There are a lot of downsides to Bogotá and Colombia in general. The corruption, for example. And what about the impossible traffic and air pollution in big cities? The long queues for the Transmilenio, the crime, the lying culture and indirectness of the people, all those nonsensical rules and the inequality you see everywhere. Floods and earthquakes, several of which I have already experienced. The streets that look like potholes, the unsafe driving style of Colombians and all those bike lanes that don’t connect. And, of course, the laxity of Colombians regarding environment. The lack of vega(n) meat substitutes and that eternal emphasis on protein. And I can think of more like that. But despite those downsides, living in Bogotá, and thus Colombia, is fantastic! Definitely worth a longer stay for travelers, too. Why? Read it here!
50 reasons why living in Bogotá (and Colombia in general) is great
1. The food Nowhere have I eaten as well as here. The many fantastic restaurants of which there are more and more, the vega(n) eateries and that delicious Colombian cuisine. Enjoy!
2. As a foreigner, you are welcomed here with open arms.
3. Also, Colombians are so incredibly sweet, welcoming and full of energy!
4. Kilos of delicious vegetables and exotic fruits for only a few euros.
5. Everything can be “home delivered,” or domicilio as they call it here. From your favorite foods to manicures, and from mariachis to medications. And everything else you can think of. Great right?
6. Obleas with arequipe. Hallelujah!
7. Within walking distance you will find everything you might need. From building supplies and electrics to supermarkets, from large shopping malls to the gym and all kinds of small stores with flowers, food, vegetables and much more.
8. Taking home food left over at a restaurant. Very normal here!
9. The mountains: I can’t get enough of them…. When I wake up, on the bus, walking down the street. Great!
10. Bogotá has so many fun and beautiful neighborhoods. I really enjoy walking around the cozy Usaquen, eating good food in Zona G and shopping at El Retiro. Or see art in La Candelaria or relax in the park. Bogotá has it all.
11. Beautiful dresses you can just rent here. Look how beautiful this one was. Fantastic right?
12. The huge fruit and vegetable shop Frutiver.
13. The wonderful traditions and other festivities. The impressive Las Velitas for example!
14. They address me as princesa, amor, linda and reina. How would your day start if the baker greeted you with “good morning my queen”? Exactly.
15. Vega(n) sushi! And so many choices too!
16. Colorful houses everywhere.
17. The ciclovía: on Sundays they just close the major roads for biking, walking, running rollerblading or whatever. Fan-tas-tastic!
18. The biggest H&M I’ve ever seen.
19. I really like the weather in Bogotá. Every day is different. No: every hour is different. Nice and cool at night, during the day it may just reach 18 degrees. My favorite climate.
20. Had enough of the cold in Bogotá for a while? Then you just drive an hour west and you’re in 30 degrees. Ideal.
21. Not to mention Bogotá’s location in the middle of the country: by plane, you’ll be in a totally different world in no time. By car, too, for that matter. Really something I would miss.
22. On every street corner a hairdresser/nail salon to get yourself fixed up for just a few euros.
23. Colombians value service highly. Customer is king and they really run for you. Broken washing machine on Sunday night? Then someone will just come over and fix it….
24. There really is food and drink to buy everywhere. Also on Sunday. Are you stuck in traffic jams for hours? Don’t worry, food and drink will automatically come walking by. Yes, even when standing still somewhere in the mountains. Hungry on a long bus ride? At least on a few occasions, someone comes in with a basket full of food and drinks. It could hardly be easier…
25. Hummingbirds. Also in Bogotá!
26. Did I mention that delicious tropical fruit? Mango, guanabana, granadilla, pitaya, and more. Yummy!
27. Living in a big city that is not yet touristy. Great.
28. Being greeted with a hug and kiss on the cheek: so nice. The people are very warm and welcoming, and really make you feel at home in their country.
29. Everywhere you can buy anything, including on the street so. Not just food, but also items such as shoes or umbrellas. Is Colombia playing an important game? Along the road you will find your yellow shirt.
30. The beautiful men (who also still want to carry your bags and hold the door open for you). I mean: look at him.
31. Large luxury malls. And I mean really big and luxurious!
32. Everything is always open. Not just the supermarket, also beauty salons, small stores, the drugstore, you name it. Everything is open until late. Really promoting quality of life.
33. Chai tea with apple and cinnamon from the Juan Valdez.
34. Buy cheap stuff of good quality in commercial areas, such as San Victorino.
35. Colombia is one big natural wonder.
36. Crepes & Waffles, Wok, Oliveto…. I can’t live without them anymore.
37. Living among so many happy people, pretty nice.
38. Beautiful nature and cute villages just outside the city.
39. The healthcare. Affordable, good quality and many options.
40. It is very common in Colombia to earn (extra) money in all kinds of ways. Who has a small business there, who sells that, who treads on that on weekends, who trades in that again and who rents some there again. Ideal for entrepreneurs.
41. Hilarious when Colombia plays soccer: all life just stops and no TV or radio is needed to know that a goal has been scored.
42. The cake you get on your birthday, instead of having to arrange it yourself.
43. Low-cost public transportation.
44. The many buses that crisscross the country and do make a trip very easy.
46. Christmas in Bogotá: spectacular.
47. Fincas! Those beautiful houses in the countryside where Colombians spend their weekends or vacations.
48. Bogotá is quite flexible. A little too late? No problem. Change of plans at the last minute? No worries. What a freedom…
49. The beautiful Spanish language.
50. In Colombia, anything is possible.
And so I could go on and on. Living in Bogotá or anywhere in Colombia is fantastic. I love it!
Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion. Experiences and opinions may differ from those of others who also live or have lived in Bogotá/Colombia.