How to party like a Colombian? Chiva!

chiva front

One needn’t go far to find a good time in Colombia, but there is one thing that has become synonymous with a party in this country: the chiva bus.

A couple of things every gringo should know about the chiva experience:

  1. Don’t wear nice shoes, because as you bump over and around the ubiquitous potholes that mark the roads of Bogotá, you’ll be sprinkled with more sloshing beer and spilled aguardiente than you’d like.
  2. You won’t think you’re drinking a lot, but you are. Even though the 100 tiny plastic cups of aguardiente passed around are only half full, they’ll quickly add up…
  3. I’m sorry if you’re tall. Chiva ceilings are about 5’7″, meaning that even if you’re lucky and don’t knock your noggin on one of the steel roof supports, you’ll still spend the night dancing with your neck at a comfortable forty-five-degree angle.

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Don’t miss in December: Expoartesanías and Día de las Velitas

The holidays can be a bittersweet time for expats. On the one hand, it’s hard to celebrate away from family and your normal traditions; on the other, it’s an amazing opportunity to adopt some new ones! This being our second holiday season in Bogotá, I’m feeling a little like sophomore year—you know, you’re still relatively inexperienced but have lost a bit of that deer-in-headlights look of total bewilderment. Now that I have my holiday sea-legs, I was readily anticipating two December happenings, both of which are unique to Colombia: a visit to Expoartesanías and lighting candles with my fellow Bogatanos on Día de las Velitas.

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Andrés Carne de Res: A Bogotá institution

andres souvenirs

After a year I feel like Cody and I have this “hosting visitors” thing down pat…based on who you are, how much time you have with us and what you like, we can pretty easily whittle down the list of tourist attractions into a nice itinerary of things you have to see while you’re with us.  However, there are a few places so synonymous with Bogotá and so crucial to experiencing the city that they make the cut no matter who you are.  Andrés Carne de Res is one of those places.

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Cevichería Central

central menu copy

Continuing with things we love about Bogotá, today’s post is about the best restaurant and is probably long overdue.

If you have talked to Cody and me since we’ve moved to Bogotá, Cevichería Central has probably come up in our conversation. If you’ve visited us, either we took you there to eat or—if you aren’t a big fan of fish—I spent a good 15 minutes convincing Cody that it wouldn’t be the best place for dinner. We go there so often that the hostess greets us with the customary kiss hello and the waiters all shake our hands. And I don’t mean to brag, but sometimes we get a free dessert.

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Ciclovía: Holiday Edition

night ciclovia 10

As I mentioned in a previous post, we were really excited to take part in a special night time ciclovía. Each Sunday and national holiday, from 8am-2pm, the city of Bogotá close 121 km of roads to vehicular traffic so that pedestrians, cyclists, and rollerbladers can get out and enjoy the city.  Not only that but the entrepreneurial spirit of the city is in full swing as folks come out to sell fresh juice and snacks.

This past Thursday there was a special ciclovía nocturna, lasting from 6:00 pm to midnight, to fully enjoy Bogotá’s Christmas lights and decorations.

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