Bogota is a fun enough city to explore, but it can honestly get to you. It’s incredibly crowded, traffic is insane, and it is sadly terribly polluted.
The good news is that getting out of town is actually quite easy, and there are many great day trips from Bogota.
Although most places mentioned in this post can be visited independently, the easiest and most hassle-free way to enjoy them is on guided day tours that include transportation, with a pickup and drop off, as well as lunch and other fees, and most importantly, which include an English speaking guide which will shower you with information.
Ready? Check out the best day trips from Bogota.
The Best Day Trips From Bogota
Chicaque Natural Park
Chicaque Natural Park is a great place for day trips from Bogota. It’s located just 30 minutes southwest of the city and is home to a beautiful cloud forest. There are plenty of good hiking trails, so it’s a great place to hike. You will even find tree houses in case you feel like spending the night there.
One of the highlights of Chicaque Natural Park is the stunning waterfall trails that are unlike anything else you’ll find near Bogota.
The mountains are often called a “cloud forest” because clouds form and blow around the mountain tops. This sometimes makes it difficult to get a good view down below, but it always offers unique views and glimpses of the stunning scenery.
There is a small admission fee to enter the National Park. You can get there by bus or on a guided group tour, such as this hiking tour of the Andian Forest in Chicaque Natural Park. The tour takes you to a 2 km (1.25 mile) hike to a natural waterfall.
Zipaquira and the Salt Cathedral
Easily the most popular day trip from Bogota, Zipaquira is a lovely small colonial town home to a salt cathedral which was actually created out of an old salt mine and is located 200 meters below ground. It’s honestly an incredible place to visit.
The Cathedral was first opened in 1995 and can fit up to 8,400 visitors. And the Salt Cathedral is only about 50 km (30 miles) from Bogota, so it’s an easy day trip.
The Salt Cathedral inside the Salt Mine has several main attractions. The first is in the form of several tunnels that lead down below. The beginning of the tunnels is dark, but after a few steps inside, the cave becomes lit up by a set of lights along the wall.
At the end of the tunnels, you’ll find three naves representing Jesus’ birth and baptism, his life and death, and his resurrection.
Zipaquira is located 50 km north of Bogota. To get there, you will need to hop on a combination of buses.
For a more hassle-free way, join a guided tour such as this private tour of Zipaquirá and Salt Cathedral. This highly-rated tour includes round-trip transportation, a fantastic guide, lunch, and entrance fees.
Another cool place to visit which is not far from Bogota is La Laguna de Guatavita, 18 km out of Guatavita.
Guatavita Lagoon is a small body of water in a crater surrounded by lush forest. While it’s not the largest or most impressive lake in South America, it’s still a welcome escape from Bogota.
If you go on a guided tour, you’ll also be able to learn about the indigenous people of this area.
This lake is actually sacred for the Muisca indigenous people and is thought to be the place where the El Dorado legend originated. Most tours that go to La Guavita also include a stop at the Museo del Oro in Bogota (The Gold Museum) – which has lots of artifacts coming from this region.
You can reach Guatavita by bus, but you will have to make several changes. Alternatively, go on a guided tour such as this Zipaquira Salt Cathedral and Lake Guatavita tour from Bogota.
Chingaza National Park
Another great place to visit on a day trip if you are keen on hiking is Chingaza National Park. This is where 80% of the water that Bogota consumes comes from, and the landscape will remind you little of South America and the Andes and more of northern England – though, come to think of it, Bogota reminded me a lot of British cities!
Chingaza National Park has a lot of hiking trails for all levels, so regardless of your level of physical fitness, there’s something here for you.
The elevation of Chingaza National Park is anywhere between 800 meters (2,600 feet) and 4,020 meters (13,190 feet). So, if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking, make sure to come prepared for some higher-elevation treks.
Chingaza National Park is located about 2 hours from Bogota, so I recommend going there on a guided tour.
Additionally, there is so much great wildlife in the park. So, a guide can help you identify some of the unique species and explain the natural history here.
This is an excellent guided tour of Chingaza National Park, which also includes a guided hike to Laguna de Butrago. This specific hike is medium-difficult and takes several hours. However, the tour is private, so you can move at your own pace.
Villa de Leyva
At about 3 3-hour drive from Bogota, Villa de Leyva is a pleasant, small colonial town which you can easily explore in just a day.
You will find a massive town square (Plaza Mayor) surrounded by well-kept colonial buildings, cobbled alleys galore, colorful doors, and lots of small cafés and restaurants, not to mention many good shopping opportunities and a couple of good museums (the Museo Paleontologico is the best if you ask me!) and art galleries.
I honestly think Villa de Leyva deserves a bit more as its surroundings are gorgeous and there is lots to do, but if a day is all you have, you may as well go.
There are plenty of buses connecting Bogota to Villa de Leyva, but if you are going there for just a day, you may be better off joining a guided tour
Check out this excellent private tour from Bogota to Villa de Leyva. This is essentially just a driver who will take you to Villa de Leyva and anywhere else in your chosen area.
You should also read my post A Concise Guide To Villa De Leyva, Colombia.
La Chorrera Waterfall
Quite possibly the most fun place to escape the city for a day, La Chorrera Waterfall is actually the highest waterfall in Colombia.
