Where is the Best Place to Live in Bogota for Expats? Neighborhoods, Rent & More
Are you soon moving to the capital of Colombia and trying to figure out the best place to live in Bogota? Bogota is a city of over 10 million people and trying to decide what neighborhood best fits your needs can sure be overwhelming.
Ideally, being that it’s such a huge and chaotic city, the best option is usually to live in walking distance from your work to save you the precious commute time every day.
However, if you are flexible or work from home like me, the location of your home might depend on other needs such as space, price and proximity to shops and restaurants.
Below is a breakdown of preferred neighborhoods where expats like to live in Bogota (from north to south), what they’re like and approximately how much they cost.
Approximately between calle 134 and calle 156 above the Autopista
This is probably the northernmost neighborhoods where you’ll find expats roaming the streets. It’s a very residential area with booming construction and new buildings. Many residential buildings will offer amenities such as pools, gyms, a communal area, guest parking and more. But best of all, it’s quite affordable in comparison to other expat neighborhoods in Bogota.
There is not much to do, being that there only one street with commerce (calle 140) and if you are working in calle 100 and below, you can count 45 minutes or more of stressful commute every morning and evening.
Want to avoid traffic and take the Transmilenio to work? Good luck with that! It’s so full and cramped, you arrive to work tired and stressed. Best take your bike on the cicloruta and swallow Bogota’s pollution.
- People looking for modern and affordable housing
- People who don’t have to commute further than calle 100
Rent for a 1 bedroom: $1.000.000 COP – $1.500.000 COP
Rent for a 2 bedroom: $1.100.000 COP – $1.900.000 COP
Rent for 1 room: $500.000 COP – $800.000 COP
Usaquén, Santa Barbara, Santa Ana
Approximately between calle 106 and calle 116, around carrera 7
This area is very well located for anyone working in calle 100 and is close in proximity to the charming area (and my favorite) of Usaquen, filled with great restaurants and shops. Here you have a wide array of luxurious apartments of 100m2 and up, perfect for families looking for a good location and tranquility at the same time. There are many apartment buildings built in the cerros of Bogota which provide a stunning view of the city.
In addition, I find that you can get a very nice apartment at a lower price than you would in Chicó, Chapinero Alto or Rosales.
Carrera 7 is the avenue that connects the neighborhood to the rest of Bogota. Unfortunately, it’s often atascada, and traveling 40 streets can take up to an hour during rush hour time.
- Families looking for large luxurious spaces and/or houses
- People working in calle 100
Rent for a 1 bedroom: $1.500.000 COP – $3.000.000 COP
Rent for a 2 bedroom: $2.500.000 COP – $7.000.000 COP
Rent for 1 room: $400.000 COP – $900.00 COP
Chicó and Parque de la 93
Approximately between calle 90 and calle 100
Living here is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. You get some of the tranquility of living up north, luxurious and modern, large apartments and close proximity to the business center of Bogota (around calle 72 with carrera 7).
Walking in Chicó feels like the streets of Europe or the U.S. You won’t find a single hole in the pavement and there’s greenery everywhere. Probably because it’s home to several embassies. Not to mention this also makes it one of the safest areas in Bogota.
None really, except that if you work in the business area of Bogotá it’s about a 30-minute walk.
- People working in calle 100 or Parque de la 93
Rent for a 1 bedroom: $2.500.000 COP – $3.500.000 COP
Rent for a 2 bedroom: $3.500.000 COP – $5.000.000 COP
Rent for 1 room: $500.000 COP – $1.00.000 COP
Chapinero and Rosales
Approximately between calle 53 and calle 82.
I’m a young millennial who likes to go out and always be in the center of the action. If you’re like me, then this is the place for you. This neighborhood is essentially where all the best restaurants and quaintest coffee shops are located. The neighborhood of Chapinero and Quinta Camacho also has some very well-preserved English looking architecture which just adds to the charm.
And if you live around calle 70 (in the neighborhood of Chapinero Alto/Rosales), you’re only about a 10-15 minutes walk from Zona T (calle 82) and Chapinero (calle 58).
If you are living above carrera 7, you are closer to the cerros of Bogota so your apartment might be colder than in other neighborhoods. Also, if you are living between carrera 3 and the Circunvalar, it’s a very steep walk uphill to go back home (at least you get some exercise!) if you don’t have a car.
The area is relatively expensive and old compared to other apartment choices in the north of Bogota.
- Young adults
- People working in Bogota’s business center (calle 72)
- Families with a car
Rent for a 1 bedroom: $1.000.000 COP – $3.000.000 COP
Rent for a 2 bedroom: $1.500.000 COP – $3.500.000 COP
Rent for 1 room: $700.000 COP – $400.000 COP
El Centro, La Candelaria and La Macarena
Between calle 9 and calle 26
For the bohemians at heart, this is the historic district of Bogotá. La Macarena is filled with neat restaurants and La Candelaria has all the main historical places and museums to see of the capital. Not to mention it’s a very economical area to live in.
Like living in Cedritos, this is quite far from everything as all the action happens between Calle 70 to Calle 116. In addition, (and according to a friend who lives in the area) although La Macarena in being sold as the SoHo of Bogota, it’s still unsafe due to its proximity to the neighborhood of La Perseverancia (a shady area as you can imagine) and although he’s only around the block from all the restaurants, he doesn’t feel safe enough to go walking.
Generally speaking, these neighborhoods are not recommended to walk at night for now.
NOTE: A few friends got held up at knife point in broad daylight in these neighborhoods and got everything stolen. (Although, it can happen anywhere, I doubt it’s a coincidence the only knife-point stories I’ve heard have been in these neighborhoods)
Rent for a 1 bedroom: $750.000 COP – $2.000.000 COP
Rent for a 2 bedroom: $1.500.000 COP – $2.500.000 COP
Rent for 1 room: $500.000 COP – $400.000 COP
Despite Bogota being such a large city with a lot to offer, the neighborhood you choose will be where you spend most of your time as traveling within is such a hassle.
I used to live in Cedritos for a year and later moved to Chapinero Alto. What a difference. I no longer have to plan everything one hour in advance as I am practically always a 10-15 minutes walk away. My entire day no longer revolves around one single errand due to transportation and logistical planning. Moral of the story is: choose your neighborhood wisely!
Where to begin searching for a room or apartment in Bogota?
Looking for a room? It’s the easiest way to avoid the need of an codeudor (someone who owns a place in Bogota and “guarantee” your rent contract). It’s also a great way to meet locals, make friends and save on bills!
Try Dada Room; connecting roomies all over South America, they have a wide offering of rooms for rent and will easily help you find other roommates.
Others websites include CompartoApto.com and Roommate.com.co, which offer a similar services. Craigslist is still pretty inexistent in Bogota, but you can always check the classified section of El Tiempo.
Looking to buy/rent an apartment? In Bogota, there are 2 main websites to buy or rent an apartment.
Here you can filter according to the budget, size of the apartment and neighborhood desired.
Some offers will have been published directly by owners and others by agencies. Agencies won’t charge you an extra fee for dealing through them as the landowner will cover the costs if you choose to buy/rent their apartment (which is usually the equivalent of one month rent). However, do check the requirements and papers needed by the agency as you might need a codeudor or present a downpayment.
If you don’t speak Spanish or are looking for a short-term, furnished rental, do check out AirBnB or Bogota Short Term Rentals Facebook group. Do note that prices will be significantly higher as this is designed for foreigners.