Parque de Los Periodistas and Beyond: Spots in Bogotá, Colombia for Word Lovers
Since Bogotá is more than 480 years old, you can bet Colombia’s capital is home to a lot of important and interesting history. An area teeming with historical and cultural significance is Parque de los Periodistas, or Journalists’ Park in English.
The park is less of a place to have a picnic and more of a spot to meet up with people, enjoy a tinto (Colombia’s word for coffee) and catch up on the latest news. This is exactly what the journalists, writers, poets and thinkers did decades ago, which explains the park’s current name. It used to be called Independence Park, but the name was changed in the ‘60s.
The Colombian Academy of Language sits on the northeastern side of this of the park. Founded in 1871, it is one of the oldest linguistic academies in the area and was created by a group of prestigious thinkers and writers. Among them was Rufino José Cuervo, father of Hispano-American philology and Miguel Antonio Caro, a famous Colombian writer, poet and journalist. Wordsmiths who came to study at the Colombian Academy of Language would use the park as a place to create their next masterpieces for years to come.
While many journalists today use email and social media to gather sources or exchange information, Parque de los Periodistas was the place to be so reporters could get a scoop, meet with colleagues or talk about an upcoming story. Located in the historic district of Bogotá called La Candelaria, Parque de los Periodistas was a prime spot to swap gossip and hard news stories because of its proximity to the Palace of Justice, the National Capitol and other important political buildings. Some of these structures face Plaza Bolívar, Bogotá’s historic town square. The walk from Parque de los Periodistas to Plaza Bolívar only takes about 10 minutes, so it’s worth taking a stroll and seeing the beautiful cathedral and ample square – which is sometimes the site for protests and rallies, and always the site for pigeons being pigeons.
Also in walking distance of Parque de los Periodistas is Café Pasaje. Noble prize-winning writer and journalist Gabriel García Márquez, along with other noteworthy writers, were known to drink their coffee at Café Pasaje. The cafe now resembles an American sports bar, but don’t let that distract you from the literary powerhouses who got their creative juices flowing in this very spot. After all, García Márquez penned One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor and other works that have sold millions of copies and have been translated into dozens of languages.
After years of a dark past and certain infamous Colombians capturing the world’s attention, everyday Colombians tend to make heroes out of their fellow countrymen and women who bring the homeland honor. The pride Colombians demonstrate for García Márquez is no exception. For bookworms who want to learn more about this iconic Colombian writer, be sure to check out the García Márquez Cultural Center, also in walking distance of Parque de los Periodistas, Plaza Bolívar and Café Pasaje.
Whether it’s discovering Colombia’s magical realism with each flip of a page, browsing through Colombian tour guides in a cafe or drinking a tinto in Parque de los Periodistas just like important writers did before, Bogotá is sure to delight anyone who has a penchant for words and literature.