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Our first day in Bogotá

Do I have a bad altitude?

semi-overcast 17 °C

Day 1 Monday January 30, 2018

Why is it that when you really want to maximize those few available hours of sleep before getting up at 3:30 a.m. there’s no way the zzz’s are going to come? The journey took us from Victoria to Toronto-in-the-snow (where we dropped a bag of winter clothes for our visit with Sasha/family on the way home) detoured through the de-icing station, on to Bogota airport with an extended visit to the cranky baggage carousel and to a very patient, waiting taxi and on to our hotel Vilar América http://hotelvilaramerica.com/en/ arriving sometime after 1 a.m It was a long day.


With a population of about 8.8 million people, Bogota sits approximately 2640m (8,660 feet) above sea level in the Colombian Andes region. Orientation is relatively easy, as the mountains to the east are generally visible from most parts of the city. To understand the sheer size of the city, consider that Mexico City and New York City are the only North American cities larger than Bogotá.


The city's airport, El Dorado International Airport, named after the mythical El Dorado (gold discovery), handles the largest cargo volume in Latin America. Bogotá is home to the largest number of universities and research centers in the country, and is an important cultural center, with many theaters, libraries and museums, of which the Museo del Oro is the most important.

Our hotel is in the heart business/commercial section of Bogotá and after breakfast we spent the morning walking around our barrio. One difference from other large urban areas we have visited in Latin America is that banks here don’t exchange money nor are their numerous casas de cambio or money exchange shops on the streets. We had to go to an exchange business located on the 3rd floor of a mall 8 blocks from our hotel. There are lots of ATMs but we wanted to exchange some of our US dollars. 1 CDN dollar equalls 2,311.23 Columbian Paseos which makes figuring out how much our lunch of 19,823 paseos cost is a tad complicated. So here is how we do it: round to an even number, divide by 2 and drop 3 zeros and recognize it’s a holiday so that’s good enough.


The altitude, lack of sleep, and 3 hour walk have slowed us down so we are taking it easy after a late lunch of very good Tortilla Soup and having a siesta. The weather was partly sunny/cloudy at around 17c. Lovely.

Posted by Fredricgail2017 13:12 Archived in Colombia

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