Bogota is one of the few places in the world were you can go to a museum and see fine art, have a great meal, and then get a glass of chicha. Chicha is a thick, cream-colored, low-alcohol drink made from fermented corn drink. In La Candelaria you will see signs on lots of bars saying “Chicha Hoy!” The flavor is distinct, kind of tangy, kind of sweet. It’s definitely unique, and the flavor will stick with you for at least two beers (which you’ll be swilling just to get rid of it). I’m not saying it’s terrible, it’s just not that good. You should try it since its there, why not?
Bogota’s mass transit system is called the TransMilenio, and I thought it was so great that I decided to devote a post to it (that’s pretty fuckin dorky). Bogota is a huge, urban, sprawling mess, not unlike many U.S. cities. They had no efficient transportation system, traffic was a nightmare, and installing a subway system wasn’t feasible. The solution was to devote the center lanes of the major highways and surface streets to the TransMilenio system, which is just a glorified bus route. It works just like any subway system: you pay about $0.70 to get a ticket, go through the turnstile onto the platform, go to the correct part of the platform for the line you want to take, and when the doors open, get on the bus. Just like any other subway system you can transfer between lines as much as you need to without leaving the platforms, and without paying. It’s faster than taking a cab most places, it’s cheap, and most importantly, it’s easy.
Bogota is Colombia’s capital city, has a population of approximately 8 million (one of the largest cities in the Americas), and at an elevation of 8,660 feet, is a welcome relief from the jungle heat. For me, Bogota was a mix of the best and worse of Colombia. One the one hand, it has the danger of any large city, it was grimy, people aren’t as nice, and its a little expensive. On the flip side, Bogota has great transportation, art, culture, and the best food and drinks in Colombia. All in all I loved it.
Along the Caribbean coast of Colombia is the city of Santa Marta, described as “Pearl of the Americas”. What the fuck? Santa Marta was pretty scummy, full of prostitutes, and possibly haunted*. On the plus side, there is a nice beach where ice cold beer is sold by vendors for $1 each, there is really good, really cheap food, and the nightlife is fun with plenty of bars to choose from. Santa Marta’s main draw is it’s surrounding attractions: Ciudad Perdida and Parque Tayrona.