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  • In this Section:
    Adopting through FANA
    Adoption Information Sessions
    Special Needs Children
    Staying in Bogota During the Adoption Process
    Places of Interest in Bogota

     

    Places of Interest and Things to do in and around Bogotá, Colombia

    A recent Time magazine article, The Return of Bogotá, noted that tourism in Bogotá is on the rise. There are new hotels, cafés, and galleries -- not to mention abundant shops, historic sites, and and relaxing parks. More extensive lists are available on www.bogotaturismo.gov.cowww.bogota-dc.com,www.bogotatravelguide.com, and www.gosouthamerica.about.com/cs/southamerica/a/ColBogota.htm. Wikipedia also has extensive information on Bogotá, such aswww.wikitravel.org/en/Bogota. This list includes a sample of the places that have been popular with adopting families.

    Sightseeing and Events

    Monseratte

    La Candelaria

    El Museo de Oro

    Ciclovia

    Bogotá is a lively, child-friendly city with plenty of things to keep you busy while you’re waiting for the courts to process your paperwork. Just ask the host at your residencia for suggestions; they will put you in touch with tour guides/drivers or arrange taxis for you.

    • Cerro de Monseratte (Monseratte Hill): On top of this commanding 3,200-meter-high "hill" is a beautiful church and panoramic views of Bogotá. To get to the top, you can take a cable car or the funicular railway. Pilgrims to the statue of Christ inside the church often walk to the top. Babies and children are welcome, although pushing a stroller isn’t easy even when you get to the top (take the Baby Bjorn!).
    • La Candelaria: The city’s colorful, photogenic “old town” includes cobblestone streets, steep hills, restored homes, small shops, colonial churches, hotels, restaurants, universities, and a number of attractions including the Plaza de Bolivar, the Bogota Cathedral, the government buildings, and presidential home. A walking tour is worthwhile. There are several interesting, traditional restaurants in the area including one with rooftop views upstairs in the Hotel de la Opera.
    • Museums: There are a number of museums in Bogotá. Among the favorites are:
      • El Museo de Oro (the Gold Museum): The story of Colombia’s history through gold artifacts of the country's indigenous people. Guidebooks and audio guides (English and Spanish) are available, and it has a wonderful gift shop.
      • El Museo de Botero (Botero Museum): Art collection donated by Colombian master Fernando Botero, including works by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí, Matisse, Monet, Degas, Chagall, and Botero himself.
      • Museo Nacional (National Museum): The oldest in the country and one of the oldest in the continent, built in 1823, with collection of over 20,000 pieces including works of art and objects representing different national history periods. The fine arts collection includes works from the best known national painters: Enrique Grau, Guillermo Weidermann, Alejandro Obregon, Fernando Botero, and others.
      • Fundación Museo de los Niños (Children’s Museum): Exhibits about science, technology, culture and arts for children.
    • Futbol (Soccer): Futbol is a big deal in Colombia. Ask your host for help arranging tickets to a game.
    • Neighborhood Parks: Parks with playgrounds are sprinkled throughout the area near the residencias.
    • Jardin Botánico de Bogotá (Botanical Park): A large greenspace that is a perfect getaway from cars and city noise, with a large rose garden and interesting native flora.
    • Parque Metropolitano Simón Bolívar (Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park): A large park complex with sports venues, amusement parks, walking paths, and more.
    • Ciclovia (“Bike Path”): Every Sunday and holiday the main streets are closed to car traffic from 7 am to 2 pm so that runners, skaters and bicyclists can take over the streets. This is a great opportunity to go for a long walk and see the city. Take a map if you are directionally challenged (available from your residencia host).

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    Day Trips Outside of Bogotá:

    • Parque Jaime Duque (Jaime Duque Park): Located in the town of Briceno, a great place to get away with an amusement park, zoo, museums, restaurants, and green space.
    • La Catedral de Sal (the Salt Cathedral): Located in the town of Zipaquirá (north of Bogotá), this is an underground church built in a tunnel of salt mines 200 meters inside a mountain. The old city center of Zipaquirá, with Spanish colonial-style buildings, is a tourist attraction, and a sightseeing train runs here from Bogotá on weekends and holidays.
    • Hacienda Coloma: A small coffee plantation located in Fusagasugá, about one and a half hours from Bogotá. The gardens and buildings are worth the trip alone!
    • Guatavita is a small town approximately 1.5 hours from Bogotá where the legend of El Dorado originated. A tour takes you to the mountain top with a breathtaking view of the lagoon.
    • Panaca Farm in Chia exhibits animals native to Colombia. The town of Chia is approximately 1 hour from Bogotá.

    Overnight (and More) Stays: 

    For these, your residencia host and/or driver can help arrange a trip, or put you in touch with a travel agent.

