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Monserrate

Bogota's famed Monserrate is one of the city's biggest attractions. Perched on a small mountain to the east of Bogota, it stands at an impressive height of 3152 meters above sea level, towering over Bogota's height of 2600m. It's easily accessible from the Candelaria and the city's downtown, and is also very close to the famed Quinta de Bolivar, where South American hero Simon Bolivar lived after expelling the Spaniards from South America.

At the top of Monserrate you'll find a cathedral, restaurant, gift shop, as well as numerous purveyors of Colombia-related souvenirs such as t-shirts, leather goods, bags, and posters. The view of the city of Bogota is truly remarkable. Make sure to note Torre Colpatria, located slightly to the north, which is Bogota and Colombia's tallest building. Behind Monserrate you'll find the stations of the cross, a series of 14 sculptures depicting the final days of Christ. The inscriptions are in both English and Spanish.

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But the views from Monserrate are only half the fun. Equally enjoyable is the teleferico (cable car) ride to the top, which costs around $15.000 COP per person. It runs from early morning to dusk, every day of the week. You can also walk up Monserrate. Security has improved greatly in recent years, and it is now safe to do so. To get to the entrance to Monserrate, you can either walk 15 minutes east of the Candelaria, or take a taxi. It should only cost a few dollars to get from downtown to the Monserrate entrance.

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At the top you'll see how rural the outskirts of Bogota to the east truly are. For miles and miles there is nothing but green rolling hills. You'll find tourists from all over the world here. This is one place where a camera is an absolute necessity. It is also a spectacular place to watch the sunset, looking out across Bogota to the mountains on its western side where the sun sets.

Make sure to bring cash for souvenirs and gifts. It's a great place to buy t-shirts for your friends and family back hope, but vendors don't take credit cards.

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