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Discovering Bogota, Colombia Via A Bike Tour

Discovering Bogota, Colombia via a Bike Tour

There is no better way – at least in my opinion to discover Bogota, Colombia then via a bike tour.

"Mike - our guide providing us with his insights while on the university campus"

Mike – our guide providing us with his insights while on the university campus

That’s just what John and I did for five hours a few days into our Colombia visit. I had heard that Bogota was particularly well set up for bikes – with literally hundreds of kilometres of mixed use bike paths. I’d also learned of a company – Bogota Bike Tours run by an American – Mike from California. Every day – often twice a day – he takes a group of one to twenty people out on a 12-15 kilometre (this is not a hard bike ride!!) ride that covers about 10% of Bogota – and the most interesting bits as he puts it.

I would concur. We discovered parts of the city we never would have found on our own and learned about its’ turbulent history. Even if you’re not a biker this is a tour to take. The pace is relaxed, it’s safe and if you’re traveling alone it allows you to discover the city with others from around the world. Mike also speaks several languages so if English isn’t your first language – no problem. And for 35,000 Colombian pesos (~$US 17) it’s a steal of a deal.

Here’s a look at the sights we saw on our Bogota bike tour.

The one area that we cycled through where I didn’t take photos – for obvious reasons – was the Red Light District – which in mid-afternoon was quite busy.

"Interesting colours and architecture - the building is now used for apartments"

Interesting colours and architecture – the building is now used for apartments

"Colourful buildings - though a little worn at the edges"

Colourful buildings – though a little worn at the edges

"Pigeons galore at the Plaza de Bolivar"

Pigeons galore at the Plaza de Bolivar

A snail slime vendor - with products to cure all manner of skin diseases"

A snail slime vendor – with products to cure all manner of skin diseases

"The bullfighting ring turned into an ice rink - during bullfighting season"

The bullfighting ring turned into an ice rink – during bullfighting season

"Statue of bull fighter Pepe Caceres (1934-1987)"

Statue of bull fighter Pepe Caceres (1934-1987)

"Some of the fabulous street art - as opposed to the graffiti you see everywhere"

Some of the fabulous street art – as opposed to the graffiti you see everywhere

"Two cheetahs street art in Colombia"

"Lady holding up sign - Nothing won - while holding a baby"

Lady holding up a sign that reads Nothing Won

"Catching a field hockey practice on roller blades"

Catching a field hockey practice on roller blades

"This lady has been serving delicious street food from the same spot for 50 years"

This lady has been serving delicious street food from the same spot for 50 years

"Look for agapanthus blooming in gardens all over the city"

Look for agapanthus blooming in gardens all over the city

"I wasn't game enough to try this concoction"

I wasn’t game enough to try this concoction

"A 3D model in the National Park of Bogota's physical location - surrounded by mountains"

A 3D model in one of the parks illustrating Bogota’s physical location – surrounded by mountains

"Luis Carlos Galan house and grave-site"

Checked out the house/grave-site of Luis Carlos Galan who ran for the presidency of Colombia on two occasions. He was shot to death by the drug cartels.

"Unbelievable amount of graffiti covered all building at the sprawling National University"

Unbelievable amount of graffiti covered all buildings at the sprawling National University

"More drawing on university buildings"

More drawing on university buildings

"The sign reads something to the effect - Stop the enslaving of women"

The sign reads something to the effect – Stop the enslaving of women

"The only thing that changed is the attitude if you look closely at this drawing"

The only thing that changed is the attitude if you look closely at this drawing

"Grafitti on a road into downtown Bogota"

I don’t know who the man is but loved the drawing and colour seen on a wall leading into the city

"Colombian coffee - the good stuff"

Stopped for a coffee tour and had our best cup of Colombian coffee at a little hole in the wall (most of the high quality coffee beans are exported)

"The afternoon rains hit after our coffee stop"

The afternoon rains hit after our coffee stop

"Loved the colours but don't know what she represents"

Loved the colours but don’t know what she represents

"Sampling unusual fruits at the market"

Sampling unusual fruits at the market

"A very colourful display of fruit"

A very colourful display of fruit

"Vendors happy to introduce us to new fruits"

Vendors happy to introduce us to new fruits

"Rooftop statues in the Candelaria neighbourhood of Bogota are in honour of local charachters"

Rooftop statues in the Candelaria neighbourhood of Bogota are in honour of local characters

Do you like to discover cities via bike tours? Have you been on the Bogota bike tour?

