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BOGOTA’S TOP 10 FESTIVALS & FAIRS

Bogota is an exciting city with a highly diversified cultural life. Whenever you come to town you are bound to find a theater festival, a jazz concert, a major international pop group playing.

1. F
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eria Internacional del Libro: This international book-fair takes place during the first half of every year. It is one of the largest book-fairs in the America’s, welcoming writers, publishers and buyers from all over the workd. Each year a different country is invited as the main guest. In 2007 Bogota was named World Book Capital because of this Fair. (http://www.feriadellibro.com/)

2. Bogota Fashion Week: This yearly event takes place in Mid-February at Corferias and showcases the best of Colombian designers, as well as foreigners. If fashion is your passion this is a great place to see new trends. This event brings together clothes designers, footwear designers, jewelers and leather goods manufacturers. Over 750 international buyers come Bogota’s Fashion week.

3. International Theater Festival: During the two weeks prior to Easter Sunday in even years (2014, 2016, 2018, etc), Bogota hosts perhaps the biggest theater festival anywhere. Hundreds of companies from around the world perform in dozens of theaters. There are also free performances in plazas and parks, as well as street parades. (http://festivaldeteatro.com.co/)

4. Rock al Parque: This is the largest rock festival in all of South America, and takes place every year in early July. Most of the concerts are given at the Simon Bolivar Park, and entrance is free. You can listen to local bands as well as international stars. (www.rackalparque.gov.co)

5. Feria de las Colonias: This is a wonderful fair that allows you to travel throughout Colombia in one day. Corferias is transforms each of its pavilions into a different region of the country. Each pavilion features culture, gastronomy, tourism, handcrafts as well as a vast range of products, services and projects that gather the most representative of each region. Each year a different region is showcased presenting its main attractions business, craft, cultural, musical and art projects. If you are in Bogota during July, make sure to visit this colorful and vibrant fair. It will be a memorable day. (http://www.feriadelascolonias.com/index.cfm)

6. Festival de Verano: The summer festival held every August includes sporting, recreational and cultural outdoor activities. It is held yearly to celebrate the founding of the city. Most of the events take place at Simon Bolivar Park.

7. Food & Wine: Colombia Humanitaria and the First Lady of the nation crated this festival in 2011 to benefit local farmers that had been affected by a devastating winter. The event includes more than 18 events from elegant dinners hosted by international chefs, cooking and to mixology demonstrations, to wine tastings. Events are held in restaurants, clubs and hotels throughout the city. (www.bogotawineandfood.com)

8. International Film Festival: Since 1986 this festival is held during the months of September and October. IT brings filmmakers from all over the world, and includes screenings, conferences, work and special exhibitions. (http://www.bogocine.com/)

9. Ópera al Parque: Started in 1996, this festival brings this art form from the Opera House in the Candelaria to several venues throughout the city, so that the general public can enjoy this art-form. Each November prestigious Opera singers, musicians, orchestras and conductors, as well as new talent come to participate in this festival.

10. Expoartesanias: For 20 years now, every December Artesanias de Colombia organizes this fair at Corferias. It features international exhibitions of traditional and contemporary crafts. (http://www.expoartesanias.com/ )

Contact our concierge for up-to-date information servicioalcliente@lancasterhouse.com.co.

5 Not-so common places to visit while in Bogota

If you have read about Bogota or if you have been here before, you are probably aware of such places of interest as Monserrate Mountain, the Gold Museum, Botero’s Museum, the Candelaria Colonial nei ...

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ghborhood, and Zipaquira’s Salt Cathedral.

But if you have already been to these places or if you would like to discover and enjoy not-so-common places while you visit Bogota, here are five ideas on how to spend your time wisely in a fun and different way:

1. Coffee Roasting, Packaging and Tasting tour. If you won’t be visiting the Coffee growing region near the cities of Armenia, Pereira and Manizales, you can certainly enjoy a 3-hour Spanish or English tour of the process of coffee cultivation, roasting, packaging and tasting at Hacienda Venecia (www.haciendavenecia.com) where a couple of times a week guided tours are offered. Make sure to call ahead of time and book your spot.

2. Flower Plantations. Did you know Colombia accounts for roughly two thirds of all flowers consumed in the US? Most flower farms are located in the vicinity of Bogota and are the greenhouses you clearly identify as you land at El Dorado airport. Visits to these spectacular and colorful farms can be arranged by contacting the association of Flower Growers and Exporters, Asocolflores (www.asocolflores.org, www.growerdirect.com ), or a few of the main receptive tour companies in town like www.hansatours.com.

