Villa de Leyva: experience the colonial town like a local

Main plaza in Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva is a beautiful colonial town only 3 hours away from Bogotá. This place is one of the most popular destinations where rolos go on the weekends to spend quality time surrounded by nature or with their families.


Villa de Leyva was founded in 1572 by Captain Hernan Suárez de Villalobos, as instructed by the first president of the New Kingdom of Granada Sr. Andres Díaz Venero de Leyva. This town was created to be a center of agricultural production because after the war of conquest, a lot of soldiers were unemployed. He built a gigantic plaza that even today is the biggest plaza in Colombia with 14,000 m2.

Villa de Leyva is one of the most beautiful towns in Colombia, and its average temperature of 18°C makes it the perfect place to walk around and see history plus do extreme activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, etc.

How to get there

To get to Villa de Leyva, you have two options: by car or by bus.

By car, you have to go to the north of the city and take the road towards Tunja, the capital of Boyacá Department.

By bus, go to the Terminal del Norte and take a bus with the destination of Villa de Leyva; the cost is around 22.000 pesos (~$6,50 dollars).

Things to do

When you visit Villa de Leyva, you can enjoy different activities like going on a wine tasting, renting a 4×4, hiking to a waterfall, seeing dinosaur bones, etc. That’s why this beautiful town is a perfect place to go with your family, friends, or significant other.

Some of the activities below are easier to get to by car because some are far from the center of town and public transport is very limited. You can also rent a bike or a 4×4 to explore the area.

Visit the Fossil Museum

In this small museum, you can find a big fossil of a kronosaurus boyacensis hampe, a huge marine pliosaur. This is the first fossil you will see at the museum, and is accompanied by rock samples, minerals, and other kinds of fossils.

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:oo a.m to 6:00 p.m.

Visit the Terracota House

The Colombian architect and ceramist Octavio Mendoza Morales created this beautiful and unique clay house where thousands of visitors come to see how it looks on the inside and they are usually amazed when they realize that everything works like in a normal house (lights, water, etc). So, don’t miss the opportunity to take a picture. To learn more about it, click here.

  • Hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • Price:: Adults pay 15.000 pesos (~$4,50 dollars) / Children up to 12 years of age:  8.000 pesos (~$2,50 dollars)
Casa Terracota en Villa de Leyva
@Photograph by Rosalba Tarazona on Flickr

Visit a vineyard

If you like wine, a vineyard tour is a perfect plan for you! You can walk around the vineyard, learn about wine, and end with a wine tasting. The vineyard Ain Karin offers different tours; their wines are also produced with traditional European techniques and matured in imported oak barrels. To learn more about the vineyard and tours, click here.

Tours: They have six different tour options including:

  • Plan Viñedo: This package consists of a guided tour of the vine plantation, production facility, and cellar lasting 30 minutes. At the end of the tour, there’s a wine tasting of two varieties of wine. The plan Viñedo costs 22.000 pesos per person (~$6,50 dollars).
  • Plan Vendimia: This package consists of a guided tour of the vine plantation, production facility, and cellar lasting 45 minutes. At the end of the tour, there’s a private wine tasting session of several wines paired with cheese, jam, and dry fruits. This plan is designed for couples and groups of up to six people. The Plan Vendimia costs 69.000 pesos per person (~$20 dollars).

Visit Gondava – The Great Valley of the Dinosaurs

About 10 minutes from Villa de Leyva, you will find this theme park. It offers its visitors the opportunity to explore trails through various thematic areas with full-scale models of various species of dinosaurs, distributed throughout the forest, desert, and aquatic environments. Also, they have other activities like minigolf, being a paleontologist and finding fossils, etc. Check out their website here.

  • Prices: Children under 3 years don’t pay / Children (3 to 11 years) 15.500 pesos (~$4,50 dollars) / Adults – 16.500 pesos (~$5 dollars) / Seniors (64+) – 13.000 pesos (~$4 dollars)
  • Hours: Open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m
@Photograph by gran valle

Hike around the town:

Walk to Mirador el Santo: This is a beautiful viewpoint of Villa De Leyva and its surroundings. 

  • How to get there: Go up Calle 12 or 13 and follow the path.
  • Duration: 30 minutes each way

Explore La Periquera: This is an ecological park with two lovely waterfalls where you can swim. It’s a calm and pleasant place surrounded by vegetation.

  • How to get there: Take the shuttle at the bus terminal in Villa de Leyva in the direction of Gachantivá. The price is around 5.000 pesos (~$1,50 dollars). Tell the driver you want to stop at La Periquera. The bus ride takes about 40 min followed by a 25-minute walk following the signs.
  • Entrance: 20.000 pesos (~$6 dollars).

I also recommend you go to Villa de Leyva in August to see the kite festival, and on December 7 to see their Dia de Velitas (Candle day) celebration. They have beautiful lights everywhere. Also, when you go from Bogotá to Villa de Leyva or vice versa, you will see the famous Boyaca lights from the highway. And last but not least, I recommend you book a hostel in advance because it will be really hard and expensive to find a place to stay during these two festivals. Or you can go for only one day but expect possible heavy traffic and delays during the return trip.

@Photograph by Lisa Ramirez Cifuentes

So if you are in Bogotá, you can now explore this beautiful town during the weekend. Or if you are traveling around Colombia, don’t miss the opportunity to go and explore this wonderful historic place!

For more information, take a look at our amazing website

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