Posted by: Jena Davison | January 7, 2013

Bogotá’s La Candelaria: Urban Art At Every Corner

I was lucky enough to round out 2012 in neighboring Colombia, an extraordinary country with wonderful people, gorgeous beaches and colorful cities. Although my nine-day trip provided just a sweet taste of all the country has to offer, I had a wonderful time and am already plotting my next return. These next few posts are going to be focused on various places in Colombia, starting with Bogotá’s La Candelaria neighborhood.

I have to admit: Bogotá did not capture my heart like the other places I visited in Colombia. It may have been the frustrating start to my time in the city: a stubborn taxi driver who got lost driving us to our hostel, stretching the 30-minute trip from the airport into well over an hour; arriving to the hostel to find out we had no reservation, even though I had an e-mail confirmation; and eating greasy street pizza for dinner because we were told that was the only thing open within walking distance. To say the least, we were tired, cranky and hungry by the time everything was sorted out and we could finally go to bed. Good thing a night’s sleep gives way to a whole new day. I was up and readsy to hit the streets early the next morning, determined to like–even love–Bogotá by the time I left.

Bogotá is huge. Looking at a map, it seems unmanageable and overwhelming to a traveler with plans to spend just two nights here. Luckily most of the city’s highlights lie within one neighborhood: La Candelaria, the old part of the city, and many travelers will find no need to travel outside its boundaries. Yet, I still feel guilty judging a place without seeing more than just a tiny snippet of it. La Candelaria is Bogotá’s saving grace; it is an artsy area with a distinct young and rebellious feel.

Especially around the Plaza de Chorro y Quevedo, it has a very punk-meets-hipster-meets hippie vibe, with obviously weathered streets crowded with cute cafés serving coffee and aguapanela (a traditional sweet warm drink made by boiling cane sugar with water, served with biscuits and cheese), small bar spaces selling beer and chicha, and smoke shopsWhat I found very striking about this area was its extensive urban art. Thus, I dedicate this post to La Candelaria’s urban art, the beating heart of this barrio’s rough-around-the-edges reputation.














  1. looks like a place where real people are staying

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