Bogota on a Budget

For all the cheapskates out there looking for a few tips, tricks, and cheap ways to travel in Bogota on a budget, you’re in luck. Here are a few cheeky food and drink options as well as some cheap SIM cards and transportation methods to use while in Bogota and Colombia as a whole.


There are many good places in the central Chapinero area priced from 5.1-7.2 thousand Colombian Pesos (around three US dollars). Out west there’s Galerias or even Modelia… for around 9.3 or 8.5, but.if you’re paying that much for food, you may as well go to Zona G, the most renowned area.


As far as inexpensive transportation goes for cheap ways to travel in Bogota and beyond, you can do Cartagena, Santa Marta, and Guajira on public buses, but the Pacific Coast is a dense jungle, so it’s better to fly in from Medellin (if you want to go to Chocó). Overground transport from the north coast to Medellin is doable on public buses, but it’s around a 10 hour journey. Road conditions are terrible in Colombia and the mountainous terrain makes long bus rides take even longer. From Medellin to Bogota I would recommend taking a plane, unless you want to stop along the way, as the total ride time would exceed 20 hours. You can rent a car but I wouldn’t suggest it unless you’re familiar with the local roads and driving style.

For getting around the cities, it’s easy to take Uber or taxis. Even if you know how to drive and have the money to rent a car, people drive like maniacs in Colombia, and driving is quite stressful.

Also, you can find domestic flights within Colombia at Wingo and Viva Colombia.


You can buy plans from most carriers for one day, one week, two weeks, three week, or four weeks. You can choose between a combo pack, which includes minutes and data, or you can just buy data. Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter are generally unlimited and free when you purchase the plan. To recharge your phone afterwards, you can go to any éxito (supermarket/convenience store) or certain local “tiendas” or bodegas. When you recharge you need to tell them which carrier you use (Movistar, Claro, Tigre) and then tell them your phone number. To add credits to your phone, tell them “recarga”. I recommend using the Claro network. You can buy a sim card in the airport. There is only one store that sells it I believe. Just ask “donde puedo comprar un chip por aquí?”.


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