Jan 30th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Touch Down in Bogota, Colombia

Have you been to South America yet?  I have had the good fortune of visiting in several countries, but not Colombia. Ecuador was close, but I never got to cross the border to visit Bogotá. There is much diversity in South America… each country has its own history, cultural sites and reasons for seniors to come and see for themselves. How many countries of South America can you name? I’ll give you five minutes to try with this interactive map.  Good luck! So you left a few out…that’s ok. Let’s focus in on Colombia now and Bogotá in particular. Note the little accent on the á.  Hit it a little harder when you say.. Bo Go TAH!

Bogotá is on the move. Once considered a place to avoid, the capital has cleaned up its act and is fast becoming one of Latin America’s urban highlights. Improved security, infrastructure projects and a clean-up campaign have helped bring a new face to the metropolis.  Graceful churches, excellent museums, cultural events and a thriving nightlife can keep you busy for several days. Bogotá is also the political, financial and service center for the country, and its geographic heart, making it a useful base from which to explore the country.

Despite its massive sprawl, Bogotá is a dotted with parks and leisure spots. Cool air and almost daily rain sweep away residual pollution, and there are several high peaks to the east of town that help you to keep your perspective on the ground.

The country has a diverse population that reflects its colorful history and the peoples that have populated it from ancient times to the present.  The historic amalgam of three main groups are the basics of Colombia’s current demographics.  Indigenous Amerindians, European immigrants, and African slaves, have intermingled without limitation in its history.

South America can neither be explained in one sentence nor portrayed in one photograph. Its landscapes are excitedly striking and the flora and fauna are amazingly varied. So South America is more than just a natural destination. There is cultural variety, peculiarity, and culinary multiplicity.  South America is a continent that changes you, your state of mind, and your outlook on life. As soon as you step foot on South American soil, the transformation begins.

Seniors Ask Why Bogota?

If you bring up Google and ask for the most popular cities in South America, up comes Bogotá.  Nestled high in the Andes at 2620 m. (8646 ft), Santafé de Bogotá is a city of contrasts… modern shopping malls and open-air markets, high-rise apartments and makeshift shanties, futuristic glass towers and colonial churches; a city of universities, theaters and shantytowns. It is a mixture of influences, Spanish and English and Indian; a city of great wealth and material well being and abject poverty. It is a city of wild traffic and calm oases reflecting a bygone day. It is a modern city with futuristic architecture, graffiti and congestion; restaurants, bookstores and street vendors peddling emeralds, thieves, beggars, street people and drug dealers wrapped around the inner core of the old city.

Home to more than seven million people, Colombians still flock to Bogotá in search of opportunities. Many find that the streets are not exactly paved with gold and end up eking out an existence in one of the vast shantytowns that line the southern portion of the city.

In addition to being the capital, Bogotá is Colombia’s largest economic center.  It is home to most foreign companies doing business in Colombia as well as Colombia’s main stock market. The emerald trade is a huge business in Bogotá. In downtown Bogotá, millions of dollars in domestically produced rough and cut emeralds are bought and sold daily. And all those old busses… one would think oneself to be in London.  They are everywhere.

TripAdvisor finds 61 activities to keep seniors busy starting off with a Gold Museum.  That sounds pretty interesting to me. Climb up Monserrate Hill as it provides exceptional panoramic views of Bogatá and beyond. Old Bogotá is a lively neighborhood section of the city that features small shops and ancient churches. The neighborhood includes a number of attractions including The Plaza de Bolivar, The Bogota Cathedral. The Gold Museum, The Fundacion Botero, The Religious Art Museum, The Coin House, The Library Luis Angel Arango. For seniors interested in art, Museo Botero has to be very top of the list of things to do in Bogotá. The magnificent 208-piece collection was donated by the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero whose series of ‘fat people’ shows skill, humor, kindness, cruelty and critical satire. As per usual, I leave you with Frommers and Fodor’s Excellent Travel Guides to help you discover the best restaurants, attractions, nightlife, events and all with great maps. Buen viaje. jeb

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  1. […] just a bit to see if perhaps seniors might enjoy exploring this exciting city found in Columbia, South America.  I learned very quickly to discern between Cartagena, Spain and Cartagena, Columbia.  There is a […]

  2. […] on three.  Here are two ready-made itineraries from Trip Advisor and the NY Times. Disfrute de Bogotá. jeb Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogle […]

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