Best weekend breaks & day trips from Bogotá (without flying!)
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As with any huge city, one of the best things about Bogotá is being able to get out of Bogotá. That’s why for Rolos, the city’s natives, weekend breaks & day trips from Bogota are so important to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Luckily, there’s a huge amount to do just outside the capital, and most can be done just using cheap public transport – just remember that traffic getting back into BOG on a Sunday night can be pretty dire. This here post is a round-up of some of our favourite weekend breaks & day trips from Bogota without flying.
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Popular due to the legend of El Dorado, in which the Spanish went on a wild goose chase to find the gold supposedly thrown to the bottom of the large lake by the indigenous Muísca people, Guatavita offers a short hike to learn a lot of interesting Colombian history. The town itself is also charming with plenty of cute shops and eateries to explore.
This is usually no.1 on tourists’ day trips from Bogota. The Salt Cathedral is a modern masterpiece of chambers great and small etched into an old salt mine, with plenty of entertainment once you’re underground. You can also grab yourself a great traditional lunch in the small town of Zipaquirá nearby.
This is the rock-climbing capital of Colombia, so get your limbs limbered up! One of the easiest day trips from Bogota, Suesca is just an hour bus ride away from El Portal Norte station. You can take the rock-climbing routes on your own, but hiring a guide is very recommended for non-pros.
This is just a few hours’ worth of exploring, and super easy to get to from the centre of Bogotá. One hour in a colectivo bus (or a 40-minute taxi) takes you to Salto del Tequendama, famed for legends of mass suicide and ghost-sightings at the Hotel del Salto, which closed early in the 20th century. The hotel is now open as a museum to the public on weekends.
La Chorrera is Colombia’s tallest waterfall, and the entrance to the hike is just a one hour bus south-west from the city. After you’ve finished the 3 hour round hike, catch the same bus from the main road and head down to the small farmers’ town of Choachí, for everyday Colombian life and natural hot springs. The perfect end to your day trip from Bogota!
This is a BIZARRE theme park about an hour north of Bogotá that one could call the Disneyland of Colombia if you might be so generous. Unlike Disneyland, it rarely suffers from crowds, so you can appreciate the crazy themed buildings (including a cartoony replica of the Taj Mahal), zoo, Museum of Mankind and rides without having to endlessly queue. If you’re travelling with kids, this is one of the best day trips from Bogota for you.
Parque Jaime Duque is not open every day of the week – it is usually closed Monday-Wednesday for maintenance.You can either get the public Villa de Leyva bus from the Portal Norte bus terminal in Bogotá and ask to stop at the park, or combine visiting Parque Jaime Duque with a tour to the Salt Cathedral if you don’t want to go it alone. Entry costs 36K cop (£8) on Thursday and Friday, or 48K COP on weekends and bank holidays.
7. Puente de Boyacá
The Bridge of Boyacá is important to modern Colombian history as this marks the site in which independence from Spain was won by Simon Bolivar’s army. This is probably less of a day trip from Bogota and more of something to stop in at as you’re passing by during a weekend break from Bogotá (routes to Villa de Leyva and Guadalupe will pass this).
The bridge is a little anti-climatic, but it sits in the middle of what was the battlefield of Boyacá, and is now a beautiful memorial park. Lovely place to break up your Colombian road trip and relax with a coffee in hand!
Puente de Boyacá is located on the Bogota-Tunja highway, 110 km northeast of Bogotá.
3 of the best weekend breaks from Bogotá
1. Villa de Leyva
Explore one of Colombia’s famous pueblos blancos or ‘white towns’ in the heart of Boyacá! This is a 3 hour drive from the capital and easily accessible via a direct bus. It’s absolutely packed with things to do, from seeing dinosaur fossils to ATVing across the valley, so make sure you allow yourself at least a couple of days here during a long weekend break from Bogotá.
This is the less often visited version of Villa de Leyva, and is only about an hour further up. It’s a little more quaint and a little more authentic (not that Villa de Leyva isn’t, they’re just a little more clued up on how to survive using the tourist dollar over there).
3. Guadalupe & Las Gachas
Probably still our favourite place in mainland Colombia. Guadalupe is still relatively untouched by tourism, and is only 4-5 hours from Bogotá by bus and then 4×4 public transport. Home to nature’s jacuzzis in an algae-coloured river, it’s hard to believe the beauty you’re seeing in front of you.
Weekend breaks from Bogotá not enough to get the city smog out of your hair? 😉
These were the weekend breaks from Bogotá without flying, but there are PLENTY more trips to take in Colombia. Flights are mega cheap so the country is your oyster. Check out more places to visit just a short flight from Bogotá in our full Colombia travel guides section:
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