We woke up at the crack of dawn today, and headed to the airport in Bogota (a place Kevin has become all too familiar with after we accidentally grabbed the wrong luggage upon arriving, oops!). Today’s plan was to head off to Colombia’s coffee region, flying to Peirera and then hiring a driver to take us to the quaint town of Salento. But wait, why is this blog post about the best thing to do in Bogota? Well, we got to coffee country but our plane never landed.
It’s rainy season in Colombia and Peirera is often too cloudy or rainy for planes to land. After getting delayed for 4 hours, the Avianca Airlines flight took off from Bogota and just as we were about to touch down, the pilot changed his mind and we flew right straight back up! I’ve never witnessed anything like it in all my years of travel.
All the announcements were in Spanish, too. Luckily Kevin and I understood it (because we could only imagine the surprise if someone fell asleep and woke up thinking, wow, it looks just like the Bogota airport!).
Six hours later, we’re back to where we started from. In Bogota and checking back into the Click Clack Hotel (not a bad alternative though). We made the executive decision to just skip coffee country. It sounded beautiful, but all planes were being grounded. Travel tip: if it’s rainy season, consider flying into the town of Cali in the South. It’s about an hour longer by car to Salento, but worth considering. But this gave us the opportunity to do our favorite activity on the trip
Bogota Bike Tours!
Bogota Bike Tours ranked as our favorite activity yet. Led by California native Mike Caesar, this is a full day commitment. I’m talking over 6 hours of bike riding and just $12 USD per person. We nearly missed our flight out that night because the tour went so long (advertised as 4 hours, not that we’re complaining). The tour is perfect for anyone short on time – passing by graffiti, the university district, the red light district, a coffee factory (yay, we got coffee!) hearing stories about Colombia’s rocky past mostly involving drugs in some way. And in more recent history, the story of Justin Bieber’s visit to Bogota. Justin thought it would be fun to spray paint a pot leaf on the wall, but apparently this set off a storm in Bogota because it was the same location that a native Colombian was shot by police for doing the same thing. Sounds to me like Colombia has a lot of Beliebers! The city is embracing its street art now – and the place is covered with it.
You also get to try some of the street food, like this fruit and cheese combo.
We also got to check out one of the fruit markets, where we got a lesson on all the unique fruits found in Colombia. Like the Tree Fruit (a cross between a tomato and raspberry), the Yacon (which aids in digestion and is a non-calorie sweetener). But the weirdest of all was the Berraquillo drink (a drink made with borojo fruit along and a live crab… Yes, a live crab! It’s blended oftentimes with wine, whisky, cocoa powder, oysters and a cup of milk (seafood shake!). Maybe on my next trip to Bogota!
Then, the final stop on the trip was what I was waiting for. We got to play the national sporting game of Colombia called Tejo. What is Tejo? It’s like a game of horse shoes. But instead you’re given round disks that you throw at a clay target with packets of gun powder. If you hit the envelope, the board explodes and your ears nearly pop from the noise. Even better yet, the game is free but you have to buy alcohol to play it. Now that sounds like a good idea! Alcohol and explosives. I missed the target every time. But Kevin was a natural and hit it (technically, it bounced off the ground, but still, it hit!)
Bogota Bike Tours is just $12 USD per person, for the 6+ hour tour. They also offer private rides, which you can email them about. That is just $32 USD for two people. We opted for the group tour, which has plusses and minuses. But overall, we loved having the others to talk with along the trip. The tour attracts an adventurous traveller and personally enjoyed seeing that I wasn’t the only one bad at Tejo!