FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Bogota

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Bogotá each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1 : New Year's Day (national holiday)

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

July 20: Independence Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the declaration of independence from Spain on July 20, 1810.

August 7 : Battle of Boyacá (national holiday)

Marks the key victory in 1819 of troops led by Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander over Spanish forces, a turning point in the struggle for independence.

Second Monday in October: Columbus Day (national holiday)

Commemorated as Día de la Raza (“Day of the Race”) in Colombia and several other South American countries, this day not only pays tribute to the struggles against the European invaders having first arrived on their shores in 1492 but also marks the beginning of the mixing of peoples – indigenous, European, Asian and African – and celebrates the cultural richness engendered by this process.

November 11 : Independence of Cartagena (national holiday)

December 25 : Christmas (national holiday)

CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Bogota

Situated in the foothills of the Andes, at an elevation of 2,640 metres (8,661 feet), Bogotá is characterized by a temperate highland climate. Temperatures thus remain relatively stable year-round. It should be noted that Bogotá is blanketed in a hazy fog most mornings and that the skies remain cloudy and overcast throughout the day for a good portion of the year. There are two rainy seasons, from March to May and from October to November, with frequent hailstorms that can be quite severe at times. The dry seasons normally run from January to February and from July to August.

Month Min. Average Temperature Max. Average Temperature Average Rains Best Time to Travel
January 3/37 20/68 58/2.3 Good period to go Good period to go
February 5/41 19/66 66/2.6 Good period to go Good period to go
March 6/43 18/64 102/4.0 Not the best period to go
April 7/45 18/64 147/5.8 Not the best period to go
May 8/46 18/64 114/4.5 Not the best period to go
June 8/46 18/64 61/2.4 Not the best period to go
July 8/46 17/63 51//2.0 Good period to go Good period to go
August 7/45 17/63 56/2.2 Good period to go Good period to go
September 7/45 17/63 61/2.4 Not the best period to go
October 7/45 17/63 160/6.3 Not the best period to go
November 7/45 18/64 119/4.7 Not the best period to go
December 6/43 19/66 66/2.6 Not the best period to go

Bogotá El Dorado International Airport

El Dorado, Bogotá's international airport, is located about 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the city centre. Calle 26, also known as El Dorado Avenue, is the main access road to the airport.

  • Two terminals:
    • El Dorado international terminal (T1, Air France)
    • Puente Aéreo domestic terminal (T2)
  • Getting from the airport to Bogotá and back
    • By car
      • Access via Calle 26, about 20 minutes to the city centre.
      • Three parking areas surround the terminal complex, COP 40,000 for 24 hours.
      • A central counter for car rentals is located on the first floor of T1.
    • By bus
      • TransMilenio operates a bus service connecting the airport to the central Bogotá in about 30 minutes.
    • By taxi
      • The airport operates a fleet of more than 700 taxis (coloured yellow and white) for passengers, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a fare of COP 14,400 per hour.
    • By shuttle
      • This free service operated by the airport runs buses between the terminals every 20 minutes from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Services : shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone : +57 (1) 266 2000
  • Website : http://eldorado.aero

GETTING AROUND Bogota

Using public transport or taxis is recommended for getting around Bogotá, rather than rental cars.

By bus

Bogotá's two main bus companies, TransMilenio and Busetas, operate many routes allowing you to reach all of the city's major landmarks, for very reasonable fares. For example, tickets on the TransMilenio network start at COP 1,700.

By taxi

Taxis offer the advantage of being available at all hours, plentiful and relatively inexpensive. However, it is important to note that, for safety reasons (illegal taxis and drivers operating in collusion with thieves or kidnappers), you should never hail a taxi directly in the street. Instead, order or reserve them in advance online. For more information on ordering or reserving taxis, visit the local tourist office.

Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Bogotá, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Instituto Distrital de Turismo (ITD, main tourist office in Bogotá)

Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

Puntos de Informacion Turística (PITs, tourist information kiosks)

At various locations throughout the city, the ITD operates these tourist information kiosks, where you can obtain information and recommendations for your stay in Bogotá and its surrounding area. Listed below are the main addresses for the ITD's tourist information kiosks:

  • PIT Centro Histórico : Casa de los Comuneros Carrera 8 Calle 9 – 83
  • PIT Centro Internacional : Carrera 13 N° 26-62
  • PIT Terminal de Transportes Salitre : Diagonal 23 No 69 – 60 modulo 5 local 127
  • PIT Terminal del Sur : Calle 57 Q Sur N0. 65 F – 68 Autopista Sur Local 67

Further information available online for visitors to Colombia

The official travel website maintained by ProColombia, the Colombia government agency responsible for promoting tourism, provides a wealth of information on Bogotá.

Medical information

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Colombia.

The following vaccines are recommended for travel to Colombia:

  • yellow fever (required for entry to Colombia's natural parks)
  • booster doses for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio
  • typhoid, hepatitis A and B, rabies (depending on the length of your stay)

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Food safety

Avoid ice cubes, raw vegetables and shellfish.

Water

Bogotá is the only Colombian city where tap water is considered safe to drink. However, due to rather frequent contamination of water with microorganisms, bacteria, viruses and parasites, it is preferable to drink bottled water.

Altitude sickness

If you tend to be afflicted by altitude sickness (Bogotá is over 8,000 feet above sea level) and/or have an increased risk of respiratory insufficiency, be sure to take the necessary precautions. Before you travel, talk about your plans with your doctor.

Administrative formalities

To enter Colombia, visitors from certain countries must apply for a tourist visa at the Colombian consulate general closest to their place of residence.

These countries are: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Foreign nationals from all countries not in the preceding list need only be in possession of a valid passport to enter Colombia.

For further information, visit the website of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
http://www.cancilleria.gov.co

Essential phrases

Good day / Good morning: ¡Buenos días!

Good afternoon / Good evening: ¡Buenas tardes!

Good night: Buenas noches

Good-bye: Adiós

See you (later): ¡Hasta luego!

Yes:

No: No

No, thank you: No, gracias

Thank you very much: Muchas gracias

I don't understand: No entiendo

Could you repeat that: ¿Puede repetir?

Please: Por favor

What time is it: ¿Que hora es?

Excuse me: Disculpe (to say sorry) / Con permiso (to get past) / ¡Por favor! (to get attention).

Airport: Aeropuerto

Train station: Estación de trenes

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hotel

Hospital: Hospital

Bank: Banco

Telephone: Teléfono

I'm (…): Yo soy (…).

I'm looking for (…): Estoy buscando (…).

How much is it: ¿Cuánto es?

Do you have (…): ¿Tiene (…)?

Where can I find (…): ¿Dónde puedo encontrar (…)?

Where can I buy (…): ¿Dónde puedo comprar (…)?

I'd like (…): Quisiera (…).

Good to know

00 57
+ phone number (calls to Bogotá)
-13 : 00
of time difference with
Singapore
Decalage Horaire

Banks
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Government Offices
Usually open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
110 V / 60 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Bogotá and throughout Colombia, tipping is not required, but you may certainly leave a few extra pesos on the table if the service is especially friendly and attentive. At a restaurant or café, a 10 percent tip will be appreciated. Note that a gratuity, called a propina voluntaria, usually amounting to 10 percent of the bill, is sometimes already included. If this is the case, there is no need to pay it twice!