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Two Bogotá Insiders Share Itineraries for a Perfect Day in Town

(Bloomberg) -- Welcome to Two Perfect Days, in which we profile two prominent locals on their favorite haunts. Consider it a complement to our obsessively researched Two-Night Minimum city guide series.

If there were such a thing as an Underrated City Award, Bogotá would win first place. Often eclipsed by its beach-centric sister city Cartagena or the food-focused hubs of Lima and Mexico City, Bogotá deserves equal footing for its arts and fashion scenes, with dozens of ateliers and boutiques hidden behind blocks of crimson-brick facades. Luckily, two of the city’s most switched-on locals have chimed in where to find the best designer goods—as well as where to paint the town red. (Bogotános are good at that, too.) 

Diana Crump was raised in Bogotá and decamped to Paris, where she earned multiple degrees in design and fashion. After four years working for Hermès, she returned to Bogotá in 2014 to start her own contemporary label, Atelier Crump—its blended feminine and masculine silhouettes have recently been picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue.

Laura Hernández Espinosa, meanwhile, is a torchbearer of Colombia’s fast-evolving culinary scene. After years in academia, she earned her stripes in the hospitality industry by working alongside her mother and business partner, Leonor Espinosa, who was crowned the top female chef by the World’s 50 Best awards in 2022. Now she’s staking her own place in the city’s culinary canon with a genius beverage program—inspired by her country’s biodiversity—at Sala de Laura, which sits directly above her mom’s iconic restaurant, Leo. (She’s in charge of the drinks there, too.) Clearly, an appreciation for the country’s mind-bending array of equatorial produce runs in their blood.

Among Crump’s and Hernández Espinosa’s top picks are shops galore, places to drink and spots to dance the night away, as well as the city’s most hard-to-describe dessert.

 

Shopping, Shopping and Gallery Hopping

Edited from an interview with Crump. 

I like to start my day early—Bogotá is a city of morning people. After some meditation and feeding my dachshund, Dorito, I head to El Arbol del Pan for breakfast—it’s not too far from my house in the Chapinero neighborhood. They have the best pain au chocolat in the city; I’m half-French, so I know what I’m talking about! I like to eat mine along the water at Quebrada La Vieja, a beautiful park in the middle of Rosales neighborhood with a small ravine. I usually bring Dorito along—Bogotá is also a city of dog people!—it feels like we’re in the middle of nature far away from the city.

A post shared by Casa Creciente Bogotá (@casa.creciente)

My office shares a space with Casa Creciente, a concept store in the Quinta Camacho area that I co-created with jewelry designer Aysha Bilgrami. We sell scented candles from La Veranera, artisanal glassware from Zorro y Jaguar and looseleaf tea blends from Ritos de Plantas Vivas.

On my lunch break I head to Siga, a casual restaurant with beautiful vine-draped patio seating. I usually opt for the “menu del día”—a menu of the day—especially on Fridays, when they serve ajiaco (a traditional chicken soup made with three types of heirloom potatoes and a leafy herb called guascas and heaped with toppings). I promise you: Everyone has their favorite, but this is the city’s best. 

Housed in the same building as Siga is Papel de Punto, my favorite Colombian knitwear brand, founded by my best friend, Laura Acevedo. Her cartoon and graphic sweaters are perfect for Bogotá’s drizzly weather. Nearby, also in Quinta Camacho, is Casas Riegner, a contemporary art gallery with ties to Miami’s art scene. 

I also love the bohemian feeling in the nearby neighborhood of La Macarena. When I have visitors in town, I’ll take them for a cup of coca leaf tea at Templo Té to help them get over the altitude adjustment. We’ll also stop by Saluciones for souvenirs—think cotton shawls and leather totes or plush toys for children. Not to be missed is the most iconic building in Bogotá, Las Torres del Parque; it has beautiful radial brickwork by legendary architect Rogelio Salmona. (He was also part French, too!) 

At the end of the day, I like to have drinks with my friends at Cocodrilo Bar. It’s where the creative crowd goes for a cocktail. I usually order a lulada de viche (viche is a local distillate made from sugar cane, and luladas are drinks with sour lulo juice as their base). Dinner at Café Bar Universal is a must. Their international menu ranges from ceviche to hummus and pita, and everything is delicious—perfect before a night of salsa dancing at Sandunguera. 

 

The Chapinero Deep-Dive

Edited from an interview with Hernández Espinosa. 

As a restaurant and bar owner, I usually wake up a bit later than most people. After a bit of journaling, you’ll find me out brunching, especially on weekends. Híbrido Restaurante y Panadería in Chapinero is a favorite and a popular spot for locals to start the day. The sourdough here is truly incredible and flawlessly baked. You can also find great local amasijos (snacky corn cakes). I typically order the artisanal granola and a variety of breads: purple corn, pumpkin and the mojicón (a sourdough brioche with sugar and orange zest on top). 

For coffee nearby, I follow the aficionados to the punk-rock-playing Libertario Coffee Roasters in the Quinta Camacho area of Chapinero. Their unique and always-changing brews—some of Colombia’s finest—are sourced from one of the best farms in the country, La Palma y el Tucán, a two-hour drive west of the city.

Bogotá is brimming with creativity; one of my favorite activities is exploring the fashion boutiques and art galleries along the Calle de los Anticuarios, a street in the El Nogal area of Chapinero. It’s packed with a range of high-quality Colombian designers. A must-visit store is Artesanías de Colombia for a veritable exhibition of traditional and contemporary crafts from all over Colombia: jewelry, hammocks, masks and other products made with traditional techniques. They’re the perfect souvenirs. Also a must, St. Dom is an iconic multibrand fashion boutique that offers a selection of the best in Colombian design, fashion, art and decor. I love that they showcase both established and emerging local designers—don’t miss the latest from the men’s fashion label Cubel.

For art lovers, the Baobab Gallery is a haven for contemporary art, showcasing both local and international talent. My favorites include work by Devorah Farji Levy and Carolina Convers.  

As for dinner, I’ve been really enjoying chef Jefferson García’s latest venture, Afluente, also in Chapinero. (If you haven’t guessed by now, I never leave Chapinero!) His dishes focus on the culinary heritage of Colombia’s páramos—alpine tundra biomes—and their biodiversity. It uniquely highlights the richness of my country’s cuisine. Try the conejo—rabbit—which comes with fresh cheese and a savory milhojas (Spanish mille-feuille); for dessert, there’s a sweet toffee concoction garnished with fresh redcurrant, homemade Andean potato chips and an herbaceous granita. It’s so hard to describe, but it’s one of my favorite things anywhere.

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