Bogota is the perfect entry point to Colombia. It’s a huge, modern city with all the amenities travelers could want. But it also has tons of history, great museums, and one of the country’s best food scenes. You definitely won’t be bored here! With many diverse neighborhoods and tons of cute guesthouses and hostels, one of the most important decisions you’ll make when visiting is where to stay in Bogota. In this post I’ll lay out the pros and cons of each of the popular Bogota neighborhoods and give you some hostel recommendations.
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Where to stay in Bogota to be near the attractions: La Candelaria
La Candelaria is Bogota’s historical district. It has colonial architecture, street art around every corner, loads of hostels, and plenty of restaurants worth trying. It’s also the most convenient neighborhood to major Bogota attractions like the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum, and famous restaurants like La Puerta Falsa.
If you’re visiting Bogota for just a couple days and you want to do some sightseeing, La Candelaria is the best neighborhood to stay in. It’s also a super charming neighborhood that has more of a small-town vibe. You barely even realize you’re in one of the largest cities in the Americas. The flip side is it’s a very touristic neighborhood — you’ll be surrounded by other backpackers.
There is one major disadvantage to staying in La Candelaria: It’s not one of the safest Bogota neighborhoods. Walking around during the day is generally fine if you don’t flash your valuables and wear your backpack/handbag in front of you. But after dark, you should always take a taxi, even to go just a couple blocks. All but the biggest streets are deserted after dark and knife-point muggings are alarmingly common. The closer you get to Barrio Egipto, up the hill in the southeast corner, the dodgier it gets.
Best hostels in La Candelaria
If you decide La Candelaria is where to stay in Bogota for your trip, I highly recommend Cranky Croc Hostel. It’s on a quiet street in a central location, just a ten-minute walk from the Gold Museum and a five-minute walk from the main backpacker strip. The facilities make it one of the best places to stay in Colombia.
The hostel has newly renovated bathrooms that look like they belong in a fancy hotel. The rooms — ranging from dorms to private rooms with private bathrooms — are comfortable, if a bit small. Huge bonus points for providing full-length mirrors in the private rooms. There are plenty of bathrooms, showers and sinks for the number of guests. The hostel has 24-hour hot water and very warm comforters (a necessity in Bogota). WiFi is fast and reaches the rooms.
Cranky Croc also has great common spaces. The first floor of the hostel includes a restaurant/bar where you can have breakfast and dinner for very reasonable prices. The coffee is excellent and the cocktails are delicious. You can play fooseball, have a guitar jam session, or just bond over a couple beers with your new hostel buddies. Security is top-notch. And the bilingual and extremely helpful staff organizes activities like football games, free walking tours, and party buses.
If you decide to stay at Cranky Croc, be sure to book on Hostelworld — they lost my reservation from Booking.com and said that that’s common. They were able to find me another room last-minute.
Another extremely popular hostel in La Candelaria is Masaya Hostel. It also has top-notch facilities. The street it’s on is a little closer to restaurants and bars, in perhaps the best area to stay in Bogota for budget backpackers. The one downside is it doesn’t have enough bathrooms for the huge number of guests who stay there.
How to get to La Candelaria
La Candelaria is easy to reach from the airport, bus station, and other parts of Bogota.
Bogota’s amazing public bus network, the Transmilenio, serves La Candelaria with a couple stops. Rides cost just 2,000 COP (plus a 5,000 COP frequent rider card the first time you ride). The buses use dedicated lanes to avoid getting stuck in traffic. They can be a bit confusing the first time you ride them, but once you get the hang of it they’re the best way to reach La Candelaria.
The main stops in this neighborhood are Museo del Oro, Universidades, and Las Aguas. The airport is a straight shot from Universidades to Portal El Dorado (where a free shuttle connects to the terminal), while the bus station is a 15-minute walk from the El Tiempo-Maloka stop on the same line.
If you prefer to take taxis, expect to spend about 35,000 COP to get to La Candelaria from the airport. The bus station is about a 20,000 COP ride. The nightlife district of Zona Rosa will run you 10-15,000 COP in a cab.
Where to stay in Bogota to relax, eat and drink: Quinta Camacho
Quinta Camacho is a tiny sub-district of the popular northern neighborhood of Chapinero. It’s a mostly residential area where middle-class folks and young professionals live. But it also has one of the best concentrations of restaurants and bars in the city.
