Vacationing in Bogota, Colombia

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20 years ago you would never have even thought about Bogota as a place to go for your vacation due to the activities of the drug cartels which were running rampant there. Today though, the Colombian government has been able to successfully curtail the cartels influence, making Bogota as safe as any other city in Latin America. Of course, precautions are still needed but today they are no more than you should be taking when visiting any other major city in Latin America. This is a good thing for the residents of the city who can now look forward to making money from tourism as there certainly are some hot spots in Bogota for tourists. One of the most famous and most popular of these tourism hot spots is Bogota’s unique Gold Museum (Museo del Oro). Opened in 1939 Bogota’s Gold Museum is now home to more than 55,000 artifacts from the different civilizations that resided in South America prior to the arrival of the Europeans and includes the world’s largest collect of Pre-Hispanic gold artifacts. This museum occupies two stories of a building and so you will want to ensure you allow enough time to fully take in the beauty of all the gold that you will see.

Another of Bogota’s tourism hot spots is Monserrate Mountain which at a height of 3,000 meters above sea level, towers over the entire city. The top of the mountain offers some spectacular views of the city below and the top today can easily be reached thanks to a funicular railway and a cable car. For those visitors that would prefer some exercise, a walk down the mountain will take about an hour and is far easier than hiking up it would be, which would of course take longer. Although there are plenty of tours of the city available, a growing number of visitors are joining the 300 to 400 thousand Bogota residents that use a bicycle ach day. The number of people that now use the over 300 kilometers of cycle ways in the city today, equates to about 5% of the population, making Bogota the most bicycle friendly city in South America and possibly the world. Using a bicycle and riding on the cycle ways provides an excellent method of seeing Bogota and may even allow the rider to see more of the city than they would through the window of a taxi and yet costs a fraction of the price. About one hour outside of Bogota is the small town of Zipaquira which also has a unique attraction which is becoming another tourism hot spot. The town was once home to a salt mine but as the miners had nowhere to pray; they built their own cathedral, carving out of the salt. Today the Salt Cathedral (Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira) still stands as perhaps the only one of its kind in the world. As well as these tourism hot spots, Bogota of course has the other attractions that all cities have, like the old city and an array of diverse museums and parks.