Checking off South America: Bogotá, Colombia – Part 2

August 2017

Usaquén

I managed to negotiate the Uber ride to the hotel.  Most of the uber drivers in Bogotá don’t speak much English, so it was a broken mix of Spanglish, but it worked. I originally found this hotel by searching for eco friendly hotels in Bogotá. Although it was in a bit of a different area, I thought it looked interesting, and the roof top hot tub didn’t hurt.
Of course my uber driver and I had a bit of a difficult time finding it, apparently the address didn’t come up correctly.  After a few wrong turns, we eventually made it to the hotel. It was in a calm area of the city, with a few scattered businesses. I checked in, and that’s when there were a few hiccups.

The hotel had advertised a few perks if you booked directly with them, including a room upgrade and free welcome drink.  It was a few dollars more on their site, but I figured the perks made up for it.  I asked about the welcome drink and it turns out that because it was Sunday, their bar wasn’t open. Since I was only staying the one night I wouldn’t be able to have a welcome drink.  I checked in and was shown up to my room, but it was the same one I had reserved.  I went all the way back down to the check in desk to see if there were other rooms available.  After finally communicating that I was asking about the upgrade (slight language barrier) there was a long process of checking with the manager, checking on the rooms, and finally I was moved to a different, upgraded room.

 

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Streets and market in Usaquén

After settling in (aka putting my bags down), I took some time to explore and head up to the roof top hot tub.  It was a bit difficult to find, and was located through the change rooms on the top floor, but I finally found it inside the Spa area.  The roof top spa consists of a small area with massage tables, an outdoor shower area, a sauna, and a large multi level pool/hot tub area.  The massage tables are just sectioned off with a curtain, so it might be a little awkward if the rest of the spa is full.

Next, I decided to explore this new area of Bogotá.  The hotel is situated just on the edge of a neighbourhood called Usaquén.  A quick walk to the core of the neighbourhood revealed quaint buildings, lots of coffee shops, restaurants, and a few pubs.  There even happened to be a market happening in the streets.  I took a quick browse though all the stalls.  The market was busy, and a bit crowded and I navigated the narrow aisles between the stalls set up in the streets.  I eventually found the dining area and had yet another coffee from a mobile coffee truck!  I didn’t end up buying anything from the market, but I did stop by Caballete & Berenjena, a vegan restaurant in town.  Mostly focused on burgers, with some other more traditional dishes, the staff was very friendly and the flavours were good.  Be sure to check their opening times though.

I spent the rest of my time in Bogotá mostly wandering.  The next day the market was still going on, but I made my way to the outdoor mall, which was really neat.  There were some beautiful fountains and a nice courtyard with some restaurants.  Heading back towards my hotel, I stopped for some vegan ice cream and a coffee break.  There were too many coffee shops to choose from, so I decided at random.  After enjoying some people watching, I collected my bags and left the hotel. All in all I’d say the stay was average. The staff was very friendly and tried to help, although there was a bit of a communication barrier sometimes.  It was still a tad early, so I stopped in at the Bogotá Beer Company to enjoy my last few hours in Colombia.

I called another Uber to pick me up, and lucked out that the guy spoke English fairly well and we had a nice conversation on the way to the airport.  I also got to practice my Spanish a little bit more.  Since Uber is a little bit questionable, you have to have a cover story in case the police stop you… but really it was just I was his friend and he was dropping me off at the airport.  I still think Uber is a great way to get around there.

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Sunrise out of MIA

Took me a little bit of time to figure out the airport, but soon I was through and in the lounge.  Since they didn’t really have much for me to eat, I was able to find a place with a falafel burger, which was quite good, and filled up so I could sleep on the plane.  My flight home was long, and I didn’t luck out with the lie flat seats, but after a red-eye to Miami, we got a beautiful sunrise on the way to Charlotte.  Although it was a short flight, I passed out because this one DID have lie-flat seats.  I then flew across the country and had a long layover at LAX, and managed to meet my uncle for lunch, before heading back to the airport, having a quick stop in Seattle before finally landing in Vancouver.  Long travel day, but racking up a lot of points!

I will say I absolutely fell in love with Colombia.  I’d love to go back and explore some of the other cities some day.

 

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