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Villa de Leyva Travel Guide


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Villa de Leyva at a glance

Villa de Leyva might not be a name familiar to those outside Colombia who have only heard of Medellin or Bogotá, but this tiny town high in the Colombian altiplano, or highland plain, is actually one of the most visited places in the entire country. A trip to Villa de Leyva is a journey back in time. Walking into the town you will be transported back four centuries, as this charming enclave has changed little over the last 400 years. Due to its location in the high plains of a mountain valley and the absence of important minerals, Villa de Leyva was not impacted by the region’s trade routes or exploited by mining and has remained virtually untouched, offering visitors a glimpse into olden-day Colombia. The town was declared a national monument in 1954, and its essence has been impressively preserved. Be charmed by Villa de Leyva’s cobblestone streets, whitewashed buildings and colonial atmosphere. Given it’s laid-back character and old world feel, it is no wonder that it is a popular holiday destination for Bogotanos who are are looking for a break from the city, which is just a three hour drive away. Admire the Spanish-style villas and take a stroll around the enormous main town square, one of the biggest in the Americas, which is flanked by the Iglesia Parroquial De Villa de Leyva dating from 1604.

Villa de Leyva Bucket List - What not to miss!

Experiences around Villa de Leyva

What not to miss

As well as Villa de Leyva’s enchanting small town environment, there is also a wealth of natural beauty surrounding this tiny mountain enclave. Venture to the outskirts of the town to enjoy nature walks, the picturesque La Periquera waterfalls where you can swim in the refreshing waters of its plunge pool, a highland desert, the small lagoons of the Pozos Azules and adventure sports. For anyone who enjoys a glass of wine, there are even vineyards in the vicinity where you can do wine tastings and sample some local Colombian grape varieties. Check out Villa la Leyva’s unique fossil museum, which houses a collection of thousands of dinosaur fossils that have been collected in the region’s desert. As the area was once inhabited by the Muisca community, traces of the ancient civilization can still be seen at El Infiernito, a sacred site that contains ruins where religious ceremonies and rituals were performed thousands of years ago. Visit the quirky Casa Terracota, a whimsical house made out of clay, basically making it a giant piece of pottery.

Fast Facts on Villa de Leyva

USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to Villa de Leyva.

When to go

Villa de Leyva’s temperate climate makes it perfect to visit almost all year round. July is the driest month, while October is the wettest, March is the warmest month, when temperatures average 63.5°F (17.5°C), and July is also the coldest month, with temperatures averaging 61.1°F (16.2°C). If you want to experience some traditional local culture, head to Villa de Leyva in December for the Lights Festival, the Wind and Kites Festival in August or the Astronomy Festival in February. Speak to one of our travel advisors and they can assist you in deciding on the best time of year to go.

How to get there

Villa de Leyva is best accessed by bus, and the main terminal is just 3 blocks away from the Plaza Major, or the main square. Buses arrive daily from Bogota, and the trip takes about 4 hours. Most hotels are within walking distance of the main terminus, but we can also arrange a private transfer for you if you would prefer. If you are staying at one of the more traditional farms outside the town, you might want to get a taxi. There are also lots of organised tours running from Bogota to Villa de Leyva, just consult one of our travel advisors if you would prefer to take advantage of this option. Arriving at the bus terminal in Villa de Leyva you’ll be within walking distance from most hotels.

Infrastructure

Because Villa de Leyva is popular with both locals and tourists it has a highly developed tourist infrastructure, and there are plenty of hotels to choose from to suit all price ranges. Be aware that hotel prices are higher at the weekends and during high season, especially during Holy Week in March/April and around Christmas and New Year. Please let us know in advance if you plan on traveling around these dates and we can book your accommodation for you. Villa de Leyva can be easily explored on foot, but you might want to rent a bike to see some of the highlights that are not within walking distance. There are lots of dining options, and for the more adventurous eaters, try something from one of the many street vendors you will find in the town.

Tour Packages to Villa de Leyva

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