About Bogota

Emergency Hotlines

Emergencies: 123
Fire Department: 119 – 217 53 00 - 235 51 66
Red Cross - Ambulances - Emergencies (24/7): 132 - 428 01 11
Rescue Brigade -Defensa Civil- (24/7): 144 - 640 00 90
DAS - Administrative Security Department: 153 - 01 8000 919 622
DIJIN - Criminal Investigation Office and Interpol: 157
GAULA (Anti-Kidnapping Squad): 165
Citizen Service Line: 195
Forensic Department: 289 06 77 - 333 48 17
Tourism Police: Address: Carrera 13 No. 26-62. Phone Numbers: 337 44 13 – 243 11 75
Police: 112 - 428 06 77 - 428 22 72
Police CAI (Immediate Attention Center): 156
SIJIN (Criminal Investigation Section Units): 286 00 88
Traffic control and accidents (24/7) 127 - 360 01 11
Health emergencies (24/7): 125
Official procedures and other services: 195

Emergency Hotlines

Climate

The average temperature in the savanna is 14 °C (57.2 ºF), ranging between 9-22 ºC (48.2-71.6 ºF). Dry and rainy seasons follow one another throughout the year.

 

The driest months are December, January, February, and March; the rainiest ones are April, May, September, October, and November. June and July are usually dry. August is sunny, with strong winds.
 
These conditions are not consistent due to the phenomena known as El Niño and La Niña, occurring in the Pacific basin and producing very drastic climatic changes.

 

Climate

Transportation

Bogotá has two air terminals: El Dorado International Airport, for domestic and international traffic (supported by two passenger and two cargo terminals), and Guaymaral Private Airport, handling only small airplanes.

In terms of public transportation, Bogotá has the TransMilenio system: a network of articulated buses with tens of stations arranged in six major routes. At their terminal stations or “portals," hundreds of feeder buses arrive from areas away from the main roads.

Similarly, several thousands of buses, short buses, and taxis complete the supply of public transportation in commercial areas and downtown, as well as in the outskirts of the city.

Most buses and inter-municipal taxis depart from Bogotá’s Transport Terminal, which is strategically located to the center-west of the city.


“Eldorado” International Airport


Passengers enter the city through El Dorado International Airport, where 65% of the country’s flight operations are concentrated. Boardings, connections, arrivals, departures, and all the proceedings related to entering and leaving the country are carried out in this place.

Counters for domestic and international flights are located on the first floor. There are also counters for purchasing ticket, making reservations, checking in, and going through immigration and customs. On the second floor, there are the information desks, departures and arrivals displays, lounges, travel agencies, drug stores, restaurants and cafeterias, bookstores and crafts shops. There is also a Telecom office, offering national and international calls, Internet and fax services. You can find pay phones, ATM's, and several Duty-Free Shops, in which you can purchase a wide range of products free of taxes.

Visitors can find hotel reservation and touristic information points in the area of domestic and international flight arrivals; they can also find taxi companies to which the passenger can request a ticket with a fixed price for the ride.

Telephone number: 425 10 00
 

 “Puente Aéreo” hub

It is an air terminal attached to El Dorado International Airport with wide access streets, in which domestic flights of the Alianza Summa airline (Avianca and Sam) are operated from six origins and to the same six destinations: Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Pereira and Barrancabermeja.

It provides complimentary services, such as the following:
• Local, national, and international pay phones
• Phone card dispenser
• Fixed price taxi ticket service
• Parking with internal self-service payment kiosks
• VIP Lounges
• Baggage carriers
• ATH and SERVIBANCA AMTs (accepting international debit and credit cards)
• Fast food restaurants
• Gift shops
• Bookstores
Telephone Number: 425 10 00 ext. 3218

 

Transport Terminal

It is located to the west of the city, near Ciudad Salitre. This is the origin and destination of all domestic buses routes, and of some destinations in South America. Five modules, with different colors, categorize the service according to the destination.

Modules
•No. 1 Yellow: South of the country.
•No. 2 Blue: East and west of the country.
•No. 3 Red: Routes to the north of the country and destinations in South America.
•No. 4 Green: Interstate taxi service.
•No. 5 Purple: Passengers arrival, taxis, and city buses. The package delivery companies are located in this module, which deliver and receive from all over the country.

It is recommended to locate the taxi companies desks in this exit, where a ticket with a fixed price for the ride can be requested, according to the visitor's route.

There is a wide range of restaurants, cafeterias, tobacco shops, drug stores, and ATMs inside the terminal. There are also shops offering national and international calls, Internet and fax services.

The touristic information point is located in module 5, store 127. You can also make your hotel reservations in that place.

 

“La Sabana” tourist train

Tourist train with one old steam locomotive running around towns of the savanna on the weekends.
Information and reservations: 617 03 00 - 375 05 57 and 375 05 58
 

Taxi service
In Bogotá, you can find tourism, city, inter-municipal, and interstate taxis. The rates within the city are very economic and the service is of good quality. The taxi service can also be rented by the hour. It is recommended to take the taxis at the hotels or to call for the service. Therefore, we strongly discourage taking taxis on the street, especially at night.

Inside the taxi, in a visible spot for the passenger, there must be an identification of the vehicle and the driver, as well as a list showing the rates according to the taximeter units and the corresponding Colombian pesos ($) equivalence. Trips from and to the airport, at night, on holidays, and those requested by phone are charged with an extra rate. Trips outside the urban area have a legal extra charge.

 

Car rentals

Several car rental agencies can be found on the city’s phone book. In order to have access to this service, it is necessary to have international driver's license, passport, and a credit card.

 

Cycle Routes and Cycleways

 

Sundays and holidays between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., 121 kilometers of the main streets and avenues in Bogotá become CICLOVÍAS (cycle ways), paths exclusively intended for cyclists, skaters, joggers, or just pedestrians. This program is a reference point in South America. The “Ciclovía” has become the most important leisure and sports activity for Bogotá residents, gathering between two and three million citizens on Sundays and holidays.

This program uses important arterial streets in the city, making it possible to cross the city from North to South and East to West. Its objective is to encourage coexistence, integration, and the proper use of the public space, as well as raising the awareness of the use of the free time among Bogotá residents. It is also designed to foster values of peaceful coexistence and to create a sense of ownership of the city, without any kind of religious, racial, social, or cultural discrimination. As a supplement to the Program, several recreational, cultural, and sports activities are carried out. The routes include parks, public spaces with historical and environmental value, and places of touristic interest.

The System seeks to disseminate the use of the bicycle as an alternative transportation means, in order to contribute to the easing of congestion. The goal is to integrate it to the TransMilenio system and to connect industrial, academic, cultural, and recreational areas. As complementary aspects, the system includes signs, information, education, and agreement processes involving the community.

 

For further information go to www.idrd.gov.co

On the other hand, the CICLORRUTAS (Cycle Routes) system has become a serious transportation alternative for many cyclists in Bogotá. They now have an exclusive, comfortable, secure, and fast path. It was conceived as an extension of the cycleways system and it constitutes an excellent commute alternative that doesn’t pollute. Nowadays, the System comprises nearly 269.3 kilometers (167.3 miles) across public spaces of different types. It is spread throughout the city as a network and it is divided into zones (for future cycle-stations). The outstanding acceptance by the population has generated a change of perception towards considering the bicycle to be a daily transportation means and the Cycle Routes as a transportation alternative.

As for the rules of behavior, when cyclists use the Cycle Routes, they must acknowledge and respect the rules contained in the National Traffic Regulations.

For further information click here.


