From cute little towns to interesting cultural sights to stunning landscapes and plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors, these are your best options for day trips from Bogota!
Set on a vast highland basin and surrounded by Andean peaks, Bogota is a sprawling, bustling metropolis with a hectic pace. Most travelers visiting Colombia spend at most a couple of days exploring the capital before moving on to other areas. But if you are staying in Bogota for a while and feel the need to escape this restless maze, we’ve got you covered!
Fortunately, you don’t have to travel too far to enjoy some stunning natural landscapes, visit unusual sites, or wander around cute towns. Our recommendations for the best day trips from Bogota include places that you can reach within two hours. So you can really go there and back on the same day.
Best Day Trips From Bogota
1. Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
Located 50 km (31 miles) north of Bogota and set 180 meters (590 feet) underground, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is one of the most unusual places of worship that you can visit in South America. The cathedral was inaugurated in 1954 in honor of the patron saint of miners. However, in 1992 it had to be shut down due to safety concerns.
After an extensive renovation, the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral reopened once again at the end of 1995. Today, it is considered one of the most notable achievements of Colombian architecture, and it’s one of the most popular day trips from Bogota.
Good to Know
The cathedral is open every day from 9:00 AM to 5:40 PM. The entrance fee is COP $57,000 (about $18 USD or €16) for adults and COP $47,000 (about $15 USD or €13) for children. For your convenience, you can book your tickets online. The price includes a guided tour of the cathedral (in Spanish or English).
At the Portal del Norte TransMilenio station, you can easily take the bus from Bogota to Zipaquira. Buses leave frequently. The ride lasts about an hour and costs around COP $4,300 ($1.40 USD / €1.20). For more information about visiting the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, make sure to read our full guide.
Insider Tip: this top-rated small group tour offers to pick up and drop off at two convenient locations in Bogota, entrance fees, and an extra stop in the town of Zipaquirá, all for just $60 USD / €55.
2. Laguna de Guatavita
At first sight, it might not look that impressive, but this small crater rimmed by forest-covered mountains is thought to be the basis for the legend of El Dorado. Located in the Cordillera Oriental of the Colombian Andes, the Laguna de Guatavita is 57 km (35 miles) northeast of Bogota.
With its emerald-colored water, this small lake used to be a sacred site for the Muisca people. According to the legend, the cacique Zipa would throw gold tokens into the lake from his ceremonial raft. He’d then jump in the water to acquire divine powers. Some of these artifacts have been recovered and are now on display at the Gold Museum in Bogota.
Good to Know
To get to the Laguna de Guatavita from Bogota, take a bus from the Portal del Norte station to either the towns Guatavita or Sesquilé. The ride is about an hour and a half long and costs COP $10,000 (about $3 USD / €2.75) each way. Once there, you can either take a taxi or another bus (plus a long walk) to get to the nature reserve’s entrance.
The access fee to the lagoon is about COP $18,000 (about $5.50 USD / €5) for foreigners (COP $13,000 for Colombians). Also, be aware that to get to the Laguna de Guatavita guided tours (in Spanish only) are mandatory. You are not allowed to hike there on your own. The tour lasts about 90 minutes and offers a detailed explanation about the local legends, flora, and fauna.
Insider Tip: if you prefer to have an English speaking guide and private transport, it makes sense to join a private group tour instead, which includes pick up/drop off to your hotel and a stop in the town of Guatavita for $114 USD / €104. Or, even better, combine this excursion with a visit to the Salt Cathedral for $127 USD / €115.
Finally, keep in mind that the lagoon is located at about 3,100 meters (10,170 ft.) above sea level, so if you are not used to it, the altitude makes the climb more difficult.
This small sleepy town is located about 60 km (about 37 miles) north of Bogota and is considered one of the best rock climbing spots in Colombia. With over 400 climbing routes, here you can find something for all levels and styles. Plus, Suesca is also famous for other outdoor sports, such as mountain biking.
And if you decide to stay a night or two, know that you will find a few nice accommodation options. For example, NIDDO Suesca is a chic 4-star mini-resort that offers some of the best glamping in Colombia and can also provide some assistance in organizing different outdoor activities and excursions.
