Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva is a stunning colonial village which lies only 3 short hours away from Bogotá and is a must-see site to visit from the capital.
It boasts beautiful well preserved colonial buildings, excellent restaurants, and pleasant peaceful people enjoying the leisurely atmosphere.
The impressive central plaza is the largest in Latin America and expands to a total area of 14,000m². There are always festivals and activities in the town including the Dragonfly festival and artisan markets. Director Werner Herzog used Villa de Leyva as the setting for the movie Cobra Verde starring Klaus Kinski.
Villa de Leyva is the perfect destination to escape from the hustle and bustle of Bogotá for a day or two, a real gem for those that want to travel through time and see some immaculate colonial architecture. Since 1954 Villa de Leyva has been a national monument.
The village is quieter during the week and at the weekend it fills up with visitors from Bogotá, a weekday visit is perfect for relaxing a little and visiting all of the historic sites without the crowds.
Not only is the village interesting in its own right but there are also some fascinating sights within easy reach. El Fossil or El Infiernito are interesting from an archaeological perspective, equally interesting is the landscape of El Páramo de Iguaque, possible as a day tour from Villa de Leyva.
We recommend that you spend 2 nights in Villa de Leyva, but of course a trip of two days and one night is also possible.
Departing from Bogotá you can stop first at the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá or the Laguna de Guatavita, or you can visit one outbound and one on your return.
On day 2 we recommend you visit some of the sites of interest in Villa de Leyva’s surroundings, be it on foot, horseback or by car. You might want to check out El Infiernito, an ancient Muísca fertility park with giant stone penises, or the blue-green pools of Pozos Azules. We can also include horse trekking, quad biking, mountain biking in the desert, kayaking, abseiling a canyon or whatever activity you want to personalise your Villa de Leyva experience.
Perhaps a visit to El Ecce Homo is a delightful convent with stunning colonial architecture or for nature lovers we suggest the Cascada de la Periquera a 15m waterfall. If you want a full day programme then we recommend the Paramo de Iguaque a high altitude wildlife sanctuary.
For those that like to live on the edge, the Paso de Ángel walk offers a footpath that narrows to 40cm with a fall of 150m on either side,
Fitting Villa de Leyva into an extended itinerary is easy. Being close to Bogotá it can be readily added into The Colours of Colombia or The Colombian Heritage Experience. It is also common to travel north from Villa de Leyva to San Gil and Barichara.