Transmilenio

TransMilenio is a public transportation system implemented in Bogotá at the beginning of January, 2001. The system started operating with red articulated buses consisting of two bodies joined by folding bellows.

They transit on exclusive lanes through the city, on arterial roads like Calle 80, Troncal de la Caracas, Autopista del Norte, Avenida Suba, NQS (Avenida Carrera 30), and Avenida de las Américas.

There are three kinds of stations: portals or terminals, located at the start and the end of the routes. Intermediate stations, located at important intersections.

Regular stations, located approximately every 500 m (546.8 yards) throughout the routes.

Capacity: 180 passengers (46 seating and 114 standing up).

Single-ride ticket: $1500 Colombian pesos (around 81 cents -USD-), including transfer to the feeder buses (common green buses that go to the neighborhoods where TransMilenio doesn’t have service yet).

System routes and services
The System has main and feeder transportation services.

The feeding service takes the passengers from their origin to the terminals and intermediate stations.

The main service, on the other hand, consists in the transportation of passengers in vehicles that transit on TransMilenio exclusive lanes, the service is divided into two types: regular buses, which stop at every station and offer the passenger the flexibility of transferring; and express buses, which only stop at specific stations. The alternatives are designed to meet the needs of the passengers in terms of frequency, routes, and boarding and disembarking places.

In March, 2003, 373,558,370 passengers had used the service through 61 operating stations, 42 kilometers (26 miles) of main operation routes, and 470 buses.

For further information click here

 

Additional Information

 

Transiting in Bogotá:
The alternatives and fares of the city transport have different qualities, comfort features, and speed. The most recommended are TransMilenio and cabs.

Routes to come into or to exit the city
The following are the most important routes to come into or to exit the city:
On the North, Autopista del Norte and carrera séptima: routes to Boyacá and both of the Santander states.

On the South, Avenida Boyacá, Avenida 68 and Autopista del Sur: routes to Tolima, Huila, Eje Cafetero (the Colombian coffee-growing region), Valle del Cauca and Cauca.

On the West, Calle 13, Calle 80, Autopista Medellín-Bogotá: routes to Caldas, Antioquia and the Atlantic Coast.

On the Southeast, Avenida Boyacá: routes to Villavicencio and the Eastern Plains (Llanos Orientales).

Pico y Placa (Plate number restriction/Road space rationing)
This measure applies to private vehicles from 6:00 to 20:00 hours. Parking regulations for "No Parking Areas" inside the city are strict and permanent. More than 1,400,000 cars transit every day in Bogotá. The vehicle restriction, known as "Pico y Placa", is currently in force and it applies to both public and private transportation. Keep in mind the days for every plate number; avoid fines, and vehicle immobilization. Plate restriction for private vehicles

 

Schedule:
from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (20:00 hours)
Plate numbers according to the day: MONDAY 3-4-5-6     TUESDAY 7-8-9-0     WEDNESDAY 1-2-3-4     THURSDAY 5-6-7-8     FRIDAY 9-0-1-2

In order to avoid confusion, rotation is simple: the group of four numbers will be moved to the following day. In other words, those who had restriction on Mondays are moved to Tuesdays, those who were restricted on Tuesdays will be restricted on Wednesdays, and so on.

Public transportation in Bogotá comprises buses, small buses, taxis, and the new acquisition, TransMilenio (described above), for a total of 15,000 vehicles overall. Their model years and ages vary, most modern ones are quite comfortable and the fare is higher. It is possible to say that there are just a handful of appropriate bus stops in Bogotá. However, more bus stops are being implemented more strictly, especially on the most congested roads, so that the system can be more efficient. Nowadays, buses stop wherever the passenger is standing. All you have to do is raise your hand and the vehicle will stop. Buses and small buses cross the city in every direction; they are always in a race, but due to the heavy traffic, fortunately this is not very common anymore.

Transportation

Telecommunications

Bogotá has a satellite communications infrastructure, optical fiber and microwave networks, allowing an excellent national and international communication in voice and image. You can find internet cafes and telephone booths for long distance calls in hotels and in many parts of the city.
 

Pay Phones
Pay phones can be found all across the city and they can be used with coins or phone cards. From these pay phones you have access to national and international call services through three different companies:
• ETB-007 Mundo (07 for national calls and 007 for international calls)
• Orbitel (05 for national calls and 005 for international calls)
• Colombia en Línea (09 for national calls and 009 for international calls)

The following are several phone numbers that can be dialed for consulting diverse information:
• International call service through operator: 159, 179 and 199.
• National call service through operator: 151, 171 and 191.
• Information through direct national dialing: 150, 170 and 190.
• Information through direct international dialing: 158, 178 and 198
• General Information: 113.
• Local Time: 117.
• Citizen assistance special line: 195

The area codes for any country can be found in the white pages phonebook.
 
Mobile Phones
There are four major mobile phone service operators: Comcel, Movistar, Tigo and Avantel, and their services through third parties or direct consist in the maintenance and sale of mobile phone devices. The devices can be activated at any of their stores and offices.
 
Postal Service
Colombia has an excellent mail service. There are companies with international coverage such as FedEx, Servientrega, DHL and Deprisa. Avianca is responsible for domestic and international mail, postage stamps, etc. Telecom provides the service of sending telegrams and faxes. There are several places in town where visitors can send faxes.

Telecommunications

History of Bogotá

Pre-Hispanic History
The first populations in Bogotá were the Muiscas, members of the Chibcha language family. When the conquerors arrived, there were about half a million indigenous people from this group. They occupied the highland and mild climate sides between the Sumapaz mountains to the southwest and Cocuy snowy peak to the northeast, covering an approximate area of 25,000 km², comprising Bogotá high plain, a portion of the current Boyacá department and a small part of Santander. The most fertile lands were ancient Pleistocene lake beds and regions irrigated by high Bogotá, Suárez, Chicamocha and some Meta affluent river beds.

The population was organized in two large federations in this area, each one commanded by a chief: the southwest area was dominated by the Zipa, which center was located in Bacatá, currently Bogotá. It was the strongest area occupying two fifths of the territory. The northeast zone was under the Zaque domain and its center was Hunza region, currently Tunja. However, unlike Tairona population, Muiscas did not develop large cities. Muiscas, farmer by nature, formed a disperse population occupying several small villages and hamlets. Besides, there were also some free isolated tribes: Iraca or Sugamuxi, Tundama and Guanentá. Their inhabitants’ main occupation was agriculture complemented by hunting and fishing. They basically cultivated corn and potatoes, beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, “cubios”, yucca, tobacco, “arracacha”, sweet potatoes and some other fruit and vegetables. In the mining field, the salt and emeralds extraction was fundamental for their own use and for trading with other tribes for gold and cotton.
 
Myths and beliefs
Chía was the Zipa’s ceremonial center, a place used to worship the Moon, while the Zaque’s ceremonial center was Sogamoso, where the Sun temple was located. Apparently, the main function of Muisca priests was astronomic observation. Evidence of that are the numerous archaeological monuments in the shape of stone columns such as the Devil’s Cushions (Cojines del Diablo), two large discs sculpted high up in the rock within Tunja’s urban perimeter, which were probably solar observation sites. In Saquenzipa, ceremonial center near Villa de Leyva, there are about 25 large cylindrical columns aligned to the east-west stand: from this place, on the summer solstice, the sun rises exactly over the Iguaque lake where, according to the legend, the Bachué goddess emerged.

