Usaquén, Bogotá, Colombia
Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and is pretty large, which is exacerbated by the fact traffic is terrible, especially when it rains in the city (which it frequently does). This is the reason why, although I’ve visited Bogotá twice now I can’t pretend to have visited most of the city. However, as the city is separated quite distinctly into different districts, I decided to write about a lovely area of the city called Usaquén, located in the north.
Usaquén is a pretty safe area of Bogotá, although you should take the usual precautions anywhere in the city. It’s a mainly residential area and also has a colonial quarter, characterised by Spanish-style buildings centred around a lovely little park. There are lots of restaurants and bars around this area (although watch how much alcohol you drink with the high altitude!) so it’s got a vibrant nightlife when you want to head out in the evening and unwind. Restaurants vary from French and Italian to traditional Colombian, so there’s something for everyone. Below is a traditional Colombian chicken dish with capers served with arepas, a maize-based side.
My favourite thing about Usaquén is the flea market held every Sunday throughout the colonial quarter. The streets are taken over by hundreds of stands selling all sorts, from paintings and collages to scarves and jewellery. I picked up a painting of Colombian countryside, a collage made with real coffee and some coffee-scented perfume (not to wear, but more for the novelty!) I’d highly recommend brushing up on your Spanish numbers and your peso to dollars/pounds conversion here; we found the price was almost triple with some vendors if they took the liberty of converting the peso price for you!
Although Bogotá typically isn’t a huge tourist destination, if you are staying in the city then I’d highly recommend staying here, or at least paying Usaquén a visit on a Sunday for the market. Just be aware that a lot of the main roads in the area will be closed every Sunday morning for cyclists, runners and skaters, so be prepared to walk to get there!