The capital and largest city in Colombia, Bogotá serves as the economic and residential epicenter of the country. Even though it rests two miles high within the Andean peaks, it is home to a remarkable eight million residents—more than one-fifth of Colombia’s population. And while it may have received a negative reputation two decades ago, it is now an intensely fun and endearing metropolis, as well as a surprising up-and-coming destination on the world’s gastronomy stage.

Nearly all of Bogotá’s traditional attractions can be found in the colonial sector of La Candelaria, a potpourri of colonial buildings housing museums, restaurants, hotels, and bars peppered amid 300-year-old homes, beautiful government buildings, and Spanish churches. For a taste of local Bogotá culture, it is worth stopping by the colorful Paloquemado Market for arepas, flowers, and fresh food, and participating in the country’s national sport of tejo, and ancient and exhilarating game involving explosives and beer.