Good Health and Culture in Bogota, Colombia

Bogota, Colombia has a pace, rhythm, culture, and dialect all its own. It’s home to three of the region’s leading universities, two prominent symphonies, dozens of museums, art galleries, and performance centers.

Living here you’ll have a calendar full of social, cultural, sports, and historical commemoration events.

Daily, I indulge in great local coffee, tropical fruit ice creams, coconut limeade, roasted corn on a stick, and a fruit and vegetable array that is a vegan’s paradise. I also love the small fried maize meal cake filled with lightly sweetened cheese (expect to pay about 50 cents)…or one particularly lovely drink of steeped mint leaves with raw sugarcane and fresh fruit.

And I get to enjoy all of this in temperatures that vary through the year from a low of 48 F to a high of 67 F.

You’ll find a high rate of English fluency and you can live inexpensively compared to North America.

In fact, the affordable cost of living is one of the things that drew me here—I’m paying just $640 a month for a two-bedroom apartment—along with healthcare, which is both inexpensive and high quality. You’ll find many physicians who have been trained in the U.S. or Western Europe.

The restaurant scene is a fast-rising star in the culinary world, featuring an array of traditional and international menus. Regional distilled spirits and quality brewed beer are also widely available.

The city of Bogota has more than 1,000 urban parks, from small pocket-parks to the largest—which is twice the size of New York’s Central Park. It features a botanical garden and offers nearly 20 acres that highlight the region’s natural diversity.

The city’s mass transportation system offers reliable, citywide transport at low fares. But there is also a growing bicycle culture and, once a week, we get 75 miles of car-free streets.

No bike? No problem! Bogota has a low-cost bicycle rental program with easy pick-up and drop-off locations to encourage bicycling for exercise, pleasure, and transport to work or to school. I’m walking more than I did back home and I feel the health benefits.

If you feel the need to get out of the city for a while, you can reach the countryside by car, bus, or taxi…and when you arrive the beauty is breathtaking, with mountain scenes, year-round blossoms, and the great biodiversity.

And if you’re concerned about getting back to the U.S. when you need to…don’t be. There are multiple daily non-stop flights to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles.

I’m immersing myself in a new and rich culture here. The citizens are a proud, educated, and cultured people. But they are also warm, friendly, welcoming, and—above all—eager to show off the true beauty, diversity, and cultural richness of their home.

Do not come here with a mind to slow down. Bogota is a city on the move. There are places in this country where you can also find a quieter, slower, more traditional lifestyle…but here is its beating heart.

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