Good to Know
On weekends, since Suesca is one of the best Bogota day trips options for outdoor lovers, many locals from Bogota flock to this little haven to escape the bustling capital. So if you prefer to visit when it’s quieter, choose a weekday. However, be aware that most tourist businesses are closed then.
Cucunubá is a tiny white town with cobblestone streets and colonial architecture where time seems to be standing still. Hidden in a green valley, this lovely town and was founded in 1600, and today it has less than 10,000 inhabitants. It is a place where you can escape the hectic pace of Bogota and recharge your batteries.
One of the things you shouldn’t miss in Cucunubá is visiting the chapel that sits on a hill overlooking the whole valley. It’s just a short one hour walk (there and back). After wandering around, you might want to stop by Casa Madera y Sandalo, a cute little cafe, for a sweet treat. Or, if you’re going to have dinner or lunch, one of the best places in town is the Belle Epoque restaurant with its quirky decor and tasty cuisine.
Good to Know
Cucunubá is well off the beaten path. From Bogota, it is about a two-hour drive if you have a vehicle. By public transport, it takes a bit longer since you’ll first need to take a bus to Chocontá and then another to Cucunubá. But it is still quite doable as a day trip.
5. Termales Los Volcanes
If you are looking for a charming place to relax, then Termales Los Volcanes is the ideal place to chill on a day trip from Bogota. Surrounded by lush vegetation, this wellness spot is a real hidden gem.
There are four thermal pools, a steam bath, and a river running right next to the pools. You can also get a massage for an extra fee. And there are a restaurant and a cafeteria on-site as well.
Good to Know
The place is open every day from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM and is located about an hour and a half drive away from Bogota. If you visit on a weekday, you’ll find fewer people than during weekends or holidays and pay less (Monday to Thursday). The entrance fee is $27,000 COP ($8.30 USD / €7.50) for adults and $20,000 COP ($6.20 USD / €5.50) for children aged 3 – 12 years old.
To access the thermal pools, you’ll need to wear a swimming cap (you can buy one at the reception for $2,000 COP). And if you want to stay overnight, they also offer different accommodation options starting from $228,000 COP ($70 USD / €63) for a double room.
6. Nemocon Salt Mine
For those who prefer to get off the beaten path, the Nemocon Salt Mine offers a good alternative to the touristy Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira. Meaning The Cry or Sadness of the Warrior in the Chibcha language, Nemocon is the second-largest salt mine in Colombia.
Nowadays, the mine is not active, though. It’s only open as a tourist attraction, which is mostly visited by locals. Inside, you’ll see the colorful lights that, combined with their reflections on the brine pools, create a surreal atmosphere. Also, the mine was one of the locations for the movie The 33 starring Antonio Banderas.
Good to Know
To get there from Bogota, you can take a bus to Zipaquira and switch to a different bus to Nemocon along the route. If you want to learn more about the mine’s history, it is recommended to take a guided tour (however, keep in mind that not all guides speak English). The entrance fee is $29,000 COP ($9 USD / €8) for adults and $20,000 COP ($6.20 USD / €5.50) for children. You can book your tickets here.
7. Pionono Ecological Park
Located about 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of Bogotá, this beautiful nature reserve offers impressive views, diverse paramo vegetation, and a prime setting for paragliding and mountain biking. Here you can walk on an easy trail to the top of Mount Pionono, which stands at an altitude of 3200 meters (10,500 ft.) above sea level. From there, you can see Guatavita and Lake Tominé on one side, and Sopó and the valley on the other.
And if you have some time before or after your hike, wander around the streets in Sopó and check out its exceptional street art.
Good to Know
To get from Bogota to Sopó, you can take a bus at Satellite Terminal across Transmilenio’s Estación Terminal. In Sopó, take a taxi to get to the entrance, which is about 5 km (3 miles) away from the town center.
The walk takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours and is fairly easy, so it’s a good option for children too. Pionono is open from Wednesday to Sunday and on public holidays, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. The entrance fee is $5,200 COP ($1.60 USD / €1.45) per person. Children under 12 and people over 60 can enter for free.
Located just north of Bogotá, on the way to Zipaquirá, this vibrant town is home to the uber-famous Andrés Carne de Res, a steakhouse with a fun and unique vibe that is a definite must-visit. But there are a few things to see and do in Chía so you could easily make it a full day trip.
