise, the best option is the taxi. They are not very expensive neither.
It's important to note that the buses are certainly really different to your own country. You cannot really relate to any timetable and for exemple, during my drive from Barbosa to San Gil, the driver stopped three times 30 minutes on the way. Two times to check the tires and one time to eat at a restaurant.
Hotels via booking.com, buses not booked