Latest Posts

What to wear in Bogota

One cool Bogota afternoon you will find yourself walking among the quaint rugged buildings of the Candelaria, the smell of coffee wafting out of a nearby café and filling your nose. You look up to see where it is coming from, and almost stumble into a couple of (unmistakable!) tourists wearing shorts, vest tops and flip flops, standing in the middle of the street, each holding either end of a large city map. They clearly did not consult this blog on what to wear in Bogota before embarking upon their journey!

Bogota does not = jungle

Don’t be those people! I mean, by all means carry a map around with you if you want (and consult it in a suitable doorway/café, away from the middle of the sidewalk). But don’t be under the common yet mistaken impression that Bogota is a tropical jungle. You could be forgiven for thinking this if your impression is based on one of the opening scenes of Mr and Mrs Smith – which gained many laughs all over Colombia and an invitation from Bogota’s mayor to the film’s director asking him to visit Bogota! But if you have recently consulted the internet, a guidebook or indeed this blog, you’ll notice from the photos that there is no tropical scenery.

A city at high altitude means cool temperatures

what to wear in Bogotá

Bogotá: a city at high altitude.
Photo credit: Eduardo Parra Chavarro

Although Bogota is close to the equator, it is at an altitude of 2,600 meters (8,500ft), which means that the climate here is generally cool but fluctuates between cold, cool and warm, depending on the weather. The highest temperature on a typical day, when it is sunny, will be 22-23 C (72-73 F).  A typical low temperature – when it is rainy and cloudy, or during the small hours of the night-time – will be between 5-10 C (42 – 50 F).

What to wear in Bogota?

This means that there will never be a need for you to wear shorts or a skirt – at least not because the temperature requires it. I live in my jeans, leggings, trousers, a t-shirt and a sweater which I’ll often just carry in my bag if it’s sunny and it gets too hot to wear it.

The wet season: be prepared!

During the rainy season, the weather in Bogota can be deceptive. Typically, it will be beautifully sunny and warm in the morning. So you’ll go out without a jacket (and maybe even without a sweater – rookie mistake!) and by 1pm most afternoons – as we say in London – it will be pissing down. This isn’t just heavy rain; it’s biblical in nature. It can leave streets flooded, cars stranded and, needless to say, feet completely drenched. The temperature also drops to the lower end of the daily average. It is therefore imperative to always carry a jacket and a large umbrella with you during the wet season (even if the weather’s nice when you leave home). It’s also a good idea to wear boots or water-resistant shoes. After all, who wants to be walking around the city with wet feet? In my experience, the wettest months have been March, April, October and November.

When the sun is shining…

…it is very strong in Bogota due to the altitude, and especially between 11am and 3pm. You’ll often see people walking along the street carrying umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun. This works well during the wet season as it’ll protect you from the sun in the morning and the rain in the afternoon. Otherwise it’s a good idea to wear a hat or headscarf to protect your head, lest you be left with a red-head or pink parting (which turns into dandruff a couple of weeks later once it starts peeling).

what to wear in bogotá

When the sun is shining in Bogota, be prepared!

To sum up…

…if you’re planning to spend a year in Bogota, you will get away with wearing pretty much the same wardrobe all year round if you stay in the city. You will want a warm jacket for the wet season or if you decide to go on a tour to even higher altitudes, such as the páramos, where it will be cold. Equally, you will want to bring a couple of summer outfits for hot weather if you’re planning to travel outside of Bogota while you’re here (and you really must!). Medellin is warm to very warm. Cali and Cartagena are hot. In fact, anywhere you go that is at a lower altitude than Bogota in Colombia will be warmer, so you will want to bring some clothing options along with those trips in mind. But it would also be easy enough to just buy clothes here if you prefer to travel light.

Just remember, Bogota may be many things to many people, but it is not a tropical paradise! If you find yourself needing to buy suitable attire once you’re already here, take a look at my post on clothes and shoe shopping Bogota.

If you have found this blog informative or entertaining and would like to support How to Bogotá, you can now buy me a digital cup of coffee! 🙂

This blog is a labor of love – I don’t make any money from it, so this is the best and least annoying way I’ve found to offer readers the chance to support How to Bogotá 🙂(other than giving me your loyal readership, for which I’m very grateful!)

8 Comments on What to wear in Bogota

  1. One of my friends says that you can always spot an Australian in Bogota, because they are wearing that exact same outfit you mention – shorts, singlet & thongs. Out of pure patriotism I’d like to disagree with him, but I’ve seen too many instances where that is the case and even my Dad spent most of his time here in shorts and short-sleeved shirts.

  2. Patrick Bindy // February 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm // Reply

    Definitely true, it’s hard to understand the weather in Bogota. I’ve been soacky wet so many times riding the public transportation.

    Great blog, keep going!

  3. Najma Mirza // June 7, 2018 at 3:00 pm // Reply

    I’m traveling to Bogota soon, on 17th June for 8 days. Is that the rainy season/ how much rain on average can I expect? And from your comments I take it no open shoes are require at all? I want to travel light, so want to be precise!

    • Hi Najma, at the moment Bogota is experiencing light rain on and off during the day and the temperature is on the chilly side, but it will feel warmer when the sun is out. Personally I rarely wear sandals at any time of year, usually just trainers or smart but covered shoes. You don’t need sandals in Bogotá, I think it’s a matter of preference, but you probably won’t want to wear them in wet weather! Enjoy your trip!

  4. Hello there! Thanks for posting such great information. My partner and I will be traveling to Bogota in October (8-17), i am curious if this is a heavy rain season? I dont know if we will need gloves and scarfs of if we can just make it thru with a jacket and sweaters. Water boots recommend it or is it ok just with sneakers and shoes? What you recommend to take with us (gay man) during this season? Thank you in advanced!

    • David Hurtado // February 14, 2020 at 3:55 pm // Reply

      You could drees like jean or drill, tenis or normal shoes, shirt, there’s not problem
      Bur I suggest you brought with you a jacket or an umberella if the sky is cloudy.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.