Leigh McAdam

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 39 Comments
  1. I’ve been on lots of walking tours and even a segway tour, but never a bike tour as much as I love riding bikes! Love all the photos. So many of my favorite things — food, street art, historic places, colorful building — wow!

    1. @Cathy You would definitely have loved seeing Bogota by the back of the bike. Plus we had a local on the tour who had just finished reading a 2000 (not 200) page history of the city so he had lots to say to make the city come alive even more.

  2. I’ve never done a bike tour before, but this looks like a great way to see a city. Love the photos – the photo of the fruit makes me wish for spring.

  3. GREAT photos!! Bogota is high on my travel list and seeing the various sites here bumps it up even higher. 🙂 I often rent bikes when I travel – such a great way to explore places – and would totally be up for a tour in Bogota.

  4. Love the bike tour. Sounds like it was a lot of fun. Have not done a city tour but clearly need to add it to my city itineraries from now on! So civilized. Your photos are awesome. So full of colour.

  5. This bike tour certainly looks like a great way to explore and find out more about the city first hand. Looks like you had a great day despite the rain! Thanks for stopping by my blog today and for your comments. Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Though I see them here – especially on cruise ship days – I’ve never thought of doing a bike tour. But it sounds like the perfect way to get around and it’s definitely faster than walking. Love the colors. How was the altitude?

  7. Looks like a very good bike tour! Loved those buildings, they are so vibrant and colorful. Thanks for sharing these captures Leigh 🙂

  8. It definitely looks like a great way to see Bogota. I admit I had some misconceptions about Bogota but this tour and your pictures have totally changed that. I love the street art and all the colorful buildings and yum on the street food. We thought of doing a bike tour in bike-friendly Copenhagen last summer but wow..those were some busy streets. I think we need to do a countryside tour with the kids first.

    1. @Mary I really wasn’t sure what to expect in Bogota – as I too still had images of drug wars in the back of my mind. There is a strong military presence and as long as you use common sense – as in any big city around the world – the city is safe. I did watch my money closely but I had ZERO problems. Biking in Copenhagen sounds very enjoyable – and your kids are that much bigger now that it should be possible anytime now.

    1. @Jenny I’m not sure if those drinks have a fruit juice base. There was certainly fresh fruit and coconut but the red was a bit to artificial looking for me to want to try it. Agreed. There is amazing street art in Bogota and in fact I think there has been a documentary on it.

  9. Exploring Bogota by bike? Awesome idea, you probably felt like a local 🙂 Beautiful photos, it’s such a colorful city. Love “before” and “after” graffiti. I see you treated yourself with some decent food and local drinks! 🙂

    1. @Mette Colombia’s reputation is still a deterrent yet the drug wars have been over for some time. There is a strong military presence and I found most Colombians to be very keen on keeping tourists happy. They appreciate what it does for their economy.

  10. What a great day…I’ve become a fan of bike tours of late, because its hard to find a better way to really connect with a city…

  11. Awesome, awesome photos. This convinces me more to visit Bogota (I have friends there). The photo of the poster of Luis Carlos Galan touched me. A few weeks ago a series about Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels finished so I kind of have an idea about the life of the politician.

    1. @Ruth I found that poster of Galan very powerful too. I believe there were 3 or 4 presidential candidates assassinated that year. It was a dark time for Colombia. I’d like to know more about Colombian history now that I’ve been there.

    1. @Ronald Bogota is actually the leading city in South America for pushing cycling – partly to relieve congestion. On Sundays they close some of the major streets to cars and open them to cyclists.

  12. the guy with glasses was a very famous comedian, with a very sharp political humor. he was murdered by paramilitaries in 1999, I think. the graffiti of the black girl is probably about the African heritage of the country, and the city, which has received a lot of war refugees from black populated areas of the country.

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