Bolivar. Nariño. Santander. Many of Colombia’s most prominent names have all had ties to Casa de Nariño, Colombia’s Presidential Palace. Built in a Neoclassical style, the palace is located in La Candeleria—Bogotá’s popular historic district—and decorated with furniture, paintings and sculptures that date back to second century Rome and Renaissance era treasures. Even without visiting inside the palace, travelers are treated to an architectural treat outside, where fountains, sculptures and the Plaza de Armas all add to the regal exterior. Noticeable, of course, are the many guards who vigilantly stand watch by the palace, where their crisp uniforms and colorful hats form a festive, though serious, atmosphere. While the President no longer lives in the building, it’s still the site of executive offices and Colombia’s top politicians, and is the frequent site of ceremonies welcoming groups of visiting dignitaries.
Insider Tip: The thrice-weekly changing of the guard is best viewed from the east side of the palace and doesn’t require reservations. For the best viewing, arrive 15 minutes prior to the guard change, which takes place at 4pm on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Guided tours are free of charge and last about 45 minutes. Tours take place at 9am, 10:30am, 2:30pm and 4pm, Monday-Friday, or 2:30pm and 4:30 pm on weekends.
To arrange a guided tour on your own, proper paperwork must be submitted at least a week in advance. Or you may visit as part of a sightseeing tour of Bogota’s historic downtown. When visiting inside the Casa de Nariño, no bags are allowed inside and photography is prohibited.