Text and Photos by Anaïs de Melo …
A few weeks ago, The World Travel Awards (WTA) took place in Bogota, the capital of Colombia and I was pleased to be there to represent the World Travel Media Guild (WTMG).
The awards are given annually to the most outstanding destinations and tourism companies in the world. This year (and rightly so), Bogotá swept the awards, with a total of four. Bogata was honored as ‘Best Leading Destination in Colombia,’ ‘Best Getaway Destination,’ and ‘Best Business Destination.’ Additionally, the District Institute of Tourism (IDT), directed by Dr. Tatiana Piñeros, won the award for ‘Best Promoter in Tourism.’
The capital of Colombia is a city full of history, culture and warmth; it is clean, breathtakingly beautiful, with excellent hotels and restaurants, safe at all hours, with very friendly people which are always ready to support any tourist who asks for help.
Personally, I was most impressed by this gorgeous city which I found to be clean, safe, and, surprisingly, quite European-looking. In a tour organized by the District Institute of Tourism for the media who attended the WTA, we had the pleasure of visiting the Gold and the Botero Museums, Monserrate, the Cerro de Guadalupe, Plaza de Bolivar, the Botanical Gardens, the historic Cathedral.
We also had the chance to take long walks through the beautiful streets of this lovely city, experience the food in the gourmet restaurants, have a few drinks at the local bars, see beautiful paintings and lovely pictures in the galleries and enjoy great shopping at the malls. We even had a few dances at some of the discos. But, without doubt and certainly for me, the most original and the most surprising visit was to the La Candelaria.
Located in the Historic Center of the Colombian capital, this bohemian and artistic area has cultural activities every day at bring together street artists, musicians, dancers, urban painters, graffiti makers, singers, photographers and craftsmen who occupy the narrow streets of the neighborhood to express their artistic creations and ideas.
La Candelaria is formed by ancient buildings of Colonial and Republican type which retain their original architecture along with their historic charm. In this wonderful neighborhood you can find typical and authentic restaurants, bars, galleries, small hotels, tiny little theaters, churches, small shops and many typical jewelers and artisans.
I was very happy walking thorough the mysterious and artistic streets of the Candelaria District at night, knowing that I was safe, since at all hours the police are guarding the place and making sure that everything is ok. I took lots of pictures of the artists, of the chapel, the Colon Theater, the City Hall, the Museum and the houses and buildings that have not lost their charm r and architectural concept .
Colombians have certainly completely recovered from the economic slump they suffered several years ago. Today, Colombia is considered by experts as a major tourist destination not to be missed.
While, Colombia has many beautiful cities, Bogotá is surely one of the most beautiful and is definitely ready to receive an international and sophisticated kind of tourism.
Bogotá is one of the biggest cities in Latin America and aong the thirty largest cities of the world. It is also the third-highest capital city in South America. The area of modern Bogotá was first populated by groups of indigenous people wo migrated from mesoamerica. With the arrival of the Spanish colonizers the area became a major settlement, the capital of the Spanish provinces and the seat of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. With independence Bogotá became capital of the Republic of Colombia.
Anaïs de Melo was born in Portugal and has been a travel and food writer for over 25 years in Mexico. She has her own magazine called Suites & Sweets and a TV program called MUCHO GUSTO. She is a columnist for Mexico´s best travel magazines, which include: “Linderes Mexicanos,” “Comunicando al Mundo,” “Alta Gastronomia,” “Gastrotour,” “Costa,” “Desarrollo Econpmico,” and “Contacto.”. She speaks five languages and is the President of the Mexican Travel Editors Association. Visit her website at: www.suitesandsweets.com