Bogotá is a mandatory stop for most travelers visiting Colombia. The country’s capital city has something for everyone, from cultural sites and experiences to diverse entertainment activities. Historic La Candelaria neighborhood is a favorite tourist destination for all this, and more.
Most of Bogotá’s oldest areas are in the neighborhood of La Candelaria. Located in the downtown area, its streets and constructions recall the city’s colonial times. To this day, its many conserved houses and buildings display colonial balconies, hallways, and inner patios.
Bogotá’s alleged birthplace, the Chorro de Quevedo square, is probably the zone’s most iconic spot. This place where the city began back in 1539 is now a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, who come together in its cafés, bars, and restaurants.
It is the perfect spot to start discovering the city and to do some old-fashioned people-watching. Musicians and story-tellers often manage to gather a group of locals to entertain.
Keep your eyes open because there are beautiful graffiti works and statues on the square and in the surroundings.
A few streets down from Chorro de Quevedo is Bogotá’s main square, Plaza de Bolívar. Hailing from when the city was founded it is one of Colombia’s most famous public spaces.
Today, government buildings like the National Capitol, Palace of Justice and Mayor’s Office surround it. The early 19th century Primatial Cathedral of Bogotá also flanks the square. Plaza de Bolívar is frequently used for public gatherings, as well as political and social rallies and protests.
During the holiday season, it displays special lighting, as well as the city’s government Christmas tree.
Any literature lover needs to stop by the Casa de Poesía Silva. This museum is located in the old home of beloved Colombian poet José Asunción Silva, one of the founders of Hispanic modernism. It features original copies of some of his work, in addition to furniture, paintings, and personal belongings.
Cultural activities are among the most interesting things to do in Bogotá. The city is always bustling with concerts, plays, readings, and performances. Many of them take place in some of the 500 cultural and artistic organizations residing in La Candelaria. Here is a curated selection of the area’s top sites.
During pre-Hispanic times, Colombia was home to diverse indigenous societies. Much of their artistic legacy rests at the Gold Museum – 34.000 gold pieces and 20.000 other materials, to be precise. The archaeological collection includes jewelry, ornaments, pottery, and textiles, among other objects.
Fernando Botero is one of Colombia’s most accomplished artists. His style, known as Boterismo, depicts people and animals in exaggerated proportions and volumes.
His paintings and sculptures can be seen in countries like Spain, Armenia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, Portugal, and the United Arab Emirates.
Nevertheless, the Botero Museum remains the largest collection of his work with 208 pieces. There you can also admire pieces from other renowned artists, such as Dalí, Picasso, and Monet.
This cultural center, named after Colombia’s Literature Nobel Prize winner, is the local headquarter of the Mexican state publishing organization Fondo de Cultura Económica.
It welcomes anyone looking to enjoy a quiet place in the middle of downtown Bogotá. The center has a library, café, gallery, academic rooms, and auditoriums.
Furthermore, the architecture of the building is special and from the hand of Rogelio Salmona’s, one of Colombia´s most reknown architects.
Most likely one of the most beautiful buildings in the country, Colón is Colombia’s national theater.
It was built between 1885 and 1895 in the neoclassical style by Italian architect Pietro Cantini. Today it is a top venue in Bogotá for musical and theatrical performances.
Once inside, you will feel like you are in a theater in Paris. Definitely a must if you can get your hands on some tickets.
The theater is really close to central Plaza Bolivar and the royal palace.
The narrow streets of La Candelaria are ideal for taking a walk. You can learn a lot about the neighborhood by strolling through it, especially if you go on one of the area’s famous walking tours.
La Candelaria is a canvas for many talented graffiti artists who express the city’s spirit and concerns. Guides are usually very knowledgeable about the murals and their author’s intent.
Bogota is world-renowned for its beautiful murals that often come with deeper political meanings. It is even the one of the best spots in South America to admire street art.
As Bogotá’s oldest neighborhood, La Candelaria is said to have a plentiful ghost population. Guides often refer to Spanish soldiers that patrol the Chorro de Quevedo square, or the mischievous goblin Baltazar haunting the historical José Caicedo Rojas House.
Local spirits even include the once Viceroy of New Grenade, Juan Sámano, who lingers in the Casa Sámano Museum.
Your experience with Colombia tourism is not complete until you visit La Candelaria. We know you will not be able to help falling in love with its quaint feel and style.
If you need help or guidance with the planning process of your trip to Colombia, don´t hesitate to contact us. We have a team of travel experts looking forward to help you have the best holiday of your life.