Bogota Travel Guide
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Okay everyone, ready for some serious South America travel news? So LANwhich is really a group of airlines including LAN Chile, LAN Ecuador, LAN Argentina, LAN Express and LAN Colombiamade all kinds of changes, for the better, to their routes and in-flight service today, February 1.
· First off, LAN Colombia (which only really started as an airline in December 2012 after LAN took over Colombian airline AIRES) is now flying direct from Miami to Bogota. The inaugural hit the skies earlier today, complete with a visit from Juan Valdez, who served the passengers their in-flight coffees. Fares for this new route, which runs four times weekly on Airbus A320s, are $400 roundtrip, including taxes & fees, if booked by February 6. Of course, you can go straight through to booking via their Facebook page.
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
What's that tube of stuff with the happy-face balloons on it? Um, it looks suspicious, but it's just another way of getting your daily dose of Leche Condensada, or condensed milk, if you happen to be enjoying the local specialties in Bogota, Colombia. Instead of in a can, this condensed milk dispenses from a handy tube, meaning you're free to sweeten up your coffee, tea or rich desserts at will.
The taste: Sugary, syrupy milk is the easiest way to describe it. We tried it squeezed into our morning coffee for a week, in place of sugar and creamer, and it does the trick very nicely. We suppose you could suck it right out of the tube, but the thought just seems gross. Why not try spreading it some toast?
Daddy Yankee may have endorsed John McCain a few weeks ago, but reggaeton is *so* 2005. Find out what the latest beats sound like at Bogotá's Hip Hop Al Parque.
Over 30 MCs from around the world will compete in the 11th edition of this year's fest, held October 18 and 19 in the Parque Simon Bolívar. Expect break-dancing performances, graffiti displays and DJ battles to surround the main stage at this free event, where some 100,000 fans will be on hand to cheer on their favorites.
Think that guy up there has a shot this year?
· For Colombia's Angry Youth, Hip-Hop Helps Keep It Real [NYT]
· Hip Hop al Parque 2008 [Official Site]
· More Travel Videos [Jaunted]
The Museum of Bogota opened its new exhibit, called "Museum of Laziness," last week, and it didn't take long before people were coming by to flop down on the couches and start watching TV. But, says the curator, that's not a problem at all:
We always think about laziness as an enemy of work. So we wanted to explore that and make people think about the social issues implied in taking a nap, in being jobless or in feeling that maybe we are wasting time.
Families in particular have been enjoying the show, which also includes notes from the city's children on what they want to be when they grow up. It's a good thing they're thinking about it, too, because the show's already wrapping up. Not to worry though: Next week brings the debut of an exhibit about the city's security guards.
[Photo of hammocks in Bogota: Ronald Newell]
If your significant other is a true hopeless romantic, get lucky and score some points this weekend by taking them to see Love in the Time of Cholera. It tells an epic love story that spans a fifty-year period, where one man is obsessed with one woman. Period costumes and the inevitable, "How long will he wait?" question abound.
Benjamin Bratt and John Leguizamo make appearances, and rumor has it the producer had to court the author of the book, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, for three years to get him to sell the rights to the story.
This one was shot in an exciting locale, Colombia, so we offer you some great things to check out on your next trip to Bogota:
Where To Stay: Hotel de la Opera Formerly a pair of stately colonial buildings, this pink-hued hotel has been resurrected to all its past glory. It's chic and polished, and the 29 rooms offer high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows - many that open onto private balconies. There's an on-site restaurant that serves delicious Mediterranean food, just as popular with guests as with locals.
Where To Eat: Casa Vieja Head to Casa Vieja for authentic Colombian food, including raved-about ajiaco (a traditional chicken soup made with corn, potatos, avocado, sour cream, capers and the guasca herb.) The spot's a bit of a chain around town, but worth it once, if even to check out the antiques and artwork that laden the walls.
Where To Gawk: Museo del Oro Like shiny, gold things? The Museo del Oro is your spot. It houses one of the world's largest collections of gold items, with 34,000 on display. Yes, it's upsetting that most of these were gathered from natives by force, but they truly showcase the craftsmanship of primitive cultures and are worth over $200 million total. Head to the top-floor gallery where you can stare at the largest uncut emerald in the world.
[Photo: Critico Latino]
Buried at the bottom of US Airways' October traffic report was a fun little tidbit, the likes of which we're beginning to see everywhere:
[Plan] to file for proposed Charlotte, N.C.-Bogotá, Colombia service when the Department of Transportation formally commences the application process. The proposed route will be US Airways' first service to South America.
US Air is already a big player in the Caribbean. But service between the US and Colombia is currently limited to 70 flights a week, and American Airlines, Continental and Delta run all of those flights. US Air is hoping to crack the emerging market when more flights are opened up within the next year.
They won't be the only airline vying for the limited amount of new service. JetBlue has proposed daily round-trips between Fort Lauderdale and Bogotá. Spirit Airlines is also interested in the route, but American has kept them from it by announcing expanded service. Looks like Entourage was right--Colombia is the new hotness.
[Photo: Naty Rive]
Look in the next few weeks for lots of new features here at Jaunted. We'll introduce them as they are, uh, introduced.
Our first new weekly feature is the Dubious Destination of the Week. Each week, we'll choose a destination featured in a travel glossy or weekend section recently that smacks of questionable judgment on the part of their editors. It's similar to the Philadelphia effect; it could be that it's the new hotness, but more likely is that it makes for good copy, regardless of how enjoyable it is as a tourist destination at the moment. As always, send your nominations to email@example.com.
Our inaugural choice is from the New York Times Travel section (we pick because we love) this week. Seriously, guys, Bogotá, Colombia? We'd be more trusting, but this little nugget from the article necessitated a spit take:
If kidnappings are now under 400 a year, it must be safe! We'd venture that being held hostage by masked gunmen is likely to replace dirty weekends in Ibiza any minute now.
"Extortion-related kidnappings are becoming rarer across the nation, with the government reporting a 51 percent drop: 369 in 2005, down from 747 in 2004".
[Image via dando pinos/Flickr]
· Bogotá Is Not Just For The Brave Anymore [New York Times]