It is often said that you can learn much about a place by getting to know the local people. The natives of some big world cities have a reputation for being cold and unfriendly. This is not the case in Bogotá. In most cases, Bogotanos or rolos will try to be helpful. The main difficulty will be the language barrier if you don’t speak Spanish, as not even basic English is widely spoken in Colombia. I advise learning some basic Spanish to help you to communicate with the people of Bogotá – they always seem to appreciate foreigners who try to speak their language. In this post, I’ll introduce you to some of the Bogotanos I’ve encountered on the streets of Bogotá over the years.
The dancing mime
As with many of these Bogotanos, I have seen this guy several times in different parts of the city. I took this video in Usaquén on a Sunday. Sunday is the best day to visit Usaquén because of the flea market (great if you’re looking for unique souvenirs and gifts) and because street artists are out in force to entertain you!
I’ve seen this lady in Usaquén on a Sunday too, but on this occasion she was on carrera 7 close to where it meets calle 20, more or less. I love listening to her sing and watching her dance salsa, and hope I’ll have her energy when I reach that age!
A tribute to salsa legend Celia Cruz on Cra. 7
I took this video from the second floor of the Bodytech gym on carrera 7 with calle 63, close to where I used to live in Chapinero. She would often perform at these traffic lights during the ciclovía.
I used to see Erica perform every Sunday at the traffic lights on Calle 63 with Cra. 7.
The Chess Players
Stroll along the carrera 7 (also known locally as la séptima) between streets 24 and 19, and you will find the chess players. It’s not always the same people, but there will always be someone playing and you should feel free to join if the opportunity arises. Here the common language is chess!
Chess players gather on the séptima every day to play a round and defend titles!
The Spanish Guitarist
I’ve seen this guitarist playing in different areas of downtown Bogotá, including near the Botero Museum and the Gold Museum. Here she was playing on carrera 7.
The séptima downtown – often a musical treat.
Who can resist a tribute to the King of Pop? When I was staying in downtown Bogotá a while back, I used to bump into this guy mid-moonwalk nearly everyday on the séptima. The King is happy to pose for selfies in exchange for a tip!
🎶 Like Stranger in Bogotá 🎶
Fantastic Beasts (and where to find them!)
Downtown on the séptima (where else?!). This little monster was ‘Michael Jackson’s’ sidekick when I passed them one day.
You can never be sure what scary creatures you might stumble upon on the séptima!
The Expert Barista
Over the last decade, Bogotá has become host to an increasing number of specialty coffee shops. In the past, most of the country’s highest quality coffee was exported. Now I’m pleased to report that there are plenty of places across the city where you can get a cup of specialty coffee prepared by an expert. The barista profession has become increasingly popular, with many of the specialty coffee shops also offering training courses for baristas. I met this barista in Amor Perfecto in Chapinero Alto.
An expert barista doing what she does best, at one of Bogotá’s finest specialty coffee shops, Amor Perfecto.
One man and his dog
I had just finished a street food tour with La Mesa in downtown Bogotá, when I was almost run over by one man and his dog… on a bicycle! One of my favourite snaps ever, taken on Simón Bolívar Square.
One man and his ultracool best friend on a bike in Plaza Simón Bolivar.
Another classic from Usaquén. I had often see this gentleman dancing solo in the street, but this time I just couldn’t resist a dance!
Dancing salsa in Usaquén
The unexpected unicyclist…
More madness downtown on the séptima.
You never know when an unexpected unicyclist might appear and almost crash into you…
The Chocolate Maker
I love this little hot chocolate shop, Mabela, which shares its premises with coffee shop Magola Buendía. Who knew there were so many different ways to prepare a hot chocolate. Alejandro was kind enough to let us try a piece of the cocoa fruit.
Thanks to Alejandro at Mabela, La Tienda del Cacao for letting us try the cacao fruit (and then serving us a delicious hot chocolate (a la colombiana)!
Among feathered friends
Probably a local university student, she was covered with pigeons when I approached her on Simón Bolívar Square.
Feathered friends are guaranteed at Plaza Simón Bolívar!
The Syrian Refugee and Restauranteur
Almotaz runs a Syrian-Arabic restaurant called Al-Banun in Suba and has an incredible back-story. Apart from that, his food is delicious, and it is well worth the excursion up to Suba to try it.
Almotaz Bellah Khedrou at his Syrian restaurant ‘Albanun’ in Suba, Bogotá. Almotaz is one of six Syrian refugees living in Colombia. His mother taught him how to cook via Skype and eventually, he opened a small restaurant on cra 95 with calle 151. He imports many ingredients from the Middle East so customers are guaranteed authentic and tasty Arabic food. Take an Uber up to Suba to try this amazing food for yourself! Almotaz is also available to cater for events.
The Teppanyaki Chef
Takuma Cocina Show is a teppanyaki Japanese restaurant in Quinta Camacho, which I highly recommend! The food was exquisite, and without giving too much away, you’ll also enjoy a private cooking show with your own chef. The chefs are professional with years of experience – our chef, Santiago, was brilliant and really was the star of our show!
Thanks to Santiago from Takuma Cocina Show for preparing incredibly delicious Japanese food for us, and for entertaining us too!