First Impressions // Bogota, Colombia

My first impressions when visiting Bogota, Colombia. // dreams-etc.com

Colombia as a travel destination has been on my radar for years, ever since I saw a tweet from someone sharing her excitement about an upcoming trip to Bogota. A conversation with someone else ensued, during which she shared that it was her third or fourth time visiting, she loved it that much. So I was excited when relatives of mine moved to Bogota a couple of years ago and the very real possibility of traveling to Bogota in the near future opened up.

I arrived late at night, but during the drive from the airport to the apartment I took in my surroundings as much as I could. When I was settling into my room I asked myself, “With this first impression, is Colombia what you imagined it would be?”

And that’s when I realized… after years of thinking about the possibility of traveling to Colombia and after a period of time planning for this trip, I had no idea what to expect. That’s so unusual for me. Typically, once I start planning a trip I start to dream about my destination… and the place I visit is almost always so much better than I imagined. But with Colombia, I had no idea what it would be like.

After a good nights sleep I ventured out into Bogota the next day with Nestor, my tour guide, and this is what I discovered:

>> Mountains without snowy peaks are just as breathtaking as those with them.

>> If you like potatoes (and I do), Colombia is the place to be. They have 18 or 19 different varieties of potatoes (insert all the heart eye emojis here) and they were used in a couple of the traditional soups that I tried.

>> Traffic in Bogota makes me anxious.

>> Bogota is huge.

>> The weather is perfect. Dress in layers and expect rain in the afternoon.

>> Everyone I met was so welcoming.

>> Colombians are proud of their country and passionate about the things that make them proud—like the Salt Cathedral (more on that later) and soccer. “You guys are playing us… I’m sorry,” Nestor told me with a grin as he showed off the jersey he was wearing in honor of the first soccer game of the season that night. At 1pm the radio hosts were already discussing the game and everywhere you looked people we were wearing jerseys. A man walked down the street selling small Colombian flags. And three minutes after the game started that night I heard cheers and honking when the first goal was made. The cheering lasted throughout the game.

>> I never would have been able to imagine what Bogota is like. We drove through neighborhoods that were so different as we made our way through Bogota that first day. Some buildings appeared to be more modern, some appeared to be much older. Some neighborhoods were pretty upscale, some were not. There were little shops mixed in with a couple of chains that I recognized from the U.S. There were streets with homeless dogs roaming the sidewalks and streets with dog walkers taking the pet dogs out.

>> Bogota captured my heart on that very first day.

I’m excited to share more about what I did while I was in Colombia and I’m also planning to share what I’d like to do when I go back… because I am planning to go back. One week only brushes the surface of what there is to do and see in Colombia and I’m excited to explore the country some more in the future.

HAVE YOU BEEN TO COLOMBIA? IS IT ON YOUR TRAVEL WISH-LIST?

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily
    July 6, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I’d love to get to Bogota one day! It seems like there are a lot of similarities to Ecuador and Peru (I know, obvious!), and I loved both of those countries. Looking forward to reading more about your trip!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      July 9, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      I always had an interest in traveling through Central and South America, but for awhile I transferred that interest to other parts of the world. This trip really brought out that love again and now I’m looking at all the other places I’d like to go!

  • Reply
    Rebekah
    July 6, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Columbian food is one of my favorite types of foods! I can only imagine how good it was getting to eat in Columbia!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      July 9, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      I need to find a good Colombian restaurant in Minneapolis. Everything was so delicious!

  • Reply
    Mia
    July 6, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve never been to Colombia, but one of my former bosses lived/worked there for a few years and always raved about it. So glad that you had a great trip!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      July 9, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      It’s so cool to hear about your former boss! I enjoy hearing about people who have also been to Colombia. 🙂

  • Reply
    Christine
    July 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    It sounds like such a lovely place! I’m so glad you’re enjoying yourself.

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      July 9, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      It is! Thank you! I had a really great trip and am looking forward to sharing more.

  • Reply
    Brittany Bertuzzi
    July 6, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Columbia is definitely on my list of “places to visit”! I can’t wait to see more of your trip and more pics please!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      July 9, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      I’ll definitely be sharing more photos from Colombia! I took a lot. 🙂

  • Reply
    Carmen Baguio
    July 6, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I haven’t been to Colombia, but I’ve heard it is beautiful. My next big trip will be to Rio next spring for my 50th birthday.

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      July 9, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      It’s so beautiful! Enjoy Rio! That’s a city that has always been on my travel list too.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    July 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    This sounds beautiful. I would love to visit here one day.

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      July 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      It is beautiful! I really enjoyed my time there. 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather with WELLFITandFED
    July 6, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    I love looking through the eyes of a traveller and no detail is too much! It looks very very crowded there!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      July 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed this! Yes, the city is really big! Lots of buildings and people. It was amazing to look out over the city from here.

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    July 7, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Oh, wow… I’ll be honest.. I never thought much of Colombia as a travel destination. Not for any particular reason; it just never comes to mind when vacation planning. But everything in your post makes it infinitely mysterious and fascinating to me. Thank you so much for sharing your review. Also LOVE soccer, and any country that prides itself on their team — how fun to take this in on your trip!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      July 9, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      I’m not a big soccer fan, but I’ve definitely been taking note of the games after being in Colombia. 🙂 I’m glad my post made Colombia a little more fascinating to you. I have more posts coming!

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