Although metropolis Bogotá may not at first glance look like a place to stay longer, Bogotá has actually a lot to offer. I even fell a little in love with it. To the parks, the fantastic restaurants, the beautiful museums and the great shopping malls. And you too can discover Bogotá in a different way. A way to see the multiple faces of the city and move through the impossible traffic like a local. Discover in this article the itinerary for a day in Bogotá.
Why a ride down the Séptima in Bogotá should not be missed during your city break
The nice thing about Bogotá is that this city has multiple faces. Travelers who only stay in La Candelaria, therefore get the wrong impression of the capital of Colombia. The more wealthier north is a different world compared to the poorer south. And the Séptima (or carrera 7) is the ideal way to discover these differences.
Whether you travel from north to south or vice versa, the “landscape” changes markedly as you get closer and closer to your destination. From south to north you will notice that the streets get wider, there are fewer homeles people and drug addicts to be seen, the buildings become more luxurious and the people look different.
Suddenly you walk from the historic center into an upscale neighborhood with beautiful houses, obviously wealthier people and nice eateries. Really discover Bogotá? Travel by bus across carrera 7.
The bus route through Bogotá
The Séptima is one long straight road and it doesn’t really matter where you get on the bus. You can go from the center to the south, from the south to the north or vice versa. I list this route from south to north for convenience.
Along the way, you can get off several times or pick a few stops you want to see in advance. At each stop it says where to get off and with which bus. Further on in this article you will find everything about the costs, how to arrange a ticket, which buses you need, safety and more. Have fun!
1. Boarding at San Victorino or San Diego: La Candelaria
If you’re staying in La Candelaria, you can easily board here to begin the route.
La Candelaria is the beautiful historic center of Bogotá. A visit takes you to several (often free!) museums, fun restaurants and cute little squares. Not to mention the beautiful churches and colorful streets. Check out the must-see museums in La Candelaria here. This is also the place for a great bike ride to see a lot of the city in a short time.
Bus: are you coming from the north? Then take bus L82 and get off at San Victorino. Getting on to the north is done at the same station: take bus M82.
At boarding point San Diego, you will immediately find a beautiful viewpoint, namely Torre Colpatria. Perhaps even more beautiful than from Monserrate, since one of Bogotá’s tallest buildings is right in the center, giving you a 360-degree view. Check out the description and photos from Torre Colpatria here. Click on this link for opening hours.
Location: carrera 7 # 24-89. Here on the map. Bus: from the north by bus L82, get off at San Diego. Getting on to the north is done at the same station: take bus M82.
Museo Nacional Bogotá
At either San Diego stop or Museo Nacional you will find Colombia’s largest and oldest museum. Again free, walk through a beautiful building to discover the country’s history. Definitely worth it!
Location: carrera 7 # 28-66. Here on the map. Bus: L82 (from the north) or M82 (from the south). Get off at San Diego and walk a bit back (from the north) or a bit farther (from the south). You can also take the K86 from the north, which stops at Museo Nacional station.
2. Chapinero Bogotá & Zona G
Chapinero is a popular neighborhood. The restaurants, atmosphere and stores make this a fun neighborhood to walk through. The neighborhood is very diverse and has several small areas that are all different. For example, you cannot compare Chapinero Central with Zona G, even though it is only a few hundred meters apart. So fun to discover!
Looking for cheap clothes or typical Colombian eateries? Then go shopping in Chapinero Central. It is a busy neighborhood where there is a lot going on in the streets (including pickpocketing!), where you can smell the food and find clothes and shoes from Colombia. The Only store, for example, is inexpensive and totally Colombian. Stroll (during the day!) through the streets in this typical Bogotan neighborhood. Here are more tips for shopping in Bogotá.
Location: Chapinero Central (between carrera 7 and carrera 14 and between calle 64 and calle 57). Bus: M86 (from the south) at K7-CL61 or K86 (from the north) at K7-CL60.
Everyone loves the beautiful cathedral in Plaza Simón Bolívar in la Candelaria, but many do not know that there is an even more beautiful one in the heart of Chapinero. Namely, the Basílica Menor Nuestra Señora de Lourdes. Yes, in this neighborhood you have to be a little more careful, and no there you can’t just take pictures with your camera, but at least walking past it and marveling at this splendor is already worth it!
Location: carrera 13 # 63-27. Here on the map. Bus: M86 (from the south) at K7-CL61 or K86 (from the north) at K7-CL60.
Zona G and Chapinero Alto: hip restaurants in Bogotá
Diagonally opposite Chapinero Central, on the other side of the Séptima, you will find Zona G. A beautiful and cozy neighborhood with many restaurants where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Here you will find the better restaurants in Bogotá, so if you want to eat well this is the place to be.
Location: between carrera 4 and carrera 7, and between calle 66 and calle 72. Bus: M86 (from the south) at K7-CL70A or K86 (from the north) at K7-CL71
Quebrada la Vieja: hike through beautiful nature from the city up the mountain
Did you know that you can just walk from the city up into nature? And this is from Chapinero. The hike is called Quebrada la Vieja and goes up the mountain from the town. Ideal for escaping the crowds and pollution. Once you reach the top (weather permitting) you’ll have a beautiful view of Bogotá. And all for free!
