When the lights came on, waking me up from my half-asleep stupor, and we started our descent into Bogotá at 6am, I was flabbergasted at just how huge it is. Descending from the clouds, the city seemed to keep going and going and going. That is, until it hit the mountains that mark the eastern border of the city. Then, later in the trip when we got to the top of Montserrate which has a view west over the entirety of Bogotá , we literally could not see where the city ended. Turns out, Bogotá has almost 10 million people, which is over ten times the size of any of the cities I’ve called home. Because it’s such a huge city, it’s important to carefully consider where to stay in Bogotá so that you can make the most of your time and see as much of the city as you can.
When we arrived in Bogotá , we took a taxi to our hostel to drop our bags off before we started exploring, and we were impressed by the lack of traffic, which seemed pretty unusual for a city of Bogotá’s size. How was it that at 7am on a weekday, there were only taxis and public buses on the road?
Turns out, it was a planned car-free day to combat pollution. The very next day, the streets were packed with all kinds of cars, and it was nearly impossible to get anywhere in the city by car.
That’s why it’s important to think about where you choose to stay, and why I put together this guide with the best places to stay in Bogotá based on our experience staying in Quinta Camacho. Which, SPOILER ALERT, is the best area to stay in Bogotá for tourists if you’re asking me.
Heading to Colombia? You won’t want to miss my other posts about my six weeks in Colombia.
- 3 Days in Bogotá: A Complete Bogotá Itinerary
- A Complete Guide to Spending Two Incredible Weeks in Colombia
- A Complete Guide to Where to Stay in Cartagena, Colombia
- Gluten Free Colombia: A Guide for Traveling Celiacs
- Gluten Free Bogotá: A Complete Gluten Free City Guide
- Where to Stay in Medellin
- A Complete Gluten Free Guide to Medellin
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would never recommend something to you that I don’t stand behind 100%.
Where to Stay in Bogotá: A Practical Guide for Tourists
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we landed in Bogotá. I had heard mixed things about Colombia’s capital. Some loved the big-city feeling and the hustle and bustle of millions of people going about their daily lives. Others were less enthusiastic about that big city feel, because it comes with a lot of downsides. Like traffic and pollution.
Based on our time in Bogotá, I would definitely go back.
In fact, I wish we had spent more than 4.5 days there in our six weeks in Colombia. We spent whole days exploring some of the best neighborhoods in Bogotá– like Usaquén and Quinta Camacho.
An Overview of the Best Areas to Stay in Bogotá
I get it – you’re busy. Don’t have time to read the whole guide below? Here’s the gist of it.
In my opinion, the best areas to stay for tourists are:
Quinta Camacho (a small area in Chapinero): Easy access to the best food & drinks in Bogotá, good public transit connections, safe, and a thriving nightlife scene. Basically, everything I look for in a neighborhood to stay in. If you’re still trying to make a decision on where to stay, this is the best answer for 95% of people.
Parque 93: Best for Upscale Living and Families. Chill. Safe. Quiet.
Usaquén: Most unique place to stay in Bogotá. Upscale, trendy, and a bit pricey. It’s almost like a suburb. In fact, it used to be, but as Bogotá has sprawled, it is now well within city limits.
La Candelaria: Best for budget travelers, backpackers, and people with 1-2 days in Bogotá. Affordable and central, but sketchy at night.
Here are four top-rated places to stay in Bogotá.
Aurora Hostel (Quinta Camacho) – this is where we stayed, and it was phenomenal. It’s a small boutique hostel, with a couple of private rooms and a couple of dorms, so the capacity is only about 20 people. The location can’t be beat, and the staff were super friendly. We stayed in the private room w/ private bathroom, and I highly recommend it.
Hotel bh Parque 93 (Parque 93) – we were looking at this place while sitting at Azahar Coffee across the street, and it looked super nice so I Googled it. Confirmed – it is SUPER nice. Plus, it’s literally across the street from Azahar, some of the best coffee in Bogotá, and one block away from Parque 93 and all the amazing food and shopping nearby.
Lovely 1BR Apartment in Usaquén – If you’re more into staying in an Airbnb when you travel, I get it. This spot caught my eye as I was perusing the listings in Bogotá, and it seems to be a lovely spot to base yourself in Usaquén for your time in Bogotá.
