The colorful and vibrant capital of Colombia is without a doubt a must-visit to include in your Latin America itinerary. And although the city has enough attractions and historical sights to entertain any type of traveler, it can be chaotic and overwhelming as well. So why not have some escape in nature by joining some of the amazing day trips from Bogota? There are so many spectacular natural wonders around the city and close enough to make either a full or half-day excursion. In this post, I am going to share the best places to visit near Colombia Capital city that will make your trip even more special.
Before diving into the best day trips from Bogota’ let me share some practical information about the city.
Let’s talk about safety first! Although Bogota has been cleaned up from the major safety issues that used to daunt Colombia reputation in the past, it is now relatively ok to visit, with some common-sense precautions and a careful mindset.
As a solo female traveler, I visited Bogota a few years ago and I really felt relatively safe by avoiding going out at night or venting any any luxury items, such as my camera or phone, and of course, avoiding some dodgy neighborhood.
Sadly even some of the most beautiful areas that you must visit, such as La Candelaria, are still home to robberies and pick-pocketing. But I still recommend you should visit and just be on the alert or join on a guided tour.
In fact, you don’t feel comfortable with walking around alone there are amazing tours in and around the city that will make your life easier. Besides, you will be learning more about the city’s history and Colombian culture when you are accompanied by a local guide.
And at the same time, you will be contributing to the local economy.
Main points of interest in Bogota
- Botero Museum
- La Candelaria neighborhood
- Plaza de Bolivar
- Cerro de Monserrate
- Museo del Oro
How many days do you need in Bogota?
That is really up to you. After reading all the amazing things to do within the historical center of the Colombian capital city and its surroundings you may want to stay a couple of weeks. However, if that is not possible, consider 3 days to visit the city and two days to join a couple of day trips from Bogota’.
That is also true when it comes to exploring the incredible sites just outside the city. Although it’s most of the time easier to get to the points of interest by local transport, you will be better off with joining organized tours where you will be taken around in the comfort and safety of a small van with an experienced English speaking guide who will be happy to share all their knowledge about their own beloved country.
Insider tip – consider booking a private transfer from El Dorado Airport to your hotel in Colombia, for safety and comfort.
The best day trips from Bogota
Chicaque natural park
Nestled in the mountain south of Bogota, in the rural area of the San Antonio town Chicaque natural park is a must-see for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This day tour from Bogota is better enjoyed in safety, which is by an organized tour with a local guide who knows the territory well.
During the short hike, you will enjoy an abundance of vegetation and local fauna while you are making your way to the Rock Pick to enjoy breathtaking views over the valley.
The tour continues with a well-deserved lunch at the restaurant lodge (at an extra cost) at the bottom of the park where you can rest from the hike before continuing to an incredible waterfall of high altitude in the heart of the cloud forest.
To end with a bang you will hike to the highest point of the mountain for even more amazing views.
But since this is the most challenging part of the hike you will have the option to go back to the starting point by Jeep for a small fee, while waiting for the rest of the group. you will always find the option to take a jeep for an extra charge you’ll have to pay in the lodge.
Chingaza National Park
If you want to have a really unique experience fully immersed in nature you must visit the Chingaza Natural National Park, a special place that is brimming with history and cultural heritage besides being heaven for discovering the Andean flora and fauna.
Previously inhabited by the pre-Colombian populations of the Muiscas and the Guayupes, and farmer communities who inhabited the area less than 40 years ago, this area is located in the Eastern Andes, northeast of Bogota.
Bad news for those of you who love to explore on your own, getting there is really complicated not only because of lack of public transport but also because you need special permits to enter, only 40 people are permitted the entrance per trail and you can visit one section per day because of the long distances from one another (if you have your own car).
But worry not, because you have a great choice of tours that will take you around this amazing natural area. Here below I will share the most interesting ones.
Have a coffee farm experience
In the peaceful mountains behind the hustling Colombia’s capital city, in the small town of Choachi, you can experience an organic coffee farm, meet the local farmers and learn their work and traditions while tasting an authentic Colombian breakfast. You will have a tour around the plantations and learn about what it’s like to be a coffee farmer in Colombia.
You will also learn how to process the coffee and the different ways of preparation. On the way back you will stop at some amazing lookout point to admire the soothing views of the countryside.
Did you purchase your
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
by Sam @ My Flying Leap
One of the most popular and best day trips from Bogota is to visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira and the homonymous pretty town.
