Without a doubt the best spot to start discovering Bogota is Plaza de Bolivar. Named after Simon Bolivar, the great general who won independence for Bolivia, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, Plaza de Bolivar is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of the city before delving deeper into its riches.
As the historic heart of Bogota, Plaza de Bolivar is alive all year round with festivities, and stages are often erected for special events. On any day you'll find the square buzzing with tourists and locals alike and it's here where the city's first public monument was erected in the middle of the square, not surprisingly it's a statue of none other than Simon Bolivar. More of a surprise for tourists is the lamas brought along by entrepreneurial Colombians to use for photo opportunities and rides. There's also a roaring trade of corn being sold to feed the pigeons but beware – the pigeons are very used to people!
Of-course it's not just the square itself but also the area around it that makes Plaza de Bolivar such an unmissable place to visit. Located on the Northern side of the square you'll find the Palace of Justice, home of the Supreme Court. It's coloured history includes it being destroyed by fire in 1948 then again by terrorist warfare in 1985. To the South you'll find the monumental National Capitol, seat of the Colombian Congress which was built over an 80 year period between 1846 and 1926.
Other sites in the square worth keeping an eye out for include the French style building known as Lievano, which is the seat for Bogota's Mayor, the 17th century built Holy Chapel, and the Primary Cathedral of Bogota, built between 1807 and 1823. Wander further and you'll find small streets brimming with sounds and colours as well as numerous museums.
Yes, there sure is a lot to take in at Plaza de Bolivar but thankfully the Government Tourist Office offers a free comprehensive walking tour on weekdays. It starts at 10am from the tourist office at the corner of the square and is highly recommended for those visiting Bogota for the first time.