Masaya Hostel (La Candelaria) – If you’re staying in La Candelaria, you’re going to probably be staying in a hostel. There are tons of options in the area, but this is one of the top-rated options, and they have a wide range of room types, from huge dorms to private rooms with private bathrooms.
Now, onto the full guide to Bogota’s 4 best neighborhoods for tourists.
Quinta Camacho (and northern Chapinero): Overall Best Place to Stay in Bogotá for Tourists
I’ve already kind of outlined why I think this is the best place to stay in Bogotá, but here are a few reasons why.
First, it’s within walking distance of both the best food in Bogotá, mostly found in Zona G, and the best nightlife (LGBTQ-friendly) in Bogotá in Zona T.
Some notable spots not to miss are:
- Orso Heladería: the best ice cream in Bogotá – they have a couple of other locations too.
- Tacos Insurgentes: Authentic Mexican tacos and cocktails, and good vibes after dark.
- Abasto: Come for the arepas, but don’t leave until you’ve had the fish wrapped in banana leaf
- Misia: Celebrity chef Leonor Espinosa’s outpost (around the corner from Aurora) with regional dishes from Colombia’s Caribbean Coast. Get the arepa de huevo.
- Drinks at El Mono Bandido, Huerta Coctelería, or the Red Room.
Next, it’s in the middle of the best coffee in the city too. Don’t miss Colo Coffee’s outpost at what used to be Bourbon Coffee, Café Cultor, and Amor Perfecto. Or, if you’re really into coffee like me, take this guided coffee tour in Chapinero to learn about the process from field to cup and try some amazing coffee at a handful of Chapinero cafes.
Finally, it’s relatively safe (not as sketchy as La Candelaria, not as safe as Parque 93) and well-connected to both the tourist center and Usaquén and Parque 93, making it a great central area to base yourself to explore all of the best parts of Bogotá.
Where to Stay in Chapinero / Quinta Camacho
Aurora Hostel: Best Boutique Hostel in Bogotá
Like I mentioned before, Aurora Hostel is where we stayed, and I would go back in a heartbeat. We stayed in the private room with a private bathroom and it was everything we could ask for at a super affordable price.
There are only a couple of rooms – two private rooms and two dorms – so you don’t have to worry too much about things getting crazy. We slept great every night.
Breakfast, which is your choice of great coffee or tea and eggs and an arepa or a bowl of granola with yogurt, is included in the price. There’s a nice kitchen, and a beautiful indoor/outdoor terrace that’s perfect for breakfast in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening. It’s a perfect home base for exploring Bogotá. Click here to check prices, reviews, and availability.
Hotel Casona del Patio: Top-rated Hotel near Quinta Camacho
Casona del Patio is one of the best values in the area. Clean, comfortable rooms with an outdoor patio and a lovely terrace. It’s right in the middle of all the action – walkable to everything you might need during your trip. And it’s in one of the safest parts of Chapinero, so walking around at night isn’t an issue. Perfect place to base yourself in Bogotá if you prefer the comforts of a hotel rather than a hostel. Click here to check prices, reviews, and availability.
Your Home in the Heart of Bogotá: Highly Rated Airbnb in Chapinero
This Airbnb in Quinta Camacho is certainly beautiful – it’s a three bedroom home with modern appliances and finishing touches, filtered water and free coffee or tea, and has 24 hour security. The reviews all say that the hosts are great communicators. It’s right where I’d want to be if I went back to Bogotá, and it’s a super affordable option given its size and location. It’s basically next door to Hostel Aurora, which we found to be a perfect area to stay in Bogotá. Click here to check prices, reviews, and availability.
La Candelaria: Best Central Location for Short Stays
La Candelaria is home of the backpacker scene in Bogotá. Even at 7pm, there were people out partying and moving from bar to bar, drinking on rooftops and in dingy basements. You know it’s a backpacker area when you start to see places pop up selling pizza by the slice and countless bars advertising 2 for 1 shots.
On the plus side, it is the most central in terms of access to most of Bogotá’s tourist sites. And it’s also the most affordable area on this list. Which makes it a great place to base yourself if you are on a budget, or on a time crunch.
On the not-so-plus side, it’s sketchy after dark, and curated for tourists. We probably saw more tourists in our couple of hours exploring this area than the rest of our 4 days combined.
If you’re looking for the backpacker scene, are in town for a short time and want to be as close as possible to the tourist sites, or just need a cheap bed, La Candelaria is for you.
