4 Places in La Candelaria That’ll Make You Want to Stay in Bogota, Colombia Forever
Full of colonial charm, colorful buildings and fascinating churches, La Candelaria is Bogotá, Colombia’s historic district every traveler should visit. Since a variety of unique hostels are located in La Candelaria, many of the following destinations can be reached on foot if you stay in a hostel in Bogotá. Here are four places in La Candelaria that’ll make you remember Bogotá, Colombia long after your flight back home.
Towering 3,152 meters (or 10,341 feet) above sea level, Monserrate is one of the most noteworthy landmarks in Colombia’s capital. The base of the mountain is located in La Candelaria. You can reach the top three ways: by foot, by cable car or by train. Many people choose to take the cable car up then the train down or vice versa. For those who want a little exercise on their vacation, consider walking to the top. The climb takes anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the top. Keep in mind the high altitude can make breathing more difficult, so give your body time to acclimate before starting the climb. A traditional church, several restaurants and souvenir shops can be enjoyed at the top of Monserrate.
Fernando Botero is a Colombian artist known for creating paintings, sculptures and drawings featuring “chubby” characters. Maybe you’ve seen his work showing these pleasantly plump people, animals and objects in other museums, but the Botero Museum in La Candelaria features a large collection of his work as well as work from other artists. The museum is attached to other museums such as the coin museum, which is all located in a historic building that boasts white-washed walls, a Spanish-style roof and a courtyard with a fountain. This is the perfect place for budget travelers because the Botero Museum has free entrance.
Plaza Bolívar is one the most iconic places in La Candelaria and Bogotá as a whole. The square is named after Simón Bolívar, the hero who liberated present-day Colombia and its neighbors from Spanish rule. The center of the plaza is where hundreds of pigeons hang out thanks to people feeding them. The square is surrounded by the Palace of Justice, the National Capitol, the Liévano Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, one the biggest cathedrals in Colombia. Take some time to admire the historic buildings and handicrafts sold near the cathedral. This is surely a place you’ll want to snap a few pictures.
If you prefer great coffee and delicious pastries over history, Cafe Magola is the spot for you. Boasting a hippy/hipster vibe, this cafe in La Candelaria is ideal for anyone who wants to take some time to relax in a tranquil setting. The coffee comes from a small co-op run by women in the south of Colombia. Many of the customers at Cafe Magola are local students who attend the numerous nearby universities. The cafe also has a small area to play tejo at night, a fun game that dates back to pre-Columbian times. It’s similar to corn hole, but the objective is to throw the small disks onto a board. The targets on the board contain gun powder, causing a small explosion sound when struck – it’s all part of the fun.
Whether you’re just staying in La Candelaria for a night or plan to explore Bogotá’s historic district for a few days, you’ll find something interesting around every corner.