When I told most of the people I know “I’ll be traveling to Colombia alone” they would get scared. Most people probably just watched Narcos or any series of that kind. Why not go somewhere safer? was always the first question they would ask. The truth is, I never felt scared about the possibility of traveling to Bogota alone (maybe because I’ve never seen Narcos or any of those series).
This guide is written thinking of those girls who want to explore the city of Bogotá but are still struggling with the thought of traveling to Colombia alone. It is also though for those girls that even though they are traveling with friends, still want to have authentic experiences around the city.
Check the Spanish Version of this post.
Traveling to Bogota Alone: Find a Colombian Buddy
One of the best things that happened while traveling to Bogota alone was getting to meet the Colombian Buddy team. Colombian Buddy is a company focused on giving tourists to get Bogotá or traveling to Colombia alone the best experiences possible and tailored to what you’re looking for. They also offer transfer service from the airport and guidance to get to know some other parts of the country.
On my Colombian Buddy tour, I had the chance to explore the center with someone with a local vision of the city. That way you can get first-hand tips on where to go, or even have someone to go with you to those places.
– Read more about Colombian Buddy on TripAdvisor.
Walking with Miguel in the center of the city he took me to one of the most amazing places: la Calle de los Libros or “the Books Streets”. If you can read in Spanish, on this street you will be able to find lots of books for less than $1/1€. This is perfect when you go with an open mind to finding something new to read and discover new literature. I totally bought a lot of books to add to my collection.
As my Colombian Buddy took me to find my book heaven, it might take you to find your own heaven in Bogotá. Check the Colombian Buddy website to see more about their services and how they can help you to have an amazing and safe trip.
Traveling to Colombia Alone: Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing is definitely my favorite tool for meeting people everywhere I go and while traveling to Bogota alone it definitely was a game-changer. The Bogotá Couchsurfing Community is pretty active and is always planning dinners, hangouts, and trips among others. The only issue that might arise from this might be a language barrier. It might be a little awkward if you don’t understand/speak Spanish.
In case that language might be a hurdle for you, I recommend sticking to Couchsurfing’s Hangouts feature. In this feature, you can come up with your own plans or find people who have already planned and join them. The good thing about Hangouts is that it will be more likely to find someone who speaks English while traveling to Colombia alone.
Definitely, this could be a really good option if you’re looking forward to meeting locals and getting to know Colombian culture from the inside, looking what to or what not to wear in Colombia among other social skills that might help you in the country..
Traveling to Bogota Alone: Free Walking Tours
The Free Walking Tours are always a great option to get the first picture of the city and also to meet people. On these tours, you get to know the major landmarks of the cities from a pretty general perspective. You will get all the juicy details firsthand and from a local down-to-earth perspective. They normally last around 2 to 3 hours and are a great idea while traveling to Bogota alone.
Beyond Colombia is the company that offers the Bogotá Free Walking Tours. They offer the tour in Spanish and English. The main attractions that you get to see on this route are the neighborhood of La Candelaria, Bolívar Square, Botero Museum and the Gabriel García Márquez, the place where the tour ends. You can catch this tour either at 10 am or 2 pm any day of the week. You only need to sign in on their website to be able to attend.
If you’ve done a Free Walking Tour before, you might already know that they work by tips. If you like the tour, at the end, you tip your guide. In the case of Bogotá, it is recommended to tip around 20,000 a $30,000 COP ($7-$10). The truth is that most of the time, these tours are totally worth it. Not only because of the things you get to know about the city but also because you get to know other solo travelers.
– Read more about Beyond Colombia on TripAdvisor.
Traveling to Colombia Alone: Last but not least… Don’t be afraid of public transportation!
I am aware that Bogotá’s Transmilenio might be very intimidating, especially while traveling to Colombia alone. That happens even for me though I am a fluent Spanish speaker. I still believe this is one of the things you need to do while visiting the city. Once you have gotten the trick, and understand how the system goes, you can definitely try it.
The worst thing that might happen to you is getting into a really full bus. You can avoid going through that by skipping the rush hours (7 am-9 am) (4:30-7 pm) and also, planning well where exactly in the city you want to go. I am sure you’ll be able to master it really quickly.
– More information on Transmilenio here. (Site in Spanish)
My vision of traveling to Bogota alone
For me, traveling to Bogota alone was one of the less terrifying experiences in my life. I can’t recall any moment where I can say I felt true danger. Of course, it was all about common sense. Not carrying around a lot of valuables around the city. Also keep any personal items you’re carrying with you as safe as possible.