Posted: 2/24/2023 | February 24th, 2023
Located on a high Andean plateau at 2,640 meters (8,660 feet) above sea level, Bogotá is the third-highest capital city in the world (after Quito and La Paz). Most travelers usually bypass it in favor of the popular digital nomad hot spot of Medellín or the coastal city of Cartegena.
Most travelers think that Bogotá is only worth spending a few days in. I think that’s a shame and does this vibrant destination a disservice. I loved my time in Bogotá and ended up extending my visit here! This city just feels more Colombian than some of the other bigger cities that have developed a larger expat and tourist population.
There is a lot to do and see here from museums, parks, walking tours, amazing street art, great nightlife, and an incredible gastronomic scene.
With that in mind, you’ll want to choose where to stay in Bogotá carefully. It’s a huge city, divided into different estratos, or zones, and there are a few “no-go” areas that you’ll want to steer clear of as well. Bogota has a lot of petty crime so don’t venture too far off the beaten path.
Here is my breakdown of the best neighborhoods in Bogota for visitors (as well as suggested accommodations in each).
But, first, here are some frequent questions I get asked about staying in Bogotá:
What’s the best neighborhood for sightseeing?
If you just want to see the main tourist sites, I recommend staying in La Candelaria, so you’re within walking distance of everything.
What’s the best neighborhood for travelers on a budget?
La Candelaria is also the best neighborhood for travelers on a budget. It’s one of the cheapest areas of town, and with many hostels located here, it’s backpacker central. Since so many of the main tourist attractions are nearby, you’ll save on transportation too.
What’s the best neighborhood for digital nomads?
Chapinero is the trendiest district and, while it’s a bit more expensive than La Candeleria, it’s great for digital nomads who want a cool place to work from.
What are the safest areas of Bogotá?
Affluent Zona Rosa and Chapinero are both considered among the safest areas of town. La Candeleria is pretty safe during the day but you’ll want to stick to the main streets at night.
What’s the best neighborhood overall?
As long as you don’t mind traveling a bit to some of the main sights, Chapinero is the best area to stay in, due to its cool vibe, great restaurants, fantastic nightlife, and ample accommodation options.
So, with those questions answered, here’s a breakdown of each neighborhood, with suggested accommodations for each, so you know exactly where to stay in Bogotá:
Bogotá Neighborhood Overview
Best for Budget Travelers and Sightseeing: La Candelaria
La Candelaria is the city’s historic center, and all of the main things to do in Bogotá are within walking distance from here, including the Gothic National Shrine of Our Lady of Carmen, the Botero Museum, and the Gold Museum. It’s also the main area for backpackers, with many hostels located here. If you’re on a budget and/or want to spend a lot of your time seeing the sights, stay in La Candelaria.
Just keep in mind that although it is reasonably safe during the day, you should exercise caution at night. Make sure to follow my safety tips for traveling in Colombia if you’re staying here.
Best places to stay in La Candelaria:
- BUDGET: The Cranky Croc – This is a backpacker institution. Located in a remodeled colonial house, this hostel has everything you could need, with comfy pod bunk beds and private rooms, a fully equipped guest kitchen, great showers, a bar/restaurant on-site, and plenty of common space (including outdoor patios).
- MID-RANGE: Magdalena Guest House – This affordable guest house is basic yet modern and cozy, with a little garden area and inner courtyard, a resident cat, and lovely hosts. The showers are always hot (not always the case in this neighborhood!), the beds are comfortable, and there’s also a kitchen that guests can use.
- LUXURY: Hotel Muisca – Named after the indigenous inhabitants of the area, this is a historic hotel located in a beautiful 200-year-old colonial home. You’ll find the expected amenities, like flatscreen TVs and Wi-Fi, as well as luxury amenities such as a sauna, spa, complimentary breakfast, and a rooftop dining area.
Best for Digital Nomads and Foodies: Chapinero
Chapinero is a trendy and bohemian neighborhood (there’s a park here called Hippie Park). It’s known for its street art, coffee shops, local markets, and thriving LGBTQ+ community (Theatron, the largest LGBTQ+ nightclub in South America is located here). Additionally, Chapinero is heaven for foodies, and home to Zona G (for gourmet), a concentration of the best fine-dining restaurants in town. It’s also one of the safest districts in the city.
Best places to stay in Chapinero:
- BUDGET: Selina Chapinero – Selina is a Latin American chain of hostels geared toward digital nomads. Like its other locations, this one is a large, design-forward hostel with a coworking space, a bar/restaurant, plenty of common areas, a communal kitchen, and organized social activities.
