Chapinero in Pictures

Posted on 05. Aug, 2009 by in colombia

I moved to Chapinero after a month in La Candelaria.Although I would love to live further north if I had the bread, I am happy here.
Chapinero is a large neighborhood from (roughly) Marly / Calle 45 in the south to Calle 72 in the north, and from the mountains in the east until somewhere west of Avenida Caracas. As of the time of this writing, the Wikipedia entry says that Chapinero is an “affluent” part of town. This is true for the half of Chapinero to the north of Plaza Lourdes and east of La Carrera Septima. However, nobody would call my street or anywhere south of the plaza “affluent.”
I don’t know where the western border because I almost never cross Caracas. I almost moved to that side of Chapinero until I consulted my boss and he told me not to. Apparently there are a lot of drug dealers and whores at night on that side. The west side of Caracas is NOT affluent.
The part of Chapinero east of La Septima is known as Chapinero Alto, or High Chapinero, because it lies on hills that begin to ascend into the mountains to the east. The upward inclined streets are quiet and feature almost all apartment buildings. There isn’t much action on that side, so I assume it’s safe. Most of the Chapinero Alto apartments were out of my price range. I actually found one beautiful place at the very east end on Avenida Circunvalar. The studio faced west and, because of the height, there was a killer view overlooking the city. It was the same price as the place I ended up choosing. From the studio with the view, I timed the walk to the grocery store and the TransMilenio – 10 and 20 minutes, respectively. I decided to be in the heart of the action, where I walk 5 minutes to the TransMilenio and almost everything I need to buy is on my same block.
On Calle 72, many of the country’s biggest corporations and banks have headquarters. North of 72 starts the neighborhood Chico, where you start to see the real money in Bogota. So the nice houses and evident affluence starts north of Plaza Lourdes (Calle 64). I live a few blocks south of the plaza.
Every major city has a neighborhood like Chapinero that serves as a buffer zone between the ghetto and the money. This neighborhood is usually a haven for starving artists, college students, bohemians, and diversity. The neighborhood isn’t necessarily bad, but it certainly isn’t good. Chapinero is that neighborhood in Bogota.
Every day in Chapinero, you’ll see gays, blacks, old folks, families, Colombian punk rockers, metal heads, hip-hoppers, skaters, men dressed in suits, bums, drunks, junkies, and everything else you can imagine. It’s very diverse. There are gay danceclubs and bars, the You can’t walk down the street looking like some Plain Joe geek. That’s why I bought a bad-ass hat!
I still marvel at how odd it is that I decided to get sober in Bogota. Bogota is the ideal town for drunks and drug users – better than Amsterdam. I can find every kind of vice within a few blocks from my apartment: bars, liquor stores, weed, coke, prostitutes and brothels, casinos, etc. I smell weed every day. People drink on the street and in the plaza, usually on the church steps. I hadn’t quit when I moved here, so it made all the sense in the world at the time.
Chapinero is the gayest neighborhood in Colombia. I heard that the mayor declared this neighborhood the designated safe haven for gays, where they won’t be discriminated against or something like that. So gays from all over Colombia moved here. So I’d assume that Chapinero is one of the gayest neighborhoods in all of Latin America, trailing only their equivalents in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, and Mexico City (huge cities). However, Chapinero is not gay at all compared to gay neighborhoods in the US, especially compared to similar sized cities. Most gay Latinos live in the closet and it’s just not as acceptable to be openly gay. It’s NOTHING close to gay sections of San Francisco, Chicago, etc.
Plaza Lourdes is the center of Chapinero, at Carrera 13 and Calle 63. There’s a big bad-ass church that I still love looking at, and that’s why there are several pictures of it. In the plaza there are always street performers, and hippies selling crafts like bracelets and paintings. There are tons of restaurants, bars and danceclubs. You can score drugs just about anytime in the plaza. The regulars recognize me now, but there are sometimes newcomer drugdealers who offer me drugs.
Chapinero is basically a retail center – a place to buy things. Latin American cities tend to cluster their industries, and Chapinero is the center for clothes. Clothes, shoes, suits, jackets, handbags, everything. But you can also buy electronics, furniture, antiques, whatever. La Carrera 13 is a main street running south where most of the retailing happens. Not only are there hundreds of stores, but also street vendors. Anybody who saves up enough to buy a bunch of miscellaneous stuff hits La Trece, lays it out on a blanket and tries to sell it. Belts, sunglasses, shoelaces, kids’ shoes, tools, wallets, watches, cell phones, books, DVDs, you name it. If you need something, you can find it on La Trece. It’s an annoying street to walk because I generally walk faster than all people in the world, but it’s too crowded to pass. There’s a nice little flower district – Las Flores – at Cl 70 with Caracas.
All the pics of houses and nice buildings were taken in the small section north of the plaza and west of La Septima. There are no pics west of Caracas, and the only pics of Chapinero Alto are from La Septima (the entrance). I was lazy.

