Every year during Christmastime, Bogotá is adorned with wonderful lights around the city. Big trees, angels, candy canes, stars, and more are the symbols of this time of year. In Colombia, we have a tradition of going to some places in the city to walk around and see the Christmas lights; this is called “Ruta Navideña,” or the Christmas route. In this article, you’ll get a look at some of the best Christmas lights in Bogotá, so you know where to go.
This year, the route includes 14 kilometers of roads and 150,000 square meters of parks and other areas that are illuminated for the viewing pleasure of “Bogotanos” and tourists.
Between the eastern hills and about 3,152 meters (10,341 feet) above the sea level, you can find one of the most emblematic symbols of Bogotá: the beautiful Monserrate. It’s a church that was constructed in 1925 and since then, every year, they light it up for Christmas with incredible decorations. This display is based on important figures and inspired by the Colombian Christmas traditions that highlight the beautiful surroundings, which people from miles around come to see during Christmas Time. (See: “Monserrate lights up in December and you can’t miss it!”)
This year, in order to encourage caring for the environment, the figures were manufactured from 60% recycled material. The decorations have 250 LED reflectors, 1,200 bulbs and 170 programmable controls. The lights will be on from December 1st until January 12th, 2019 and the price to take the cable car round trip per person is $12,000 COP ($4 USD).
What do I have to know?
Special events at Monserrate:
- December 16th, 2018:
- 18:00 -> the start of “Novenas”
- 19:00-> Fireworks
- December 16th- 23th
- “Novenas” at 18:00, 19:30, and 21:00
Plaza de Bolívar “Bolívar Square”
In the heart of the beautiful Bogotá, you can find Bolívar square, the main plaza of the city. In this square, you can find the Palace of Justice (Palacio de Justicia), Lievano Palace (Palacio del Liévano), National Capitol (Capitolio Nacional) and the First Cathedral of Bogotá (Catedral Primada de Bogotá). Every year, this square is decorated in a marvelous way, but the most amazing part is their show, “Closer to the Stars” (Más cerca de las estrellas). In this show, you’ll see a large-scale projection on the front of the buildings that frame the Plaza de Bolivar, as well as 50 artists on stage and fireworks.
What do I have to know?
The show is totally free and the dates are
- December 16th and December 23th
- Three times: 18:00, 20:15, and 21:30
Hacienda Santa Barbara & Usaquén
Hacienda Santa Barbara Mall & Usaquén are some of the best places to go, shop, eat, walk, and see the beautiful lights that decorate the streets. This Christmas, the mall wants to provide a space that’s more than just a party, but a place to gather with friends, family, and neighbors to enjoy the best of Christmas. For this year, the main decoration is giant angels, with more than 3 million LED lights. If you want to know some of the best restaurants in this neighborhood see “Restaurants In Usaquén, Bogotá: “The best ten on my list!” and if you want to know more about Santa Barbara, see “Best Neighborhoods in Bogotá: Santa Bárbara”
What do I have to know?
Hacienda Santa Barbara Shopping Center puts a DJ at the main entrance located on “Carrera Séptima.” If you want to know how to get around in Bogotá, see “How to Use the Main Streets in Bogotá as a Navigation Guide”.
- December 16th: the start of the famous “Novena”
- December 29th: Pilgrimage to Usaquén to give thanks for everything that happened during this year
Parque Simón Bolívar “Simon Bolivar Park”
The Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park is one of the oldest and most important parks in Bogotá. This is a place where you can play soccer with your friends, walk, go camping (just during the day), have a picnic, and so much more. This beautiful park has a huge lake where you can go canoeing and boating as well. Due to its important location in the middle of the city, every year, it’s decorated with amazing lights, so you can go in the evening and have a good time with your friends and family. Also, close to this stunning park, there is one of the best neighborhoods in Bogotá, called “Ciudad Salitre.” If you want to learn more about it, see “Best Neighborhoods in Bogotá: Ciudad Salitre”.
What do I need to know?
The park has free entrance
Every year there is an incredible show called “Noche de Velitas” (see “Día de las Velitas: a beautiful Colombian Christmas Tradition”). This year, it’s on December 7th.
Chorro de Quevedo & La Candelaria
The Quevedo square today is one of the landmarks of the historic center of Bogotá. This place has a magical history filled with many stories about La Candelaria’s beautiful streets (see “Best Neighborhoods in Bogotá: Why Stay in La Candelaria”). So definitely, this is one of the places you can’t miss. This year the decorations include 2 blue Christmas canes, light panels, and white stars, as well as blue and white trees in order to generate several paths of lights. Also, people will have the opportunity to enjoy workshops, like DIY candle lanterns with recyclable materials. You will find handicrafts, storytellers, and excellent restaurants to enjoy the Christmas route in the historic center of Bogotá.
These are some of the best places to go and see Christmas lights in Bogotá. For me, all of these places are amazing, beautiful, and for sure you can feel the Colombian Christmas vibes in each place. Probably my favorite place to go is Monserrate because it’s just stunning. If you go, make sure that you drink a “canelazo” with cheese.
Read our article about how to prepare for Christmas in Colombia as an expat here.
Thank you for reading and remember to comment below if you go to any of these places, or any other places that you loved. Continue exploring our amazing city and follow us on Facebook & Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.