La Candelaria, Bogotá

Trip Start Sep 06, 2001
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Trip End Dec 06, 2006


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Monday, March 8, 2010

There is stacks to do in Bogotá. Arm yourself with a water bottle and bus money and get exploring!

Personally my absolute favourite area of the city is La Candelaria an historic neighbourhood of Bogotá where tiny, cobbled alleyways and stone walls have seen the settlement of the first Spaniards, the slaughter of revolutionaries and the recent protests for peace. It was in this neighbourhood where El Grito de Independencia (The Cry of Liberty) which marked the start of the region's revolutionary war was first heard. Simón Bolívar, the revolutionary leader who led the struggle for independence from Spain throughout Latin America spent some of his last years here. And more recently La Candelaria has been the scene of many grim events due to the country’s on-going guerrilla war.

It is easy to spend an entire day lost in the quaint little alleyways. There are street performers to entertain you, story-tellers who stand on corners and narrate the history of this neighbourhood with pride in their eyes and hearts. The Spanish Colonial and Baroque architecture of the area is stunning and you will definitely need more than just a day to visit the multiple;

Museums; The Gold, Military, Regional Clothing, 19th Century, Police History, Colonial Art, 20 of July, Art & Culture, Urban Development & International Emerald Museums, La Casa de La Moneda, The Rafael Pombo Poetry House & La Quinta de Bolívar.

Cultural Centres; Leo Tolstoy Russian Culture Centre & Gabriel Garcia Márquez Culture Centre.

Art Galleries; El Museo Botero (which houses the works of one of Colombia’s most prominent artists Fernando Botero as well as many works by Picasso and Monet).

Theatres; Catch a performance at the Teatro Cristóbal Colón one of the most beautiful 17th century theatres you will ever see. Or the free open air amphitheatre La Media Torta. There are also many other performance venues such as; Teatro de los Sueños & Teatro Libre de Bogotá.

Libraries; The Luis Angel Arango Library is one of the largest in South America and often houses photographic and art exhibitions.

Churches; La Catedral de Bogotá is on main plaza Simón Bolívar and is well worth a visit to discover its amazing history. Iglesia de Lourdes has to be one of my favourites simply for its stunning design! Pay a visit to Iglesia La Candelaria, Iglesia de Egipto, Iglesia las Aguas too.

Parks; Even the Parks in this Amazing place are full of history, visit; Parque de la independencia, Parque Nacional, Parque Simón Bolívar & especially Plaza de Toros de Santamaria.

(Most Museums and Art Galleries offer free entry the Last Sunday of every month)

La Candelaria is also the home of the Palace of Justice which is the main focus of Plaza Bolívar along with other official government buildings such as the National Capitol where congress sits & the Lievano Building which is the seat of Bogotá’s mayor.

AND, if you have time it is definitely worth catching the cable car up to Monserrate to survey the city in all her glory although you need to allow about 2-3 hours for this trip.

This wonderful mix of cultural destinations and the countless universities in the area fill the atmosphere of La Candelaria with creativity.

If you’re feeling hungry you can pick up an Empanada (meat filled pastries) or an Oblea (caramel and jam wafers) from the street vendors. Or relax your tired legs in one of the multitude of restaurants.

Getting to La Candelaria is quite easy with hundreds of buses travelling to and fro every day.

I would recommend walking as the best way to see the area as it gives you the chance to explore those narrow alleyways where cars cannot fit. Don’t be afraid to explore independently setting your own pace and deciding your own destinations as the area is full of people and gets more touristy by the day. However there are walking tours which run all year round and are easy enough to find (prices will vary but don’t pay more than about 20,000 pesos for an hour of so).

Another excellent option is cycling. It is possible to rent a bike at one of the local parks (bike rental should be about 10,000-15,000 pesos for a few hours & include a helmet) or join up to a cycling tour (tour prices will vary depending on length but an average price should be around 20,000-30,000 pesos).

There is plenty more information on tours, events and accommodation in the vicinity of La Candelaria which can be accessed with a simple google.com search. I hope you get the chance to explore this amazing place and I hope this blog has been helpful!
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Comments

Catherine on

This sounds like a pretty amazing place, fascinating history!

lolat on

Another informative article on Colombia. Thanks Annie

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