In our second trip to South America, we visited Colombia's stunning cosmopolitan capital city of Bogotá. The city is home to many artistic treasures, diverse landscapes, a rich political history, colorful neighborhoods. In addition, it is a great time to visit Colombia as they were recently listed as "Country of the Year" by the Economist in 2016 for their historic peace agreement, and named the world's happiest country. After our trip to Bogota, it's easy to see why.
Bogota is home to over 8 million people with an altitude of 8,500+ feet (higher than Denver!). It is surrounded by beautiful mountain typography and offers an enjoyable temperate climate (a perfect 70 degrees during our stay in late May). Many of the city's sights are easy to visit by foot. We explore the city via the Beyond Colombia Free Walking Tour which meets at 10am outside the Museo del Oro. The tour gives an excellent overview of the city's highlights and history.
Behind the scenes travel vlog of Bogota:
Here are the top 5 things to see in Bogota:
1. Museo del Oro -
One of the most popular museums in Bogota, the Gold Museum attracts over 500,000 visitors per year. The museum is filled with pre-Colombian gold treasures, ranging from jewelry, masks, to intricate artifacts. Much of the art was destroyed and turned into riches during the Spanish colonial expeditions, so it is amazing to see that these pieces survived.
2. Street Art -
Bogota is one of the top cities in the world for street art, some of which span entire building blocks. Walk through La Candelaria District to view some on your own or take the street art tour, which will show some of the best art in town.
3. Botero Museum -
The Botero Museum is a free museum in Bogota that features the works of iconic Colombian artist Fernando Botero. His works are easily identifiable because of the large figures that he depicted in painting and sculpture, which Botero explained were a play on proportions. Throughout Latin America, you will find many Botero works on display in city plazas which are considered a status symbol.
Grounds of the Botero Museum:
4. La Candelaria District -
This area is considered the historic old town and is filled with beautifully preserved architecture, colorful buildings, churches, and unique bars and restaurants. The district is a delightful place to walk around, photograph, and enjoy the local cuisine.
Pops of color in the streets - local merchants sell everything from tropical fruits, hats, desserts, to jewelry.
5. Monserrate -
Walk or take the aerial tram to the top of Monserrate for the most stunning view of Bogota. We took the tram, which offered a scenic view up the mountain. The hilltop rises about 10,341 ft above sea level and is considered a pilgrimage destination as well as a tourist attraction. At the top, you will find the Monserrate Monastery, a restaurant, and sidewalks filled with shops. It is the perfect place to capture the sunset over Bogota.
Monastery at the top of Monserrate:
View from the top of Monserrate - perfect place to capture the city from above:
We hope that you get a chance to visit Bogota, it truly is one of the most breathtaking cities in South America.
What are your favorite places in Bogota? Comment below!
Welcome to Valle De Guadalupe! This is Mexico's premiere wine region with over 100 wineries and counting. It is known for its low key atmosphere, offering a more authentic wine tasting experience and farm to table restaurants. On this day trip from San Diego, we take a guided tour to get an inside look into this exciting wine region.
We travel two hours from San Diego by car with our tour guide Mario from Baja Winery Tours. After taking the scenic route, we arrive at Santo Tomas, one of the largest wineries in the region. We take a tour of the winery where the winemaker explains the history of the region and the micro-climates that make the various types of wine.
Next, we visit Lomita, a boutique winery where we get a glimpse into the wine making process. Lomita is a smaller, more intimate setting filled with artistic murals made from a Tijuana muralist. During our visit, we got to see the wine-makers in action as they were sorting the grapes onsite.
Now time to eat. Mexico is one of my favorite foodie places in the world because of the exquisite, complex, and creative dishes. We go to Javier Plascencia's farm-to-table restaurant called Finca Altonzano, one of the top restaurants in the region. Javier is a Tijuana native, credited for helping to start the culinary scene here in Baja California. His restaurant has an onsite farm, where the ingredients are picked fresh. It makes for a truly unique and memorable experience.
If you are looking for an exciting alternative to Napa Valley, be sure to check out Valle de Guadalupe!
Finca Altozano Restaurant:
► ► http://fincaltozano.com/
Wine Tasting Tour:
Be sure to book a guide to get the most out of your trip and skip the drive!
► ► http://www.bajawinerytours.com
Purchase the Wine:
► ► http://www.trulyfinewine.com
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Guanajuato is a state in Mexico considered to be the colonial heartland. It is filled with UNESCO sites and Spanish colonial architecture. We spend New Year's weekend in this region of Mexico and explore the beautiful sights. We even catch some New Year's Eve festivities along the way. ¡Feliz año nuevo!
Behind the scenes video of Guanajuato's picturesque sights and New Year's Eve festivities:
1. San Miguel de Allende
This is a city in Guanajuato that is a UNESCO site, home to a thriving expat community, and foodie scene. We walk through the cobblestone streets and try some of the delicious food. We also visit Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, the iconic Gothic church built to resemble the European churches. It has an ornate steeple and pink stone façade. Next we visit Jacinto 1930, a modern and sophisticated Mexican restaurant.
One of the most interesting excursions in San Miguel is the pyramid found about 25 KM outside of the city called Cañada de la Virgen, so be sure to check that out during your visit.
2. Guanajuato City
We spend new years in Guanajuato City, a neighboring city about an hour and a half from San Miguel de Allende. It is a designated a UNESCO site, noted for its silver mines and architecture. It has unique topography, including a valley of colorful buildings, tunnels, and hills that contain silver mines which historically made the city very rich. We visit the zocalo and celebrate New Year's Eve with fireworks.
The next day, we visit El Pípila, a mountain top monument with a panoramic view of the city. Then we visit La Valenciana Church (San Cayetano) which is one of the most important churches in town, built in the 18th century at the opening of the La Valenciana silver mine, the largest silver mine in Mexico.
3. Dolores Hidlago
This is an important city for the Mexican War of Independence. It is where the cry for independence "Viva Mexico" occurred at the Church of the Grito. It is also where visitors can find some of the most unique ice cream (helados y nieves), including camarones (shrimp), mole, elote (corn), tequila, and tuna (a cactus fruit). I tried mole and tequila (see below). Next we visit the UNESCO site Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco, which is an 18th century Mexican Baroque church which is famous for its murals.
What are your favorite sights in Mexico?
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.