The Best Of Gay Bogota

by Mark Chesnut

Colombia overall has made impressive strides in terms of LGBT rights. Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2016, and same-sex adoption, gender changes, and openly gay military service are also legal.

Bogota Travel Tips

• Traffic is a bitch in Bogota. When possible, avoid rush hour travel (generally, weekdays between 7 and 8:30 A.M., at lunch time and between 5 and 6 P .M. Based on where you’re staying, try to focus on activities and attractions within walking distance during those hours, otherwise allow extra travel time.

• Pack plenty of layers. It’s likely you may feel cool during in the morning, hot around mid-day, and then cool again in the afternoon or evening. Remember, this is a rather high-altitude city.

• Avoid using street taxis. For greater safety and efficiency, opt for Uber, which is both cheaper and safer, or have your hotel or restaurant call you a taxi. Taxis operate with a meter based on distance (a number code indicates the amount you pay).

• Numbered street addresses are not necessarily that helpful. Knowing the cross streets is more important. Bogota’s streets (calles) run east to west, and street numbers increase as you go north, while avenues (Carreras) run north to south and increase in number as you go west.
—Mark Chesnut

Bogota resources

HOTELS

B.O.G., Carrera 11 #86-74 (Parque El Virrey). Tel: 6399999. Travelers looking for a trendy contemporary vibe will do well at this property. www.boghotel.com

Four Seasons Casa Medina, Carrera 7 #69A-22 (Zona G). Tel: 325-7900. Named one of the best new hotels on the planet in Travel + Leisure’s It List for 2016, this Four Seasons packs in all the luxury you’d expect. www.fourseasons.com

Four Seasons Hotel Bogota, Carrera 13 #85-46 (Zona Rosa). Tel: 325-7930. A spa, 24-hour fitness center and Japanese restaurant are among the offerings at this upscale favorite. www.fourseasons.com

Hilton Bogota, Carrera 7 #72-41 (Zona G). Tel: 600-6100. Handsome décor and a central location make this a favored choice for upscale travelers. www.hilton.com

JW Marriott Bogota, Calle 73 #8-60 (Zona Rosa). Tel: 481-6000. One of the city’s top luxury hotels, the JW Marriott Bogota offers lots of amenities, including a spa, multiple dining venues and a large fitness center. www.marriott.com

Sofitel Regia Victoria, Carrera 13 #85-80. Tel. 6466390. Classic elegance and top-notch service characterize this hotel, which is located in a neighborhood popular for upscale shopping and dining (it’s also around the corner from El Mozo, one of the city’s best gay clubs). www.sofitel.com

W Bogota, Carrera 9 #115-30. Tel: 746-7111. W’s signature trendy style infuses this hotel with a unique ambiance. www.wbogota.com

RESTAURANTS

Amen Ramen, Carrera 6 #53-51. Tel: 631-8876. Reimagined contemporary Asian cuisine. www.amenramen.com

Andres DC, Centro Comercial El Retiro, Calle 82 #12-21. Tel: 863-7880. More than just a restaurant, Andres DC attracts locals and visitors alike with its lively music and interactive entertainment staff. www.andrescarnederes.com

Local by Rausch, Calle 90 #11-13, Local 2 (Parque el Virrey). Tel: 752-1202. Part of the Rausch empire of stylish restaurants, Local offers a contemporary and upscale vibe, with Colombian specialties. www.hermanosrausch.com

Mesa Franca, Carrera 6 #55-09. Tel: 805-1787. Tasty Colombian creations and classic cocktails, served in a lovely former home with a tiny courtyard. www.facebook.com/mesafrancabogota

Mistral, Calle 57 #4-09. Tel: 631-5371. Casual, French-style bakery and café with tasty breads. www.facebook.com/mistral.com

El Mono Bandido, Carrera 4 #54-85. Tel: 7027230. Artisanal beers and a light food menu, as well as a highly social atmosphere, are the big draws here. www.elmonobandido.com

ACTIVITIES

Barraca Teatro, Carrera 17 #50-60 (Galerías). Tel: 6051528. This small theater company often stages LGBTthemed works in Spanish. www.barracateatro.com

Bogota Graffiti Tours, Tel. 297-4075. Free and customized graffiti and street art tours. www.bogotagraffiti.com

Chic Tours by Marión Vall de Rutén, Carrera 9 #81a26. Tel: 320-543-8082. This boutique tour operator offers customized tours focused on a variety of topics, including fashion, design, and art. www.chictours.com

Deca, Carrera 70 #112-73 (Morato) Tel: 533-6809. A popular theater company that stages LGBTthemed works www.decateatro.com

Federico Ruiz, Tel: 312-397-1240. Art dealer and expert who offers customized art and street art tours. www.federicoruiz.info

Foodies Colombia, Tel: 321-516-0483. This company specializes in food tours of Bogota, including an excellent market and cooking school excursion and a restaurant-hopping tour of the gay-popular Chapinero district. www.foodies.com.co

