If you’re thinking of moving here, one of the first things you’ll be wondering is how you will meet people in Bogota and make friends. Bogota has a large and (generally) welcoming expat community, and there are a number of regular events where you’ll be able to meet some of us (and practise your Spanish with some of the locals!).
La Villa – Gringo Tuesdays
Carrera. 14a # 83 – 56
Go to La Villa in the Zona T on Tuesdays from 6-9pm for Gringo Tuesday, where people of many different nationalities, speakers of half a dozen languages, will gather for an informal cultural and language exchange. The tables are organised by language and by level (eg. German Intermediate) and you can pick and choose where you want to join in. There are plenty of English tables, and there’s a good mix of nationalities (including Colombians wanting to brush up on their preferred language with native speakers).
It’s a good place to network for business too – people just love to hand you their business card here, so if you’re trying to branch out, La Villa on Tuesdays may be a good place to start. If you’re a teacher, often at least one Colombian will ask how much you would charge for private classes! (don’t go lower than $40,000/hour – if they’re there, they can probably afford it!).
La Villa is also a great place to go to learn and dance salsa on Fridays. Again, a good mix of expats and Colombians, and warm latin salsa beats 🙂 The drinks are a bit on the pricey side (about 12,000 pesos for a beer); they have a happy hour, usually 2 for 1 on beers and 3 for 1 on cocktails before 9pm.
El Candelario – Wednesday Speakeasy
Carrera 5 # 13-14
There’s also the Wednesday Speakeasy at El Candelario bar in the centre, downtown (you guessed it – in the Candelaria!). This is more or less the same as Gringo Tuesdays – a language exchange followed by a party into the small hours afterwards – perfect if you’re staying in the area!
A Seis Manos – Dame tu Lengua (‘Give me your tongue'(!))
Calle 22 # 8 – 60
Don’t worry, this is not a worryingly sleazy chat-up line – this is ANOTHER language exchange event similar to the two above, which also sometimes includes art exhibitions, traditional games tournaments and, of course, and after-party! For more information about the next ‘Dame tu lengua’ event, visit their Dame tu lengua Facebook page!
Go to a class
Joining a dance, pilates/yoga or art class is a great way to meet people in Bogota. Casa Kilele-Casa Cultural in Teusaquillo offers art, dance and music classes, workshops and performances at reasonable prices. Check their Facebook page to see what’s coming up. Ricki Porat Kessler has just started running pilates classes in English near Parque Virrey (as of January 2018); contact him on +972-504545624 to find out the schedule and to book.