During my month of living in Bogotá, a few things have stood out as highlights. I’ve ridden bikes for miles on Ciclovía Sundays (when major roads are closed to bicycle and pedestrian-only traffic), run in the parks side by side with locals, worked out on the free gym equipment with people of all ages (including gymnasts performing stunts on pull-up bars), and nearly every morning have waved to the swarms of dog walkers in my neighborhood park. In addition to the outdoor lifestyle (despite the rain), other perks include quite possibly the best tap water in the world (sorry, New York City), and delicious street food. But above all, the people are sincerely welcoming. I had the chance to interview a local to better understand their thoughts on living in Bogotá.
Interview conducted with Catalina Arenas, local City Manager for Remote Year in Bogotá, Colombia:
How long have you lived in Bogotá?
What’s your key to staying healthy and happy here?
In Bogotá it’s easy to find healthy food every two blocks. Also, you can find different parks with people working out that motivates you to join, and we have our Ciclovía on Sundays! And not less, we have many gyms in our city, with different options and techniques to workout!
What do you do for exercise (run or bike outside)?
Bike and gym (group classes like: Zumba, kick boxing, TRX).
How often do you go out with friends?
What is your favorite cafe in Bogota and can you work from there?
El Altillo, definitely, at Usaquén.
What are your top 3 favorite restaurants?
2. La Diva Pizzeria
3. La Plaza de Andrés
What are your favorite things about Bogota?
2. The mountains and their easy acces to hike them.
How often do you get out of the city?
Twice a month.
What is your favorite day trip outside of Bogota?
What’s your favorite meal in Bogota?
Definetely Ajiaco and Tamal.
What’s unique to Bogota that you can’t do in, say, Medellin?
Ciclovía, also biking is pretty easy (Bogotá is super bike friendly).
To those who haven’t tried it, Ajiaco is a traditional hearty chicken soup with 3 different kinds of potatoes, served with a side of rice and avocado. Tamales are pureed spiced meat and vegetables, wrapped and steamed in plantain leaves; they’re delicious.
The town of Sopo was home to the Colombian indigenous people, the Muiscas, prior to the Spanish colonization. Now, it’s famous for paragliding, hiking and relaxing in its parks. A farm community just 25 miles outside of Bogotá with a small town center, local city folk flock here on the weekends.
El Tambor in La Calera is on the other side of the mountains from Bogotá and is also popular among locals on the weekends for hanging out and eating BBQ outdoors.
As far as the nightlife goes, I’ve noticed people here love to dance as I’ve been living in the heart of the city’s nightlife in Zona T. There are enough wonderful restaurants, clubs, bars, and cafes to keep anyone busy.
Bogotá is a great city, and an easy place to stay happy and healthy. Just ask a local.