This pretty Spanish town boasts interesting examples of colonial architecture such as the main plaza with its beautiful church, and cobblestone streets. But, the real draw is the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirà.
Salt was the source of wealth for the indigenous people in the area which used to call white gold. It certainly wasn’t the source of riches the Spanish conquistadors were seeking, but it was a benefit to this area and Bogota.
The Salt Cathedral is a large cavernous system of tunnels remaining from salt mines. This pilgrimage site was transformed into a massive cathedral inside the salt mine. There are a number of stations signifying the birth, life, and death of Jesus with colored lights to accent the path.
I suggest you should take a couple of hours with the self-guided audio tour for more information about this impressive structure and its history.
You’ll admire the intricate carvings and the crystal-clear heavily salinated Salt Cathedral Lake.
You can visit any time of year, though it can get quite cold in the winter.
You can take a day tour with a guide from Bogota and there are a lot of options available as it’s one of the most popular day tours.
Or you can take a bus or train to Zipaquira. The bus is actually the quickest public transport route. If you’re visiting Bogota, you won’t want to miss the Salt Cathedral!
La Chorrera waterfall
Yulia @ Misstourist
With its 690 mt, La Chorrera waterfall is Colombia’s highest waterfall and it makes a perfect day trip from Bogota for nature lovers.
This hidden gem, which is still not very well known among tourists, is in fact a favorite attraction amongst Colombians.
That just makes the experience (and adventure of getting there) all the more exciting! La Chorrera Falls is located close to the small town of Choachí, just an hour and a half from Bogota making it a great day trip that will appeal to many visitors.
First things first, make sure to visit in the wet season, or at least after a few heavy days of rain. Despite being an awesomely high waterfall, when the rains haven’t been coming down strong, neither will the waterfall.
Note that visiting during the times of best flow (in the wet season) also means visiting during the worst times of year for the path. But if you remember to bring good shoes and a positive attitude I promise the muddy trail will be worth it!
When planning a trip to La Chorrera Waterfalls be aware that the entrance to the park is 4.5km from the main road, which is where the 90min trail actually starts.
There are a few ways to reach the falls but the easiest way is to take a guided tour that will organize everything for you and get you all the way to the gate.
If you want to go by yourself you will need to hop on a colectivo minibus to Choachi from the Transoriente’s terminal in Bogota or get private transportation.
If you chose the local bus, you can either ask the driver to drop you off at the road to La Chorrera Falls and walk the dusty 4.5km to the entrance or, ride the bus all the way to Choachi where you can jump in a taxi to bring you all the way to the falls car park.
If you choose the taxi option, it’s a good idea to try and find a 4×4 as the last 500m of the road is extremely steep and muddy meaning regular cars can’t pass this point.
After you enter the gate, a 90 min hike will take you past a number of waterfalls and viewpoints before you arrive at the grand finale, La Chorrera.
It’s indeed a unique experience where you enjoy the lush jungle vibes and a splash of refreshing water before heading back to the city to complete the perfect day in Colombia!
Paragliding in Sopó
by Venaugh @ Venaugh
Driving north there are several amazing places to visit that make great day tours from Bogotà.
One of them is visiting Sopó for paragliding (parapente). This one isn’t for the faint-hearted as it involves running off a cliff with a parachute.
Fortunately, it’s not something you do by yourself, but you are strapped to a guide for a tandem flight.
The drive is a very scenic one with greenery and cows, however driving up the mountain, the gravel and dirt road can get a bit difficult.
We went up in a rental car which cost about $100,000 COP (US$26) but a 4-wheel drive would probably be better.
The paragliding experience itself is one of the best experiences I have ever had. However, be sure to dress properly as even though it is 15°C, it can feel a lot colder especially with the amount of wind.
The paragliding is a unique experience that lasts about 15 to 20 magical minutes where you can marvel at the view of beautiful landscapes including the Tominé reservoir and the entire valley below.
Fortunately, you still get these amazing views from the take-off point even if you choose not to do the paragliding activity. In fact, most of the land is lush green with hardly any developments and is surrounded by breathtaking mountains.
The best time to go would be late May to September or December to early March.
Visit Parque Jaime Duque
by Venaugh @ Venaugh
Although are many amazing things to do in Bogotá you may want to explore the spectacular surroundings as well which make for so many amazing day trips from Bogotà.
