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The stereotype of the South—a forlorn shantytown in Ciudad Bolívar

The infamous South of Bogotá includes the localidades of San Cristóbal, Usme, Tunjuelito, Antonio Nariño, Rafael Uribe, Ciudad Bolívar, and entirely rural Sumapáz, home to Sumapaz National Park.

This is not a safe part of the city. Bogotanos will sometimes joke around by asking foreigners if they have checked out el Sur, but they really don't want you to go there. Much of the south lives in extreme poverty, with the "just poor" (as opposed to the extremely poor) living mostly near the Transmilenio stations in the L Zone and H Zone north of Calle 40 Sur. Unsurprisingly, you'll probably find more things to do (mainly cheap eateries serving home-style Colombian food or hamburgers with bottles of Aguila) close to those stations than in the hilly shantytowns on the outskirts.

Presumably, there is a fair amount to do here, since it is such a huge area, home to so many people. But it's not clear whether any tourist has figured it out yet.

Get in[edit]

By Transmilenio[edit]

The H Zone and L Zone are the routes through the South on the Transmilenio, both running from downtown. The former runs along Avenida Caracas before splitting to go to either Portal Tunal or Portal Usmé. The L Zone runs along Carrera 10 (Décima) to Portal 20 Julio, which now sees connections to buses to Villavicencio.

Laguna Chisacá, surrounded by the moor-like landscapes of Sumapaz National Park

By car[edit]

Avenida Boyacá is the main southern highway, which passes through the South on the way to Villavicencio, and is probably the extent to which most travelers see the South. From downtown—which is quite close to the south of the city—Avenida Caracas is a more local route goes straight through, meeting up with Avenida Boyacá, while Kra 10 does the same, but the path onward after it terminates is much more confusing.


If you are looking for tourist attractions, you probably got lost. But at the very least, you could find one very attractive, large church:

  • 1 Iglesia San José Obrero, Kra 13 #26AS-1–26AS-99 (A little less than 1 km from the Olaya H Zone Transmilenio stop).


Hiking in Sumapaz National Park is a reasonably popular day-trip excursion, usually arranged with a tour company.


Iglesia de San José Obrero
  • 1 Centro Comercial Centro Mayor, Avenida NQS (Autosur) at 38AS. 8AM-10PM daily. While this mall has fewer high-end stores than the shopping centers in the north of the city, it makes up for that in sheer size—with over 430 stores, it's the biggest mall in Colombia, and it's quite nice. As it's just off the Autosur, it is really convenient if you are coming into the city. Notably, it houses the southernmost Crepes & Waffles in the city!


Along Avenida Caracas, west of the Olaya TransMilenio station, is a row of restaurants specializing in lechona, a Colombian variation of lechón (roast pork). The many lechonerías here have their lechona of the day on display, enticing passers-by to try theirs over someone else's.

  • 1 Lechonería La Dietética de Natagaima, Avenida Caracas #28B-03 (TransMilenio Olaya), +57 310 3307193. Featured in Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations, this place is arguably the best-known of the many lechona places in Bogotá. First-time diners also receive a complimentary branded piggy bank and magnet. 8,000-15,000 COP.



Stay safe[edit]


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