Located in the heart of Bogota at the base of the towering Oriental mountain, the Candelaria neighborhood is the oldest part of the city.
New life is being breathed into the area by tenants, hoteliers, and restraunt owners, many of whom are foreigners. Among the area’s newest inhabitants and investors are Italians, Swiss, Australian, French, Cuban, and Israelis.
According to local newspaper El Tiempo, today there are 66 lodgings, 300 restaurants, 16 museums, 9 universities, and 30 bars in the Candelaria district. Owner of the Platypus hostel chain Germain Escobar said that the “first hostel was opened in 2006 and this year there are already over 40.”
“I fell in love with Bogota,” said the owner of the Old Swiss hostel and bakery Tobias Fritshchi. “I was attracted to the economic growth of the city and the eccentricity of the fruit with which I make my products,” added the Fritshchi, who settled in the capital two years ago.
The owner of Hostel Sue and a representative from the Candelaria Housing Association (Asacan), Oscar Payan warned that although these foreign investments and developments are positive, they can affect the Candelaria’s cultural identity in the future.
A new support program for the established hostels is being developed by the Tourism Institute. Asacan said, “in recent months there have been many foreign citizens buying big houses and spending a lot of money to transform them into hotels,” which Asacan considered “onslaught on the cultural heritage of the Candelaria.”