Bogota’s privileged location high up on an Andean plateau upon occasion can be stifling and gloomy, but, rest assured, there are dozens of small towns to which one can escape and enjoy sun, culture, local gastronomy and outdoor pursuits.
The town of Honda in Tolima is often overlooked as a truck-stop three hours north of Bogota. Put paid to this negative description and enjoy fresh fish so plentiful they are as if plucked from the turbulent waters of the Magdalena river, wander the town’s antiquated streets and be sure to visit the Museo del Rio with its exhaustive exhibition and history of the Magdalena.
Only 100km away from Tunja in Boyacá, Mongui is one of the region’s best kept secrets for its unspoiled colonial architecture, tranquil mountain setting and laid back atmosphere. Here you are in the heart of the indigenous Sagamuxi territory and there’s a certain mystery in the atmosphere. Hike to ancient religious sites and take in the fresh mountain air.
Villa de Leyva
Backing on to Iguaque National Park, Villa de Leyva is a preferred weekend destination for city-weary Bogotanos. So much so that much of the town and surroundings are littered with second homes, but, don’t let this deter you, come and enjoy the fine architecture, fine dining and horse-riding on offer.
Supposedly boasting the best climate in the whole of Colombia and located just over 70km from the capital. You’ll appreciate the good weather, abundance of swimming pools and finca (country homes) found here catering to Bogotanos and their discerning palate.
Girardot and Melgar
If you were to total the number of swimming pools in both towns, you’d probably reach a higher number than actual week-time residents in these weekend destinations south of Bogota. Known for raucous parties, late nights and long days sleeping off the hangover, both Girardot and Melgar can be reached easily and are located along the Magdalena River.
Sogamoso and the Laguna de Tota
Situated closet o Colombia’s largest lake, the Laguna de Tota, Sogamoso is a town rich in indigenous and colonial history. While history could be the main draw for the town, the lake and the activities offered here is really what draws the punters in. Windsurf, sail or just hike and camp and relax in nature.