Is Bogotá really the WORST holiday destination?
A new interactive guide has ranked Bogotá as the second worst holiday destination in the world. Rating location, crime statistics and cleanliness led to the piles of household waste in Stolipinovo, Plovdiv in Bulgaria taking top spot as the least desirable place for a short break. The ‘high violent crime rates’ gave Bogotá its high ranking, but is this a fair reflection on the Colombian capital? Should travellers skip Bogotá?
It took 24 hours sat on a bus to get to Bogotá. 24 hours on a bus that had the air conditioning constantly and unnecessarily cranked on high. Cold would be an understatement. Even a taxi driver struggling to navigate one-way streets to find my hotel could not dampen my excitement of arriving in the Colombian capital or ruin my joy of getting off that bus.
I stayed in La Candelaria area of the city where colonial houses line narrow, cobblestone streets. These old, colourful buildings are peppered with bright, modern street art, whilst skyscrapers tower just a block or two away. My first foray onto the streets had me chatting to different people whose neighbour’s friend’s distant relative lives in/has visited/wants to visit the UK. My first Colombian meal, an arepa (a sort of flatbread) with cheese and sausages, was selected with the assistance of yet another friendly local.
Inside the Museo del Oro I was literally surrounded by thousands of gold artifacts from Colombia’s indigenous cultures. The Museo Botero showcased works by Picasso, Miró, Monet and Dali and Colombian artist, Fernando Botero. His work is easily recognizable as he depicts people and things in an exaggerated volume, aka fat. From a painting of a young fat Mona Lisa to rotund guerilla fighters, statues of chubby horses to voluptuous women.
Even just wandering the streets, especially in La Candelaria neighbourhood, revealed beautiful squares and historic churches. In the heart of this area is the Plaza Bolívar featuring the early 19th century Cathedral and the more modern Palace of Justice, rebuilt after being burnt down during a siege by guerillas in 1985.
I only stayed in Bogotá a few days so cannot say more than that I took basic safety precautions (taxis at night etc) and had no problems. I certainly wouldn’t want abstract crime statistics to put anyone off exploring this cosmopolitan and history-filled Colombian city. Worst holiday destination in the world? Definitely not.