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Villa de Leyva: Historical and colonial jewel

Villa de Leyva is a perfectly preserved colonial-era town just 3 hours distance at the north of Bogota, in the Andean mountains.

Declared a national historic monument in the 1950s, the town is a popular attraction and home to artisans and many famous Colombians.

It is considered by most local and foreign tourists an incredibly beautiful colonial town, with decent tourist infrastructure but not overrun by tourism yet.
You easily can see the entire village in a few hours, but you'll want to hang out longer. The cobblestoned streets are difficult to ride on, but lend themselves to strolling to see the colonial architecture of white-washed houses with their wooden shutters, doors and balconies.


Atardecer Villa de leyva



You can also elect to stay in a finca or farm. Make sure you make your reservations early for weekends in season and for major holidays.
Restaurants offer local favorites, fast food choices and international cuisine. There are also vegetarian restaurants, and if you trust your stomach, try some of the offerings for typical fast food snacks from street vendors.

Leyva ( as most locals name the town ) has been preserved almost perfectly: Cobblestoned streets, red-tiled roofs, houses are whitewashed, balconies and private courtyards retain the heritage. The town is small, but the surrounding area will make you want to stay and hike and perhaps camp out.

The weather is nice (fresh at night, 18 degrees C average).

Most tourists here are Colombians, people from Bogota (during the weekend, the streets, restaurants, places to stay and shops are crowded). During the week you'll find the town nice and quiet.

villa de leyva de noche

You can find also a lot of foreigners ( germans, french and Americans among other nationalities) who have choosen Villa de Leyva as their retirement home. Elvis Presley's drummer Bill Lynn was one of the famous residents of the town, where he passed his latets days.

It has been used also as a location for the filming of different TV and motion pictures. Klaus Kinski was one of the famoust directors who chose the town as location for his film "Cobra Verde" in 1986.


Things to do in surrounding areas:

  • Horseback-riding (with a guide) for a couple of hours in the nearby Candelaria desert which also has some crystal blue lagoons (Pozos Azules) where you can take a dip in.
  • There is a beautiful area some 40 mins away from Villa de Leyva with cascading waterfalls called "La Periquera".
  • Hiking in the surroundings is great, and you can go camping too.
  • The whole area is one of the safest in Colombia.

It is also an area of paleontological richness. There is a famous tourist attraction called "El Fosil", a reasonably complete kronosaurus fossil, a 120-million-year-old prehistoric marine reptile resembling an overgrown crocodile.

The fossil is 7m long (the animal was about 12m long but its tail hasn't survived). It's a baby kronosaurus (the adult animals were far larger) and it remains in the place where it was found.

villa de leyva real estate



Villa de Leyva's most distinct feature is the huge cobblestoned plaza in front of the parish church. The Plaza Mayor is the largest of its kind in latinamerica.

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