Bochica, the civilizing Muisca God, taught them manual arts, gave them moral standards and subsequently saved them from the savanna flood by breaking a rock and letting the water flow to form the Tequendama falls (Salto de Tequendama). For them, the goddess Chía was the moon and the god Zuhé was the sun, among other astral gods. For the Muiscas, lakes were sacred places where they had their ceremonies. In their most important myths and legends they talk about Guatavita, Siecha, Tota, Fúquene and Iguaque lakes were gold and pottery offerings have been found. They also worshiped the dead: nobles and chiefs were mummified and buried with all their belongings.

Goldsmith and Pottery
Although Muiscas had no gold, they obtained it by trading it with other tribes. They manufactured diverse pieces; the most outstanding are “tunjos”, small anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures they offered their gods. Among the diverse techniques they used to manufacture these pieces are: lost wax process, hammering and embossed. Gold objects were used for funerary and sacred offerings. They also made necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pectorals, nose rings and other pieces as ornaments for themselves. The Gold Museum and other private collection museums still preserve some of these pieces. They were outstanding at weaving and pottery.
 
Conquest
Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada Expedition
Since 1533, there was a belief among the Spanish conquerors that the Río Grande de la Magdalena was the trail to the South Sea, to Peru and especially to the legendary El Dorado. Finding El Dorado was the target set by Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada, the conqueror that left Santa Marta on April 6, 1536 with 500 soldiers heading towards the interior of the current Colombia.
The expedition was divided into two groups, the first, under Quesada’s command, would move by land, and the other, commanded by Diego de Urbino, would go up the river in four brigantine ships set to later meet Quesada’s troops at the site named Tora de las Barrancas Bermejas.

After arriving, they heard about Indians who inhabited the south and who also made large salt breads that were used to trade for wild cotton and fish. Jimenez decided to abandon the route to Peru and crossed the mountain in search of the “salt villages.” They found crops, trails, white salt breads and then huts where they found corn, yucca, potatoes and beans.

From Tora, the expedition went up the Opón River and found Indians covered with very fine painted cotton cloaks. When they arrived to the Grita Valley, only 70 of the 500 men who left Santa Marta were left.

In their journey they took large amounts of gold and emeralds. They captured the Zaque Quemuenchatocha at Hunza and headed towards Sogamoso, where they plundered and set the Sun temple on fire.

On March 22, 1537, they arrived at a place they named “Valle de los Alcázares” from the north, by crossing the salt villages of Nemocón and Zipaquirá. Being in Chibcha territory, they found good paths to head towards southwest. They crossed through several villages, among them Lenguazaque and Suesca.

They continued through Cajicá, Chía and Suba, the beginning of the Bogotá Kingdom, where they fought against Indians commanded by the Bogotá Chief, who tried to prevent them from entering Zipa Tisquesusa’s capital town Muequetá or Bacatá, a fenced ranch village built on a swampy ravine on the right margin of the Tisquesusa River.
 
Spanish Colonization
Foundation of Bogotá

Following the conquerors’ slogan “to found and to populate”, Quesada decided to build an urban settlement and establish a stable government. Towards the east, they found an Indian village named Teusaquillo near the Zipa’s recreation residence, with water, wood, land and protected from winds by the Monserrate and Guadalupe hills.

Although no document recording the city’s foundation has been found, August 6, 1538 is accepted as Bogotá’s foundation date. According to the tradition, that day Priest Fray Domingo de las Casas said the first mass in a hut church built near the current cathedral or near the Santander Park. It is said that the region was named “New Kingdom of Granada” that day and the village was named Santa Fe.

Urban Design
The city was designed in a grid pattern and since that time the one hundred meters per block side prevails. Traverse streets (East–West) were 7 meters wide and current carreras (North-South) are 10 meters wide. In 1553, the Main Plaza (currently called “Plaza Bolívar”) was moved to its current site and the construction of the first cathedral side began on the Eastern. The Chapter and the Royal Hearing premises were located on the other corners of the city. The street that connected the Major Plaza and Herbs Plaza (currently known as Santander park) was named “Calle Real” (Royal Street), and it is now called “Carrera Séptima” (Seventh Carrera).

Population of Santa Fe
Santa Fe’s population consisted of white people, mestizo people (people with mixed race parents, mainly white father and Indian mother or vice versa), Indians, and slaves; from the second half of the 16th century the population began growing quite rapidly. The census of 1789 recorded 18,161 inhabitants and, by 1819, the city population amounted 30,000 inhabitants distributed in 195 city blocks. The city became more important when the diocese was created. Until 1585, the only parish was the Cathedral; later on Las Nieves parish and Santa Bárbara parish were created to the North and to the south of the Main Plaza correspondingly.

Government and Administration
The city’s government was lead by the City Mayor and the Town Council (Cabildo), which comprised the aldermen assisted by the Sheriff or the Police Chief. Aiming to achieve a better administration of these domains, the Audience of Santafé de Bogotá was organized in April, 1550, which was where the Hearers to acted. Since then, the city became the country’s capital and home of New Kingdom of Granada’s government. Fourteen years later, in 1564, the Spanish Crown designated the first Royal Audience Chairman, Andrés Díaz Venero de Leyva. The New Granada became a Viceroy-ship in 1739 and the city was governed as it until Liberator Simón Bolívar lead the independence in 1819.

Religion
After dominating indigenous populations through war, the conquest by religion began, assisted by religious communities established in the entire Colombian territory from the 16th century. Churches and convents were built for the Franciscan, Dominican, and Augustine communities; and later on, in 1604, Jesuits, Capuchin monks, and Clarisse, Dominican and Barefooted Carmelite nuns build their temples.

Such communities marked the spirit and customs of Santafereños (people native from Santa Fe), since they exercised a strong ideological, political and cultural influence, which was only slightly reduced in 1767 when Carlos III ordered the expulsion of Jesuits from Spanish colonies in America.

Educational Centers
As in the rest of Spanish-colonized America, religious communities were fundamental in the field of education, which by order of the Crown took place in churches and convents. The first two universities were established by Dominican monks (1563 and 1573). In 1592, the San Bartolomé Seminar School was founded to provide higher education to Spanish children; Jesuits ruled the school, and in 1605 they also founded the Maximum School located in one of the Major Plaza corners.
In 1580, the Dominicans founded Pontificia Univesidad de Santo Tomás de Aquino first as an Arts and Philosophy school, and in 1621 the Jesuits established the San Francisco Javier or Javeriana University. In 1653, Fray Cristóbal de Torres founded the Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario. The first educational community and the first school for women were founded in 1783 in New Granada: La Enseñanza school, which was ruled by the community of María. From that time, school lessons for women started, a right that up to then was only for men.

Plastic Arts
Two trends could be identified during the colonial centuries, their common source was religious topics: the culta (educated), which was highly influenced by 17th-century metropolitan painting and had outstanding representatives in the Santa Fe school such as Baltasar de Figueroa, who was the head of a painters dynasty and created and maintained the school where Gregorio Vázquez de Arce y Ceballos (1638–1711) studied, who was perhaps the most outstanding artist of the time; and the popular, comprised by more ingenuous painters who were free of influences of the time, and who did not belong to any school. They interpreted biblical scenes, the life of saints and life episodes of the Christ and the Virgin in carved wood or paints but in a considerably free style.

Wood carving was highly positioned within plastic art production of the time and its maximum expression is found in pieces of wood adorning most Colombian churches, for instance San Francisco church main alter wood work, which was mainly carved by Ignacio García de Ascucha.

Pedro Laboria, a Spaniard that studied in Seville art workshops and came to Bogotá when he was very young and lived here the rest of his life is one of the most outstanding sculptors.

