Colombia

Cultural Orientation Day in Colombia with TravelBud – a Walking Tour Through Bogotá

Carolina Barraza

Carolina Barraza

November 8, 2017

A tour through the streets of downtown Bogotá and the iconic neighborhood of La Candelaria is a must for everyone in Colombia’s capital city. For TravelBud’s teachers, teaching English in Colombia, we organized a cultural orientation day with a walking tour by an experienced guide who knew these streets like the back of his hand.

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Exploring downtown Bogotá

We met Ricardo just outside the entrance to the Gold Museum. (Quick side note: for anyone visiting the city, this museum cannot be missed as it holds the most spectacular golden pieces of Pre-Columbian art.) Standing in Santander park, Ricardo kicked off the afternoon with a brief history lesson on Colombia’s independence from Spanish rule.

Tour of historical area of downtown Bogotá

Our guide, Ricardo, and teachers start the historical walking tour around downtown Bogota.

From there, we walked through the busy downtown streets, stopping to hear about the black market for emeralds, which stands right outside a former prison, which turned into a cloister before finally becoming the university that it is today. Soon, we found ourselves standing on the most important corner in the city, one that concentrates the four powers of civil life in Colombia: the Central Bank, the Press, the Church and globalism (exemplified, of course, by a McDonald’s). Ricardo had many fun facts to share with us at this point, including one about Fidel Castro, but you’ll have to take the tour to find out more on that!

drinking chicha in Colombia

James, one of our teach in Colombia participants tries Chicha for the first time

The colorful walls of La Candelaria

We continued onward and into La Candelaria, a neighborhood within downtown Bogotá with a history as colorful as its graffitied walls. Our first stop was in a small café, where our teachers were able to try chicha. A traditional beverage made by indigenous women, chicha is made from fermented corn and served in totumas, which are decorated bowls made out of the hardened rind of the calabash tree’s fruit. However, before drinking, you mustn’t forget to raise your totuma in honor of the Pacha Mama, or Mother Earth!

street tour of Bogotá graffiti

Bogotá’s La Candelaria area is known for its colorful graffiti, Bogotá took a different approach to the controversial art form, allowing it to spread relatively freely through the city.

After that refreshing stop, our tour moved along the streets of La Candelaria, from which we were able to see the oldest houses in Bogotá, along with some amazing pieces of street art, which the city has commissioned all across the neighborhood. (Another side note: the graffiti walking tour is also very recommended.)

Simón Bolívar Square and his escape through a window

We left La Candelaria and headed over to Simón Bolívar square, the most important square in the country. Here, you will find the three branches of the national government, and Ricardo wasted no time in retelling some of the more important events in Colombia’s recent history, many of which took place in relation to the square.

inside the Botero art museum in Bogotá

Bogotá is nothing if not arty and so a visit to the Botero Museum, definitely one of the most important art museums in Latin America, is a must!

The tour proceeded into the Botero Museum, a free collection of art donated by Colombia’s most important modern artist, Fernando Botero. The Museum is connected to Casa de la Moneda, the colonial house that functioned as a mint back in the 17th century. Just half a block from Casa de la Moneda, we found ourselves standing outside the window that Simón Bolívar used to escape from a coup. And much to our delight, Ricardo decided to reenact the entire episode! 

Exploring Colombia’s speciality: its coffee

We capped off our afternoon with cups of specialty coffee in Arte y Pasión. It is no secret that Colombia has some of the best coffee in the world, and this is a café that serves the crème de la crème. Not only that, you also get to choose your own preparation method. Hint: ask for the Turkish one, you’ll be in for a real treat.

drinking local coffee in Bogotá

If you’ve ever seen a coffee ad, you probably know it’s something that Colombia is famous for! So, no trip anywhere in this beautiful country would be complete without a cup of local joe.

Sharing this small piece of Colombia and its history with our teachers was absolutely fantastic. At TravelBud, we pride ourselves in making sure that our teachers have unique cultural experiences, and we look forward to hosting more events like this one!

Interested in Teaching English in Colombia? We’ll send you more info!

INQUIRE NOW ›

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