The Beginning Of My South American Trip: First Stop Colombia

Things To Do in Bogota

Before I started my solo trip to South America, I did not think in my wildest dreams that it would pan out as it did. Yep, coronavirus happened! More about that later. Let’s talk about the beginning of my South American trip. So, I finally decided at the beginning of 2020 that I will be finally going to make my solo trip across South America. I had solo traveled to Four Continents i.e. Asia, Africa, North America, Europe. The continent that always intrigued me the most was South America for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s really far from India and faraway places are always seems like a mystery which one would want to unlock hahah. I heard/read many stories/articles about how South America is the best region for backpacking and I couldn’t wait anymore to explore this distant land.

My Bed in the plane 🙂
Reached Doha
Leaving Doha
The meal has been served
Different views from my plane’s window. See below:

Waiting for the connecting flight at LAX airport


I booked with Qatar Airways for the second half of February journey and was all set to explore the unexplored. After more than 50 hours journey and 3 layovers, I finally reached Bogota. Yes, you read it right! 50 freaking hours! Let me take you on this not so long journey 😉 I took a domestic flight from Mumbai to Nagpur. From Nagpur, my international journey begins. Nagpur to Doha flight was pretty comfortable, I literally slept during the whole journey on 3 seats-converted-bed. I was quite impressed by Doha International Airport. Truly World Class Airport. My next flight was from Doha to Los Angeles. The longest flight of my life till now. The outside climate was changing constantly and frequently from Sunset, Sunshine, Snowy Mountains, Deserts.  After reaching Los Angeles, I had a serious Deja vu. 2 years ago, I was at the same airport and going through the same immigration line which I was quite confused about initially. After landing at Los Angeles, I thought I wouldn’t have to go through immigration since I was just transiting through the U.S. but I was completely wrong! The USA never disappoints to surprise me. Every passenger landing at USA airports has to go through the US immigration irrespective of their purpose. My next plane was from LA to Bogota. Bogota is the capital of Colombia. Colombia is a country located in the northern part of South America. I planned to start my trip from Colombia and travel my way down. After people watching for a couple of hours outside LAX airport, I board a plane to my final destination. I landed at Bogota Airport in the early morning. Needless to say, I was beyond tired and wanted to sleep sleep sleep sleep from Morning to Afternoon to Evening to Night. After doing currency exchange, I board a bus to reach my Couchsurfing host’s place. You can buy a bus card opposite Door 4. My host was really accommodating and didn’t bother me much and let me sleep instantly. I was fast asleep and directly woke up at night to just eat dinner and sleep again. Upon checking my luggage, I found the “Notice Of Baggage Inspection” pamphlet from TSA in my backpack and some of my Indian spices & medicines were missing. Oh, well…

Welcome to Bogota!

Tuk Tuks of Bogota


Next day was the fresh beginning. Leaving Jet lag behind, I was ready to explore the first destination of my South American trip. First stop was Mobile Network store of “Avantel” which I don’t recommend anyone to buy who want to travel extensively in Colombia. It only works in Big cities. It was quite cheap though as per the Colombian standards. 2GB for 20k Colombian pesos (COP) & 5GB for 30k COP. Claro and Movistar are far better options for good network connectivity.

Monserrate: Entrance for pedestrians

Colombia has 1851 confirmed species of birds
Shops on the way

Finally reached

City view from the top


Basilica of the Lord of Monserrate

View of another hill

Well of Wishes

And it starts raining!
In Funicular, on the way back
Monserrate Hill

Next stop was Monserrate. It is a hill located in Bogota which one could either climb by Pedestrian Path or take a cable car or Funicular I climbed the hill by walk. Without mincing my words, It is a steep walk and I was really tired once I reached the top of the hill. It took me around one and a half hour. I enjoyed the walk though. The path was full of greenery and nice views. On top of the mountain, you will have a beautiful view of Bogota City. There are several restaurants, eateries, souvenir & crafts shops among others. The main attraction is the Basilica of the Lord of Monserrate. It is a Basilica located on the top of the mountain inaugurated in 1920. One of the most beautiful churches I have visited. You should walk around on the hill to enjoy the views. You cannot use Pedestrian Path after 1 PM from the entrance and you cannot use it after 4 PM on the way back. Funicular costs 12000 COP one way. Since I was late to climb down by walk, I took a Funicular on the way back. I suggest you take the cable car or Funicular while ascending and climb down on the way back by walk if you are not a walker.

From Gold Museum

Next stop was Museo del Oro(Gold Museum). Entrance fees were 4k COP. A must visit place when in Bogota to get insight into the history of South America. It is an exhibition of gold and pottery pieces from indigenous cultures with more than 30,000 pieces made in gold, Lithic objects, ceramics, stones, shells, bones and textiles belonging to the ethnic groups of Quimbaya, Calima, Tayrona, Zenu, Muisca, Tolima and Tumaco etc.


