Shopping options in Bogotá are plentiful and varied. In the city center, look for bargains and handicrafts. In the north, you'll find upscale shopping malls and boutiques. Colombia is well known for its shoes, purses, emeralds, and gold. Good deals can be found on these items, but save your bargaining for El Centro; prices are fixed in more upscale northern Bogotá.
Antiques & Jewelry
A couple of good antiques stores are Anticuarios Gilberto F. Hernández, Calle 79B no. 7-48 (tel. 1/249-0041), in the Zona T neighborhood, and Almacén de Antigüedades Leonardo F, at Carrera 4 no. 12-34 (tel. 1/334-8312), in Candelaria. There are also several antique shops in Usaquén.
Most shops selling emeralds are located around Carrera 6 between calles 12 and 13, the Centro Internacional.Art Galleries
Bogotá has one of the great art scenes in Latin America, with galleries clustered in different neighborhoods all over town.
Meant to be the parking lot for the Muse do Arte del Banco de la República, however, it turned into El Parquedero (www.banrepcultural.org/el-parqueadero) at Calle 11 no. 4–21, and became a unique cultural venue of its own, holding frequent exhibitions.
For contemporary work from big names and promising rising artists, there’s Galería El Museo (www.galeriaelmuseo.com), Calle 81 no. 11–41, and La Cometa (www.galerialacometa.com), Carrera 10 no. 94A–25. The three-level Cero Galería, Calle 80 no. 12–55, is home to large-format photography and paintings. In La Macarena, there’s Alonso Garcés Galería (www.alonsogarcesgaleria.com), Carrera 5 no. 26B–92, which is the reincarnation of an avant-garde gallery that launched in the 1970s and maintains a loyal following. It has eight exhibitions each year focusing on painting, sculpture, and video, as well as a gallery store. Galería Beta (www.galeriabeta.com), Calle 75a no. 20c–52 in San Felipe, is more experimental and attracts a young crowd. Dibs by Culture Shock, at Carrera 3 #11–24, focuses on graffiti and street art, helping bring in edgy, young urban art into the limelight. There’s also a design store on site.
Colombian fashion icon (and Cartagena hotel owner) Silvia Tcherassi’s Bogotá store, at Carrera 12 no. 84–17, is where to come for unique runway style dresses. Studio F (www.studiof.com.co), Calle 26 no. 62–47, sells sleek and silky womenswear. Amelia Toro (www.ameliatoro.com), who now has stores in North America, sells her sophisticated seasonal collections from her store at Av. 82 no. 12–10.
If you happen to be here in March, you can attend events at Bogotá Fashion Week (www.bogotafashionweek.com.co), which showcases the city’s and the country’s top designers.
Handicrafts & Textiles
For handicrafts, try Carrera 15, between calles 74 and 77, the Centro Internacional (International Center), the Centro Histórico (Historic Center) and La Plaza de los Artesanos, located on Calle 63 at Carrera 50. Many handicrafts shops are found around La Candelaria and El Centro, though they’re dominated by cheap, mass-produced souvenirs. For something of better quality, Artesanías de Colombia (www.artesaniasdecolombia.com.co) has several locations throughout Bogotá, including at Carrera 11 no. 84–12 (tel. 1/218-0672). Decent flea markets are held in Plaza Santander in the city center (daily 9am–6pm at Calle 24 and Carrera 7) and in Usaquén, on Saturday and Sunday, in the parking lot at Carrera 5 and Calle 119. My favorite spot for handicrafts is Mambe ★, at Carrera 5 no. 117–25 (tel. 1/629-8880), which sources fair-trade handicrafts from rural and indigenous communities around Colombia. Although the prices are a bit higher than at stores in the city center, no one will hassle you, and goods are of more authentic and decent quality.
For discount deals, head to the Restrepo neighborhood. Quality leather goods can also be found in upscale shopping centers. Good leather stores include Mario Hernández, which has several locations, including at Unicentro (tel. 1/213-0165) and Carrera 68D no. 13–74 (tel. 1/292-6266). Another good option is Julia Rodríguez, at Calle 81 no. 9–25 (tel. 1/249-5229).
Markets & Malls
It almost seems as if there are more shops than people in Bogotá. The main shopping areas are in Usaquén, La Zona Rosa, Carrera 15, Avenida de Chile, Carrera 13, Calle 53, and the Chapinero neighborhood. Some popular shopping centers are the American-style Atlantis Plaza, Calle 81 no. 13-05; Centro Comercial Andino, Carrera 11 no. 83-71; the 312 shops of Unicentro, Av. 15 no. 123–30; and Hacienda Santa Bárbara, Carrera 7 no. 115–60, which was once the property of a wealthy Bogotá family. The latter is a unique shopping center that has both a modern and colonial part built around a beautiful courtyard. Inside, you'll find high-quality boutiques and jewelry stores.
For budget shopping, try San Andresito, at Carrera 38 and Calle 12, where you can find more or less anything you're looking for. The shopping centers and stores around San Victorino Square, Carrera 10 and Calle 10, in the center of the city are also very cheap, with a great assortment of clothing, handicrafts, and even electronics. However, the area can be a bit seedy, so try not to make your tourist status too obvious. Tip: Bargain hard around San Victorino, especially if it's obvious that you're not Colombian; otherwise you'll end up paying far too much.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.