- MID-RANGE: HAB Hotel Bogotá – Situated on a quiet residential street, this hotel offers luxury amenities at mid-range prices, with a stylish interior, 24/7 fitness center, garden, outdoor terrace, and its own farm-to-table restaurant/bar. The sleek, modern rooms have their own desks, high-quality mattresses, and blackout curtains so you can get a good night’s sleep.
- LUXURY: Casa Legado – There are a number of luxury hotels in the neighborhood, but the five-star Casa Legado is exceptional, beautifully designed in a mid-20th century style. Each of its 13 rooms is unique; some have balconies, and others garden views. There’s complimentary breakfast, bikes for guests’ use, a tranquil inner courtyard, and a tour desk to help you organize activities.
Best for Nightlife, Luxury, and Shopping: Zona Rosa
While there’s great nightlife to be found in Chapinero, if you really want to be in the middle of it all, stay in Zona Rosa. Also known as Zona T for its shape, the area is home to countless trendy nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, as well as high-end shopping malls and designer stores. It’s a bit more expensive to stay here, as this is the most fashionable area of town. Local bogotanos come here from all over the city to party and shop, and it’s pedestrian-friendly both by day and by night.
Best places to stay in Zona Rosa:
- BUDGET: Urbana Hostel – This hostel is on the more basic side, but it’s clean and functional, and since accommodation is expensive in this area, this is definitely the best place to stay if you’re on a budget. There’s a small shared guest kitchen and a rooftop terrace, and all bunks have privacy curtains and outlets. There are also a variety of private rooms available too.
- MID-RANGE: Hotel NH Bogotá Boheme Royal – You can’t get any better than this location, in the heart of Zona Rosa. With soundproofing and air-conditioning in all the rooms, you’ll still be able to sleep well when you come back at night. There’s also a fitness center, a buffet breakfast, and a very attentive staff.
- LUXURY: AC Hotel by Marriott Bogota Zona T – Marriott properties need no introduction in terms of luxury. The new hotel in Zona Rosa has a fitness center (overlooking the city), an expansive complimentary buffet breakfast, a bar/lounge, and free bikes for guest use. The rooms are spacious and air-conditioned, with flat-screen TVs and fast Wi-Fi. It’s a popular place to stay for business travelers.
Best for History, Culture, and Families: Teusaquillo
Located just north of La Candelaria, Teusaquillo is a great place to stay if you want to be close to all the main attractions but don’t want to stay within La Candelaria. It’s a huge district that is mostly residential, with tree-lined streets and 20th-century mansions and architecture from when the neighborhood grew in conjunction with the city’s upper class.
The area is known for its green spaces, including Bogotá’s largest park, Simón Bolívar, as well as the city’s botanic gardens, and the Parque de los Novios, locally famous for its large kids’ play area. There’s also a sizable financial center in Teusaquillo, so there are many hotels here geared toward the business-traveler crowd.
Best places to stay in Teusaquillo:
- BUDGET: Hostel Bandido – A beautiful red brick building is home to this excellent accommodation, which feels almost like a hotel but at hostel prices. There are both private rooms and dorm rooms with modern and comfy pod-style beds, and the Wi-Fi is super fast. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen, a shared lounge, a bar, and an outdoor garden area.
- MID-RANGE: Hotel 5 Elementos Apartasuites – Combining the best amenities of staying in a hotel with renting an apartment, all units at Hotel 5 are full apartments with their own kitchens (in addition to the usual mid-range hotel amenities). There’s complimentary breakfast every morning in the shared lounge, as well as a fitness and business center.
- LUXURY: Grand Hyatt Bogotá – If you’re looking to really splurge (or maybe have some Hyatt points to spend), you can’t get any more luxurious than this in Bogotá! The Grand Hyatt is home to the largest urban spa in Latin America, featuring a stunning indoor pool, a sauna, a hot tub, treatment rooms, and a fitness center complete with personal trainers. The rooms and suites are spacious, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking either the Andes or the city itself.
Deciding where to stay in Bogotá is a crucial decision for any traveler visiting the Colombian capital. This huge, sprawling city can take some time to get around, and there are some real safety concerns here as well. Choose an area based on what you want to spend most of your time doing, and then hop around via the TransMilenio (the bus rapid transit system that has its own dedicated lanes and is often faster than traveling by taxi or Uber).
And, if you can, plan more time here than you might otherwise think you need. Bogotá has so much to offer. I can’t speak highly enough of it.
Book Your Trip to Colombia: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- Safety Wing (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Colombia?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Colombia for even more planning tips!
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