Bogotá: La Ciudad de Nadie

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Kevin and Tomasa
Kevin and his wife Tomasa in Bogota
Kevin and Tomasa
Kevin and his wife Tomasa in Bogotá

Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and one of the most important cities in the Americas and yet it is still known by many Colombians as La ciudad de nadie (the city of no one) even from Bogotanos themselves.

This is the only country that I can recall where much of the populace disregards their own capital and it is a shame that so many people, foreign and native alike, only focus on the negatives of this metropolis of +9,000,000 habitants.

It is easy to talk negatively about Bogotá with its corruption, unpredictable weather patterns, tense atmosphere, rampant poverty and sub-par urban planning and public transportation but in my opinion the “I’m not from there and therefore I don’t give a shit about Bogotá” mentality isn’t the way to go about it.

Every Colombian city or pueblo that does well benefits the rest of the country in someway.

It’s time for Colombians and foreigners visiting Colombia to decide that Bogotá is la ciudad de todos (everyone’s city) not la ciudad de nadie (the city of no one).

We can go on all day about the negatives of a place and compare it to cities like Medellín which is a very popular city for expats living in Colombia.

Medellín is a nice city but Medellín simply doesn’t have to deal with the many problems that Bogotá faces and it is a bit naïve to directly compare a city of +3,500,000 habitants to a metropolis and a capital city of +9,000,000.

Bogotá has given me some unforgettable experiences and most of my best friends in Colombia live in Bogotá.

There are so many counter cultures that contribute to the cacophony that is Bogotá and therefore give it a rich amount of variety.

I can go to a traditional joropo performance, death metal festival, dance ethnic electronica on a terrace with famous DJs, visit a graffiti exhibition, hang out with vegans, hear several different languages spoken and eat cuisine from the remote department of Vaupés all in one day; how many Colombian cities can truly provide that kind of variety daily?

It’s a neat place when you give it a chance!

There are definitely far better places for me to live in Colombia and Bogotá wouldn’t be a top contender. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a great time visiting and digging deeper into this complex place. I will always return and keep a little bit of Bogotá in my heart.

It’s time to change the mentality that so many people tend to have towards this city and believe in its potential.

Next time you visit this sprawled city of +9,000,000 for a visa renewal or to catch a flight back home ask yourself, “How can I make this city better? How can I contribute to make it la ciudad de todos?”

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About the Author: Kevin Post currently lives, works and studies in his hometown of Orlando, Florida while working on cultural & linguistic projects on the side. Kevin has been traveling to Colombia since 2005, having visited 22 out of 32 Colombian Departments, and dreams of climbing all of Colombia’s infamous peaks and visiting every National Park (PNN).

He met his wife while living in Medellín and they both look forward to moving back to an Antioquian pueblo in the near future. For more information regarding Kevin Post check out his website www.amanofnonation.com and follow him on Twitter @amanofnonation.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the nice post – I would like to explore a little more in Bogota before my visit to Medellin where I will stay 3 months, so a weekend locating myself in or around 93 – any thoughts where to stay – I am beyond communal sleeping so small hotels maybe?

  2. No tourist or foreigner will change my mind about our capital; Bogota will be always that Bogota. There isn’t any reason to go around to asking Colombians to think different! We don’t go and ask you to remove president Obama from Washington DC so it can become paradise! So let’s keep it real if you don’t like it let it be! We prefer to have it as “no one’s city”

    • I feel you Roberto and think you have a valid point. If you don’t like a place then c’est la vie. When I was living in Colombia I heard so much negativity regarding Bogotá and sometimes I don’t find that entirely justifiable for the following reasons:

      1. If a place sucks so bad and you don’t even attempt to make a positive change then why even waste the time talking about it?
      2. Why not make the best of it?
      3. Instead of bash the place and figuratively urinate on the streets why not leave your mark (not stain) on the city?

      Whether you like it or not Bogotá is the city most of the world sees when visiting Colombia which is a shame because I don’t think it even comes close to being the best example of what your 32 Deparamentos have to offer.

      It only took me almost a year to respond to your comment and I thank you for your patience 😉