The French influence that dominated Spain during the 18th century when the Borbon dynasty took the throne, also characterized the artistic trends of the American colonies. By the middle of the century, painting and decoration secularized in American colonies and French style marked the taste of the government society, the high Creole bourgeoisie and the higher church hierarchy. Religious themes lead to portraits of people. The most famous painter of the time was Joaquín Gutiérrez, who portrayed Viceroys.


Botanic Expedition

The most important contribution to American nature science at that time was the Botanic Expedition, its objective consisted in studying native flora. It was started by orders from Archbishop-Viceroy Caballero y Góngora and it was directed by José Celestino Mutis, and scientists as prominent as Francisco José de Caldas, Jorge Tadeo Lozano and Francisco Antonio Zea also contributed to such endeavor. It was first established in Mariquita, but in 1791 it was subsequently transferred to Santa Fe, where it was operated until 1816.

The brilliant dratfsmen who contributed to this project produced a series of precious carefully drawn illustrations as evidence of the conducted research. They were Francisco Javier Matiz and Pablo Antonio García.
 
Nineteenth Century
Independence
The political uneasiness lived all over the Spanish colonies in America was expressed in New Granada in many different ways, accelerating the independence process. One of the most transcendent events was the Comuneros Revolution, a civil riot started in Villa del Socorro —current State of Santander—in March 1781. Spanish authorities refrained the riot and José Antonio Galán, its leader, was executed. However, he left an legacy continued in 1794 by Antonio Nariño, who became precursor of independence by translating and publishing the Rights of Man and the Citizen in Santafé, and by the leaders of the “July 20” movement in 1810. The declaration of independence occurred after an apparently slight dispute between Creole and Spanish people over the loan of a flowerpot, which became popular upraise.

The lapse of time between 1810 and 1815 is known as “Patria Boba” (Silly Homeland) because during those years Creole people fought among themselves in search for ideal government methods, the first ideological struggles occurred, and the first two republican political parties (federalists and centralists) were created.

Time of Terror and Independence
The Pacifying Expedition commanded by Pablo Morillo arrived in New Granada in 1815, pretending to conquer the rebel colony. This event lead to repression times that lasted until 1819. New Granada went through the Independence War period, during which notable personalities lost their life, but it ended with the triumphal liberator campaign commanded by Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander, who fought the Vargas Swamp Battle and the Battle of Boyacá (1819), which were decisive for achieving independence.

The Great Colombia
In 1819, the Liberator created Gran Colombia (Great Colombia), a national state constituted by Venezuela, New Granada and Quito, but it was dissolved years later in 1830, the same year Simón Bolívar died in Santa Marta.

Mid Century Revolution
No fundamental structure change from the inherited colonial phase occurred between 1819 and 1849. It was by middle of the 19th century when a series of fundamental reforms took place, some of the most important being slavery abolition and religious, teaching, print and speech, industrial and trading freedom, among many other.

During the decade of the 70s, Radicalism accentuated reforms and the concept of State, the perception of society and institutions was substantially modified. However, during the second half of the century, the country faced permanent “pronouncements,” fights between States and fractions, and civil wars: the last and bloodiest was the One Thousand Days War that occurred between 1899 and 1902.

Nineteenth Century Educational System
After achieving independence in Bogotá, the city continued to enjoy the privilege of being the main educational and cultural center of the new nation.

In 1823, a few years after the creation of the Great Colombia, the Public Library (now National Library) was expanded and modernized with new books and better facilities. Also, the National Museum was founded.

Those institutions were significantly important for the cultural development of the new republic. From the middle of the century, education secularization and expansion widened the academic possibilities. The Central University was the first state school, which was the precursor of the current National University. It was founded in 1867 and it was located in Bogotá.

Corographic Commission
Between 1850 and 1859, the first effort to research the history, geography, cartography, economy, society and cultures of the different regions of the country was carried out by the Geographic Commission, which was directed by Italian Agustín Codazzi. The graphic and documentary experience achieved by the Commission was greatly transcendent and complemented the work of Botanic Expedition.

Commission draftsmen were miniaturists, portraitists and landscapers who travelled all across the country and portrayed human types, labors, working methods, technical resources, garments, customs and geographic aspects. Commission documents are kept at the General Archive of the Nation.

Travelers and Painters of Customs
During the first half of the Nineteenth century, the first republican travelers and other visitors that were fascinated by nature, people and customs left large aquarelle drawing collections witnessing works, garments, customs, transportation methods, festivities and life styles that they observed around them.

Around the same time, other travelers and literates illustrated the same topics under written texts such as “Los bogas del río Magdalena” (Magdalena River paddlers) by Rufino José Cuervo in 1840, as well as many diaries and travel books. The most prominent travelers were Walhous Mark (1817–1895), whose excellent aquarelles constitute valuable testimony of Colombia at that time; Alfredo J. Gustin, César Sighinolfi, León Gautier, Luis Ramelli, among many other. Some of them stayed in the country and founded schools and art academies to communicate their technical and artistic knowledge.

Mexican Santiago Felipe Gutiérrez was the most influential foreign artist at the time. He founded Gutiérrez Academy in 1881, which became the National University School of Fine Arts.

Illustrated Newspapers
Alberto Urdaneta invited Spaniard Antonio Rodríguez to come to the country to manage the engraving school, which was established in 1881 in Bogotá. The illustrators of the Illustrated Newspaper (1881–1886) studied in that school. The newspaper was a publication founded and directed by Urdaneta. The work of the Illustrated Newspaper contributors has a great documentary value.

Population
Although not many foreign immigrants settled in Bogotá, according to several censuses carried out during the Nineteenth century, the population grew quite steadily: the census of 1832 recorded 36,465 inhabitants; in 1881, 84,723 inhabitants, and by the end of the century the total was nearly 100,000. Population growth from 1850 was partially due to Mid Century reforms, which increased the sources of work. Bogotá offered work possibilities in the trade sector, as well as in other diverse areas. Such population growth lead to a physical expansion of the city towards the north, creating new neighborhoods up to the Chapinero village, five kilometers away from the city center.

Cultural Life in the City
Bogotá was quite an isolated city, since it lacked of appropriate paths and roads to connect it with other regions and settlements. Only by the end of the century such isolation was broken thanks to the railroad and to some roads communicating the city and the Magdalena river, and through the river the city was connected to the Caribbean coast.

During the decade of the 70s, writers of varied trends grouped around Mosaico magazine, which was founded and directed by José María Vergara y Vergara, to make one of the first efforts to record Colombian literature history, and to consolidate the cultural identity of the country.

The city’s cultural life was focused on literary gatherings, which during the Nineteenth century allowed Bogotanians to share their literary and political concerns and to attend musical and theater shows. The Maldonado Theater featured theatrical and opera shows, and by the end of the Nineteenth century, Bogotá had two important theatres: Cristóbal Colón Theater, opened in 1892; and the Municipal Theatre, opened in 1895, which featured zarzuela (operetta) and musical shows. The city was also the scenario for important Colombian history events during the decades of the 30s and 40s.

During the Nineteenth century, despite constant riots and civil wars altering normal new republic development, Bogotá preserved traditions and customs that dated back to colonial times, combined with some European influence. Certain foods and beverages became traditional at meetings and gatherings: chocolate served at night accompanied of home made cookies and candy, and “ajiaco” became the traditional dish. Local composers music was played in the piano at night gatherings, and people danced pasillo in larger parties, which is a type of rapid waltz, so called due to the short dancing steps.