Location: calle 71 # 1-45. Here on the map. Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and on weekends from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. There are police on the route, if they are not there, better not go up unless it is very crowded with other visitors. Bus: M86 (from the south) at K7-CL70A or K86 (from the north) at K7-CL71.
3. El Nogal & Los Rosales
If you are staying in la Candelaria then arriving in these neighborhoods is a bit of a switch: what a change from the old center! Walking through El Nogal, you enter one of the city’s most luxurious and expensive neighborhoods. The wide tree-lined avenues, beautiful buildings and fine restaurants make this a fun stop to get a totally different view of the city.
Have lunch or breakfast at Brot or La Bagatelle
There are many restaurants to be found in these neighborhoods, and all of them will have something. However, my favorites on the way to Zona T (see No. 4) are Brot and La Bagatelle (read more about these restaurants here). They have delicious cake, sandwiches and salads there. In addition, the atmosphere and place is very relaxing and nice.
Locations: calle 81 # 7-93 (Brot, here on the map) and carrera 9 # 81 – 18 (Bagatelle, here on the map). Bus: M82 (from the south) at K7 – CL78; L82 (from the north) at K7 – CL79. Or: M86 at K7 – CL82; K86 at K7 – CL81.
Eating among the rich at Harry Sasson
Have you always dreamed of eating in a mega-expensive and fancy restaurant among the Bogotan rich? Also, do you happen to have the money? Then make a reservation at Harry Sasson. I went there for lunch once myself, by invitation of course. The food certainly did not win my heart, but it certainly was an interesting experience among the upper class of Bogotá.
Location: carrera 9 # 75-70. Here on the map. Bus: M82 (from south) at K7 – CL78; L82 (from north) at K7 – CL79.
Edificio Santalaia: one of the largest green buildings in the world
While you’re in the area: check out this remarkable building. One of the largest green apartment complexes in the world, this building features a whopping 3,100 square meters of vertical gardens, where some 115,000 plants grow. This provides oxygen for 3,000 people and also offsets the emissions of some 745 cars. You probably won’t be able to enter it, only admire it from the outside. Want to know more and/or see a short video of this masterpiece? Then click here!
Location: carrera 4 #76-41. Here on the map. Bus: M82 (from south) at K7 – CL78; L82 (from north) at K7 – CL79.
4. El retiro
If you walk a little further through this beautiful neighborhood, you will come to the popular El Retiro. Here you will find many restaurants, one of Bogotá’s more upscale shopping centers and the famous Zona T. Also a perfect place to stay during your city break in Bogotá!
Zona T is a well-known nightlife spot in Bogotá, where you will find bars and many restaurant. The name Zona T comes from the shape of this place: the car-free streets form a T. Here you will find, among other things Wok and Crêpes & Waffles. You will also come across nice stores, such as the great South American bag store Totto.
Location: carrera 12 to carrera 13 with calle 82 (and surrounding area). Here on the map. Bus: M82 (from the south) at K7 – CL78; L82 (from the north) at K7 – CL79. Or: M86 at K7 – CL82; K86 at K7 – CL81.
Centro Comercial Andino
When I go shopping or need something I often go to Centro Comercial Andino. It is not the largest shopping mall in Bogotá, but certainly one of the most upscale. Marvel at the chic look and upscale stores. It won’t be cheap shopping, but you will find beautiful things. It is great to have a delicious coffee or (chai) tea at the Juan Valdez in Andino overlooking Zona T. Don’t forget the stores and centers around Andino, for example, El Retiro has a very different style. In this neighborhood you will also find the popular Andrés Carne de Res.
Location: avenida carrera 1 # 82-71. Here on the map. Bus: M82 (from the south) at K7 – CL78; L82 (from the north) at K7 – CL79. Or: M86 at K7 – CL82; K86 at K7 – CL81.
5. El Chicó
The equally chic El Chicó neighborhood (including Chicó Norte and Chicó Reservado) has wide avenues, many trees, several parks, nice stores and many restaurants. This is the neighborhood where many expats live, and where many embassies are located.
Museo de ‘El Chico’ + park
Perhaps my favorite museum in Bogotá: El Chicó. Beautifully situated in a nice park you will find an old mansion with a wonderful collection of souvenirs once taken by a very rich lady. Want to know more about this museum in Bogotá? Click here!
Location: carrera 7 # 92A. Here on the map. Bus: M86/M82 (from south) at K7-CL94; K86/L82 (from north) at K7-CL94.
Parque 93 is actually not really a park, but more like a large lawn with some trees around it. It is surrounded by many hip restaurants and expensive residential complexes. Although pickpocketing is becoming more common here, it is still a nice place to go for a nice meal or relax on the grass during good weather. Especially on weekends, being among the wealthy families is a fun experience. Moreover, you will find many hotels here.
