Lauren and Jesse Stuart, a travel blogging couple, share their experience of their travels and their first international HomeExchange stay in Bogota, Colombia.Learn more about HomeExchange
What did you appreciate most about the home you stayed in?
Location, location, location! We stayed in Bogota’s historic neighborhood of La Candelaria. Outside of La Candelaria’s cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and street murals, it’s one of the best areas to stay in Bogota due its proximity to must-see sights.
Close to popular places like Plaza De Bolivar, the famous La Puerta Falsa eatery, Monserrate, The Gold Museum and so much more, staying in La Candelaria allowed us to walk everywhere and truly explore some of the best Bogota has to offer.
Not to mention, the La Candelaria neighborhood has fantastic coffee shops, breweries, and great places to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
What did you appreciate most about your HomeExchange host?
How responsive and communicative he was. Any questions we had ahead of our arrival were answered promptly and clearly. Plus, we had a few questions once we arrived, and our host was very accommodating and helpful.
What did you see or do during your exchange?
We stayed in Bogota, Colombia for three weeks and used our HomeExchange as a place to work remotely and as a home base to do weekend trips from.
Some of our favorite things we did in Bogota include:
- Lunch at La Puerta Falsa
- Sunday Flea Market in Usaquen
- Enjoying Ciclovia Sundays
- Hiking to the top of Monserrate
- Eating in the La Chapinero neighborhood (known as being the gastronomic neighborhood in Bogota)
- Nights spent eating and drinking with locals at Plazoleta Chorro de Quevedo
- Enjoying craft beers at Bogota Brewing Company
- Playing Tejo (traditional Colombian sport)
- Exploring the La Candelaria neighborhood and its street murals
- Visiting La Plaza Bolivar
When we weren’t exploring Bogota, it was because we we’re off doing long weekends visiting other cities and towns in Colombia. With Bogota being around a 1 hour to 1.5-hour flight from popular places like Medellin, Cali, Salento, and Cartagena, a long weekend away is not only doable, but highly recommended!
Travel to Colombia
What is one of your best memories or experiences from your exchange?
We have two. The first is the people. Colombia today is not the Colombia it used to be in the 80’s and 90’s. The country has truly transformed for the better and we are so happy it did. The Colombian people are so kind, so helpful, and oh-so welcoming.
The second is Colombia itself. It’s truly a gem of a country. With something for every tourist, Colombia, outside of Indonesia, is one of the most diverse countries we have ever visited. From waterfalls to deserts, to national parks and Caribbean islands, to small towns and bustling cities, and Amazon excursions and centuries of history, Colombia is a country that should be on everyone’s “must-see” list.
What would you say to encourage your friends and family to try HomeExchange?
Being a member of HomeExchange is fantastic! Not only does staying in a HomeExchange save money on accommodation costs, but it also allows you to experience the place you’re staying in a much more local way.
You are staying in someone’s home while your host is either there or away. Be it the decorations of the home or the area the home is nestled in, you are much more enmeshed in the area you are in versus if you were staying in a chain hotel.
And for us, traveling authentically, and really experiencing the place we are in is our favorite part of travel. To us, traveling is all about experiences, and staying in a HomeExchange home allows just that.
What tips and tricks would you give to new HomeExchangers?
Make sure you understand everything upfront and ahead of time. For instance, we always confirm the address, check in time, and check in process with the host before our arrival. Plus, if it’s not already clearly stated, see if your host has some so-called “essentials” in place for you like a hair dryer, certain cooking utensils, and a washer/dryer, just to name a few examples.
Really, over-communicating goes a long way. Get a list of any questions you have and send a consolidated chat/email to make getting answers to your questions as easy as possible for your host.
If you are hosting guests, consider putting together a “welcome binder,” that outlines the best things to do in your area and where to eat and drink locally. Plus, it’s always nice to include other nearby items like grocery stores and urgent care centers just to be as comprehensive and helpful as possible to your guests.
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