Whether or not you choose to stay in La Candelaria, it’s absolutely worth a visit on your trip. Some of the most important buildings in Colombia, like the Palace of Justice, are in Bolivar Square, which is nearby.
Where to Stay in La Candelaria
There are a seemingly never-ending number of hostels in La Candelaria, and most are basically the same. The ones that stood out to me when I was researching for my trip were Selina Hostel and Masaya Hostel.
If you’re looking for a boutique hotel in La Candelaria, look at the Candelaria House Boutique.
Update December 2020: I was VERY surprised at how many Airbnb options there are in La Candelaria. It’s a good option, less-so if you’re in Bogotá for only a day or two.
Here are three options that caught my eye as I was perusing.
Cozy Loft Studio in La Candelaria: I LOVE this little loft in the heart of La Candelaria. It has a full kitchen, a fireplace, and a washer/dryer. And it’s super stylish too. Perfect home base for a few days in Bogotá.
Perfect Location in La Candelaria: Cozy, affordable apartment with everything you’ll need for your stay. It’s not the biggest place around, but it’s plenty of space for a traveling couple.
Spectacular Penthouse LA PERGOLA in La Candelaria!: The perfect stay in La Candelaria for groups of 4-6. Two bedrooms, a full kitchen, and plenty of space to spread out. Plus, huge windows with views of the city and a full kitchen with new appliances.
Parque 93: Best Neighborhood for Families
Parque 93 is a cute little enclave between Chapinero and Usaquén that is safe, upscale, and a great place to base yourself in Bogotá. Especially if you have kids. We walked by all sorts of young families with kids walking around the neighborhood.
And dogs. SO MANY DOGS.
It’s not the most budget-friendly neighborhood to stay in Bogotá, but with the extra cost you’ll be able to stay in one of Bogotá’s safest neighborhoods.
What to do in Parque 93
Parque 93 is a little further out than Chapinero from most of Bogotá’s tourist sites, so be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes getting to Montserrate and La Candelaria. Lucky for you, there’s tons to do and see nearby, even if traffic is horrendous.
- Drink Amazing Coffee at Azahar Coffee, one of the leaders in third wave coffee in Colombia.
- Picnic in the park with all of the couples, families, dogs, and more.
- Head to Librería Lerner, one of the biggest bookstores in Bogotá, and grab a coffee at their in-house coffee shop.
Where to Stay in Parque 93
Here are three top-rated places to stay in Parque 93.
Soy Local Parque 93: Affordable Hotel / Apartments
Soy Local is a great option, and the location could not be better just off the northeastern corner of Parque 93. They call themselves a “Housetel,” so you’ll find a cross between a hotel room and apartment, with some amenities like kitchen facilities that you wouldn’t usually find in a traditional hotel. But the bed setup in most of their rooms definitely feels hotel-esque. Overall, a great AND affordable place to stay in one of Bogotá’s best areas. Click here to check prices, reviews, and availability.
Hotel bh Parque 93: Top Rated Boutique Hotel
As I was sitting at Azahar, I was staring out at Hotel bh Parque 93. It looked super nice, so I went to Google and sure enough, it looks like a lovely place to stay. Spacious, light-filled rooms and modern amenities with an onsite bar, fitness facilities, and an outdoor terrace where they serve a breakfast buffet in the mornings.
The location can’t be beat, either. You can literally stumble out the front door in an un-caffeinated stupor and into Azahar for your morning coffee. And it’s a couple of blocks from the park and all the amenities of Parque 93, like amazing bars and restaurants and cute boutiques. Click here to check prices, reviews, and availability.
Airbnb Options in Parque 93
Parque 93 is full of high-rise apartment buildings, which means lots of Airbnb options to choose from. Here are three that caught my eye.
Amazing Apartment in Bogotá with 2 BR / 2 Bath: Bright. Airy. Stylish. And a full kitchen. Great place for a group of 4 to base yourselves for exploring Bogotá.
2 Bedroom Apartment in Prime Location: Nice kitchen with a gas stove and a location that really can’t be beat – it’s about five minutes on foot to the park. It’s spacious and stylish, and has pretty nice views of the city.
Parque 93 – Spacious 2BR Apartment, New/Nice Building: Just about five blocks away from Parque 93, this one apartment has plenty of space for a group to spread out, with a full kitchen (also a gas stove) and two spacious bedrooms.