Artistic Production
The National School of Fine Arts was founded in 1886, which definitely boosted the artistic development in the city. Alberto Urdaneta was its first director. Painters Epifanio Garay and Ricardo Acevedo Bernal, school professors, were important portraitists, but the most outstanding artist at that time was painter Andrés de Santamaría (1860–1945), who greatly renewed painting in Colombia with his work. He was the director of the School of Fine Arts in two occasions and his work, associated to impressionism, is the most important of that time. The most famous representatives of the landscaping trend were Roberto Páramo, Jesús María Zamora, Eugenio Peña, Luis Núñez Borda and Ricardo Gómez Campuzano, painters whose work is preserved in the permanent National Museum collection.

Literary Production
José Asunción Silva (1865–1896), one of the most important pioneers of Modernism in the Spanish speaking world was born in Bogotá. His poetic work and his novel called “De sobremesa” gave him an outstanding place in American literature. Rafael Pombo (1833–1912) was an outstanding American romanticism poet, who left a collection of fables that are an essential part of children literature and Colombian tradition.

The Railroad
The North railroad project to connect Bogotá and the Carare river (affluent of the Magdalena river) dates back to the radicalism times, but only started shaping when the first railroad section to Girardot was built under a government contract with Francisco Javier Cisneros in 1881; its first section joined the Magdalena river port and Tocaima. The railroad reached Anapoima in 1898, and in 1908 Bogotá and Facatativá were connected by railroad. From that time, Bogotanians were able to mobilize to the Magdalena river by train. The Bogotá-Chapinero-Puente del Común section was opened in 1894, the Cajicá route started operating in 1896 and the Zipaquirá section in 1898. After completing the rail tracks to Soacha and Sibaté at the end of the Nineteenth century, Bogotá’s savannah had one hundred kilometers of railroads.

The Telephone
The first telephone line in Bogotá connected the National Palace with the city mail and telegraph offices on September 21, 1881. And on August 14, 1884, the municipality of Bogotá granted Cuban citizen José Raimundo Martínez the privilege to install public telephone services in the city. In December the same year, the first telephone was installed in the offices of Messrs. González Benito Hermanos connecting to another telephone in Chapinero.

The Tramway
The first tramway pulled by mules started operating on December 25, 1884; it covered the route from Plaza de Bolívar to Chapinero, and the line that connected Plaza de Bolívar and La Sabana Train Station started operating in 1892. The tramway rolled over wood rails but since it easily derailed, steel rails were imported from England and installed. In 1894, one tramway car ran the Bogotá-Chapinero line every twenty minutes. The tramway operated until 1948, and it was then replaced by buses.

Regeneration
President Rafael Núñez declared the end to Federalism and, in 1886, the country became a centralist Republic ruled by the Constitution in force (along with some amendments) up to 1991. Even with some political and administrative ups and downs, Bogotá continued to be the capital and main political center of the country.
 
Twentieth Century
Early in the twentieth century, Colombia had to face the devastating consequences of the One Thousand Days War, which started in 1899 and ended in 1902, as well as the loss of Panama. Between 1904 and 1909, the liberal party legality was reestablished and President Rafael Reyes endeavored to implement a national government. Peace and State reorganization generated an increase in the economic activity. Bogotá started deep architectural and urban transformation with a significant increase in industrial and crafts production. The Industrial Exposition of the Century took place at the Park of Independence in 1910. The built pavilions evidenced the achieved industrial, craftwork, fine arts, electricity and machinery progress.

The period of time from 1910 to 1930 is known as the conservative hegemony. Hard struggles between unions and oil companies, as well as banana production company workers strikes occurred between 1924 and 1928, leading to numerous people being killed.There was practically no industry activity in Bogotá. The city’s production was mainly craftwork, this activity was concentrated in specific places, as it also happened with the commercial sectors. Plaza de Bolívar and its surroundings lodged hat stores, luxurious stores selling imported products opened their doors at Calle del Comercio (Commerce Street, currently known as Carrera Séptima) and Calle Florián (now Carrera Octava); at Pasaje Hernández, tailor shops provided their services; and between 1870 and 1883, four main banks started operating: Banco de Bogotá, Banco de Colombia, Banco Popular and the Mortgage Credit bank. Bavaria brewery, established in 1889, was of one the major industries.

In 1923, the United States paid the Colombian government the first installment associated to the agreed 25 million dollars indemnification for their intervention in the separation of Panama, bringing prosperity which was reflected by an increase in exports, higher foreign investment and higher infrastructure development; many roads were built, industry activity increased, public expense grew and urban economy expanded.
 
The Liberal Republic
After the killing in the banana production zone and the division of the conservative party, Enrique Olaya Herrera took office in 1930. The liberal party reformed, during 16 years of the so called Liberal Republic, the agricultural, social, political, labor, educational, economic and administrative sectors. Union movements strengthened and education coverage expanded. In 1938, the fourth centenary of the foundation of Bogotá, which population had reached 333,312 inhabitants, was celebrated. The celebration of such event produced a large number of infrastructure works, as well as new constructions and work sources.

 

Following the division of the liberal party in 1946, a conservative candidate took again the presidential office in 1948; and after the assassination of the liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, Bogotá downtown was practically destroyed and the violence increased. From that date, the city went through fundamental changes in its urban, architectural and population image.

City Life in the Twentieth Century
During the twentieth century, Bogotá’s cultural life transformation accelerated, partially due to the new communication media. Newspapers, domestic and foreign magazines, the cinema, as well as radio, telegraph and telephone communications multiplied, and plane transportation linked Bogotá to the rest of the world. Migration waves of peasants and farmers running away from violence and the people that came to Bogotá looking for work and better opportunities tripled the population, which went from 700,000 in 1951 to 1,600,000 in 1964, and 2,500,000 inhabitants in 1973. The city modernized, and expanded its work fields, the economic offer in the industries, finances, construction and education. During the dictatorship of General Rojas Pinilla (1953 to 1957), television arrived in Colombia and construction projects such as El Dorado airport (which replaced ancient Techo airport) were completed, dynamizing the city’s urban development and a large amount of neighborhoods development to the West with the avenue that connects the airport to the city as the main progress factor. The North Main Road also helped in the expansion of urban development to the North of the city. The Official Administrative Center project was started and it was subsequently completed to establish the National Administrative Center (abbreviated CAN in Spanish).

Bogotá, Special District and Capital District
In 1954, the municipalities of Usme, Bosa, Fontibón, Engativá, Suba and Usaquén were annexed Bogotá, the Special District of Bogotá was created focusing towards future growth; and the new city administration was organized. In 1991, under the new Constitution, Bogotá became the Capital District. According to the census of 1985, Bogotá’s population had increased to 4,100,000; and by 1993, the population reached nearly 6,000,000 people.

Economic Transformation
The economy of the city has greatly developed and diversified through the years. Industrial production became substantial, requiring specialized industrial areas development. Crafts production became one of the most appreciated ornamental and utilitarian expressions and a source of income for family businesses.

The fact that commercial activities are in constant growth and business, financial and banking centers have made that Bogotá continues to be the economic core of the country and a privileged place for business in the Andean Zone market, as well as with the United States and several European and Asian countries.

Bogotá’s savannah has become a center for the production of flowers, which are exported to many countries, generating foreign currency flow and a work source that demands a high level of labor. Informal economy and micro-enterprises cover a large sector of the population in diverse activities.

