Bogotá can be quite overwhelming, but it’s also a big city where you can find millions of things to do and enjoy and places to go. There are some tips that, as a local, I can recommend so you have the best experience here. In this article, I will explain how to organize your time on a daily basis if you are planning a long-term stay in Bogotá.
Living in a city like Bogotá is exciting, you’ll never get bored, but it’s also a sprawling capital that can stress you out easily if you let its grandeur take over. For me, it is essential that you manage your time well on a daily basis so you know how many things you can do, how much time will it take, etc. By this, I don’t mean that you have to have everything planned every day, but in Bogotá, it is important to have a sense of time and organization, so you can do everything you need/want.
Organize an agenda
There are two essential things to know when living in Bogotá: one, that it’s a huge city, and two, that it has daily high traffic, especially during rush hour. So if you move around by car, Uber or taxi (read our article Tips for Taking a Taxi in Bogotá), you are probably going to spend a good amount of time getting from one place to another. Walking or bicycling is a good choice, but many times you’ll be going somewhere that is probably far away from your home. The best thing to do is to organize an agenda taking into account all of the activities you are doing, where, and how are you planning to arrive. This way, you’ll know if you can manage to do it all. I recommend allowing an hour to move around, meaning that if you have a class or a certain appointment, or if you need to arrive at your office, let’s say, at 8 am, then it’s best if you leave by 7:00. Give yourself the necessary time so you don’t stress out moving around (read our article A Locals Guide to Navigating Bogotá). Organize your agenda for the day taking this into account and you’ll realize that you can probably do everything.
Grouping your activities
In Bogotá, grouping activities according to their location is a great idea. Meaning that, for example, if you are living on the northwest part of the city and you need to go the center, then take advantage and do other things you want/need to do around there. This way, you’ll only need to go and come once. You’ll save the cost of transportation and time. Plus, Bogotá has tons of different and interesting things to do. In every locality there would be something special waiting for you (read our article Bogotá: all you need to know).
At first, addresses in Bogotá might seem confusing, but actually, it’s pretty easy to orient yourself in the city. It’s organized by a grid system of calles (streets) that run east to west and carreras (avenues) that run north to south. Knowing this will save you a considerable amount of time because every single address is the intersection of a calle and a carrera. Tell your taxi driver, “I’m going to Calle 55 con Carrera 28” and he will understand it perfectly. And if you ever get lost in Bogotá, just look east. The mountains are always there to guide your way (read our article Getting Lost in Bogotá: How to Use the Main Streets as a GPS).
If you are taking public transportation, like the Transmilenio or another bus (read our article Basics for Transportation in Bogotá), search for the number of the route before you go out and see how you can get where you need to be. By doing this, you save time and avoid getting lost, and therefore, don’t stress out trying to get somewhere on time (take a look at this article Apps to help you get around Bogotá). If you want to rent a bike to move around, a great option in Baja Bikes, the biggest world-wide bike tours operator; click here to book. It costs around $3.50 USD per hour.
Living in Bogotá is a challenge. Take into account how the city works and how you can manage your time and your activities. Remember that time is the biggest treasure we have nowadays, so organizing yourself will allow you to enjoy every single thing of this amazing and crazy paradise.
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