I really didn’t know what to expect from Colombia. I thought it would be similar to the other 2 capitals I’d visited earlier on my trip (Lima and Quito). But I was wrong. Incredibly wrong. Bogota turned out to be the most “Western” of all the cities I visited. I don’t know why this surprises me but it just does.
Looking at the arrivals/departures board, there are all kinds of flights coming and going from the US…and not just operated by Avianca. Once you’re in the city, you’re bombarded by classic American eateries like McD’s, KFC, Starbucks, etc. If you’re into shopping, you’ll see all kinds of fashion leading designers with stores here. This is nothing like the vibe I got from Lima or Quito. Sure, these stores are there, but nothing like it is here.
Getting around is easy enough as they use a system very similar to Lima (but much more intricate and useful). The buses here run on a “track” that have their own lane so they can get you around the city much more quickly than a car in traffic (which seems to always be the case).
Finally, things are incredibly affordable when converting to the US Dollar. At this time, the exchange rate is somewhere around 3000 pesos/1 USD. Sure, if you’re going to go where all the tourists go, the exchange rate doesn’t really matter since you’ll be paying a premium anyways. But there’s something satisfying about having 2 huge empenadas for under 5000 pesos (not each, for both!).
When I checked in for my flight here, the person asked me for the emergency contact info of someone in case something happened. Admittedly, that worried me a bit since I’d never been asked for that before. But having been here, I honestly wouldn’t mind coming back. Is it my favorite city? No. It felt lacking but I don’t know what. But for a weekend trip (it’s about 7 hours from LA)? Sure. I’d say it’s probably the best city to dip your toes into if you’re at all apprehensive about travelling to Latin or South America. It’s exotic enough to give you a change of pace but familiar enough to make things simple.