Street Musician

Street Food
Street Chess
Street Shops

At the end of the day, I walked around in the La Candelaria area. It has a great ambience. Street musicians, street chess players, street food, street shops. I really enjoyed my walk. I only spend 2 nights in Bogota because I wanted to experience the World’s second-largest carnival which takes place in Barranquilla, Colombia.


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An Indian Traveler

Hello! My name is Saurabh and I am the voice behind the “An Indian Traveler” blog. I'm a cinephile, travel writer, an avid traveler with a song stuck in my head which I keep humming till ad nauseam :)

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  1. oh wow these photographs sounds like you really had great time there..indeed found it very useful and helpful blog post..Thanks for sharing about your experience…great work…

  2. aside from the looooong flights, the trip sounds amazing. one of my best friends is from Bogota and used to work at the museum there so that was cool to read about.

  3. Just an incredible journey! I am impressed by the amount of hours you spent on your flight to reaching Colombia. And by the fact that you solo travel. South America is also one of my dreams continents to visit and explore the amazingly rich culture and society. Hope I can also get there one day.
    One thing I would have loved to see: the prices in other currencies as well (like $ or €), to know roughly how expensive it was.

  4. Reading through this blogpost and looking at your photos really made me feel like I was traveling again, which I usually do often, but haven’t done in a long time. What a great trip you seem to have had!

  5. South America is actually beautiful. I love how you have descrived your itinery and the clicks are no doubt awesome!

  6. The peak season for tourism is from December to March, as well as the week before Easter (Semana Santa). seems you had fun, just the right timing to be in colombia

  7. I love Colombia – it was one of my best trips ever. People were so friendly. I was very impressed by the innovative art everywhere – especially in Bogotà.

  8. South America is beautiful and you picked an awesome first destination to visit! All your pictures are so pretty and Colombia really looks like it’s got so much culture

  9. Loved all the pictures of Bogota, but the ones in the museum are really fascinating. You are really lucky to have safely travelled cross-continent in 2020, something you wouldn’t even imagine doing just after 2/3 months. We are wondering how much longer we have to wait until we resume travelling!

  10. Those photos you took are lovely! It seems like you had a nice experience in Colombia, I would love to get a taste of the street food there! Thanks for sharing this with us.

  11. We enjoyed our Colombia trip. It is such a beautiful and biodiverse country. We really liked the historic downtown area around Plaza Bolivar in Bogotaand the Museo del Oro was fantastic.

  12. so many nice photos and I think you have a great time and a great trip. I only transit in Colombia before and always wanted to explore Bogota, and now I have read this, I have more information when I go there. @ Knycx journeying

  13. Wow, 50 hours!!! I thought my trip from the UK to New Zealand (48 hours) was the longest possible trip 😉 I have to say I admire your sense of adventure! I’ve never travelled on my own and South America seems quite daunting to me (because of the high crime rate) but I loved my little travels alongside you in this post 🙂 I especially enjoyed the museum as I love ancient cultures and this would be one reason for visiting South America one day, to visit the old temples and try to learn more about those mysterious old cultures that suddenly disappeared. I hope you were comfortable and safe during the pandemic!

  14. Wow! The fact that you enjoyed that wonderful trip alone is just incredible. So I can enjoy my trip alone too! Looking forward to it once things go back to normal.

  15. Looks like a great start to your South American adventure, except the TSA snag with your spices & meds! Yikes! Either way, Colombia is an amazing country! We went to Cartagena, Baraquilla, and Santa Marta so we only had a coastal experience. But your views of the Mountains in Bogota are beautiful. Plus you had me at Funicular….I am a like a goofy kid when I hear there is one in the area and I always have to ride it! Silly I know but I am glad you didnt kill your knees or shins hiking back down those mountains.
    Love all the street art you captured too. That is definitely a Colombian thing you will see everywhere! Buen Camino, Amingo!

  16. This looks like a fantastic start to your time in South America (even if your time there was cut short!) Bogota looks like a fun place to explore, even in the rain.

    Still, 50 hours of travel!? You must have been exhausted!!

  17. All of your pictures remind me of when I was in Bogota a few years ago. It’s such a lovely place. Unfortunately when I was there the walking trail to Monsserate was closed and my only option was the cable car.

  18. Great place to visit. Your photos really capture the vibe of it. Nice work.

  19. you have such lovely photos on your blog. Looks like a fantastic start to your adventure. enjoy! WIll wait for your next post

  20. This made me so nostalgic for Bogota myself! It was so interesting to see your shots from Monserrate, because I only went at night and the view looks pretty different during the day. Since I am currently “stuck” in Brazil, I’m fascinated to learn more about how things have been for you in Colombia given the pandemic!

  21. Despite having your spices & medicines taken by TSA, this trip looked absolutely amazing. The pictures give a really good account on what your experience was like.

  22. You must have had a lovely trip. I like the pictures you took from the aircraft, even I like snapping them. LATAM is a dream for me to visit some day. I work with my team and customers over there, but never visited.