Usaquén: Most Unique Place to Stay in Bogotá
As soon as we stepped out of the cab into Usaquén, I knew I was going to love it. We stepped out onto the corner of a public park, the center of the old town of Usaquén, with a church towering across from us, and the hustle and bustle of the Sunday Flea Market.
Usaquén was recommended to us by the people at our hostel. It used to be a suburb of Bogotá where the wealthy flocked to, but over time it has become a part of the city. Its cobblestone street and cute alleyways are a reminder that, at one point in time, it was a whole separate town from the rest of Bogotá.
In Usaquén, you’ll find some of the best food and drinks in Bogotá. Here are some places I loved.
- Abasto – go for brunch, and get the arepas de huevo and the fish steamed in banana leaf.
- Bogotá Brewing Company – the location, complete with an outdoor patio, on the corner of the park make it a perfect place to grab a drink on a sunny day in Bogotá
- Orso Heladería has an outpost here too.
- Colo Coffee has what has to be one of the best outdoor patios of any coffee shop I’ve ever seen anywhere, and serves up some of the best coffee in Bogotá
The other thing you can’t miss is the Sunday Market, which is what we were there for. Hundreds of official vendors (and seemingly hundreds more unofficial ones too) line the streets, selling everything from honey and coffee to handcrafted jewelry and handbags. It was quite the sight, and we spent a solid hour just wandering the market.
Where to Stay in Usaquén
Usaquén Station Hostel: Highly Rated Hostel in Usaquén
If you’re looking for an affordable option, this place is your best bet. Yes, it is far from Monserrate and the tourist center of Bogotá, but is well located within Usaquén. The owner, Juan, is mentioned in nearly every review of the place, which is always a good sign. It’s in an alley off of the main street, so it’s relatively quiet at night. The kitchen is well-equipped and the beds are comfy. Click here to check prices, reviews, and availability.
Biohotel Organic Suites: Top-Rated Boutique Hotel
One of the most highly-rated hotels in Usaquén, Biohotel Organic Suites is a gem located just a couple of blocks north of the hustle and bustle. It’s perfectly safe to walk, day or night, which is one of the best parts about staying in Usaquén. You’ll find double rooms with comfy beds and super modern bathrooms. If you love a good walk-in shower, you’ll love this place. Upgrade to a suite to get the benefits of a jacuzzi-style bathtub in your room, along with a moderate-sized living area. Breakfast is included in your stay, and you can rent bikes for free – don’t miss a bike ride along Carrera 7 on Sundays when it is closed to car traffic. Click here to check prices and availability.
Top Airbnb Options in Usaquén
Beautiful Apartment Santa Barbara / Usaquén: A super affordable one bedroom apartment with everything you’ll need for your time exploring the city. It’s walkable to the main drag in the neighborhood, which is where you’ll find the flea market and best food and drinks in the area.
Your Lovely Loft in in Usaquén: Comfortable and close to the main drag with a small kitchen. It’s not huge, but it has plenty of space for a group of two. Six night minimum, so it’s a good bet for longer stays.
Warm and Comfy Flat in Usaquén: This light-filled one bedroom apartment is at the top of our list for a return trip to the Colombian Capital. Great views from the living room over the city, and an elegant, comfortable space with a full kitchen at a reasonable price.
Bogotá is an interesting city. Of the three bigger cities that we spent time in – Bogotá, Medellin, and Cartagena – it certainly felt like the most authentic of the three. Cartagena was full of tourists from all over the world, and Medellin was a little more curated for tourists, especially in El Poblado.
The hustle and bustle is part of the charm of Bogotá. Yes, there is traffic. And it can be brutal. Yes, it’s hard to get around. Yes, there are some sketchy parts that are best avoided.
But overall, the size of the city means there’s always something going on, which makes it a good place to visit for at least a few days during your time in Colombia.
Planning a trip to Colombia? Don’t miss our other Colombia travel guides, based on our six weeks of galivanting around Colombia.
- 3 Days in Bogotá, Colombia: A Perfect Bogotá Itinerary
- Where To Stay In Medellin: A Complete Guide
- Where To Stay In Cartagena, Colombia: Best Places To Stay
- 2 Weeks in Colombia: How to Plan Your Colombia Itinerary
- The 5 Best Places to Visit in Colombia: South America’s Best Kept Secrets
- Where to Stay in Bogotá, Colombia: The 4 Best Places to Stay