In Bogota

Museo El Chicó Museo El Chicó

www.museodelchico.com; Mercedes Sierra de Pérez, Carrera 7A No 93-01; adult/student COP$3500/2500; h10am-1pm & 2-5pm Mon-Fri, 8am-noon Sat) Housed in a fi ne 18th-century casona (large, rambling house) surrounded by what was once a vast hacienda. It features a collection of historic objects of decorative art mostly from Europe – the exquisitely tiled bathroom is worth a visit alone – plus a picnic-perfect park.

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Museo Nacional Museo Nacional

www.museonacional.gov.co; Carrera 7 No 28-66; admission free Sun, Mon-Sat adult/student COP$2000/500; h10am-6pm Tue-Sat, to 5pm Sun) Housed in the expansive, Greek cross-shaped building called El Panóptico and designed as a prison by English architect Thomas Reed in 1874. Walking through the (more or less) chronological display of Colombia’s past, you pass iron-bar doors into white-walled halls. Signage is Spanish only, but each floor offers a few handy English placards you can take along with you for the highlights. The ground floor looks at pre-Columbian history, with rather oblique references to past groups and some gripping Muisca mummies that may date as far back as 1500 years. On the 3rd floor, room 16 gives the best sense of old prison life – with old cells now done up in various exhibits. The first on the right regards Jorge Gaitán, the populist leader whose 1948 assassination set off the Bogotazo violence – and coincidentally delayed the opening of this museum! Afterward, the lovely gardens have a nice glass Juan Valdéz cafe, and there are many good eating options on nearby Calle 29.

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Plaza Central de Usaquén Plaza Central de Usaquén

Los Toldos de San Pelayo; Carrera 6A btwn Calles 119 & 119A) It’s best coming on the weekend for its flea market, which is at its most vibrant on Sunday.

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Quinta de Bolívar Quinta de Bolívar

www.quintadebolivar.gov.co; Calle 20 No 2-91 Este; adult/child COP$3000/1000; h9am- 5pm Tue-Fri, 11am-4pm Sat & Sun) About 250m downhill to the west from Monserrate station, this lovely historic home museum is set in a garden at the foot of the Cerro de Monserrate. The mansion was built in 1800 and donated to Simón Bolívar in 1820 in gratitude for his liberating services. Bolívar spent 423 days here over nine years. Its rooms are filled with period pieces, including Bolívar’s sword. Less is said about its later days as a mental institution. There’s an English- and French-language brochure available for COP$2500, or a Spanish-language audio guide for COP$1000.

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