Monserrate, Carrera 2 #21-48. Tel: 747-0189. Hilltop sanctuary offering great views of the city and is home to two lovely restaurants. www.cerromonserrate.com

Museo Botero (Botero Museum), Calle 11 #4-41. Tel: 343-1316. This museum displays the work of Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist, as well as a variety of other international artists. www.banrepcultural.org/museo-botero

Museo de Oro (Gold Museum), Parque de Santander, esquina Carrera 6 y Calle 16. Tel: 343-2222. One of the world’s most impressive and largest collections of gold is on display here. www.banrep.gov.co/museo

Vanima, Calle 65a #13-25, Oficina 401. Tel: 335-4255. Gay-owned tour company offering barhopping tours as well as excursions outside the city and to other destinations in Colombia. www.vanima.co

SHOPPING

Artesanias de Colombia, Calle 86A # 13A-10. Tel: 1-691-7149. Upscale arts-and-craft store that stocks hammocks, mochila bags, baskets, hats, and crafts from around the country. www.artesaniasdecolombia.com.co

Casa Cubo, Carrera 7 #54a-36. Tel: 235-9922. Home decor , artwork and casual clothing are the focus at this small shop. www.facebook.com/CUBOCMYK/?fref=ts

Centro Comercial Andino, Carrera 11 #82-71 (Zona Rosa). Tel: 1-621-3111, One of the city’s most upscale shopping malls, this is a good place to get your designer fix. www.centroandino.com.co

Ciudad Freak, Carrera 7 #53-52. Tel: 756-8636. Among the finds here are backpacks and bags, clothing for men and women, wallets, and other accessories. www.ciudadfreak.com

La Rock n Rola, Carrera 7 #54A-48. Tel: 212-4569. A variety of Colombian designers are featured in the collections here, with a relatively large selection of clothing and shoes for men and women. www.facebook.com/larockn.rola/?fref=ts

MetKalu, Carrera 4A #57-41 (Chapinero Alto). Tel: 393-2096. Artisan-crafted healthy snacks, chocolate, and coffee are the draw here. www.facebook.com/metkalumercado

NIGHTLIFE

Anónimos, Carrera 9 #60-37 (Chapinero). Tel: 6288091. One of Bogota’s most reliably popular gay bars, with a small space for dancing and a good mix of people. www.facebook.com/Anonimosbar-gay-1395037587380917

Brokeback Mountain Café Bar, Calle 60 #9-28 (Chapinero). Tel: 469-5124. A loosely themed “Brokeback Mountain” décor adds to the fun vibe at this small bar, which serves food and hosts karaoke nights. www.facebook.com/BrokebackMountain-Caf%C3%A9-Bar-1440080546230866

Cavú, Carrera 15 #88-71. Tel: 212-8978. The small, comfy lounge on the first floor sometimes host live musicians, while the second floor is a small-butlively dance club. www.facebook.com/cavu.bar

Estación Café, Calle 62 #7-13 (Chapinero). Tel: 541-7863. Small, pleasant bar and restaurant that has three locations (plus a tiny bar in Chapinero, but this is the prime place to enjoy a relaxed drink and meal. www.estacioncafecolombia.com

Moza, Carrera 14 #83-87. Tel: 618-3441. While women are welcome at the ever-popular El Mozo, sister club Moza is designed specifically for a lesbian crowd. www.elmozoclub.com/moza

El Mozo, Calle 85 #12-51. Tel: 618-3441. One of Bogota’s top dance clubs, El Mozo features two floors of dancing, with various styles of music in English and Spanish. Various shows, as well as a festive annual Halloween festival, draw big crowds. www.elmozoclub.com

El Perro y la Calandria, Carrera 9 #59-22 (Chapinero). Tel: 255-3969. One of Chapinero’s most fun little bars, with vintage retro Spanish-language pop music as the big draw. www.facebook.com/ElPerroylaCalandria

El Recreo de Adán, Carrera 9A #59-85 (Chapinero). Tel. 800-9828. This combination gay bar/restaurant serves light food and plenty of cocktails. There’s also a location in the Zona Rosa. www.elrecreodeadan.com

Theatron, Calle 58 #10-18. Tel unlisted. The largest LGBT permanent nightclub in Latin America, the Western Hemisphere and possibly the world. www.theatron.co

INFORMATION

ProColombia (www.colombia.travel/en), the organization that promotes travel to Colombia, is a good place to start for general travel information about Bogota. For specific LGBT travel information, visit the Instituto Distrital de Turismo’s website, which features an online LGBT guide (www.bogotaturismo.gov.co/Turismo%20LGBTI as well as an LGBT city map of Bogota. The Camarade Comerciantes LGBT de Colombia (LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Colombia) www.cclgbt.co/directorio publishes a directory of LGBT-friendly businesses in Bogota and beyond.

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