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Experience in Bogotá, Columbia by Camila

What is it like living in Bogotá? Would you recommend it?

Bogotá is the capital of Columbia, so it is a very big city, with a population of around 8 million people. Since it is the capital of the country, there is a huge cultural diversity there, you get to experience all the different regions of the country through its many typical restaurants. There are equally lots of people from outside of the city who live there, and lots of internationals. There are all sorts of events going on there, so you will love it if you like big cities. You have to be patient in the traffic jams and delays on public transport because that comes with it being a large city, but it is a city with so much to offer. It is a metropolitan city but it also has some parks and just one hour outside of the city, there are lots of gorgeous, colonial towns. There are no seasons in Columbia, we only have summer and winter, but Bogota is a cold city, and it almost always rains, it is essential to always take an umbrella out with you and learn to always wear layers, because it can be 5 degrees at 6am but when you're exercising in the morning, or it can be 21 degrees in the afternoon when you are in work or in university.

What is the student life like in Bogotá?

Because it is the capital, there are all sorts of international students in the country. The university standard is really high too, they have some really good institutions of a high level, there are lots of career and further study options. The student atmosphere is really great, Columbians are really open and they know how to make everyone else feel welcome so people are always helping each other, and then partying on the weekend or visiting other towns close to Bogotá. In the holidays, you can discover some other regions in the country, whether that's the mountains or the coast.

How much does it cost to live in Bogotá?

Cost of living in Bogotá is quite high, the city is divided socially, from 0 to 6+ (0 being the lowest and 6 being the highest). There are lots of people who rent here or stay in hostels, because they are easy to find, they cost from around 500, 000 Columbian pesos. But that does depend on where abouts you are in the city and only if you live in a studio. For a more expensive apartment, you can pay around 800, 000 pesos or even more, again it depends on the location, usually bills are not included and they are not furnished.

The public transport is good, there is a metro service, buses, taxis and ubers. Buses cost 1, 600 pesos for one journey, the starting rate for a taxi is 3, 500 pesos. You have to take into account that the taxis have a taximeter which starts from the number 25, and depending on the distance and that time you spend in the taxi. The number goes up on the screen and when you stop at your destination, that is the final amount you pay. There are some additional charges, such as travelling on Sundays, during the night and to the airport. It is the same for uber, the price depends on the distance.

In terms of food, there are supermarkets where you can do your monthly and biweekly shops, lots of fruit and vegetable stores and lots of restaurants. There is a lunch menu most days that costs around 7, 000 pesos and there are more exclusive restaurants too.

Did you struggle finding accommodation in Bogotá? Do you have any advice?

Renting an apartment can be complicated, renting rules are pretty strict and you need a guarantor, which is someone who agrees to pay if you fail to. You can ask a real estate if you have any doubts. You have to have a CDT (Term Deposit Certificate) if you want to rent somewhere between 3-12 months. I recommend trying to find a place directly, without using a real estate, I also recommend looking for places in 4, 5 and 6 neighbourhoods, and not any neighbourhoods below 4.

What is the food like there? What are your favourite dishes?

The food is absolutely incredible, there is so much variety from all of Columbia's different regions. This part of the Andes is cold, the coffee growing area, the coast, but even these regions are totally different to each other. For example, we have the Atlantic and the Pacific coast and there are different delicacies from each of them. The typical food can be very heavy, with lots of different flavours and quite greasy, but still the taste is amazing. My favourite dishes are mostly coastal delicacies, fast food from the coast is really good, there is 'mazorcas desgrandas', pinchos, hot dogs, hamburgers, salchipapa (sausage and potato very typical in Latin America) or healthier options such as sancocho which is a soup, fried foods (maize cakes, pasties, maize cakes with an egg, carimañola which is meat pie... ), shrimp cocktail, mussel soup, ajiaco (a chicken soup famous in Bogota, a Bandeja paisa (which is made of roce, meat, maize cakes, chorizo, beans, pork and much more). The food in Columbia is a delight, not even taking into account all the international food that is available there, there is lots of Arab, Peruvian and Mexican foods too...

What places would you recommend to visit in Bogotá?

You have to visit the Monserrate (a mountain), all the museums, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, the Cabana Alpina on Sopo and the limestone quarry.

And what about eating in Bogotá?

There are lots of places to eat, and it is divided into areas depending on what you want to do. There is Zone T or the pink zone where they are lots of food places and bars for after your meal. Zone G is more just restaurants. Chía, is a municipal just outside of Bogotá where there are lots of barbecues and restaurants where they roast meats. Usaquen is a colonial neighbourhood where there are all sorts of restaurants. My favourite places are Andrés Carne De Res (there is one in Chía and one in the city centre), Gaira (a restaurant owned by the singer Carlos Vives, very typical Columbian food), Bruna (an organic restaurant), SirFrank (a fast food restaurant but more elegant), Mediterránea de Andre (Mediterranean food) and Pomodoro (Italian food).

What places would you recommend to go out in Bogotá?

I would recommend Gaira, Andres D. C and Chía, Marquez, El techo, Matildelina, Kukaramakara, Kinki... you will find Crossover music in all of these places.

Any advice to future students going to Bogotá?

Bogotá is a place for people who like to live in big cities, with lots of diversity, lots to do and chaos and a cosmopolitan life. But also for those who appreciate nature too.

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Comments (1 comments)

  • flag-co Nicole Guhl 6 years ago

    You went there and still have no idea on how the country's name its written...

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