Bogotá, Colombia

Torre Colpatria in downtown Bogota, Colombia, at night, lit up with the colors of the Colombian flag.

Population: 7,878,783 (2015)

Language(s): Spanish

Demonym: Bogotano, -na

Area: 1,587 km2 (613 mi2)

Dialing Code: +57 (1)

Electricity Adapter: 110 V60 Hz, Plug Types A / B

Time Zone: Colombia Time (COT) UTC -5

City facts put together in collaboration with sister site 6pt5. Language guides and more can be found on Shishek.

Overview

Bogotá, D.C. is the capital and largest city of the northern South American country of Colombia, situated high up in the Andes Mountains; it is actually the third-highest capital city in the world.

Colombia has a bad reputation that should have died out several years earlier, and by extension, Bogotá receives some of this bad rap. Many foreigners perceive Colombia to be full of dangerous drug cartels and violence that is out of control. However, this is far from the truth, and Bogotá prides itself on its safety record now.

Weather in Bogotá is a perpetual autumn, staying about the same year-round. Daytime temperatures average 68°F (19°C) and at nights get down to about 50°F (10°C). The city has a subtropical highland climate, which seems about right, as it sits 9000 feet up but is basically on the Equator. Bogotá gets a lot of rain, and many days look pretty dreary because of it. December through March are the driest months, but they, too, seem wet in comparison to most other cities. When it rains here, it pours, and with it comes sleet and light hail at times. The umbrella was more important to my daily strolls while touring than even my camera, just to give you an idea.

Cellular phones are a big business in Bogotá. The three major carriers are Movistar, Tigo, and Comcel. These carriers have better rates inside their network (Tigo to Tigo) than they do to other networks (Tigo to Comcel). Thus, many people carry two or three phones, as they carry one for each network. Area codes are distributed to these three carriers, and depending on the area code, some calls will cost more than others. There are also street vendors everywhere who have about 10 cellular phones each, all secured by twine or a cable to their belts. The going rate is 200 pesos per minute, and this allows you to call another network that your SIM card may not get great rates to. The availability of these cellular vendors makes renting a phone in Bogotá unnecessary.

Bogotá has an allure to it that is very difficult to explain, especially because it looks bleak and dirty at first glance. However, as you’ll find once you give it a few hours, it is definitely a city that you do not want to pass up. The food, culture, and the people will make you feel at home in no time.

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