Cultural Life
Profound development in architecture, sculpture, painting, music, literature and education began in 1950. Nowadays, universities offer different undergraduate and specialization programs in arts. The schools of philosophy, literature, history, humanities and social sciences are training internationally successful professors, researchers, scientists, writers, musicians and filmmakers at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels programs.

Higher Education
University education is one of the most important aspects of the city. University population is calculated to be 16% of Bogotá’s total population.

The following are the most important universities located in Bogotá that offer various undergraduate, specialization, masters and postgraduate programs: National University, Los Andes University (founded in 1948), Javeriana, El Rosario, Santo Tomás (which were founded during the Colony) and Libre, Externado, Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Pedagógica, La Sabana, Sergio Arboleda and Católica universities. The Caro y Cuervo Institute develops extremely important activities regarding the Spanish language.

Current Bogotá
Currently, Bogotá is a modern metropolis with a population of nearly seven million, covering approximately 330 square kilometers (more than 127 square miles).

Due to the technical advances of big cities, and the substantial transformation in the past eight years, Bogotá is now a friendly and lovely city that offers a rich and varied cultural life. Bogotá is a city that provides any modern life services and comfort required, without giving up many of its colonial time customs that were preserved in traditional neighborhoods.
 

History of Bogotá

Symbols: Flag, coat of arms and anthem

Flag of Bogotá


The flag of Bogotá has its origin in the insurgency movement against the colonial authorities that began on July 20, 1810. The rebels started wearing armbands with yellow and red bands, which are the colors of the Flag of Spain, then in force for the New Kingdom of Granada. After 142 years, by decree 555 of October 9, 1952, the patriotic badge was finally adopted as the official flag of Bogotá.
Source: www.alcaldiabogota.gov.co

Meaning of the colors:
Yellow denotes justice, clemency, virtue and benevolence.
Red denotes liberty, health and charity.
This is the same flag the patriots used at the Independence heroic deed of July 20, 1810.
--------
Decree No. 555, 1952 (October 9)
Por el cual se dicta una disposición el alcalde de Bogotá en uso de sus facultades legales y CONSIDERANDO:
Que la ciudad capital ha carecido del emblema que conforme a las reglas de la heráldica traduzca las virtudes que la han caracterizado a lo largo de su historia; que para solemnizar las efemérides patrias y las de la ciudad, es necesario que recuerde a la ciudadanía bogotana las cualidades que le han dado lustre a su ciudad y a la vez le sirva de estimulo para mantenerles y acrecentarlas.
Que consultada la academia Colombiana de Historia acerca de cual podría ser la bandera de Bogotá, según la tradición y la historia, en comunicación de los corrientes transcrito el informe rendido por los señores académicos Enrique Ortega Ricaurte, Guillermo Hernández de Alba, cuyas conclusiones fueron aprobados por la corporación y que el gobierno municipal comparte las opiniones de la academia y considera que ninguna bandera mejor podría adoptar el emblema republicano creado por los patricios del 20 de julio de 1810.
Article 1. Adóptese oficialmente como pabellón bandera o estandarte una compuesta de los colores amarillo y rojo, distribuido en 2 fajas iguales horizontales de los cuales el amarillo irá colocado en la parte superior. Llevará en el centro el escudo de armas de la ciudad, timbrado con el titulo de “Muy noble y muy Leal” las dimensiones de la bandera serán las mismas del pabellón Nacional. Cuando se use como pendón será dos veces más larga que ancha, cortada en disminución hasta la punta. Cuando se emplee como estandarte tendrá dos veces y medio el largo de su ancho.
 Article 2. En todas las fiestas nacionales y municipales se izará en lo sucesivo el pabellón de Bogotá en todos los edificios públicos del municipio.
COMUNÍQUESE, PUBLÍQUESE Y CUMPLASE.
Decree issued in Bogotá’s Municipal Palace on October 9 of 1952.
 

 

Bogotá’s Coat of Arms

 

 

 

The coat of arms of the city of Santa Fe (now Bogotá) was granted by Emperor Charles V, by royal decree given in Valladolid on December 3, 1548; and the following is the most relevant part: “...e. por la presente hacemos mereced e queremos e mandamos que agora e aquí en adelante la dicha provincia del dicho Nuevo Reino de Granada e ciudade e villas della hayan e tengan por sus armas conocidas un escudo que en el medio del haya un águila negra rampante entera coronada de oro que en cada mano tenga una granada colorada en campo de oro y por orla unos ramos con granadas de oro en campo azul según va pintado e figurado”.
(Actual excerpt of the old Spanish decree)
The coat of arms was granted by Charles V to the New Kingdom of Granada. The black eagle symbolizes strength; the nine pomegranates represent courage and fearlessness.
 
Bogotá’s Anthem
 
Lyrics by: Pedro Medina Avendaño
Music by: Roberto Pineda Duque  

 

[Chorus]
Entonemos un himno a tu cielo
a tu tierra y tu puro vivir
¡Blanca estrella que alumbra en los Andes!
¡Ancha senda que va al porvenir! (Twice)

[First verse]
Tres guerreros abrieron tus ojos
a una espada, a una cruz, y a un pendón
Desde entonces no hay miedo en tus lindes
ni codicia en tu gran corazón. (Twice)

 

[Estrofa II]
Hirió el hondo diamante un agosto
el cordaje de un nuevo laúd
y hoy se escucha el fluir melodioso
en los himnos de la juventud.
 
[Estrofa III]
Fértil madre de altiva progenie
que sonríe ante el vano oropel
siempre atenta a la luz de la mañana
y al pasado y su luz siempre fiel.
 
[Estrofa IV]
La sabana es un cielo caído
una alfombra tendida a tus pies
y del mundo variado que animas
eres brazo y cerebro a la vez.
 
[Estrofa V]
Sobreviven de un reino dorado
de un imperio sin puestas de sol
en ti un templo, un escudo, una reja
un retablo, una pila, un farol.

 

[Estrofa VI]
Al gran Caldas que escruta los astros
y a bolívar que torna a nacer
a Nariño accionando la imprenta
como en sueños los vuelves a ver
 
[Estrofa VII]
Caros, Cuervos y Pombos y Silvas
tantos nombres de fama inmortal
que en el hilo sin fin de la historia
les dio vida tu amor maternal.
[Estrofa VIII]
Oriflama de la Gran Colombia
en Caracas y Quito estará
para siempre en la luz de tu gloria
con las dianas de la libertad.
 
[Estrofa IX]
Noble, leal en la paz y en la guerra
De tus fueres colinas al pie
Y en el arco de la media luna
Resucitas en cid, santa fe.
 
[Estrofa X]
Flor de razas compendio y corona
En la patria no hay otra ni habrá
Nuestra voz la repiten los siglos:
¡Bogotá! ¡Bogotá! ¡Bogotá!

 

 

 

Symbols: Flag, coat of arms and anthem

Economy

Bogotá’s economy is mainly based on industry, commerce, and financial and business services.

Twenty percent of the companies in the Bogotá-Cundinamarca region belong to the manufacturing industry. Metal products, machinery, equipments, printing presses, chemical products, food products, beverages, tobacco products, textiles, and different types of wood products are the most important production in this industry.
 

Economy

Currency and Banks

Currency
The official currency of Colombia is the peso ($).The exchange of foreign currency should be made exclusively in hotels, banks and official currency exchange places, never on the street.

