Cultural Heights in Botero’s Colombia
Cultural Heights in Botero’s Colombia
A Feast for the Eyes and Lips
If you’re traveling to Colombia on business or looking for a unique side trip adventure from Miami, you might opt for Bogota, a place of dichotomy, where passionate culture meets passionate food. In the central city streets, you’ll find women dressed like supermodels on a runway and men in tailored jackets but also easy trekkers in the greener areas and locals attending church services on Sunday. Because Bogota is filled with colonial style buildings and hidden spots, and the geography is vast (with areas varying in safety) start your planning through your hotel.
Our top choice for accommodation is the Four Seasons. Choose the Four Seasons Bogota for impeccable service or the Four Seasons Casa Medina with its romantic gardens, patios, and hanging flora. Perhaps take a night in each location, to experience difference sides of the city.
CHARTING THE COURSE
Once you’ve landed, you can chart your course. You can have the concierge book a taxi straight away to the old center to the Botero Museum — located on a full art block that includes the Centro Cultural Gabriel Garcia Marquez — and will feed you a feast for the eyes that will pepper your senses.
An absolute ‘Must See,’ the Museo Botero features over a hundred works of the artist — considered perhaps the most important Latin American artist of all time and “the most Colombian” — as well as some paintings from Dali, Chagall and French impressionists (208 pieces in all.) Botero — known for figurative “oversized” personas in paintings and sculpture, he has often been considered a political artist, showing the state of the common man in his surroundings. However, in press interviews he has countered this, stating he works intuitively, without preconceived symbolism. To see such quantity of Botero’s paintings in one space connects the viewer to him on a personal level, for a larger than life experience, seeing Colombia through the eyes of Botero’s personages. Presented with narrators of the place you’re standing in, the art comes to life from the walls.
The magic will stay with you as you descend back onto the streets at dusk, where you can opt for some local ceviche at Central Cevicheria (camarones y calamares) if you’ve got energy to burn or head back for more classic fare — a steak or pasta — at the Four Seasons Restaurant.
Immersing in the richness of the city
Wake up early the next morning, to take the funicular tram (10,341 feet) up Mount Monserrate, the hill — or rather mini mountain — by 9 am or so. It’s a ten minute mount. You might catch the mass at a church there or walk with the locals through the gardens. The view of the city below is breathtaking. (Pro Tip: Stay hydrated, since water evaporates at such high altitudes.)
You’ll be hungry when you get back down the hill to La Candelaria again, to join the line at a deceptive but delicious famed hole in the wall called La Puerta Falsa, where you can indulge in hot rolls, chicken tamales, and hot chocolate before shopping treasures in the numerous side shops.
Local vendors here sell beautiful jewelry and other crafts. There are “ruanas” — thick often striped ponchos — often created by communities of families over generations and “sombreros veultaios” official Colombian style hats with geometric patterns. They are created by the Zenu tribes in the North but are worn throughout the country. You might also snag yourself a colorful “mochila wayuu” or sack like handbag made of wild cotton, maguey, alpis and other natural fibers twisted into “S” and “Z” patterns, in bright tangerine, lemon, cherry and turquoise. Each one takes roughly three weeks to create. There are leak proof “werregue” bowls made from palm trees (and exclusively by women) as well as “guacumayas” baskets, assembled from colorful woven rolls. Purchases aid residents who rely on such traditional crafts to survive. So you can dress yourself into a rainbow and help people at the same time.
Eating like a Bogotano
Now that you look like a native, it’s time to eat like one, starting with appetizers —a wonderful creamy burrata at Delucca Restaurante — and crisp white wine. Or perhaps drinks inside what looks like the inside of a slot machine at Andres Carne de Rez (Chia) with some tacos at Cantina y Punto, a laid back Mexican joint. Or follow up with a meal at Club Columbia, where you can taste an array of delectable ceviches, rice dishes, chorizo, steaks, and salads. You might want to try the organic fare of childhood friends Tomas Rueda and Juan Pablo Tomás Rueda (from lamb chops, sausages, asparagus, to artichokes and cheese sauces) at Donostia, with its chic black and white decor. Bistro El Bandido features French fare (grilled prawns, croque monsieur, and coq au vin) as well as live music. At Salvaje, you’ll feel as though you’ve gotten lost in a jungle — with wall hanging flora — as you feast on plates of salmon and mushroom fried rice, avocado and cheese enhanced dishes, and roasted meats. At the end of your trip, you’ll end up boarding the plane stuffed but happy, just like one of Botero’s muses.
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos
Area: Los Cabos, Mexico
Style: Sleek and laid-back
Fun Fact: With chef Nobu as a founder, expect amazing food
Don’t Miss: Lounging by one of the resort’s four pools
When you’re ready for a beachfront escape, here’s a new choice to top your list: Nobu Hotel Los Cabos. The first hotel in Mexico for the Nobu Hospitality team— whose founders are chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert Deniro and actor/producer Meir Teper—the resort offers everything from amazing dining (of course) to multiple pools to lots of wellness options, all against a stunning ocean backdrop.
Location: Situated on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, this resort in Cabo San Lucas is on El Suspiro beach—and has the amazing views that you’d expect from its waterfront location. It’s located inside the Diamante complex, which includes a world-renowned golf course and lots more—and it will take you about 45 minutes to drive to the hotel from Los Cabos International Airport. Once there, you’re about half an hour from most of the off-site activities and attractions, including the famous El Arco and the marina.
Vibe: Sleek and sophisticated, this design-forward hotel offers lots in the way of, as they describe it, laid-back luxury. Expect lots of wood, stone and wood tones, all against a neutral color palette. There are 200 guest rooms and suites, with some overlooking the water and others with views of the nearby golf course. The “deluxe room swim-up,” which opens right up to the pool as well as the Zen Suite and Sake Suite, both of which have ocean views. The two-bedroom Nobu Suite, which is over 2,600 square feet, boasts a chef’s kitchen, pool table and wrap-around terrace that looks onto the water. Pro-tip: When deciding where to stay, head to the hotel’s website where you can take a 360-degree tour of the room or suite and really get a feel for each.
Why We Love It: You’ll find everything you need to relax at this hotel—from great pools to amazing dining options. Let’s start with the dining. With renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa as one of the founders of Nobu Hospitality, you can expect that the food will be top notch. At Nobu Restaurant you’ll find the Japanese fusion cuisine that Nobu is famous for, as well as two bars, all with the ocean in the background. Malibu Farm is a farm-to-table restaurant offering organic choices for all three meals, and at Pacific Restaurant you’ll find “fine dining Mexican concept with a-la-carte service and traditional taco & mezcal pairings.” Rounding things out are Cortez Swim-Up Bar and Playabar, offering drinks and food poolside. Speaking of pools, there are four at the resort, including an infinity pool. Other amenities to check out: On the wellness end, the spa includes a salon and a fitness center with yoga and spinning classes. Plus, there are lots of other activities, like beach volleyball, a Kids Club that offers yoga, origami and face painting for the younger members of your group, as well as golf, including access to the nearby Diamante: The Dunes course.
Why Go F1rst: If you book with First in Service, you’ll receive a complimentary breakfast for two throughout your stay as well as one complimentary lunch for two. Plus: early check-in and late check-out and an upgrade, if available.
F1S Tips: You won’t have to leave your four-legged family members at home: the hotel is pet-friendly and offers amenities like pads and bowls.