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City on a Plate

A guide to Bogota, Colombia: what to do in 24 hours

The best things to see, do, and of course eat, in the Colombian capital

09 July 2017 - 00:00 By Laura Brown

9AM: BREAKFAST
Typical breakfast options in Colombia are arepas - flatbread made from ground mielies, either plain or filled with egg and meat, then fried; caldo de castillo, a clear broth served with a boiled potato and chunk of meat in it; and changua, a milky soup with poached egg and bread floating in it.
You'll buy the best arepas from a street vendor. Otherwise try Masa (Calle 70 #4-83) for pastries, pancakes and eggs.10AM: MUSEUM
The Gold Museum, hailed as one of the best in South America, tells the history of Colombian culture through jewellery, figurines and other artefacts, dating back to well before the Spaniards arrived in 1499.
You can also buy some jewellery from the gift store, where you'll find unique pieces based on pre-Colombian designs.12PM: SHOP
For woven wayuu bags in all sorts of hues, check out the market to the left of the Gold Museum, and the one on Carrera Séptima (7th Ave) as you walk towards Plaza Bolivar.
There are also vendors selling bags and other trinkets in the streets around the centre.1PM: LUNCH
From the Museo del Oro, head south along the pedestrianised Carrera Séptima to Plaza Bolivar.
After a few minutes dodging pigeons and taking pictures of the cathedral, Congress and Palace of Justice on the main square, cross to the northeast corner for lunch at the oldest restaurant in the city.
La Puerta Falsa (Calle 11 #6-50) serves up authentic Colombian food to a mix of civil servants and tourists.
Their signature dish is the tamal, mashed rice stuffed with chicken, vegetables and sometimes pork, wrapped in a plantain leaf.
If you're really hungry, try the calorie overload that is the bandeja paisa - rice, beans, pork crackling, fried egg, mince, sausage, avocado and an arepa. 
2PM: MUSEUM OR MARKET
If you're up for another museum, turn left as you leave La Puerta Falsa and walk to the Botero Museum, with two floors dedicated to the work of Colombian artist Fernando Botero, plus art by international heavyweights like Chagall, Monet and Picasso and Renoir.
Or, if you prefer something outdoors, hop in a cab to the foot of Monserrate mountain and take the cable car up to the church and markets at the top. At 3152m above sea level, the views are stellar.2PM: COFFEE 
Colombia is one of the biggest coffee producers in the world and often acclaimed as one of the best. For coffee-lovers, this is a paradise.
The most famous local brew comes from Juan Valdez, a chain you'll find everywhere. But as tourism increases, trendy coffee shops are popping up all over.
Try Juan Valdez Origines (Calle 70 #6-09) or Amor Perfecto (Carrera 4 #66-46), where you can choose your brewing method and get a lesson on making the perfect cup.
 5PM: ICE CREAM
For a pre-dinner snack, look for a Crepes & Waffles, where you'll find the best ice cream. Try an unusual tropical fruit, like curuba - banana passion fruit, or house favourites cocada, galleta or arequipe, Colombia's answer to dulce de leche. 
7PM: DINNER
The gourmet zone, known as Zona G, is a fashionable neighbourhood with restaurants to suit any mood from Greek to sushi to Middle Eastern and everything in between.
Gordo (Carrera 4a #66-84) is a happening New York-style eatery with cocktails. Try the burger or pulled pork sandwich. 
8PM: AFTER-DINNER DRINKS AND JAZZ
For something more low-key, walk across the road from Gordo to the B&L Piano Pub (Carrera 4a #66-3) for some live jazz or blues.
It's a tiny space but music is good and the atmosphere welcoming, with friendly staff who try to speak English and offer advice on drinks. They have an extensive selection of whiskeys.10PM: DANCING
If you're up for a late night out and want to get in on the Latin moves, head north to Parque 93, a small park surrounded by restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Many of the salsa spots have live music.
Most require you to buy a bottle of whiskey or rum to get a table - or you stand or sit at the bar.
Best vibe is at El Sitio or Galeria Café Libro.
IF IT'S SUNDAY
Start with a bit of exercise, as several roads are closed to traffic from 7am-2pm, leaving over 100km for people to walk, cycle, rollerblade or run.
Then join trendy set at the W Hilton Hotel (Carrera 9 #115-30) for their brunch buffet, including unlimited mimosas. When you're full, cross to Usaquén to walk it off and find flea-market souvenirs...

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