The town’s center is charming and pleasant enough to go for a walk. There is also a high-end shopping mall with an excellent movie theatre. And don’t miss the views from the Capilla Valvanera. If you are feeling outdoorsy, head to the Parque La Montaña del Oso, a natural reserve focused on eco-tourism. Plus, the Castillo Marroquín is a great spot for photos.
Good to Know
Chía is a popular place for people who work in Bogota but prefer to live in a town, so the whole area has a more residential vibe. And, you won’t find that many tourists around.
Insider Tip: to better enjoy your time at Andrés Carne de Res, it’s best to arrange for private transport. This convenient option picks you up at your hotel, brings you to the Capilla Valvanera to enjoy the sunset, takes you to Andrés Carne de Res for dinner and drinks, and drops you back at your place by 10:00 PM.
For those who want to dance the night away, this Party Bus offers a great deal. For $38 USD / €34, you meet with the group (max. 10 people) in La Candelaria in Bogota, hop on the bus where you have an open bar, have fun the whole night at Andrés Carne de Res (you pay for your food and drinks there, though), and they bring you back to the meeting point at the end of the night.
9. La Calera
A popular weekend destination for bogotanos, La Calera is just 18 km (11 miles) away from Bogota. The town is located next to the San Rafael reservoir, one of the primary water sources for the capital and a beautiful place for hiking and mountain biking. There are also several fincas (farms) around that organize horseback riding excursions. Plus, this region is one of the main spots around Bogotá for paragliding.
And if you are in the area, don’t miss visiting the Observatorio de Colibríes, a magical place where you can admire several species of hummingbirds in beautiful surroundings. For those looking to enjoying some nature while not traveling too far away from Bogota, this is a great option!
Good to Know
To get there from Bogota, take the bus to La Calera for $3.800 COP ($1.20 USD / €1) per person from Calle 72 with Carrera 13. Then, from the main square in town, take a taxi to get to the Hummingbirds Observatory, which should cost about $30.000 COP ($9.25 USD / €8.30).
The entrance is $25.000 COP ($7.70 USD / €6.90) per person for three hours, you can also buy a day pass for $60.000 COP ($18.50 USD / €16.60) per person, and you must reserve in advance.
Insider Tip: you can also choose to spend the night at the Hummingbirds Observatory and enjoy the singing birds before sunset and when you wake up. A unique and magical experience!
10. La Chorrera Waterfall
Set amidst lush green scenery, La Chorrera is located in a nature reserve in the Andes near the village of Choachí, just east of Bogotá. Measuring 590 meters (1,935 ft.) high, this is the highest waterfall in Colombia and the sixth in Latin America. The trail to the waterfall is well-marked, and there are seven stations along the way, where you can learn a bit about the local flora and fauna.
Good to Know
To get there by public transport, you can take a bus to Choachí (see below) from the small station near the Tercer Milenio stop of the TransMilenio in Bogota. Tell the driver that you are going to Cascada La Chorrera, and the bus will drop you off at a road 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away from the park entrance.
The hike to the waterfall is on private land, so there is a fee of about $15.000 COP ($4.60 USD / €4.15) per person to enter. The walk takes about two and a half hours from the park entrance. Keep in mind that the trail can get very busy on weekends and holidays. And good walking/hiking shoes are definitely a must.
Insider Tip: to avoid having to walk that extra 8 km (5 miles) from the bus drop off to the entrance and back, it’s worth it to hire a private guide ($57 USD / €51 per person) who’ll drive you and show you some hidden gems along the way.
11. Chingaza National Park
Located in the heart of Colombia, the Chingaza National Park is a haven for Andean fauna and flora. Covering an area of almost 77,000 hectares, here you can admire the unique paramo vegetation with some plants that are 300 – 400 years old! Plus, you also have a chance to see deer and the endangered spectacled bear.
There are several hiking trails in the park, and the hike to Lagunas de Siecha is one of the most beautiful and recommended if you only have a day to spend in the park. The most accessible parts of the park are at an altitude of 3,000 – 3,500 meters (9,842 – 11,483 ft.) above sea level, so it’s best to be acclimatized before your hike.
