Christmas Eve in Bogotá

JW Marriott Xmas Tree

Christmas is usually celebrated on Christmas Eve in Colombia. It is recognized by many that Jesus was born at midnight so families go out to dinner or gather with family in the evening and start toasting (Christmas, birth of Jesus) around 11pm.

We started our Christmas celebration in the afternoon at my birth family’s house. Traffic in Bogotá is notoriously bad and Christmas Eve is no exception. It took us over an hour to get there but we had fun people watching and checking out the activity on the street along the way.

Bogotá Traffic Xmas Eve

Bogotá Fish in Trunk

One of the Colombian dishes I have been wanting to try is ajiaco. It’s a thick soup that involves some of my favorite foods: potatoes (3 types of Andean), chicken, sour cream, avocado and a corn called Cuzco. The soup is also made with a herb called guascas. Colombian comfort food at its finest and homemade at that.

Christmas Lunch Ajiaco

This soup is so satisfying! Great textures and the sour cream and capers give it a nice punch. I love all the fresh fruit drinks that seem to be everywhere in Bogotá. I was happy when we were served a batida de fresa (fresh strawberry smoothie-like milkshake).

Batida de Fresa

Dessert was flan with maracuyá (passion fruit). ¡Que rico!

Christmas Lunch Bogotá Flan

Experiencing a home-cooked Colombian meal was the best Christmas present I could ask for. This was my first Christmas in Bogotá but I am definitely planning on it not being my last.

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I would recommend staying in La Candelaria neighborhood or Zona Rosa if you like boutique hotels in interesting neighborhoods. We chose the JW Marroitt based on proximity to my birth family’s house, price and perks from having elite status with Marriott. Breakfast was included as well as 24-hour access to the executive lounge which was temporarily in the bar at one of the restaurants on the first floor. This was particularly handy as we could drop in whenever we wanted for something to drink (water, beer, wine, juice, coffee, cocktails) and food (crackers/cheese, salad, veggies, rice dishes, meat dishes, variety of desserts).

Xmas Eve Dinner @ Dry

The breakfast buffet was huge with a good mix of Colombian dishes and international dishes. JW is in the financial district and serves a lot of people on business but during our stay I saw mostly families. It is walking distance to many cafés and restaurants so you have options if you don’t feel like eating in the hotel.

JW Marriott Breakfast

Check out the goods:

JW Marriott Bogotá Dessert

The level of service is excellent at the JW Bogotá. They are equipped to help you with anything you need. The concierge made our dinner reservations, answered numerous questions and took a midnight reservation for a last-minute car hire among other things. Water delivered twice daily to the room, turn down service and a delicious cake with a Christmas greeting delivered to us on Christmas Eve. It was easy to feel spoiled there! If you don’t speak Spanish most of the staff speaks English so they have you covered.

The rooms and hotel itself are beautifully decorated. Each space has its own style and great textures, from fabric wallpapers, tetris type shapes on the walls to metallic barrs that shimmer. The elevator even had big fat comfy leather panels to lean on.

JW Marriott Bogota Building

The hotel also has a spa with a full menu of services and huge lockers that have their own steam room and therapy baths. Next to the spa is a large pool and jacuzzi. We had the place to ourselves each time we went down for a dip.

JW Pool Bogotá

I drank plenty of coffee but I can’t believe I didn’t make it to a Juan Valdez café even though it was literally next door to the JW.  Next time.

Juan Valdez Cafe

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