There are a number of markets in Bogotá which are worth visiting, and if you’ll be staying in Bogotá for any length of time, you’ll definitely want to do some souvenir shopping at some point, either for gifts to take home to your family and friends, or because your family and friends are visiting you and THEY want to buy souvenirs! Or you might have developed an obsession with Wayuu mochilas and regularly scout all the markets for the prettiest new designs.. (ahem.. 🙂 ). Before heading out, you might find this post with tips on how to get the best price at a Colombian market useful!
I’ll list a number of the markets below with their locations and some photos. You’ll find all kinds of things at these markets, from coffee to place-mats to poncho-type garments to Wayuu mochila bags and other accessories, jewellery, art and other random gems from Colombia. Most of them are very similar, and what tends to vary are the prices.
La Casona del Museo and Galería Artesanal de Colombia
Location: Calle 16 between Carrera 5 and 6 (next to the Gold Museum)
These two markets are both next to the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) in downtown Bogotá, so you’ll almost certainly come across them at some point. Due to their central location next to one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, the prices are much higher in this market, and you won’t be able to negotiate them as low as at the other markets. This is because the stall-owners have to pay a higher rent to be at this market. So by all means, take a look if you’re there, but I guarantee you will find very similar if not the same products cheaper at the other markets.
The market at the top of Monserrate
Location: At the top of Monserrate mountain
As a trip on the cable car up Monserrate is another popular attraction for tourists, it made sense to have a market up there! But similarly to the markets next to the Gold Museum, the prices at the Monserrate market will be higher, so if your stay in Bogotá isn’t too short, I’d recommend visiting one of the other markets.
Centro Artesanal Plaza Bolivar
Location: Carrera 7 between Calle 12a and 12b
This market is the closest to the attractions of the Candelaria and is just a couple of blocks up Carrera 7 from Plaza de Bolívar (Bolivar Square). Here, as with the next couple of markets, you’ll be able to negotiate prices lower than at the previous ones. In my experience, you can usually negotiate to about 20% lower than the initial asking price, but sometimes I’m cheeky and offer half the price to start with; they’ll then look offended and there’ll be a bit of to-ing and fro-ing until you reach the agreed price. If you don’t speak Spanish, come with a calculator (or use your phone’s calculator) to help you to negotiate. So they’ll say 80,000, then on your calculator you’ll put 50,000, then they’ll change it to $70,000 etc.
Centro Colombiano de Artesanias
Location: Carrera 7 between Calle 22 and 23
On Carrera 7, from Plaza de Bolívar (on carrera 7 between calle 11 and 12) up to calle 26, the road has been fully pedestrianised and it’s cool to walk along. There’s always food and miscellaneous items being sold, and street entertainers and artists. If you’re at Plaza de Bolívar, I recommend walking ten blocks up the carrera 7 to this market and the next one in this list. As you’re walking up, this market is on the right side of the street, opposite the Teatro Eliécer Gaitán, and the Colombia Linda market will be one block further up on the left side of the street. Again, at these markets the starting prices will be lower than at the ones near the tourist attractions, and you can normally negotiate them to about 20% lower than the initial asking price.
Colombia Linda Feria Artesanal & Comercial
Location: Carrera 7 between Calle 23 and 24
The same advice applies to this one as with the previous market listed. Again, use the calculator on your phone, or a pen and paper to help you to negotiate if you don’t speak Spanish!
Location: Starts at Carrera 7 with Calle 116. On Sunday the flea market is at Carrera 5 with Calle 119
Of all the markets in Bogotá this one is probably my favourite, as the area is nice and the atmosphere is buzzing. The market begins next to the shopping mall Hacienda Santa Barbara and extends up the calle 116 and continues to the left along carrera 6. This market will sell many of the things that you will have seen in the other markets, and will be more costly than the cheapest markets in the centre. However, you’ll also be able to find all kinds of unique items, food, art and bits and bobs, made by the person selling them, that you won’t find anywhere else, so it is well worth a visit.
The best day to go is Sunday. It will be very crowded, but on Sundays there’s also the flea market at the top of the hill, just above the main market. There you’ll find loads more cool and original gifts, furniture, kitchen equipment and art. There’s also often musicians playing, so it’s a really nice atmosphere up in Usaquén on a Sunday. In my experience it either pours with rain when I’ve been there, or it’s really sunny and I get burnt! Either way, bring an umbrella for protection!
San Alejo Mercado de Pulgas (flea market)
Location: Carrera 7 between Calle 24 and 25 on Sundays
This market was a recent discovery, thanks to my good friend Emily! You may or may not find it useful for souvenir shopping, but if you’ve just moved to Bogotá and are perhaps looking for some vintage/antique/quirky furniture, decorations and ornaments for your apartment, you might find a few gems at this market!