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The Colombian capital Bogotá - also known as Santa Fé de Bogotá - is well worth a couple of nights' stay in its own right and shouldn't be overlooked en route for Cartagena or beyond. This cosmopolitan city is also known as the Athens of the Americas, and has received substantial investment in recent years. This has made significant improvements to its aesthetics, security and infrastructure, and an Andean location means that the air is cool and clear.

Bogotá's appeal is not as immediately apparent as that of other Latin capitals but with local knowledge and advice from Original Travel, this is an excellent place to spend a few days. Once adjusted to the altitude (7,500ft), visitors can explore historic neighbourhoods alongside leafy parks and glitzy modern districts alongside the colonial architecture of the older areas.

The old town of Candelaria is an immediate draw for all visitors to the capital, with its narrow cobbled streets, colourful buildings and museums. The culture here is all about cafés, either for a daytime coffee or an evening aperitif and dinner.

By contrast, the Zona Rosa is the area to head to for clubs and bars (similar to the area of Mexico City's of the same name) and this northern section of the city has many of the most expensive hotels, restaurants and shops.

To gain perspective on the city and for sweeping views of its urban sprawl, take the funicular railway or cable car to the top of Monserrate hill and take in the panorama from the church atop the peak.

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Bogotá
Bogotá
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A Note on Price

Colombia is very much about the experience, so if you’re happy with more basic accommodation, there are lots of charming haciendas that are full of character - and which won't break the bank. Of course, at the other end of the spectrum, private villas and high end hotels in Cartagena over New Year can easily set you back thousands a night.

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