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    Shopping and Services

    Carulla

    Artisan Markets

    The Leather District

    You can find almost anything you want or need in Bogotá, and shopping is much the same as it is in the United States from small storefronts to upscale malls to artists’ galleries. Because many items are imported, they may seem expensive. But other items, especially local handicrafts, are great buys (and great keepsakes).

    • Grocery Stores: You will find yourself making frequent trips to the grocery store for basics such as diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food, not to mention treats such as Colombian chocolate and candy.Carulla is a popular store and is near most of the residencias. Pomona is another, but is a bit farther for most residencias. The stores also have good bakeries and sell wine, spirits, and beer. At the deli counter you can have a sandwich made-to-order or buy pizza by the slice.
    • Shopping Malls: Unicentro is a large, modern mall within walking distance of most residencias. There are fast-food and full-service restaurants, small shops, kiosks, large department stores, a bowling alley, and a cinema -– just like any mall in the U.S. On Sundays, be prepared for a crowd –- a Catholic Mass is held in the mall in the mornings. 
         Located in the area known as Usaquén, Hacienda Santa Barbara is another mall a that is a little farther walking distance than Unicentro from the residencias. Originally a hacienda, the partly open-air mall is filled with specialty stores and has a food court. If you walk through the mall to the other side, there is a square the Church of Santa Barbara (which dates from 1665) and a couple of fun restaurants. One that is especially good is multi-colored and has three levels of balconies from which to dine.
         Centro Comercial Andino is an enclosed shopping mall filled with specialty shops and small restaurants. It is about halfway between the residencias and downtown Bogotá. It is located right next to an area of excellent restaurants. Your driver or a cab ride will get you there and back.
    • Pepe Ganga: This is a small department store located close to most of the residencias (and also in Unicentro Mall) where can buy baby necessities, toys, clothing, kitchen items, and more. An offshoot of Pepe Ganga is Bebe Ganga, which has a wider selection of baby necessities.
    • Migues: A favorite stop for many families adopting younger children is Migues, which sells Colombian-made leather booties for infants and toddlers.
    • Artisan Markets: A great way to peruse the local handicrafts is to go to an artisan market. On Sundays, Hotel La Fontana holds a market in their beautiful courtyard with jewelry, art, textiles, and crafts of all kinds. An upscale Sunday flea market in Usaquén has a good selection of high-quality local crafts. Maku is a three-story permanent store full of Colombian keepsakes. And at some residencias, the host will invite local artisans to display their works.
    • The Leather District: Leather goods –- shoes, boots, handbags, coats, etc. -- are a major industry in Colombia; you can buy direct from the manufacturers and even have shoes or boots made to order.
    • Emeralds: Colombia historically has been the world's leading producer of emeralds, and Colombia's emeralds are the most sought after in the world because of their brilliance and deep color. Talk to your residencia’s host, or Elizabeth at FANA, about where to purchase quality emeralds at good prices.
    • Large Department Stores: Exito is a very large department store, akin to WalMart. Several are located around Bogotá. Ask your driver to take you, or arrange for a taxi.
    • Salons: A great way to treat yourself is to have a manicure, pedicure, and hair service at a salon. Once again, talk to your host about where to go.

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    Eating

    Fulanitos in Bogota

    Fulanitos

    A favorite pastime for adopting families is going out to eat. There are dozens of restaurants for every budget and taste, from local specialties such as ajiaco and empanadas, to local and international fast food (such as McDonalds), and even sushi and Asian restaurants. Here is just a quick list:

    • Grocery stores: A good quick choice is the store deli. Some offer in-store restaurants and coffeeshops.
    • Crepes and Waffles: A chain with several locations, offering sweet and savory crepes and the best ice cream in the world!
    • Carbon de Palo: A parilla (grill) offering a wide variety of meats, chicken, and fish, all served with local favorites fried plantains and arepa con queso. On weekends musicians serenade you with traditional Colombian music. A great place for dates!
    • Fulanitos: An interesting, traditional restaurant in the heart of La Candelaria. On a sunny day, the views are wonderful here!
    • Wok: Asian fusion within walking distance? Yes! And stroller friendly too.
    • El Corral: A local chain for hamburgers, with lots of locations.
    • A Todo Taco: Mexican
    • Archie´s: Pizza and pasta, and a great place to take the kids
    • Jacques: A small French bakery near the residencies, offering great breads, pastries, coffee, and a light lunch menu.
    • Bogotá Beer Company: Microbrewery with several locations, offering a small sandwich menu.
    • Juan Valdez Café: A relatively new chain of coffee shops.
    • Parque 93: This is an area with lots of restaurants surrounding a lively city park –- arrange for transportation if you go there.

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