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Free things to do in Bogota, Colombia

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If you’re looking for free things to do in Bogota, the vibrant capital of Colombia, you’ve come to the right place. Bogota has been steadily gaining the attention of tourists in recent years and, luckily, it has plenty of things to enjoy that won’t put a dent in your travel budget.

Be sure to always check and follow government regulations prior to travel. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the business hours and rules at individual attractions are constantly changing. Review all information before making plans.

The top 10 free things to do in Bogota:

  1. Hike up to Monserrate
  2. Explore La Candelaria
  3. Graffiti tour
  4. Tour Casa de Nariño
  5. Free food tour
  6. Botero Museum
  7. Museo de Oro
  8. Bike the Ciclovia
  9. Stroll Calle 7
  10. Parque Símon Bolívar

Any specific information in this article has been updated as of May 14, 2021.

1. Hike up to Monserrate

When you arrive in Bogotá, it is impossible not to notice the beautiful white church up in the mountains looking down on the city. Monserrate was built in the 17th century and takes its name from the mountain it is built on. At 3,152 meters above sea level, the hike to the top is not for the faint-hearted! You will climb 1312 feet to reach the church, so bring lots of water and take your time so you don’t experience altitude sickness.

From the top of Monserrate, you can see downtown and south of Bogotá with large sections of the north also visible. The view is spectacular at sunset, however the walking path is only open 5am-1pm daily, so if you want to enjoy the sunset view you will have to pay to ride up on the cable car or the funicular railway for a small fee (half price on a Sunday).

white church at the top of lush Monserrate. Visiting this destination is one of the free things to do in Bogota

2. Explore La Candelaria on a free walking tour

If you want to get a quick introduction to La Candelaria (the historic area of Bogotá that is popular with tourists) and some of the city center, there is a free walking tour that leaves from Chorro de Quevedo Square twice daily at 10am and 2pm. The tour includes fruit, juice, coffee and chica tastings, as well as learning some of Colombia’s colorful history. If you only have a short time in the Colombian capital, this is one of the best free things to do in Bogota.

3. Go on a free graffiti tour in Bogotá

One thing you will notice when you arrive in Bogotá is its powerful street art and graffiti. Bogotá has a reputation for being one of the most graffitied cities in the world, so spending a morning or afternoon looking at some of its spectacular graffiti is a must.

The free Bogotá Graffiti tour is probably the most popular tour in Bogotá, and for good reason. On this free tour, you will not only get to see some of the beautiful street art in La Candelaria, but they will also take you out of the touristy area to see some of the more political graffiti from several world-famous artists. You will also learn all about the history of graffiti and street art in Bogotá. Tours leave twice daily at 10am and 2pm from Parque de Los Periodistas.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are currently operating with smaller groups and reservations are mandatory.

A free graffiti tour is one of the free things to do in Bogota.

4. Book a tour of Casa de Nariño

Casa de Nariño is the president’s house, and they offer free tours! This opportunity is missed by so many people visiting Bogotá, as it isn’t well advertised and you do need to book online in advance. They recommend suggesting two tentative dates and at least 15 days in advance. The tour lasts 45 minutes and they have tours Monday to Friday: 9am, 10am, 11am, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Weekends and public holidays are slightly different, so check the website for more information.

5. Take a free food tour in Bogotá

What better way to get to know a new country than spending a few hours sampling its food? You can find free food tours that cover everything: exotic fruits and juices, traditional street food, coffee, the traditional Bogotá lunch dish ajiaco—and you will even get to sample hot chocolate and cheese. That’s right, in Colombia they have cheese with everything!

Although the tour is free, the food is not. If you decide to taste one of everything on this tour, it will cost you around $8 USD.

fresh fruit on a market stand

6. Explore the Botero Museum

If you have not yet heard of Fernando Botero, that will change when you visit Bogota. References to this famous Colombian artist’s work are everywhere. Although his home town of Medellin boasts a large collection of his sculptures, it is Bogotá where the largest collection of his work resides (123 pieces to be exact).

These pieces were donated to the Bank of the Republic by the artist upon his death so that the public could access them for free permanently. The museum also has 85 pieces from international artists and is open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays).

7. Visit the Museo de Oro on a Sunday

If you go to one museum in Colombia, make it this one! The Museo de Oro (or Gold Museum) has a huge collection of gold artifacts from Colombia, and it is one of our favorite free things to do in Bogota. From tools to jewelry, spend a few hours marveling at Colombia’s rich history. The entrance fee is a minimal 4,000 COP (around $1.00) Tuesday through Saturday, but on Sunday it is free for all.

8. Borrow a bike and join in the Sunday Ciclovia

Sunday is a big family day in Colombia. People are encouraged to get out of the house and spend time with family, and to be active. Many of the big roads close every Sunday so that runners and cyclist can take over and bike in the city without the pollution and danger from cars. You can walk, jog or rent a bike (around $10 for a few hours). The streets are lined with food carts, bike repair carts and street entertainers. Sundays are the best day to get out and enjoy Bogotá on foot for free!

yellow bicycle leaning against a brick wall outside

9. Take a stroll down Calle 7

In every city in Colombia there is one main street that is known as a “walking street.” These pedestrian areas are closed to cars to encourage locals to take to the streets again after decades of civil war left people frightened to leave their homes. The government wanted people to know that the streets are safe and the streets belong to them.

In Bogotá, the walking street is Calle 7, which goes from Plaza de Bolívar right up to the end of the city center close to the National Museum. Any day of the week you can find street artists, street performers, people playing chess and street carts selling food. So take a stroll, buy some street food, watch some performances and enjoy one of the top free things to do in Bogota.

aerial view of Plaza de Bolívar

10. Relax in Parque Simón Bolívar

After all of that walking, eating and art viewing, brave the TransMilenio (or take a taxi or ride share) to Parque Simón Bolívar—one of the best free things to do in Bogota when you’re looking to relax. Spread over almost 1,000 acres in the middle of Bogotá, Parque Simón Bolívar is the perfect escape from the city, within the city. The green space has a large boating lake and sports complex. Take a picnic and spend the afternoon people watching or enjoying a free performance.

Experience all the fun and free things to do in Bogota and save your money for more epic adventures during your trip. No matter how you spend your time in this vibrant city, be sure to always check government guidelines and comply with any COVID-19 health and safety regulations.

FAQ

How dangerous is Bogota?

Bogota can be perfectly safe to visit if you follow some of the basic safety rules. Learn more about whether it’s safe to visit Colombia here.

What is Bogota, Colombia famous for?

Bogota is famous for its incredible Gold Museum, Bolivar Square, Monserrate, street graffiti and much more. Most of which is free to experience!

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