3. Botanical Gardens. Colombia ranks second in the world in flora diversity. Why not enjoy a few hours walking the vast terrains of the Botanical Gardens? These gardens have won international acclaim for having the most typical tropical flora in worldwide. The Botanial Gardens also feature concerts by the Colombian Philarmonic Orquestra as well as temporary exhibits (www.jbb.gov.co).

4. Salitre Magico Park located midtown Bogota the park offers a variety of rides and attractions for kids and adults including an Avianca airplane, a 150 –feet Ferris Wheel, and a hunted house (www.salitremagico.com.co )

5. Cerro de Guadalupe While most people visit Monserrate, it’s neighbor mountain Guadalupe is as scenic and less touristy. At 3,317 meters above sea level This Mountain top also has a church and a 15 meter tall statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception that opens her arms towards the city. You can visit stores that sell local crafts, as well as enjoy local fare at restaurants.

Where to get Kosher food in Bogota?

If you are travelling to Colombia and you are wondering if Kosher food is available, wonder no more. Here you will find the top places and resources for the Kosher traveler.

Although Colombia is a c
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ountry of over 46 million people it boasts a Jewish community of only over 3,000 people in the cities of Bogota, Cali, Medellin, and Barranquilla, with new and smaller communities in San Andres, Cartagena, Cucuta and Villavicencio, among others. For the most part, the communities are very traditionalist and mostly affiliated with the Orthodox movement, with some exceptions being Masorti.

While there are plenty of places of worship in all these cities, as well as numerous community organizations and regular activities (including the presence of schochatim and mashgiim), the small size of the community has made it difficult to offer a wide selection of Kosher restaurants. Non-the-less, there are many resources for travelers interested in the Kosher food while visiting Bogota:

 Carrulla Supermarket (www.carulla.com): This supermarket has many locations nation-wide and sells some to the products mentioned under the list of Kosher certified products in KoserColombia.org. But if you would like to eat at a Kosher restaurant the Carulla located on the corner of 11th Avenue and 76th Street has a kosher restaurant on the second floor.

 Meats: If you would like to buy some kosher meat and other processed foods the best places supermarkets to get them are Carrefour at Santa Ana neighborhood, on 9th Avenue and 110th Streeet, Surtifruver (www.surtifruverdelasabana.com) on 85th street near 15th Avenue and also Surtifruver on 9th Avenue and 137th street. In the last Surtifruver will also find a kosher pizza place within the food court.

 Bakery: If you are looking for fresh baked goods, try the “Miriam Camhi” (www.miriamcamhi.com), Joyce (www.joyce.com.co) and Cometa (www.elcometa.com.co)

 Restaurants: There are no Glatt Kosher restaurants in the city, but certain restaurants and hotels may offer kosher meat dishes upon request but with no kosher kitchen per-se. You can preorder kosher meat dishes at our Gatsby Restaurant (remember we do not have a kosher kitchen) by letting our Concierge know of your needs, since we do not advertise these dishes on our menus. We can also cater kosher events (www.lancasterhouse.com). For juicy steaks try famous “Harry Sasson” (www.harrysasson.com) or “7-16 Steak House”. Hotel Casa Dann Carlton can host kosher events (www.danncarlton.com). Finally, there is Monet Restaurant at the JW Marriot which on occasions may offer a kosher buffet on Saturday evenings one hour after Havdalah.

 Carmel Country Club: This is the private social and sports club of the community. Every Sunday there is a fabulous Kosher BBQ. The only drawback is that you have to be invited by a local member in order to go.

For further information on Kosher products in Bogota you can visit www.koshercolombia.org.

Top 10 things to do in Bogota to enjoy the city as a local

This is a list of activities you can do in Bogota, and enjoy the city as a local.