The waterfall is 590 meters (1,935 feet) tall. And the hike to it takes about an hour each way. If you follow the traditional route, you’ll also walk by El Chiflon Falls, a smaller yet glamorous waterfall.
Getting there is in and of itself an experience – you will need to walk through the cloud forest – but it’s truly rewarding.
But one of the best things about the La Chorrera hike experience is there are very few people in this region. So, this is truly the best escape from the busy Bogota.
La Chorrera trail is about 2 hour’s drive from Bogota. There are a few buses that leave Bogota to bring you near La Chorrera, but you are definitely better off joining a guided tour to get there for a more hassle-free experience.
I recommend this wonderful guided tour of El Chiflon and La Chorrera Waterfalls from Bogota. This tour includes an English-speaking guide who can tell you more about the region, breakfast, lunch, and round-trip transportation.
Termales Santa Monica
If you aren’t interested in hiking but just want to relax for a day, you may want to go to Choachí and visit Termales Santa Monica.
Choachí is a small municipality in the Eastern Province of Colombia. It’s about 60 km (37 miles) from Bogota and full of nature and beautiful views.
Termales Santa Monica is a hotel, spa, and restaurant in one of the most gorgeous regions of the country. This is a high-end property and is the perfect place to unwind and escape the city for a day or two.
Whether you’re going on a quick day trip from Bogota or want to spend the weekend here, you’re sure to leave relaxed and refreshed.
Choachí is an easy 1-hour bus ride from Bogota.
Visit a Coffee Farm
Did you know Colombia is the world’s third-largest exporter of coffee, behind only Brazil and Switzerland? And you can grow coffee almost anywhere in Colombia. The climate and terrain are ideal for coffee plantations.
So, it should be no surprise that a tour of one of the coffee farms is one of the best day trips from Bogota, Colombia.
While coffee farms are everywhere, I’d highly recommend a guided tour of an actual coffee plantation. A half-day or full-day tour can teach you everything about coffee in Colombia.
You’ll be able to talk with real people and learn about the process from start to finish.
Check out this five-hour tour of a coffee farm from Bogota, Colombia. You’ll be able to meet the local farmers, explore the coffee plantation, and take beautiful photos of the panoramic views from the farm.
East Hills Mountain Hike
The East Hills Mountain Hike is fun just outside of Bogota, Colombia. While this isn’t too far from the city (in fact, it’s one of the best places to visit on day trips from Bogota), it’s well-immersed in nature and gives you a proper break from city life for a few hours.
This hike also offers the absolute best views of the city. You’ll be able to see almost every corner of the capital city and unwind in the peace and quiet.
The hike itself is relatively easy and not too challenging to get to. However, hiking with a guide in Colombia is always recommended to avoid any unwanted attention or problems when you’re further from civilization.
Here’s an excellent guided hike of the East Hills Mountain. This tour begins early in the morning and includes breakfast. The tour lasts only three or four hours, not an entire day. But it’s an excellent way to escape the city for a bit.
Guadas is a small colonial town about three hours from Bogota. There isn’t a whole lot to do in this town, but it’s a quintessential town with cute coffee shops and local restaurants.
Therefore, it’s a great place to relax if you want to get out of the bustling streets of Bogota.
There’s a small square in the center of town, with a colonial church people still visit to this day. The city center is covered with cobblestone streets, contributing to this little town’s authentic feel.
Guaduas is also home to Policarpa Salvarietta, a famous seamstress and spy who has earned an important spot in Colombian history. You can see her on the 10,000 Colombian Pesos note.
You can take a bus or minivan from Bogota to Guaduas. The ride takes just under three hours, so if you visit on a day trip, leave early enough to give yourself time to return and enjoy the small town.
Suesca is a small town about an hour north of Bogota. This town is mainly known for its adrenaline-junkie activities. You’ll find tons of bungee jumping, rock climbing, and other heart-pounding activities around these parts.
Rock climbing is the most popular activity here. So, if you’re into this sort of fun, then make sure to plan a full day of exploring around Suesca.
There’s a direct bus from Bogota to Suesca, and a taxi is usually pretty affordable. However, if you’re planning any specific activities, you may want to organize a tour from Bogota beforehand.
If you’re into rock climbing, here’s an excellent climbing tour in Suesca. They provide professional equipment and insurance. However keep in mind this tour doesn’t offer transportation to Suesca.
Are you planning a trip to Colombia? Make sure to read my other posts!
- 29 Beautiful Places To Visit In Colombia
- A Wonderful Itinerary For 2 Weeks In Colombia
- 22 Incredible Things To Do In Cartagena
- 15 Useful Things To Know Before Visiting Cartagena
- The Best Day Trips From Cartagena
- Where To Stay In Cartagena – The Best Neighborhoods And Places To Stay
- The Best Airbnb In Cartagena
- 17 Unmissable Things To Do In Bogota
- A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Bogota
- The Most Unique Airbnbs In Bogota
- Is Bogota Safe?
- An Excellent Guide To San Gil, Colombia
- A Concise Guide To Salento, Colombia
- A Complete Guide To Hiking Valle De Cocora, Colombia