Bogotá is a huge city with about 8 million inhabitants. But just seeing it from above, you will be able to understand the dimension of Colombian’s capital. Monserrate Hill (Cerro Monserrate) in La Candelaria is the best-known option to get a panoramic view of the city. On top of it is the Basilica Sanctuary of the Lord of Monserrate (Basílica Santuario del Señor de Monserrate). However, the city’s North side can only be seen from the top of La Calera.
From the Bogota’s center you can see Monserrate Mountain and the Sanctuary, which is located in the East, and makes the orientation in the city center a lot easier.
The hill was baptized in honor of the black virgin of Montserrat, a saint of Catalunya, to which also the first chapel (which was built on top of the mountain in 1657) was offered.
The current basilica is from 1925 and is dedicated to the “Fallen Lord of Monserrate”, in honor of an art work of Pedro de Lugo Albarracín, carved in wood which is in the center of the church. The image of the saint of Monserrate is in a chapel inside of the basilica.
In addition to the church, there are some restaurants, cafes and handicraft markets on Cerro Monserrate. The panoramic view of Bogota is one of the biggest attractions of Hill Monserrate.
To get to the top of Monserrate you can walk up or choose between the cable car or funicular. The funicular has been operating since 1929 and the cable car since 1955. Already from those ones you can have a great view of the city. Both cost the same price, 17,000 COP (about 5 Euros) for return tickets. However, the funicular is just running in the morning. Our choice was the cable car and the ride is very nice.
The cable car and the funicular depart from the building that serves as the base for the Sanctuary, which is in Carrera 2, 21-48, Paseo Bolivar, a few minutes from the city center.
The same day we went to Cerro Monserrate, we were lucky enough to get to know La Calera as well. We were taken by two Colombian friends, Maria Paula and Paola (Gracías, chicas!). We went in the evening so we could see the North side of the city all lit up.
You can get there only by bus, car or taxi. La Calera is actually a road (Vía La Calera) and there is no sanctuary or something similar, but restaurants, bars and booths selling drinks and snacks.
The view is very pretty as well. And after seeing both sides of the city from above, it is possible to get a feeling of how big Bogota actually is.