Exchange Rate
The exchange rate fluctuates according to the U.S. dollar. You can find currency exchange in many parts of the city, in Downtown on Avenida Jimenez, near the Plazoleta del Rosario, at the Centro Internacional, in most of the shopping centers, on Carrera 15 between 90th and 95th streets,
 
Where it is possible to buy or sell foreign currency, traveler's checks and send money or receive money transfers.
Payment is made on the basis of the official daily rate, after discounting commissions and services, which vary between 2 and 3%.
When leaving the hotel, you should take enough cash in Colombian currency to spend during the day. The currency denomination is: Coins $50, $100, $200 and $500. Bills $1,000; $2,000; $5,000; $10,000; $20,000 and $50,000.

 

 

ATMs
Bogotá has an extensive network of ATMs in service 24 hours. The transactions generally permitted are: credit/debit balance, withdrawals, transfers and cash advances. As in any other city, you should avoid giving the card to strangers or revealing your personal PIN code. Do not ask or receive help from people who do not work at the bank, do not use suspicious ATMs. Some ATMs, such as Cirrus, Visa and Master Card allow international debit and credit transactions.
 
Credit Cards and Traveler's Checks
Debit and Credit Cards
Most of the big stores, restaurants and supermarkets accept international debit and credit cards.


Traveler's Checks

You can make payments with them only in the more exclusive hotels but they are not commonly used in commercial establishments.
 

Currency and Banks

Location - How to get to Bogotá

Bogotá is located on the majestic Cundinamarca-Boyacá plateau in the Eastern mountain range of Los Andes, at 2,640 m.a.s.l., almost at the center of the country. You can get to the capital city by airplane, arriving to El Dorado International Airport. By land, it is possible to arrive to Bogotá taking Autopista Norte, the road to La Calera, Autopista Sur, Autopista Medellín-Bogotá, and the road to Villavicencio.

Location - How to get to Bogotá

Security

IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS

 

 

You can get information 24/7 calling 123 for emergencies or 195 for general service information.
 
If you need tourist information, call the toll-free Tourist Support Line: 01 8000 127400, which has 24/7 support.
 
You can also go to the Touristic Information Points (PITs), located in different parts of the city

(for further information, click here)

 



WHAT DOES BOGOTÁ HAVE THAT MAKES IT SO SPECIAL AND DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CITIES IN THE WORLD?
 
A tourist who just wants to rest, as well as an successful businessman wanting to invest in the city ask themselves this very question. The answer for it is recorded in hundreds of specialized journal articles and magazines around the world; journalists feel more and more appealed by the renewed attractions of the capital city.
 
All of them emphasize the accelerated city-planning transformation, its innovative TransMilenio system, its cycle paths, its markets, its growth as a business and investment center in the region, its tourism and cultural agenda diversity, its multiple alternatives in events, festivals, gastronomy, nightlife, its great concerts, its variety of shops and stores, its natural and religious attractions, its hotel industry growth, and its sophisticated leisure offer.
 
Bogotá is always moving forward. This increasingly cosmopolitan city is a reference point for other capital cities of the world. For that reason, it is the favorite destination for foreign tourists in Colombia, as the statistics show it.
 
The District Tourism Institute -IDT- welcomes you and invites you to come to the Touristic Information Points, which are located in different parts of the city to show you, not only the hotel offer in the city, but also the diverse cultural agenda and tourist sites.
 
The IDT invites you to keep in mind these recommendations, as the corresponding authorities would do in any other city in the world, so that your stay in Bogotá is as pleasant as it can be.     
 
We are very pleased to have you in our city. Enjoy your stay and come back soon.
 
 
DURING YOUR STAY, KEEP IN MIND THE FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS

 

In Bogotá, as in any other city in the world, it is advisable to take certain precautions:
 
•    Guide of security recommendations
 
Document on tourism security in Bogotá
 
•    First International Meeting on Tourism Security: competitive and sustainable destinations
 

Security

Safety Tips

Tourists’ rights, according to Colombian regulations:

 

- To receive the hired services according to the terms offered and agreed.

 

- If the offered or agreed services are not partially or totally delivered, the tourist shall have the right to receive another service of the same quality, or the refund or compensation for the undelivered service. In case of objective impossibility to render the service with the same quality, the provider will hire the service provision with a third party to its own expense. (Articles 63 and 64, Act 300 of 1996).

 

How to make a formal complaint

 

If the tourism service provider fails to meet its commitment or does it partially, the tourists are entitled to make their formal complaint within 45 days after the event, before the business association to which the service provider is affiliated or before the Tourist Protection Group of the Tourism Vice-Ministry (telephone: 606 76 76, option 3.  Address: calle 28 No. 13 A - 15, first floor).

 

The formal complaint must be in writing, as a summary, and it must contain:

 

- Name and address of the breaching tourism service provider

 

- Claimant's name, ID number, and address

 

- All necessary documents attached to support the claim

Safety Tips

Immigration and Emigration Proceedings

In agreement with the provisions of the Customs Statute, and especially with the regulations regarding travelers, the following are some of the definitions and instructions that must be considered when going through immigration or emigration proceedings.

 

CUSTOMS, PERSONAL EFFECTS, AND BAGGAGE

Customs
When arriving to Colombia, travelers receive a form to start the proceeding and the signature of the baggage declaration in order to specify their personal effects and merchandises and the amount of money entering the country.

 

Personal Effects

Personal effects are all new or used items that a traveler can reasonably need for personal use during the trip, keeping in mind the circumstances, the accompanied baggage or carry-on bag, except goods that may constitute commercial expedition.


Accompanied Baggage

The baggage arriving with the travelers at the time of their entry to the country and which can be composed by their personal effects and/or allowed articles.

 

Unaccompanied Baggage

The baggage entering the country before or after the travelers arrive. It must be registered under their own name. If the baggage was or will be brought as cargo, it must be declared in the Baggage and Cash Declaration Form and customs officer must be informed before leaving the Customs area. Otherwise, the baggage shipment will be submitted to the ordinary customs clearance proceeding.

The baggage entering thirty days before or ninety days after the date of arrival of the traveler is charged with a 15% tax.


Temporary Importation

Non-resident travelers in Colombia are entitled to bring into the country, temporarily and duty-free, items or goods for personal or professional use, which will be used during their stay in the country. Such items must be taken out of the country at the end of the stay in Colombia. The goods must also be declared in the Cash and Baggage Declaration Form.

 

Cash
If a traveler brings foreign currency in cash, securities or negotiable instruments into Colombia totaling ten thousand US dollars or more, or its equivalent in other currencies, including Colombian legal currency, the traveler is forced by law to declare this entry in the Cash and Baggage Declaration form. Not filling out the required declaration or making false, incomplete, distorted, or wrong declarations will lead to retention of the securities and a corresponding currency exchange fine.

 

Animal or Vegetal Goods

If a traveler is bringing into the country plants, parts of them, animals or animal derived products, it must be immediately informed to the port health officer of the Colombian Institute for Agriculture and Livestock (ICA), since their entry is restricted by the Colombian sanitary regulations.


Taking abroad specialized goods and items

There is a limit for the amount of goods that a traveler is taking abroad, and it is subject to constant changes. Travelers can take abroad goods such as video cameras, professional equipment, and other valuable goods that they may use abroad. In order to bring them back to the country, duty free, they must be presented to the Customs Office of the airport and the traveler must fill out the Temporary Exportation form for those items.
 
For further information about all these customs details, it is recommended to check the Travelers paragraph in Decree 2685 of 1999, and to go to the Web page www.dian.gov.co or to get in touch with the offices of the National Customs and Taxes Authority -DIAN- by calling the following line 425 10 00 Ext. 2681.  The DIAN Office for travelers is located in the international flights terminal, entrance 7, at El Dorado International Airport. For exportations, call the airport's DIAN Exportations Office: 425 10 00 Ext. 2687 - 2684.


