Ins and outs

Air

The International airport has two terminals,
El Dorado
and the
Puente Aéreo
, the latter 1 km before the main terminal. Both are on Avenida El Dorado. Most international flights arrive at El Dorado; however some
Avianca
flights from the USA come into the Puente Aéreo. The arrival procedure is much the same at both terminals. If you are changing planes in Bogotá, there is complimentary transport between terminals.

El Dorado
, has comfortable departure areas where the usual duty-free shops are of a high standard. There are many snack bars and restaurants on first floor, with Wi-Fi points throughout.The
Banco Popular
by the barrier changes traveller's cheques (they may request copy of purchase receipt) and there is a
casa de cambios
alongside, which changes cash only. They may not be open at holiday times. When closed, ask airport police where to change money. Car hire counters are opposite the
casa de cambios
. Allow at least two hours for checking in and going through the comprehensive security. There is no baggage deposit. You must reconfirm all flights around 48 hours before flight time. Use only uniformed porters.

Puente Aéreo
has ATMs which accept international credit cards. Services are similar to those at El Dorado.

The taxi fare from airport to city is a fixed charge, more at night and early morning. Make sure you get a registered taxi, normally yellow, found to your right as you leave the main terminal. You can also go left to the far end of the main terminal to domestic arrivals where you can get a ticket, from the booth just inside the building, which will fix the price of your journey - recommended. There is a separate taxi rank outside. You will be expected to tip if you are helped with any luggage. Unofficial taxis are not advisable. Use only uniformed porters. There are
colectivos
to the centre. In the city centre take buses and black and red
colectivos
marked 'Aeropuerto' to the airport. Watch belongings inside and outside airport, especially at night.

Bus

The long-distance bus terminal is
Terminal de Transportes
.
To get into town take buses marked 'Centro' or 'Germania'. The 'Germania' bus goes up through the centre and La Candelaria. Taxi fares from the terminal to the city depend on the destination, with a surcharge at night and on public holidays. Go to the appropriate exit and obtain a slip from a vending booth, which shows the exact fare to your destination. Do not take unofficial taxis, which are normally touting for particular hotels.

Getting around

Visitors should not be too active for the first 24 hours. Some people get dizzy at Bogotá's altitude. Be careful with food and alcohol for a day or two. Walking in the downtown area and in Candelaria is recommended, as distances are short and the traffic is heavy. North Bogotá is more spacious and buses and taxis are more convenient. Between the two and elsewhere, transport is necessary.

TransMilenio

This is Bogotá's highly successful new traffic-busting transport system, consisting of articulated buses on dedicated lanes. It can be a little baffling to work out at first but is a quick, cheap way to get around once you get the hang of it. It runs north to south along Autopista Norte and Avenida Caracas with branches to various destinations in the west of the city. There is a spur along Calle 80 and a link to La Candelaria (Parque de Los Periodistas on Avenida Jiménez de Quesada with a stop at the Gold Museum).
Corriente
services stop at all principal road intersections while
expresos
have limited stops. The journey from the centre to the north takes less than 30 minutes. Using the TransMilenio is a good, quick way of getting around the city but it tends to be crowded. See www.transmilenio.gov.co for more details.

Local bus

Most buses have day/night tariff advertised in the window.
Busetas
charge a little more. There are some red and white
ejecutivo
routes with plush(!) seats. Fares are a bit higher at night and on holidays. Urban buses are not good for sightseeing because you will most likely be standing.

Car rental

Whilst not cheap, if you are in the city for several days this could be a good option.

Safety

As in any city of this size, take care not to tempt thieves by careless display of money or valuables. Also, anyone approaching you with questions, offering to sell something or making demands, may well be a thief or a con-artist. Beware, they may be well-dressed and plausible, may pose as plain-clothes officials, and often work in pairs. Read the Safety section in Essentials carefully and the comments in the various paragraphs below. Especially recommended is to take taxis, preferably radio taxis, if travelling in the city at night. Also, do not forget to watch where you are going, especially in the wet. Potholes in both roads and pavements can be very deep. La Candelaria district is relatively safe by day, but there have been several reports of muggings and robberies by night. You may be hassled by beggars. If returning to your hotel at night, take a taxi and keep the doors locked. Watch out for con-men in and near the Plaza de Bolívar. Best to ignore anyone who approaches - a wave of the hand is sufficient.

Tourist information

There are several tourist-information kiosks dotted around the city. There is also the
Colombia Tourist Board - Proexport
, www.visitcolombia.com
.

The
National Parks office
, www.parques nacionales.gov.co
, though for accommodation in many of them you must contact Aviatur who hold concessions in the most popular locations, www.concesionesparquesnat urales.com

Best time to visit

Bogotá is an all-year-round-city. Holiday times such as Easter and Christmas are quiet, but attractions are closed, as many are on Monday if they have been open over the weekend.

Climate

Bogotá has a temperate climate; hot in the middle of the day but normally much cooler at night, when a light sweater or even a coat may be required. Theoretically there is a wet season from April to November but there is not much rain in the middle of the year and there can be showers at any time.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
Products in this Region

Cartagena & Caribbean Colombia

Bursting with colour, history and fine colonial architecture, Cartagena is the emerald in...

Colombia Handbook

From its vibrant and lively cities to snow-capped volcanoes and white-sand beaches, Colombia offers...

South American Handbook 2016

South America is epic. Home to the world's highest waterfall, the longest mountain range and the...
PDF Downloads

  No PDFs currently available

Digital Products

Available NOW!
Read more...