Everyone we met before arriving in Bogota had a very clear opinion of the very capital – so we were curious which side we would end up taking, especially since we never really enjoy huge cities, with a few exceptions, like Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, or … Hong Kong. Our first steps made us rather lean on the negative side. But all is not lost!
A painfully slow approach through Friday evening rush hour brought us to the very centre. This was followed by a nerve-raking research for liveable accommodation.
Like most backpackers, we stayed in La Candelaria, the partially preserved colonial centre. Doing so over a weekend, you either need to be a party animal or bring good ear plugs! Our search for a comfortable place took on epic dimensions. The very first night at the lovely, but pricey Casa Platypus was plagued by thumping meringue music from the neighbouring disco, as well as freezing temperatures in the room.
So Saturday morning we tried Hostal Fatima, a supposedly more upscale hostel. At 10.00 in the morning, some people were still holding on to whiskey glasses and swaying to the tunes. Next stop was Hostal Sue which had great vibes, but it felt more like an undergraduate fraternity house with the chaperon being on leave.
We really liked Posada del Sol, but no private rooms were available. So we turned to the Cranky Crook which seemed very cosy, but also had no private rooms. When we returned in the evening to give it another try, the little roofed courtyard was filled with chocking smoke.
Finally, just around the corner from Cranky Croc & Casa Platypus, we discovered the Hospedaje Cacique Sugamuxi, which was at least quiet inside. To make sure we checked the surroundings for clubs, bars and places that could produce loud music. Darn, we were caught by surprise, when the hairdresser across the street turned in a Casa de Cultura for the night and played “Indie Rock”!
But this was topped by a really scary experience the same night. Heidi heard a loud hissing noise and cars started honking like mad. Sticking her head through the window, she noticed the frightening odour of gas that had filled the entire street. Literally scared to death she raced to the “senora” on duty who called the fire fighters, who quickly got things under control.
Generally all hostels in the area are in old colonial buildings, with either tin or tiled roofs. A common characteristics are huge gaps where the roof should meet the walls to allow the chilly mountain air penetrate the room. At 2.600 meters altitude, this does not necessarily create a comfortable temperature. Travellers coughing while emerged in their Lonely Planet are a common sight, Bogota’s pollution caused by diesel spewing busses does not help either.