My favorite restaurants at Parque 93:
Location: carrera 13 between calle 93A and 93B. Here on the map. Bus: M86/M82 (from the south) at K7-CL94 (cross over and walk down, to left at carrera 13); K86/L82 (from the north) at K7-CL94 (walk a little farther, then right down).
Walking tour through the parks in northern Bogotá
This is also the place to explore the parks in northern Bogotá. Here you will find two walking routes through Bogotá, number two of which will lead you through the parks in these neighborhoods. Perfect to combine with fine dining and shopping.
6. Usaquén Bogotá
Usaquén is the terminus (or starting point) of the bus route and is located in the north of Bogotá. It is among one of the best neighborhoods in the city. Here, as in Zona G and Chapinero Alto, you’ll find Bogotá’s better restaurants. You can also go to the movies.
Hacienda Santa Bárbara
This shopping center used to be a farm. It has been expanded with a new section, but you can still clearly sense from everything that this was once something very different. I personally don’t find Hacienda Santa Bárbara to be the nicest mall in Bogotá, but it still has something to walk around it. You will also find a Juan Valdez and it is a great base to explore the rest of Usaquén.
Location: carrera 7 # 115-72. Here on the map. Bus: M86/M82 (from south) at K7 – 114/116; K86/L82 at K7 – 116.
Dining out in Bogotá and market in Usaquén
Usaquén was once a village outside Bogotá, with a farm and its own village square. The neighborhood offers great food, and on Sundays and holidays there is a large market. Stalls, music, dancing and more food fill the cozy streets. Definitely don’t miss it on Sunday!
Location: carrera 7 to carrera 5, between calle 121 and calle 115. Bus: M86/M82 (from the south) at K7 – 114/116; K86/L82 at K7 – 116.
And there is more to do. For all the detailed information about one of my favorite neighborhoods, Usaquén, click here!
How do you buy a bus ticket in Bogotá?
Taking the bus in Bogotá is actually quite simple. Above all, remember that you cannot pay on the bus. So you always need a ticket before boarding.
If you start the route in La Candelaria, it is easiest if you buy the bus pass at the bus station where you board. San Victorino for example. This is a Transmilenio station and you can always buy tickets and recharge there.
Before you enter through the gates, there is a booth where you can buy a bus pass. Ask for a TuLlave Básico (7000 pesos; a green bus pass) and immediately give some extra money to put on it. A ride on the bus costs 2950 pesos. Whether you spend 5 or 50 minutes on the bus.
So if you plan to get in and out more often during the route, make sure you have enough money on it. Are you boarding from Chapinero, Zona T or Usaquen? Then buy and load the bus pass at a store that says TuLlave.
Which bus do you take?
There are many buses that cross the Séptima, but the easiest is to use the Dual buses M82/M86 (heading north) or the L82/K86 (heading south). The M/L82 goes from Portal 20 de Julio (in the south) to Clínical el Bosque (in the north) and back again. The M/K86 goes from Aeropuerto Eldorado (the airport) to Fundación Santafé (to the north in Usaquén) and back again. If you want to go from La Candelaria to Usaquen in one trip, the M82 is faster, but if you want to go to Chapinero you have to take the M/K86. So check carefully above for each stop which bus is coming.
View all bus stops here
Retrieved from this page you can enter the bus number (i.e. 82 or 86) and see the route there.
Note: altered route during Ciclovía
Every Sunday and holiday there is ciclovía (from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM), so buses on the Séptima run differently. Check this carefully before you leave, because on these days the bus does not pass by some of the sights it normally does. On the link above you will also find the routes during the ciclovía.
How long does this route through Bogotá take?
Getting yourself around in traffic in Bogotá is a tricky job that can sometimes take a long time. Traffic is often completely jammed between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., so travel takes longer.
How long the entire ride takes depends entirely on what the traffic is like at the time. Has there been an accident exactly on your route? If so, count on at least an extra half hour. So take your time to travel this route. Want less traffic and crowds? Discover the Séptima then during puentes, vacations or vacations. Wonderfully quiet and little traffic.
What do you bring?
Believe it or not, but in Bogotá the weather can be gorgeous in the south while it rains in the north. Moreover, the weather can change quickly, and sunshine in the morning does not guarantee sunshine in the afternoon. Just always bring that umbrella to avoid getting soaked within five minutes. Read more specifically about Bogotá’s bizarre weather and what clothes to wear in Colombia’s capital.
Safety in Bogotá
This route is safe. By Bogotan standards, of course. This means that it is certainly helpful to take into account these advices .
Want to return to your hotel after sunset by bus? If you are coming from the old center and your hotel is in Zona G, El Nogal, El Retiro, Chicó or Usaquen, it is not a problem to take the bus and still walk to your hotel at 8 o’clock. However, are you going the other way (south) and your hotel is in Chapinero Central (between carrera 7 and carrera 14 and between calle 64 and calle 57) or in La Candelaria? Then take a cab.
Get lost during the day in the neighborhoods north of Chapinero? Not a problem at all! Better not get lost around La Candelaria and in Chapinero Central.
What is it like to travel by bus through Bogotá? Click here! Get on that bus and discover Bogotá!
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