1. Watch a soccer game at El Campin Stadium. Colombian’s are passionate about soccer or “futbol” as we call it
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. Enjoy a game at our stadium and cheer for one of our local teams Santa Fe or Millonarios
2. Shop in Paloquemao Market. If you want to get a feel for a real market and enjoy discovering new fruits and vegetables of different shapes and sizes, try a visit to this indoor produce market. Try to learn the names and recognize yuca, arracacha, mamey, papa criolla, borojó, mamoncillo, uchuva, chontaduro, and curuba.
3. Visit Bogota with the Ciclovia. Every Sunday and during Holidays Bogota’s main streets are turned into bicycle ways. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the city as a local, visit sites and try local food.
4. Play Tejo (teh-ho). This is a traditional sport that is enjoyed by many Colombians The game consists of throwing the "tejo" (a metal puck) across an alley at a distance of approximately twenty meters, to a one meter by one meter board covered with clay and set at a forty-five degree angle. A chief characteristic of the sport is its use of small exploding targets that contain gunpowder, commonly known as "mechas".
5. Visit the Usaquen Flea Market on Sundays. This flea market offers more than a typical flea market, from original hand crafted goods, jewelry, fresh food. The market is divided into an upper and lower area. You can plan to easily spend a minimum of 2 hours. It’s an experience not to be missed!
6. Partake of our traditional “Onces” – our version of Tea Time. Warm up with a delicious Chocolate Santafereño accompanied by Envueltos de Maiz, cheese, Pan de Yuca, Almojabana and Tamales.
7. Visit one of our museums for free. Bogota is a city of culture. There are over 100 museums and galleries in our city. Some of them participate in a program where the last Sunday of the month you can visit the museum for free. Among them you can visit the Gold Museum, Art Museum of the Banco de la República, Botero Museum The Botanical Gardens, Arqueological Museum, Emerald Museum, Casa Antonio Nariño, Bogota Museum, and many more.
8. Dance the night away at Andres Carne de Res. This restaurant has become an icon, a must for people visiting Bogota and its surroundings. Although the original restaurant is in Chia (30 min from Bogota) the restaurant has opened a toned down version in the city. The food is amazing with plenty of typical dishes to try, and you can dance the night away in this unique and quirky space.
9. Drinks anyone? You can always try our Aguardiente. But if you want to be a little more adventurous why not try a Canelazo or a Chicha (a variety of fermented and non-fermented beverages derived from maiz)
10. Looking for typical Colombian dishes? Don’t leave the city without having tried at least 2 of these: Ajiaco, Cuchuco, Tamal, Fritanga, Sobrebarriga, Sancocho, Lechona, and Changua.

Un Viajero Asiduo - Leon Hochman

Leon es una persona que ha recorrido cerca de 150 países y acumula una impresionante experiencia en el mundo de viajes. Durante su estadía en Lancaster House aprovechamos para hacerle la siguiente e ...

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ntrevista:

¿Cómo comenzó su odisea de viajar por el mundo? En 1981 la empresa para la que trabajaba me trasladó a Ciudad de Panamá en Panamá, allí me enviaron a abrir mercados por la mayoría de las Islas del Caribe, al regresar quedé hipnotizado por la gran cantidad de sellitos que tenía en mi pasaporte, en ese momento me picó el mosquito de los viajes.

¿Cuál es su meta como viajero? Conocer todos los países independientes del mundo.

¿Cuáles son los 5 lugares que más lo han fascinado? La Antártida, El Taj Mahal en Agra India, el teatro de la Opera en Sidney Australia, el Palacio de Potala en Lahsa Tibet y Samarcanda en Uzbekistán.

¿Cuáles son los lugares en Colombia que aún le quedan por visitar? Me gustaría conocer el Parque de los Katíos en el Chocó, Gorgona y Tierradentro en el Cauca.

Usted ha escrito un libro sobre sus aventuras y piensa escribir un segundo. ¿Qué nos va a relatar en esa segunda entrega? En mi primer libro relaté todos los viajes que he hecho en mi vida hasta el primer semestre del 2010, en mi segundo libro, el cual espero terminar en Diciembre del 2013, relato los viajes desde el segundo semestre del 2010 hasta los que realice en el 2013.

¿Cómo organiza y planea sus viajes? Tengo una lista de los países que me faltan conocer y los sitios que me gustaría visitar. Una vez que decido a dónde ir, le envío a mi agencia de viajes para que me coticen, la porción aérea, las transferencias desde y hasta el aeropuerto, hoteles y tours.

¿Qué lugares recomienda en Bogotá? Comenzar con hospedarse en Lancaster House, luego ir a visitar la parte colonial e histórica de la ciudad y no perderse por nada la Iglesia subterránea en Zipaquirá. Bogotá es de los centros gastronómicos más importante del mundo, hay que visitar sus restaurantes tanto los típicos como los de comidas internacionales. El restaurante de Lancaster House lo recomiendo mucho, los desayunos son espectaculares.

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