Bogota is a big city with a population of over 8 million. Here you will find some tips to travel smart and avoid issues.
Safety tips: do not carry your passport. Keep a copy of it with you. Our Bogota Bed and Breakfast INN has a safe box on each room. You can leave in your room your personal and important documents and belongings.
When touring the city try to carry only one credit card and try not to have a lot of money in cash with you.
Put in your backpack only your jackets and other not so- important stuff. If you put in it valuable things like cameras, cellphones, wallets, and so on, and you are in a crowed place, please place your backpack in your chest. In this way you have control over it.
Watch always over your stuff like backpacks, jackets, cameras, etc. Like in any big city you will find in Bogota people looking to take advantage and leave with what is not theirs. In some restaurants there are hooks underneath the tables. There you can hang your bags and backpacks. Never put on the floor your bags or backpacks, it is THE place for things to get lost.
To pay taxi rides use small bills, $10.000 or $20.000 COP. If you are touring from Bogota Bed and Breakfast INN to La Candelaria or other important places in Bogota close to our B&B, your ride should not be more than $12.000 COP. This depends on traffic. Bogota can get really jammed by heavy traffic. The minimum per taxi ride is $4.200 COP.
Getting a ride: you can take a taxi on the street. It is safe. All the taxis are yellow. Make sure the taxi has a meter and it is ON. The price is more or less $1.000 COP per minute. Other way to calculate your ride is taking the units that the meter displays and multipling it by 80. For instance: 80 units x 80: your ride will be $6.400 COP. The meter will not read the ride price correctly due to the value of the dollar changes; the driver will have a conversion sheet and can show you the exact price if you demand him/her to show it.
We also have Uber and other taxi apps, like Tappsi. Though Uber is not legal a lot of our Bogota Bed and Breakfast INN guests use it for being convenient and safe. The Uber driver has to have a passenger on his/her side, that means if you are a couple one of you will seat in the front of the car. If you are one person you will seat with him. Make sure the drivers know where you are going. You can ask Beatriz to help you with whether taxis on the street or Uber.
Special Conditions: always remember letting us know if you have any medical condition at the moment or if you suffer from any allergy or illness. At the Bogota Bed and Breakfast INN we try to be aware of any condition our guests have in order to prevent problems. We cook with low salt and low sugar. We offer fresh fruits and natural juices for all our guests. We are food service certified and we sterilize all our fruits and vegtables.
Police officers: if a police officer approaches you, he/she must be wearing a full police uniform complete with badge, boots etc. You can find more information these uniforms on http://puntadasjuventud.com/uniformes.html.
Colombian SIM card: you can get a Colombian SIM card to use data or to be able to make phone calls when in Bogota or Colombia. The main companies are CLARO, ETB, and MOVISTAR. You can buy it at the office or various kiosks but ensure the person installs it into the phone and sets it up to work in your cellphone. However make sure your cellphone is unlocked to be able to use the card.
Walking safe: try not to walk around with your phone or tablet exposed. You can have you camera with you on public places that are safe, e.g. Cr 7 in Bogota.
Maps: at our Bogota Bed and Breakfast INN we are committed to provide you with maps, information, and instructions on how to walk safe the city of Bogota. You can even get to Monserrate Station walking and through a real safe path. Don’t forget to ask us for maps and directions. If you will need a guide book (lonely planet etc.) it is recommended you bring it with you because they are very difficult to find in Bogota and more difficult to find in your language.
Altitude: Bogota is a city 8,675 feet above sea level. It is normal if you feel dizzy or if you get a headache. It is said that our Coca tea is great to fix this issue. You will find in our Bogota Bed and Breakfast INN a coffee Station with bags of coca tea and assorted teas courtesy of the house. There you will find hot water dispenser to prepare it. Also due to the high altitude the sun is really strong. Make sure you put sun block on when the day is really sunny.
Colombian currency: Bogota Bed Breakfast Inn gives you important information about our Colombian currency. Our main bank, El Banco de la Republica de Colombia, has a new family of bank notes. Below you can find pictures of the former and the new bills. Also some information about how to identify a fake Colombian bank note.
There are some clues that you need to know in order to recognize false bank notes:
The Colombian bank notes issued by the Banco de la Republica show pictures of important citizens from our Colombian history: independence heroes, important women, and famous writers and scientists. On a good bank note there is raised embossed ink that you see when the bill is on back lite. For instance, on a $20.000 COP bill all the words are embossed. In the unprinted part of the bill you will always find a watermark in the image of a person. The image must be complete and clear. Every bill has a texture, try to feel the print with your nail on the picture of the person. In the supermarkets they do this easy trick a lot. You can also to check if something comes off the bill, if this happens the bill is false.
Below you will find two columns. The left column has the information of the old bank notes. The right column has the information regarding the new family of Colombian Bank Notes. Both bills new and old are on circulation.
$1.000 COP Bank Note
There is no new a $1.000 COP Bank Note
$2.000 COP Bank Note
For more information on the old bill see the following link:
$5.000 COP Bank Note
For more information on the old bill see the following link:
$10.000 COP Bank Note
For more information on the old bill see the following link.
Bogota Bed & Breakfast INN recommends taking special care regarding $20.000, $50.000, and $100.000 Colombian bank notes and also would suggest that you watch the Banco de la República de Colombia videos on Colombian Bank Notes.
$ 20.000 COP Bank Note
For more information on the old bill see the following link
$50.000 COP Bank Note
For more information on the old $50.000 bill see the following link
$100.000 COP Bank Note
There is no old version of the $100.000 bill.
Colombians also say: fake bills don’t get old.
The real bill has:
⇒ Watermarked paper.
⇒ Blended colors and overlayed printing.
⇒The pattern of hexagons at the bottom of the bill matches up when you put the bill end to end in a cylindrical pattern.
⇒The serial number is printed twice in two fonts and two colors.
⇒ Hold a bill of for example $20.000 COP up to the light. On the back you will see that the words ‘Veinte mil pesos’ will form one line with the reflective stripes.
On the fake bill:
⇒A clear watermark cannot be seen threw the bill (the face of the person on the front of the bill) only when held up to the light.
⇒The print does not match up and has unclear transitions between colors.
⇒The pattern of hexagons does not match up when you put the bill end to end like a cylinder or tube.
⇒When you hold a fake bill for example $20.000 pesos up to the light: on the back you will see that the words ‘Veinte mil pesos’ will not form one line with the reflective stripes. This line is less even and have two different pieces of paper with a silver color tape glued in between.
When in doubt take any coin and rub the water mark with the coins flat side on any flat surface and the water mark will show the face from the friction of the coin to expose the carbon figure on the surface. When accepting a bill ensure all bills are complete, no tears, no missing corners etc. If a bill is not 100% complete it is no good DO NOT ACCEPT IT!!!