Transporting Pets

The transportation of pets in international flights demands a health certificate issued no more than eight days before and signed by a veterinarian, and a valid vaccine certificate. The pet should be taken to the ICA office, (Port Health Office at El Dorado International Airport) 24 hours before the flight.
 
For domestic flights you must request a local transportation guide once you have presented the valid vaccine certification issued by a veterinarian. For further information call 425 10 00 Ext. 2297 – 2330.
 

VISAS AND PERMISSIONS
Travelers coming from countries without restrictions to entering Colombia and for which the trip purpose is tourism are entitled to stay a maximum period of ninety (90) calendar days. This permission is issued by the immigration authority at the port of entry.
They can also request a ninety (90)-day extension at the Bureau of Immigration Services, located at calle 100 No. 11-27.
 
Passengers coming from countries that have restrictions must request a tourist visa at the Colombian consulate in their country of origin.
 
Temporary visitor visas or entry permissions are not required in the case of 24-hour transit stays (maximum).
 
If the reasons to enter the country are academic or working related, travelers must request a visa or permission, which are issued by the official Colombian consulate in their country of origin. A consular or diplomatic agent must be consulted about information regarding the proceedings and requirements of Colombian regulations.
 
For further information see Decree 2107 of October 8, 2001, go to www.minrelext.gov.co or call the following telephone number 566 20 08.
 
Foreigners coming from countries without restrictions to entering Colombia can stay for 90 days only if the purpose of their trip is tourism.
 

TAXES

Bringing duty-free goods into the country
Travelers have the right to bring into the country, besides their personal effects, duty-free goods under the following conditions:
 
•    Time of stay abroad: Any time.
•    Value of the goods in US dollars: $ 1,500 US.
•    Type of Goods: personal and family use goods.
•    Maximum Amount: non-commercial amounts.
•    Type of Baggage: accompanied.
 
If all the baggage consists of duty-free goods, the traveler can go through the “non-declaring” check point (check light). The purpose of this check light system is to speed up the inspection process of the travelers coming from abroad, and what it does is that it randomly chooses baggage to be inspected. If when pressing the button at the entrance to the check point the green light turns on, the traveler can carry on; but if the light is red, the baggage must be inspected.
The people that have items that need to be declared have to come to a DIAN officer in order to pay the corresponding taxes.
 
For example, someone that has spent four days abroad can bring into the country a vacuum cleaner, a sewing machine, a TV set, a video camera, a computer or any goods of personal use only if their value is not higher than $1,500 USD. But if the traveler brings into the country a computer that costs $2,000 USD, that person only has to pay the corresponding tax fee for the extra $500 USD.

 

Bringing taxed goods into the country
Travelers have the right to bring into the country, besides their personal effects, taxed goods under the following conditions:

 

  • Time of stay abroad: five (5) days or more.
  • Value of the goods in US dollars: $2,500 USD or more.
  • Types of Goods: Electric or non-electric domestic use goods, sports goods, and goods related to the traveler’s profession or occupation.
  • Maximum Amount: three (3) of each.
  • Tax amount to be paid: Goods costing $1,500.00 USD or less are duty free; for goods that cost $2,500.00 or more, the owner has to pay 15% of taxes only once a year.
  • Type of baggage: Accompanied or unaccompanied baggage.
     

Minors only can bring into the country goods that cost 50% of the afore mentioned values.
 

The following items cannot be brought into the country under the previous method: train cars, railroad track materials, automobiles, airships or aircrafts, hot air balloons, blimps, gliders, boats or any floating artifact and/or their parts, weapons, ammunition, explosives, transport material such as tires, car parts or machinery. Bicycles, wheelchairs and baby carriages are exceptions that can be brought into the country directly.
 

For example, if the traveler has been abroad for more than five days, the quota is $4,000 USD including domestic use goods, sports goods, and goods related to the traveler’s profession or occupation. The traveler can bring into the country up to three units of each article, without exceeding the $4,000 USD quota, from which $1,500 USD are duty free and for the remaining $2,500 USD, the traveler will pay 15% of taxes (once a year). For such reason, it is important to always have the invoice or bill of the acquired articles at hand in order to verify their value.
 

When the traveler has to report baggage and pay taxes, the invoices or bills of the merchandise must be put together with the passport and the ticket stub and the traveler must go through the “declaring” check point. The baggage must undergo a inspection process and the taxes must be paid with local currency or exchange-free currency. If the taxable goods are not reported to the customs office, they will be seized.

Airport Tax
Domestic Flights: This charge is paid at the airport and the following persons are exempted from the payment: passengers in transit who arrive and leave on the same date with a different destination from the point of origin, crew members of Colombian airlines who travel with the exclusive purpose of carrying out their duties, personnel of the Colombian national armed forces and police who travel on official business, children under 2 and officials of the civil aviation authority who travel on official business.
 
International Flights: The following persons are exempted from the payment: International passengers in transit, official sports delegations accredited by the Colombian government, officials of the civil aviation authority who travel on official business, deported persons or persons not admitted to the country, members of the Colombian national armed forces and police in active service who travel on official business, members of regular airline crews who travel with the exclusive purpose of carrying out their duties, diplomatic bags, musical instruments that occupy an aircraft seat and children under two years old. For further information, inquire at the Airport Services Headquarters, Tel: (+571) 425.1000 ext. 2588 and 2083, or fax (+571) 413.9459.
 
Departure Tax
Every passenger travelling by air must pay a departure tax subject to change.
 
The following persons are exempted from the payment:
Colombians: employees or officials of central government service or the decentralized sector traveling on official business, on presentation of government authorization, students studying abroad with grants or loans from the Colombian Institute of Educational Credit (Instituto Colombiano de Crédito Educativo) and technical studies abroad and students who travel under the auspices of universities recognized by the Ministry of Education, officials and workers of international land, sea and air transport who travel abroad on official business, when the company accredits the service of international transport and the official or worker, who should present to the civil aviation authority the certification of the head of personnel of the company specifying the position held and purpose of the trip, residents of the archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence when they travel to a Central American country for a maximum of ten days, official sports delegations accredited by the Colombian government, Colombian residents abroad who are in transit or are visiting Colombia and their stay in the country does not exceed 180 days, people travelling on a diplomatic passport, children under 5 or regular crews of ships and aircraft of Colombian maritime and air transport companies.
 
Foreign tourists: foreign tourists who are in transit or are visiting Colombia, when their stay in the country does not exceed sixty days, passengers in transit, those who are in transit within international border areas legally defined as such, when they comply with customs regulations, diplomatic bags and musical instruments that occupy aircraft seats.
For further information, go to www.dian.gov.co, check the chapter on Travelers (Viajeros) of the Decree 2685 of 1999, or contact the “Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales” -DIAN, by calling (+571) 4251000 ext. 2681. At El Dorado Airport, the Travelers’ Service Office of the DIAN (Atención a los Viajeros), located on the international passenger concourse, entrance 7.
 
Household Goods
Non-residents of Colombia who enter the country with the purpose of establish permanent residence may bring, without an import license, personal effects and household goods that correspond to their family unit.
 
The household goods are subject to customs duties and cannot be declared before the arrival of their owner in the country, in whose name they should be consigned. To declare them, a form from the “Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales” -DIAN- must be completed. In accordance with article 92 of Law 488 of 1988, merchandise that form part of household goods pays an overall 15% duty ad-valorem. The limit time for the arrival of household goods at customs is one month before or four months after the arrival of their owner.

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