Jump to the pictures.

Chapinero is a neighborhood from Calle 45 in the south to Calle 72 in the north, and from the mountains in the east to Avenida Caracas. Although the Wikipedia entry calls Chapinero an “affluent” part of town, most is middle class.

Chapinero east of Septima is known as Chapinero Alto because it lies on hills ascending into the Andes Mountains. The quiet, inclined streets are expensive apartments.

Calle 72, the northern border of Chapinero, is the financial district for the largest corporations and banks in the country. North of 72 starts the neighborhood Chicó, where you start to see the real money in Bogota. Zona Rosa lies in Chicó.

Every major city has a neighborhood like Chapinero that serves as a buffer zone between the ghetto and the money. It’s a haven for starving artists, college students, bohemians, hipsters, and diversity. The neighborhood isn’t necessarily bad, but not good either. Chapinero is that neighborhood in Bogota. In Chapinero you see gays, blacks, punks, skinheads metal heads, hip-hoppers, skaters, suits, bums, drunks, junkies, everything. It’s diverse.

I can find every kind of vice within a few blocks from my apartment: bars, liquor stores, weed, coke, brothels, casinos. I smell weed every day. Along Caracas and Kr 13, flyers for brothels are handed out. People drink in the plaza, in Hippies Park at Calle 60 and Septima, and in all the streets for that matter.

Chapinero is the gayest neighborhood in Colombia. The mayor declared it a safe haven for LGBT. So gays from all over Colombia moved here. However, it’s nothing like gay neighborhoods in the US since most gay Latinos live in the closet.

Plaza Lourdes is the center of Chapinero at Carrera 13 and Calle 63. There’s a big bad-ass church (half a dozen pictures below). In the plaza there are street performers and hippies selling crafts. There are restaurants, bars, and danceclubs. You can also score drugs.

Chapinero is a retail center – a place to buy things. Latin American cities cluster their industries, and Chapinero is the center for clothes. Clothes, shoes, suits, jackets, handbags, everything. You can also buy electronics, furniture, antiques, and more. Chapinero also has a nice little flower district – Las Flores – at Cl 70 with Caracas.

All pics were taken in the small section north of the plaza and west of La Septima.


Pictures

See the Chapinero, Bogota album on the Expat Chronicles FB page for easier viewing.

[ad]

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Chapinero in Pictures”

  1. Stuart

    07. Aug, 2009

    That church looks like the tower from Lord of the Rings, I can imagine the Eye of Sauron hanging between the two pinnacles at the top.
    How good of the church give clues to which side of the good/evil decide it is REALLY on.

  2. Luis

    08. Mar, 2012

    O pasa por la Universidad Nacional. También es muy bacana.

  3. snja

    23. Jan, 2013

    Thanks for this article, unlike other I read so far, very concrete and straight to the point.
    What is Chapinero like for living? And how about the cost of living there?

Leave a Reply

Use a FAKE EMAIL ADDRESS and your comment may be deleted. Fair warning.