BEAUTY & FITNESS IN BOGOTA
Colombians take the time to look their best, and approach each day with a positive outlook. One could say it is a living manifestation of the expression "looking good/feeling good." The fashion sense of Bogotanos is intoxicating. Whatever the professional standing or age, everyone takes pride in their appearance. It also helps that the clothing choices here are of top quality, most of which are either made in Colombia or imported from Europe (primarily Italy) (see Shopping & Fashion).
Peluquerías (hairstylists) open at 7:00 a.m. seven days a week, and are busy all day until 10:00 p.m. or later. Most of the hairdressers also provide beautician services, such as nail treatments, depilation, facials and makeup application. All of this attention isn’t reserved only for the ladies, as it is very common to see men of all walks of life and professions enjoying –at the least– a manicure and pedicure. Don’t be surprised if you see boys as young as 8-years old getting a full manicure at one of the styling shops dedicated only to children. And the young men have the most amazing ability to transform their hair into sculptural masterpieces. All of this attention could be expensive, but with so much competition (in some neighborhoods there are over 100 such establishments), the pricing remains relatively low – how about a $5.00USD haircut from a highly trained, and uniformed, stylist? Of course prices vary depending on the area, the level of service and the type of shop. Bogota Brilliance has prepared a listing of hair salons to help you locate one close to you, but it shouldn’t be too difficult as they are everywhere.
Spas are also plentiful, either as part of the peluquería operation, or as a separate business. Review our list of spas to find out where you can enjoy a choice of massage techniques, reflexology, water therapy, healthy meals, facials and more. Contact the spa directly for information on services and pricing.
Fitness is very important to many Colombians and health clubs are easy to find throughout the city. Whether you are looking for a specialized facility or a sprawling gym, Bogota offers something for everyone. And many hotels either have an in-house gym, or have an arrangement with a local one for their guests. You can review our listing of fitness clubs and gyms, but be sure to check with the club about daily and short-term rates.
Bogota is also a leader in state-of-the-art sports facilities, such as the Olympic style aquatics center Complejo Acuático Simón Bolívar in the Parque Simon Bolivar and the sprawling soccer fields and tennis courts of Compensar. There are almost 4,000 parks spread throughout Bogota. Whether an intimate plot with a play set, a few benches and some grassy spots, a landscape of rolling hills, a field of pine and eucalyptus trees, an area with a waterfall or brook, or acres and acres of land and lakes that comprise almost three-times the size of New York’s Central Park, Bogota has a park to meet just about every desire and need.
In 1998 the City of Bogota launched Muevete Bogotá or Move Bogota, an educational, promotional and intervention program designed to encourage the citizens of Bogota to make changes in their lifestyle. An important part of this public health initiative is to educate people on the importance of healthy eating and regular physical exercise. An ongoing campaign, Move Bogota has been so successful that the International Olympic Committee lauded it as the best program for the Promotion of Physical Activity in Latin America.
There are many opportunities to get outside and work on your fitness. Rent or borrow a bicycle and enjoy the largest network of dedicated urban bike paths called the ciclorutas, and the Sunday ciclovea (held since 1974) when major arteries are shut down until 2:00 p.m. so that bicyclists, roller-bladers/skaters and pedestrians can enjoy the city without worrying about cars. Another popular activity is Sunday morning aerobics in Parque Simon Bolivar. You can also find yoga clinics in various parks, and of course, yoga studios.
You might get the impression that Colombians are a group of primping and preening peacocks, getting all dressed-up for each other, striking poses at every opportunity. But this could not be further from the truth. There is an effortless grace, and a great sense of joy, that heightens the sense of elegance. Also, one might expect there to be a constant barrage of catcalling and overt sexual tension on the streets. This is yet another myth that Bogota dispels. Perhaps it is because there are so many natural beauties of all sexes that such activity is fruitless. Besides, the art of flirtation is practiced at its highest level here, and romance is constantly on display.
In Bogota you can relax and stay a while.