You won’t run into many tourists in Quinta Camacho. In fact, even the hostels in this area mostly cater to long-term volunteers. So if you’re wondering where to stay in Bogota to get an authentic look at the city, this is the neighborhood for you.
One of the huge pluses of Quinta Camacho is it’s extremely safe. You can walk around alone, at night, without any problems. You’ll see plenty of locals doing the same. It’s still not a great idea to carry your camera slung over one shoulder or pull out a wad of cash on the street, but compared to La Candelaria, it feels extremely secure.
The only downside to staying in Quinta Camacho on your Bogota trip is it’s a bit far from the major attractions. You’ll have to take a 30-minute Transmilenio ride or an hour-long cab ride (due to traffic) to reach La Candelaria. So this neighborhood is best for chilling and checking out the restaurant scene, not sightseeing.
Best hostel in Quinta Camacho
Easily the top place to stay in Quinta Camacho — and one of the best places to stay in Bogota overall — is Aurora Hostel. This great little place feels more like a boutique hotel than a backpacker haunt, although you’d never know it from the very reasonable prices.
Aurora is on a quiet residential street less than a five-minute walk from some of the area’s best restaurants. The biggest plus of staying here is the facilities are absolutely amazing. The bathrooms would be at home in a suburban U.S. mansion. The rooms — both dorms and privates — are huge. Dorms come with privacy curtains, personal lights and plugs, and big lockers. Extra touches like plants and paintings for decoration make it feel special.
The hostel only has about 20 beds, and usually at least half of them are filled with long-stay visitors. So while the vibe is social, it’s low-key. Don’t be surprised if the staff join you for beers on the patio or offer to bring you to the best restaurants nearby. The staff also go way above and beyond to help make your trip to Bogota great and answer any questions you have about the city.
Aurora Hostel is one of the few top Bogota hostels that offers free breakfast. You’ll get eggs, toast, fruit and coffee included in the price of your room. You’d be hard-pressed to find better value for money in this city.
How to get to Quinta Camacho
Quinta Camacho is a little bit out-of-the-way, but you can still get here on public transportation or by taxi. It just takes a bit of time.
If you’re using the Transmilenio, the most convenient stop is Calle 66. It’s on the M86/K86 line from the airport and bus station. Note that in this part of the city, the Transmilenio stops aren’t big stations in the middle of the road — they’re just signs on the side of the street. Allow 90 minutes to get to the airport, and at least an hour to the bus station. To reach La Candelaria you have to change at Av. Jimenez (be very careful with your belongings at rush hour).
Taxis are a convenient transport option in Quinta Camacho. It costs about 20,000 COP to the airport or around 15,000 COP to the bus station. Without traffic, neither will take you more than 30 minutes — but with traffic it could be well over an hour. Expect to shell out 10-15,000 COP for a cab to La Candelaria.
You can safely walk north to Zona Rosa’s nightlife or south into the heart of Chapinero, or pay 7,000 COP for a cab.
Where to stay in Bogota for nightlife: Zona Rosa
Bogota’s nightlife is legendary. The most famous club is, of course, outside the city at Andres Carne de Res. But within the city limits, Zona Rosa is the place to go for clubbing, drinking, salsa dancing, and generally letting your hair down.
If you want to experience the best of Bogota’s nightlife, you may want to consider staying in Zona Rosa itself. This will save you pricey cab rides back and forth between La Candelaria and the bars. The area is also very safe to walk around at night, and it’s a short stroll to the restaurant scene in Chapinero. So it’s a good option if you are more interested in eating and drinking than sightseeing, but want a more bustling vibe than Quinta Camacho.
Zona Rosa is definitely a busy neighborhood, but it’s not a touristic one. You’ll encounter mostly locals looking for a good time. In the evenings, street vendors and performers abound. The main roads can be quite crowded and it’s the most urban-feeling neighborhood most tourists visit in Bogota.
The biggest downside to staying in Zona Rosa is it’s pretty far out of the way. You’ll need at least an hour to reach La Candelaria by taxi at rush hour, and almost as long by Transmilenio. The bars are also pretty spread out, so you’ll have to do quite a bit of walking.