Good to Know
There are three access points for the park: Piedras Gordas (22 km/ 13.7 miles away from La Calera), Siecha (15 km/9.32 miles away from Guasca), and La Paila-Laguna de Chingaza (26 km/16 miles away from Fomeque). The first access point is the one closest to Bogota. Only a limited number of hikers are allowed each day, so you must reserve in advance.
The entrance fees are $53,500 COP ($16.50 USD / €14.80) for foreigners, $19,000 COP for Colombians and residents older than 25 years old, and $16,000 COP for Colombians and residents between 5 and 25 years old.
Also, keep in mind that there is no phone reception in the park, and you need to wear proper hiking gear to enjoy this off-the-beaten-path location. And you should be at the park’s entrance by 10:00 AM to leave before the park closes at 4:00 PM.
Insider Tip: this full-day guided tour for small groups of up to 10 people offers transport from/to Bogota, water bottle and snacks, and an English-speaking guide for $62 USD / €56 (does not include the entrance fee to the park).
12. Parque Natural Chicaque
Set amid a cloud forest, the Chicaque Natural Park features 20 km (12.4 miles) of scenic hiking trails that take you to see the main highlights in the park, such as the Eagle’s Peak (see photo below). From the entrance, it is a 3km (1.86 miles) downhill hike to the visitor’s center. You can choose different trails depending on how long and hard you want to hike. Plus, you can also go horseback riding and ziplining.
Good to Know
If you are visiting on weekends or during holidays, there is a shuttle service leaving every hour from the Terreros/Hospital Transmilenio station in Bogota for $6,000 COP ($1.85 USD / €1.66) per person. Alternatively, you can also hire a private English-speaking guide for your group (up to four people) who will also provide transport for $64 USD / €57 per person
The park is open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (but you can only enter until 3:00 PM), and the entrance is $17,000 COP ($5.25 USD / €4.70) per person. There are also several accommodation options for those who want to spend the night, including camping, cabins, and a couple of treehouses. For the 3km uphill hike to exit the park, you can hire a car or horses, but you must book in advance.
13. Páramo de Sumapaz
Its name can be translated as an utterly peaceful moorland. Covering some 178,000 hectares, the Sumapaz Páramo is considered the largest páramo ecosystem in the world. It was declared a national park in 1977 and is one of the primary sources of water for the capital region. Located just south of Bogota, the Sumapaz Páramo is an off-the-beaten-path gem that only a few people get to visit.
Good to Know
Temperatures in the park can range from -10 °C to 17 °C and conditions can change suddenly, so it’s essential to be prepared. The best time to visit is from December to February since it’s drier. There is not much infrastructure in the park, so the best way to visit is with a guide.
Insider Tip: this excursion for small groups (four people max.)is led by a local guide who provides transport, breakfast, and snacks, plus water and coffee. The tour can be done in English, French or Spanish and takes place from 7:00 AM to 3 PM. It has a cost of $75 USD / €68.
14. La Vega
Located 54 km away from Bogota, La Vega is a little paradise home to some pleasant surprises. One of the main attractions in the area is the Laguna El Tabacal, an easily accessible small lake that offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching and spotting butterflies.
Another place that is worth seeing is the Chupal Waterfalls, which you can reach after a short hike that can be tricky for some people. There are four different waterfalls ranging from 25 to 50 meters (82 to 164 ft.) high.
Good to Know
Laguna El Tabacal is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and the entrance fee is $4,500 COP ($1.40 USD / €1.25) per person. The entrance to the waterfalls is $10,000 COP ($3 USD / €2.75) per person, and it takes about 40 minutes to drive there from La Vega. You can easily combine both places in one trip.
If you want to spend a day full of adrenaline, then Tobia is the place for you. Located just a bit further than La Vega, this little town offers plenty of opportunities for rafting, ziplining, abseiling, horseback riding, and more. There are also a couple of hikes in the area and some lovely accommodation options in case you decide to spend the night.
Good to Know
Tobia is located just a two-hour drive away from Bogota (74 km / 46 miles). Also, the town is only 750 meters (2,460 ft.) above sea level, so it’s considerably warmer than Bogota.
Map – Bogota Day Trips
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Bianca is a world citizen who spent almost four years traveling around South America and Europe. Her passions include photography, street art, outdoor sports, and cooking exotic dishes. She’s now based in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and young daughter. She still enjoys traveling, on her own or with her family, and is always looking for an opportunity to see new places.