The view from Cerro Monserrate

After checking in to our suspect accommodation in Bogota, Rodolfo and I were eager to salvage the afternoon. So we headed to Cerro Monserrate, an imposing hill that watches over the city.

Cerro Monserrate cross

Cerro Monserrate is topped by a church dedicated to – shocker – the Virgin of Monserrat. The church looked simple enough in the light of day, but by the time we left, it was lit up in neon purple and green. You can just see a hint of purple on the right of the tower (spire?) in this photo. I may or may not have irreverently referred to it as a disco church.

Cerro Monserrate church

While the church itself is a big draw, the main reason to visit Cerro Monserrate is the view. Unfortunately, our views were somewhat marred by the clouds that threatened to pour down on us. Luckily, the rain held off, and once night fell we were rewarded with a panorama of city lights.

Bogota view

Cerro Monserrate view

Of course, OUR main reason for visiting most places is the food. The hill has several restaurants at its summit, but we were more interested in the snacks to be had in the artisan market.

Cerro Monserrate feria

The verdict on Colombian empanadas? Delish. These are made with a cornmeal dough outside and spiced beef inside. The homemade ají salsa we liberally poured on was also quite delish.

Cerro Monserrate empanadas

Rodolfo, being braver than I, ordered himself a plate of assorted animal parts. I tried the sausage and potatoes but left “delicacies” like beef heart, blood sausage and intestine to him. He did not contract food poisoning and did seem to enjoy it, so I guess this gets recommended as well. Plus the people were really nice, and I like nice people, even if they are trying to sell me innards.

Cerro Monserrate food

By 6:30pm, the stands were closing for the day, and we’d more or less seen what there was to see. The cable car which takes you up the hill costs US$10 roundtrip – the funicular, which was closed, costs the same – which we found expensive for what it was. Now someone please give me a pat on the back for not making a pun about the cost being “steep” just like the ascent itself.

Cerro Monserrate cable car

Cerro Monserrate is one of the main attractions in Bogota, but we would have found it better value for money earlier on a nicer day, when we could have spent more time just relaxing. As it was, while a trip up Cerro Monserrate is a pleasant introduction to Bogota, I don’t think we’d rush to repeat it. Not even for nice people with cow parts.

More in this series:
Heading to Bogota with Roomorama
The marvelous Museo de Oro
The Botero Museum will make you smile
Taking a Bogota bike tour
Andrés Carne de Res: Bogota’s craziest restaurant
The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
The truth about Bogota

30 Responses to “The view from Cerro Monserrate”

  1. Sarah says:

    We spent 2 hours up there at least, it was one of my favorite parts of Bogota (we had a sunny clear day). A few beers and yummy empanadas were an unexpected plus! I would definitely say I prefer the Colombian empanadas over the Chilean ones, the corn dough was amaaaazing.

    Please say you went to Andres Carne de Res?

  2. Megan Eileen says:

    I did this when I was there – it really is a stunning view!

  3. Although a bit hazy, still an amazing view!

  4. Kent @NVR says:

    Bogota is on our list!

    • Emily in Chile says:

      I had wanted to go for a long time and was not that impressed, to be honest. Oh well, you can’t love everywhere, right?

  5. Andrea says:

    Seems you did all the stuff we didn’t – thanks for filling in the spaces =)

    • Emily in Chile says:

      I think we should have followed your itinerary instead, seeing as you loved Bogota and we weren’t as enthusiastic!

  6. Erica says:

    Yumm… aji! And empanadas… more than anything I miss patacones.

    • Emily in Chile says:

      Oooh yes, we had a good patacón one day. I feel like we didn’t really get the best of Colombian food though, I’d love to try more.

  7. Leigh says:

    I’m heading to Bogota & Colombia in February so interesting to get the various points of view. I think I’ll go if the day is clear. I’ve been looking at other things to do and don’t want to pass up the gold museum or a tour of the city by bike. It’s supposed to have the most bike lanes of any city in South America.

    • Emily in Chile says:

      We did notice a lot of bike lanes! The Museo de Oro was great, as you can see in my post, and we enjoyed our bike tour (post coming soon).

  8. Alex says:

    Shame when weather gets in the way of something like this! I recently drove to Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii and there were clouds everywhere. Such a let down!

    • Emily in Chile says:

      What a bummer! This I could deal with, but I would have been sad about Mauna Kea. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to go back some day.

  9. We were just in Bogota and missed this. Next time we’ll have to make it up to the “disco church.”

  10. Rick says:

    I marveled when I saw your pictures. I have almost the exact sames shots from the same angles…wow

  11. cata says:

    I don’t think that you will be surprised to hear this from me BUT i have to say it:Colombian empanadas are better than the Chilean ones!!! I loved Chilean empanadas but i hated the egg and olive inside!!! haha… if you liked the empanadas in bogota, i have to take you to Cali. That is one of our main “dishes”!!!! Andre is obsessed with empanadas caleñas!! I’ve only been to Monserrate once, with Andi. The teleferico is scary! that’s why I was afraid to go to Cerro de San Cristobal! haha… I think Bogota is always cloudy in the afternoons bc the City is between the mountains. The clouds always get low :( PS: i dont eat lungs, or liver, or anything like that!

    • Emily in Chile says:

      The empanadas were really good! Buuut Chile has some good one too :) Pino, the kind with the egg and olive, is not my favorite. A really fresh cheese and shrimp, crab or scallop empanada is hard to beat.

  12. Rick says:

    well, I liked the empanadas, but I have to say they are different than the ones in Texas that have dulce inside, and the Tamales in Colombia are big and round while in Mexico long and flat. I’d have to give the Tamale edge to Mexico even though I maybe a little biased…

  13. Turtle says:

    I love the photo of the market. Pity about the weather.

    • Emily in Chile says:

      Thanks! Luckily that area was well-lit, so the photos turned out ok even with the clouds and impending nightfall.

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