In Bogota, Sunday is the most festive day of the week. The day begins with Ciclovia, a weekly event where large portions of city are closed off the car traffic and people are free to bike, rollerblade, walk, or run in the streets. In plazas, you’ll find free aerobics and dance classes that are available to anyone who wants to join. Ciclovia ends in the early afternoon, but the jovial atmosphere continues into the evening, and it seems as though the city streets are a family room or a venue. Locals attentively watch street performers, vendors dole out roasted corn and other quick bites, and to top it off, the best museum in town is free. It’s a great day to go out and get a sense of what Bogota is, and perhaps what it’s becoming. Here are some images from a Sunday morning and afternoon spent exploring the La Candelaria neighborhood of Bogota:

Street Art in Bogota, Colombia

Awesome street art is around pretty much every corner in Bogota.

Tango Lesson in Bogota, Colombia

In a square near my hostel, there was a free tango dance lesson.

Tango Instructors in Bogota, Colombia

Check out the tango instructors’ attire!

Tango Dancing in Bogota, Colombia

Street Performers in Bogota, Colombia

A child looking expectantly at a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed street performer, waiting for him to move from his frozen state.

The Gold Museum in Bogota, Colombia

The Gold Museum in Bogota, Colombia

The Gold Museum in Bogota, Colombia

I’m pretty sure that there’s a Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) in every city in Colombia, but the one in Bogota is supposed to be the best. I’m a sucker for excellent curation and this museum turned out have a intriguing collection of artifacts displayed in eye-catching ways.

Street Performers in Bogota, Colombia

Street Performers in Bogota, Colombia

People in Bogota seem to love street performers, and this group of unicyclists drew a big crowd.

Military Parade in Bogota, Colombia

In the main square, I heard music, so I followed the sound and came across some kind of military parade.

Soldiers in Bogota, Colombia

Soldiers in Bogota, Colombia

The soldiers on the sidelines were likely fulfilling required military service. The instant the parade was over, they shed their serious stances and made phone calls and chatted with people they knew in the streets.

Wedding Photo Shoot in Bogota, Colombia

 Around the corner, I came across a casual bride and groom who were taking their wedding pictures around the city.

For more information on Ciclovia (a concept that has spread to many other cities around the world), check out this short documentary: http://www.streetfilms.org/ciclovia

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When You Go to the Tatacoa Desert

July 20, 2014 Colombia
Tatacoa Desert, Colombia

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – When you go to Colombia’s Tatacoa Desert, no one is going to go with you. Among travelers, it’s one of those “Why are you […]

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Photo Essay: Sunset to Sunrise in the Tatacoa Desert

June 14, 2014 captured on memory card
Tatacoa Desert, Colombia

When I think of Colombia, the first scenes that come to my mind are long drives through unbelievable shades of green that seemed to stretch on infinitely. But Colombia is a place of many landscapes, including a thirsty and barren place called the Tatacoa Desert. I spent a night in this lonely desert surrounded by […]

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Lost and Found: Three Stories of Losing Valuables in Colombia and Getting Them Back

May 21, 2014 Colombia

When you tell people you’re going to Colombia, many don’t have to say a word to let you know how they feel. If you tell someone over the phone, you may notice a long pause or a sigh. If you tell someone in person, you may witness a widening of the eyes that asks, “What […]

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Photo Essay: Mystifying Stone Statues and Other Scenes from San Agustín, Colombia

May 15, 2014 captured on memory card
San Agustin, Colombia

Not much is known about the stone statues left behind in San Agustin. Everything you read about the San Agustin Archaeological Park will eventually you that. The people who created these statues had no written language and they were long gone before the Spanish arrived. It’s hard to get a sense of who these people […]

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The Case for Being Rained In in the Middle of Nowhere with Little to No Internet Access

May 11, 2014 Colombia
La Casa de Francois in San Agustin, Colombia

You plan a trip to do this and see that, but often the best travel moments come unexpectedly between this and that. I go to San Agustin solely to visit an archaeological site, but when I arrive, the weather delays my plans and the setting, characters, and atmosphere align to replace them with subtle magic. […]

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Popayán to San Agustín: Driving into Colombia’s Soul

April 30, 2014 backpacking
Drive from Popayan to San Agustin, Colombia

When we walk into the Popayan bus station, I predict that I have another memorable overland trip ahead of me. The bus station only has half of its concrete floor. The other half is dirt. Although we see no one repairing the floor, we quickly learn that someone has recently been working on it. My […]

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Photo Essay: Exploring Oakland in the Spring with Localite Tours

April 24, 2014 California
DSCN0306

On a balmy Sunday morning in March, I crossed the San Francisco Bay to join Localite Tours’ Picnic Tour in Oakland. It was a relaxing day by Lake Merritt and our group got to experience some lovely sights and tastes of springtime Oakland. Here’s what we did: Our first stop was The Gardens at Lake […]

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