Bogotá attracts an incredibly diverse type of visitor looking for the best areas to stay in Bogotá. Tourists go to Cartagena to explore the old city and sit on the beach, they go to Medellin to meet beautiful people and relax, they go to Tayrona to hike and see exquisite beaches.
It's not so simple when it comes to Bogotá. Tourism, business, conferences, culture, history, flight connections, family, sport, government, events, art, food etc, the list is endless.
Many find Bogotá their underdog favorite city in Colombia. There is a reason it is the #1 tourist destination in Colombia with so many things to do.
So just like our property management service, I like to keep things simple.
I call this the Golden Triangle of Bogotá. It has the most diversity, culture, international appeal, atractions, nightlife, gastronomy and things to do in the city. There is a 98% chance what you are doing in Bogotá will involve at the very least one of these three areas. For short term rental accomodation in any of these areas of Bogotá, use Tripadvisor for Hotels or AirBnB or Bogotá Short Term Rentals for apartments or rooms. For long term apartment rental options first read The Hard Truth about Renting in Bogotá and then walk the streets and call signs in the window, use MetroCuadrado, GoPlaceIt.
Affordable – You are looking for accommodation in the top 1% of real estate in a megacity. You will need to raise your budget or stay towards the edge of the area. Try finding a room on AirBnB. There are a couple hostels popping up like Fulano and La Pinta that provide cheaper, good access to this zone.
Affordable – Everyone wants to live here. Your best affordable options for longer term places to stay are:Polo (suburban/industrial feel, right across the Autopista, 5 minutes in a taxi to all the hotspots.), San Felipe(Residential/local suburb, just south of Polo, similar underappreciated great access), Quinta Camacho(Architecturally rich/foodie/office feel, closer to Caracas Avenue there are still some good longer term rental deals to be found, with great access to Zona G & Financial District), Chapinero Alto (a healthier, younger version of Rosales, at a more central, elevated, quieter location. There are still rare, affordable apartments if you take a step away from the Zona G. Views go at a premium).
Luxury– I recommend Parque Virrey (Lined with the upper class of Bogotáno's in their best CrossFit outfits, on a beautiful park with many Yoga meditations and food fairs, smack bang in the middle of the Zona T and Parque 93, you can't be better positioned to experience the most luxurious Bogotá has to offer.) Rosales(Just up towards the eastern mountains from Zona Rosa, Rosales is clean, lush & exclusive.) Chico (Flatter and below the Septima Avenue (Cra 7), this is a prime location to Parque 93, Calle 100 Business Center, and the Zona Rosa). Santa Barbara/Usaquen (Good area if the Zona G (Calle 69) is the farthest south you will generally venture. Usaquen has a great local market, great restaurant selection. Santa Barbara is a bit more suburban, great space for families with lots of parks.
Affordable – Hostels, pick your poison. Get right in the middle of the action in La Candelaria. There are a few cheap, local, hard to find hotels like El Dorado which you can find a cheap room for $10 USD, cheaper than a Dorm Bed.
Luxury – Go for a boutique hotel like Casa Deco or Hotel Casa Galleria. La Candelaria is full of gorgeous old structures that have been retrofitted over the past decade to cater to the waves of new travelers passing through the historical streets. If you prefer your doorstep to be a bit more organized, modern and urban, position yourself towards the Centro International area and check out the Ibis or the Tequendama. This area will give you easy access to visit places in Bogotá like La Macarena, La Candelaria and the Airport without having to stay in the thick of it.
Affordable – To get something really affordable, you need to target the local, unfurnished rental market. If you go furnished, you will pay a premium. Again, read the Hard Truth About Renting in Bogotá and get your papers, a large deposit and/or negotiating skills ready. The most affordable options will be found inCentro (Lively, exciting and never dull. Scout out the noticeboards in the lobby of the biggest buildings in Centro, look for signs in windows, talk to shopkeepers.) La Candelaria (Touristy, full of interesting food/drinking/cultural activities. Scout for buildings with 5-20 rooms/small apartments that rent short to long term and negotiate a fair monthly price and keep it simple.) Alternatively, get a room in a house or apartment by looking in the extremely active Bogotá Short Term Rentals group.
Luxury – A few comfortable, luxurious pads are entering the market in La Candelaria. They are few and far between and AirBNB will be the easiest way to find these. Keep an eye out for options in the soon to be released BD Bacata (Hotel/Residential/Office Skyscraper). Get a cool loft style in La Macarena if you want to be perched above the more chaotic Centro with good access to parks and restaurants, although La Macarena is a bit of an isolated place and you will need to rely on taxis to get around. Centro Internacional has the largest selection of modern buildings with all the latest amenities. Find a building you like and check for vacancies in the lobby.
Affordable – Go for a locally run & operated hotel. Salitre, Modelia or Airport hotel.
Luxury – NH has the Bogota Urban Hotel right on the Calle 26. This location is perfect for a business only trip to position yourself with a few blocks to Corferias, easy access to Calle 26, Centro and the El Dorado Airport.
Affordable – Life in Calle 26/Salitre is a mix of residential/office, and most restaurants and bars are franchises. It is a convenient, safe and organized place to stay but in my opinion is missing the certain flavor of Colombia that is half the fun of living here. Pablo Sexto & Nicolas de Federman are great affordable suburbs nearby with good access to this area and also closer to Chapinero for when its time to get a bit closer to the action! If you want a few more things to do with an edgy, artistic feel, look towards Parkway or Teausaquillo.
Luxury – Check for apartments along Avenida Esperanza, there are a couple streets that line a park similar to Parque Virrey, quiet well located, this is a great place to set up shop for the comfortable long term. Most of the adjacent suburbs to the embassy are quite similar. Find an apartment on a park to take advantage of the extra green space!
Bogotá is a MegaCity. Getting around efficiently is an art. Bogotá has half the cars per capita compared to a European city, and about 2.4 million get around on the Transmilenio Mass Transit bus system. One million more Colombians are moving to Bogotá this decade, and they all want to live in or near the Golden Triangle. Stay in a place in Bogotá where you spend more time walking and experiencing the activities you want, instead of commuting by taxi or bus.
Chapinero Alto. Also, Chapinero Bajo if you really want to understand Bogotá (Both are in the golden circle on the map).
But WHY? It's not in any of the 3 key areas! Bogotá is a mosaic of cultures from across the country and the world. Staying in Candelaria or next to Parque 93, squeezes you into one particular cross-section of the city. You find yourself with everything you need and plenty to do, but only glimpsing all the other parts of the enigma that is Bogotá. There are many reasons most longer term expats choose Chapinero Bajo/Alto as the most exciting vantage point to the city.