Best hostel in Zona Rosa
Zona Rosa isn’t the most backpacker-friendly neighborhood for accommodation. If your criteria for where to stay in Bogota includes absolutely top-notch hostels, you’re better off in La Candelaria or Quinta Camacho. But even the “just okay” hostels in Colombia are still better than most other hostels in the world, so if you really want to be near the nightlife, you don’t have to give up too much comfort.
The most-recommended hostel in Zona Rosa is Urbana Hostel. It’s on a side street but just one block from Carrera 15, one of the neighborhood’s busiest roads. You’ll have no trouble finding restaurants or bars nearby.
If you’re looking for fancier Bogota hotels, Zona Rosa is full of them. This is the most high-end part of the city for luxury travelers.
How to get to Zona Rosa
As I mentioned above, Zona Rosa isn’t the most convenient neighborhood in Bogota. It’s far to the north, which means lots of time sitting in traffic or changing buses.
If you want to stick with the Transmilenio, the most convenient stop is Calle 85, on the K23/B23. This requires a change of bus if you’re coming to/from the airport, bus station, or La Candelaria. Calle 57 is the most convenient transfer point to the M86/K86 line to the airport and bus station — allow at least 90 minutes. To La Candelaria, it’s easiest to change at Calle 57 for the J72 to Av. Jimenez and walk the rest of the way (don’t do this after dark).
A taxi from the airport will run you about 30,000 pesos. From the bus station, plan on 25,000 COP. To La Candelaria, you’ll pay at least 15,000 COP, but possibly as much as 20,000 at rush hour.
You can safely walk to Chapinero and around Zona Rosa, even after dark.
Where to stay in Bogota for a small-town vibe: Usaquen
Usaquen wasn’t always part of Bogota. It used to be its own village, far from the city center. Massive urban expansion eventually led to this small town being absorbed by the capital. But it hasn’t lost its charm.
Usaquen is most famous for its Sunday market, where the streets come alive with handicraft vendors. It’s a popular shopping district on other days of the week too. If you’re looking to pick up gifts or souvenirs, it’s at least worth a visit regardless of whether you stay here.
Usaquen is also beloved among travelers to Bogota for its brunch and coffee scenes. The cafes here are more high-end than you’ll find in other parts of Bogota, and they have plenty of space. Digital nomads flock to some of the popular coffee joints with their laptops during the week. On weekends, wealthy families from all over the city gather over a leisurely meal.
The biggest downside to staying in Usaquen is it’s really far from most of the other things to do in Bogota. La Candelaria is at least a 90-minute Transmilenio ride away, and it’ll take you forever to get to or from the airport. But this inconvenience may be worth it if you’re not a city person, especially if you’re staying in Bogota for awhile.
Best hostel in Usaquen
Usaquen is more of a mid-range traveler destination, and there’s really only one acceptable hostel. But it’s one of the best places to stay in Bogota. Rua 116 Hostel has great facilities and a range of rooms, from dorm beds to privates.
The staff get lots of points for being helpful and friendly. The hostel has a restaurant where you can get breakfast, and a bar where you can hang out with travel buddies. Plus, some of the rooms even have couches!
The hostel is right in the heart of Usaquen, not far from the shopping streets, cafes, restaurants, and central plaza. It’s the perfect place to unwind if you want to get away from central Bogota’s noise and pollution.
How to get to Usaquen
The biggest downside of staying in Usaquen is it’s seriously inaccessible. Taxis are your best bet — expect to pay around 40,000 COP to La Candelaria. To/from the airport or bus station, you could run up a bill as high as 50,000 COP.
If you’re really committed to saving money, you can reach Usaquen by public transportation. Unfortunately the Transmilenio doesn’t run here, so you’ll have to use the public buses. These don’t have dedicated stops and they can be very confusing to navigate. The good news is, Usaquen is usually their last stop. Simply head to Carrera 7 and flag down a bus that displays “Usaquen” in the window.
By either bus or taxi, expect your trip to take at least an hour.
And that’s a wrap on where to stay in Bogota! The Colombian capital is one of its most vibrant and exciting cities, with something to offer every type of traveler. The huge range of awesome hostels only makes it better. Don’t miss out on a few days here!
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