One of them is Parque Jaime Duque. Located at 1 hour’s drive from the center of Bogotá, this park is not any ordinary park you usually see, but rather a segmented park with 5 distinct areas. This includes:
The entrance fee is $23,000 COP (US$12) per person which is relatively cheap for all the amazing things to see.
You can definitely spend the entire day exploring.
Try not to go in April or October as these months are known to have lots of rain.
Also, once you are walking around the park, there are not many shaded areas.
The easiest way to get to the park would be to hire a car which can cost around $100,000 COP (US$26).
There is also the option of using an Uber however, it can be difficult to get an Uber back. So make sure you agree with the driver to get back to you at a certain time.
Regardless, Parque Jaime Duque is definitely somewhere worth spending a day.
Visit the colonial town of Villa de Leyva
Emily @ Wander-Lush
When Bogota gets to be too much, there’s no better place for a change of scenery than Villa de Leyva, a charming Pueblo Patrimonio (heritage town) in north-western Colombia’s Boyaca Department.
Visiting Villa de Leyva is one of the best ways to experience Colombian culture.
Stepping into Villa de Leyva’s plaza is like walking back in time. The town appears much the same as it did four centuries ago, with stunning colonial-era architecture, original cobbled streets, and churches that date back to the 16th century.
Before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, this area was inhabited by the indigenous people called Muisca.
The town as you see it today was established in 1572 and has always been a hub of arts and culture. Jazz, music, food, and theatre festivals take place throughout the year, with the Festival of Lights in December a highlight.
Even if there’s nothing special going on, Villa de Leyva is a lovely place to slacken your pace and wander the streets without any particular destination in mind.
Starting from Plaza Mayor – the largest square in Colombia and the biggest cobbled plaza on the continent – follow the backstreets to discover small house museums, cafes, and pastelerías.
The hills around Villa de Leyva are plastered with vineyards so you should also do a local wine tasting in one of the trendy bars.
Don’t leave without hiking up to Mirador El Santo Sagrado Corazon de Jesus for a panoramic view of the entire town.
The climate here is noticeably cool and dry – one of the reasons locals flock from the capital on weekends for a quick escape.
Thus it’s best to visit on a weekday (and to avoid national holidays). Coach connections from Bogota are plentiful, with the journey taking around 3.5-4 hours depending on road conditions and traffic.
Or you can book a hassle-free guided tour
Visit the laguna de Guatavita
Daniel James @ Layer Culture
One of the most amazing Bogota day trips for adventure lovers, an escape to Guatavita lake allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy Colombian capital city.
With just a 1-2 hour journey from Bogota, many travelers do a day trip which encompasses both Zipaquirá and Guatavita in one, which is the best idea if you are short on time.
Here you have lake Guatavita which is the main attraction for most travelers because of its sacred appeal due to the theories of exactly how this giant water-filled-hole (which was first encountered by the Spanish Conquistadors who were at that time searching for gold) appeared.
Also, hikes around the Tominé Reservoir located next to the town give you the chance to explore the nearby area which today is very much focused on ecotourism.
For many visitors, Guatavita offers the perfect opportunity to escape the polluted capital city and to take in some of Colombia’s freshest air.
It can rain a lot, but December and January are generally good festive months to visit the region; as long as you are prepared for it.
So, whether you decide to come here as part of a tour or spend time exploring the town of Guatavita, witness the sacred lagoon, or hike around the reservoir, you’ll have plenty of time to connect with a more rural side of Colombia.
- Book your transfers between destinations on the trusted booking platform Bookaway
- Store your bags in the main cities and walk around freely hands and weight free with Bounce
- Check if you need a visa and get help processing it with iVisa
- Never ever leave without
travel insurance. Get complete coverage from World Nomads or long term insurance from Safety Wing
- I find all of my flights on Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, Google flights, Scott’s Cheap Flights, and always remember to compare
- Book your daily tours locally to support local businesses, or if you don’t find any reliable company, or you prefer to book in advance, check out GetYourGuide or Viator. Some of their tours are refundable up to 24h in advance.
- I rent my long and mid-term apartments on VRBO
- Book hotels with Booking.com or Hotels.com
- Compare car rental prices at Auto Europe, Discover Car Rentals
- Check out my travel planning guide if you are planning your trip and feeling overwhelmed