Best Coffee (Shops and Cafes) an Bakeries

I can’t leave Bogota without mentioning coffee. Coffee shops are very popular here. Some of the famous brands of coffee are Juan Valdez, Oma, Amor Perfecto, and lesser know is Bourbon, but it gets confusing because some of the coffee shops use other brands but make the coffee so well that your experience will be changed! One of those places is in the Hilton on 7th Avenue. The barista certainly takes a long time to make your coffee (including asking you how you want it – percolated, drip, etc. etc.) and it is nice. But not good if you actually just need a cup of coffee. The cafe looks like a 1920s location so the decor is appealing as well. I like Bourbon, both for their coffee and their cafe. And the fact that they make coffee with almond milk, for those who care about that sort of thing.

13220685_10154160417399618_6869800116600708308_oBut, the best bakery is Arbol del Pan (Calle 66 Bis, #4-63: they are located up near Gordo and La Fama, on a street parallel to La Fama). Their coffee is okay but it’s their breads that are the best. Plus, they are open for breakfast. They make a poached egg, asparagus and prosciutto croissant that is delectable. This is not to say that I don’t still enjoy Eric Kaiser and Masa’s products. But, I think I like Arbol’s almond croissant best. On top of which, the staff speak English and the owner has one of those great back stories (architect decides to become baker… and it’s a woman-owned business, for those who care about that sort of thing!).

Best Massage in Bogota

Some things are difficult to find in Bogota. Thai massage is one of them. The closest one gets is from Alvaro Silva. His phone number is 314-357-6656. Email address is His massages are 90 minutes long and cost 150,000 pesos. (Massage therapists don’t usually receive tips, and some refuse, so that’s the set price.)  Alvaro does Thai-, hot rock-, pressure point-, oil-, and Swedish massage. Plus, he also offers other wellness products like personal training sessions and exercise classes.

His massages are usually done on the floor on yoga mats (so he can pretzel your legs and arms) but he also uses a massage table if you have one. Only caveat with Alvaro is that he doesn’t speak English. It’s still easy to communicate with him and he can usually tell where you are in pain. Another thing that I like about him is that he doesn’t talk during the massage (unless you want to) and he doesn’t keep checking on how you like the session (I usually play music from a relaxation app on my phone so I tend to zone out and concentrate). Sometimes I wish that I had booked more than one massage because he’s spent the whole 90 minutes unknotting my back.IMG_2716

Most hotels have spas so one can get massages in fancy environments. I’ve only tried a few massage therapists and spas in Colombia. As this is Bogota, you can get the massage therapist to come to your house. The style of massage in Colombia seems to be mainly “Swedish.” I prefer pressure point and deep tissue. The other massages I’ve had here cost about half the price of Alvaro’s, but they were also only half as good. Most of the other massages involved lots of oil and Swedish style (light sweeping strokes). But, some people don’t agree with me and tell me that they get strong massages from other therapists (but each person has a different level of pressure that they like — one person’s pain is another person’s so-so).

My advice is to try them out and see which one you like.


The Class System in Colombia

IMG_2005It was a surprise to me to learn that Colombia has a class system. They call them strata, with strata six at the top. Apparently, the strata system determines the cost of utilities etc.  and has nothing to do with class.IMG_0041

Expats are considered strata six. This makes me think that there is a strata seven — as I’ve seen many “strata seven” types out and about in my neighborhood. _MG_3998

May 1 is not such a big deal here in Colombia. Neither as international workers’ day nor as a spring festival.