La Candelaria in Bogotá
The historic area of Bogotá is called La Candelaria. This is where you'll find Colombia's government, colonial architecture, and several small museums.
The wide-open Plaza de Bolívar, the main plaza in Bogotá, is a great place to start. It features the city's cathedral, Congress, and Palace of Justice. A block away is Palacio de Nariño, the official residence of the president. On the side streets, you can buy souvenirs from street vendors or pop into a restaurant to sample local specialties such as ajiaco (a Colombian stew) and chocolate con queso (hot chocolate with cheese).
There are some excellent museums in La Candelaria, but one you can't miss is Museo Botero (free). Fernando Botero uses a distinct style that exaggerates volume in his subjects. Several of the best works by Colombia's most well-known artist are showcased in this fantastic museum.
Other museums you can visit are the Police History Museum (free), featuring a small section on the hunt for Pablo Escobar; Museo Santa Clara (admission charged), which is quite possibly the most beautiful church in the country; Museum of Regional Costumes (admission charged) to see Colombia's traditional clothing; and the Colonial Museum (admission charged) for lovers of the fine arts. Not too far away is the Gold Museum, which is one of the best museums in all of Colombia.
La Candelaria is blessed with some colorful colonial buildings, many which have recently been restored. Head towards Chorro de Quevedo, where the city began, and you'll walk through plenty of quiet streets with these structures.
If that's not enough, you can see some of the best graffiti in Latin America just by walking through the streets of La Candelaria. We recommend taking the Bogotá Graffiti Tour (free, tips recommended) to get the story of the most impressive works of art from the graffiti artists themselves.
Let us show you Bogotá and La Candelaria on our Colombia Essentials and Complete Colombia tours, or you can add it to any customized tour.
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