By Felipe Santos
Within the last decade, the incredibly diverse city of Bogotá has rapidly arrived against all odds as a cosmopolitan tourist destination. Despite Colombia’s violent history, the nation has seen vastly improved safety measures which make tourism not only viable but highly desirable for travelers who want to experience Latin America.
The colorful diversity of Bogotá attracts tourists for a variety of reasons—whether to see the historical district of La Candelaria and its surrounding artistic hotspots, enjoy the affordable luxury of cuisine and hotels in Bogotá, or to participate in its vivid nightlife scene, this area represents a unique getaway for anyone who wants to experience the region in their own manner.
However, one of the most appealing aspects for more sporty tourists is not in the destinations to discover, but in the routes you can use to get there. Bogotá is home of the largest biking network you can find in Latin America and this reason alone is why thousands of athletes and biking enthusiasts venture to Colombia every year.
Cycling for Your Bogotá Travels
With more than 300 kilometers of biking routes, or ciclorutas, bicyclists can witness the full scope of Bogotá’s sights and sounds. The main network circulates between work and education areas towards denser residential centers. Secondary networks guide tourists toward various attractions and parks throughout the city. Hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists travel along this massive network for pleasure, but the network is also so extensive and conveniently situated that students and businesspeople frequently use them to go about their daily travels rather than relying on personal vehicles or public transportation.
Anyone with a green thumb or a tight transportation budget can benefit tremendously from using this network regardless of their traveling needs. However, those who want to make use of the city’s convenient shuttles and buses will find that the biking network has been integrated with the TransMilenio system, which provides parking for cyclists.
Taking in the Sights
As far as sightseeing goes, it’s hard to find a bicycle route that doesn’t offer a spectacular view. This is because the route was designed according to Bogotá’s topography in a manner that complements the city’s layout, providing bicyclists vast views at the city and countryside on many main networks.
For those that want to get away from the bustle, many networks serve as sightseeing routes throughout sparser countryside areas. While it is recommended that travelers stick with a guide or accompanying tourist group, these are still great options for those who prefer to find their own adventure rather than settling with tour packages.
This also means that bicyclists aren’t limited to only the denser, most well-traveled areas as they are in most metropolises. Still, it’s also important to remember that while the network is extensive, it’s a work in progress in less-traveled areas. In these areas, biking routes may be connected with pedestrian walkways or lack a connection to the main network.
That being said, anyone traveling to Bogotá should seriously give bicycling to cover their traveling needs. Besides providing a popular destination for bicycle races and marathons, even casual bicyclists will find something to appreciate along these scenic and expansive paths. While it might not be as quick as the shuttles or taxis, what better way is there to truly appreciate the dazzling diversity of Bogotá than taking the time to cycle through?
Have you visited Colombia? What was your favorite experience?
Felipe Santos is a travel blogger with Hoteles B3 and an adventurer of Latin America. While he is always on the move, he calls Colombia home and loves to promote all that it has to offer for tourists looking for an authentic taste of Latin America.