Bogota Colombia

If you’re visiting a big city on almost any continent and are looking to stretch your budget, try to time your travels so that you will have all of Sunday there.

Most long-term travelers figure this out eventually, but I was reminded of this strategy again when I was in Bogota, Colombia this past weekend. As I’ve talked about before in Quito and Mexico City, a main avenue running through the city is blocked off to traffic, opening it up for anyone wanting to ride a bike in safety.

That’s just the start though. In many cities this is the most likely time for free outdoor concerts and cultural events. After all, it’s when you’re going to have the best chance of getting a crowd. Since many weekend visit tourists are gone by the afternoon, you’ll be mingling with locals more than foreigners too, which is always interesting.

Free museum days can vary a lot and I know in popular cities like NYC or Paris they will usually be on a certain weekday each month to keep the numbers down, but for many other countries it’s politically favorable to make the free day whenever the most families can visit. So when I visited the Gold Museum in Bogota a few days ago, the normal 3,000 peso ($1.75—still a bargain) entrance fee was waived.

Guidebooks will usually tell you this info, but double-check it online to be sure. This is a case where the official city tourism site is usually your best bet as it’s kept up to date and will link directly to the museum/attraction.

The one downside of all this is you may find places more crowded than usual, so time it earlier or later than the masses to avoid a crush. The flip side of that is you’ll get a real taste of who lives in a place, which can be enlightening.

Have fun!