Biking Through Bogotá
Tucked away in a verdant valley in the Andes, Colombia's capital is a perfect mix of modern sophistication and epic wilderness. You can trek to the base of a 2,000-foot waterfall, savor world-class communal meals with ginger-infused cocktails, and catch a late-night rock show at a grungy dive bar in a single day. The range of activities, depth of culture, and Berlin level of urban cool is unmatched in South America, and that's why this city of 8 million is finally better known for its booming present than its chaotic past. Many of the city's main draws are concentrated along Carrera 7, La Séptima, which stretches north from the cobbled streets and colorful facades of La Candelaria and beyond the microbreweries and sushi restaurants around Parque 93. On Sunday mornings, the boulevard turns into a ciclovia — cars are strictly banned, and cyclists and runners are given free rein — which might seem emblematic of the new Colombia, but it's been going on for decades. Bike rentals are everywhere and essential for touring some of the city's ubiquitous murals on La Séptima. "A lot of the art is political," says Christian Petersen, an Australian artist who's spent six years embellishing the walls of Bogotá. "But some is just meant to be beautiful."