Playing tejo in Bogota – the best game ever?

We’ve already been to Bogota. We weren’t supposed to be here. But, after a day in the Cartegena airport (yes, another entire day spent in another airport), which caused us to miss our connecting flight from Bogota to Quito, here we were with 1.5 days to kill before we could again fly to Quito.  Good thing, it’s a pretty cool city.

So, we found a pretty cool way to spend the time – tejo, the national game of Colombia.  And, it’s only played in Colombia – a fact one local at the tejo hall was very proud of.

Tejo is pretty much a cross between bowling and cornhole, however you throw a somewhat heavy hockey puck type disc into a frame filled with clay and if you hit a target, gunpowder goes off.


This last part makes for a pretty interesting time, as the tejo hall can sound like a firing range.


The hall we went to requires 6 people for a game, so it sadly wouldn’t let Erwan and I rent a lane.  Instead, we bought a few beers and sat down lane-side to watch the locals play.  Jen befriended one of them with a montage of questions on what was going on, and they soon let us join in on a bit of the fun.

Like many games, it is quite male dominated (there were only 2 other women in the whole hall besides Jen) and the rules reflect this. If women play, they have a much closer line to throw from and a lighter ‘hockey puck’.  When Jen threw, they insisted that she stick to these gender norms (as well as Erwan for his first time).  That being said, the lone female of the group we befriended, hit the target more times than the guys. . .

Another thing to add is that tejo is pretty much a drinking game. Supposedly, you can’t finish a game until you finish at least a crate of beer.  Scoring also seems to be optional and through our rough conversations, we still don’t really understand it – something about getting nine ‘hands’ of 9 points each. . .

So, combine bowling, cornhole, fireworks, heavy drinking, and a song playlist of Latin favourites – what’s not to like? It certainly could vie for one of the best games ever. . .

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