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Villa de Leyva | 3 days / 2 nights

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This tour takes you to Villa de Leyva, about a three hours drive from Bogotá. With Spanish colonial architecture, whitewashed houses with red-tiled roofs, narrow cobbled streets, colonial churches, little plazas and flower-decked balconies, Villa de Leyva is one of Colombia’s prettiest colonial towns.

Villa de Leyva is one of Colombia’s prettiest colonial towns, about a three hours drive from Bogotá. You will find Spanish colonial architecture, whitewashed houses with red-tiled roofs, narrow cobbled streets, colonial churches, little plazas and flower-decked balconies. It has a friendly and peaceful atmosphere. Locals greet strangers in the street with 'Buenos días' or 'Buenas tardes'. You really feel you’re on vacation. That makes it such a pleasant trip from Bogotá.

Villa de Leyva is located in a high valley with an abundance of fossils in its surroundings. Outside the village there are several attractions such as a nearly complete fossil of a Kronosaurus and an astronomical observatory of the Muisca culture. You will stay in an authentic colonial hotel near the center of Villa de Leyva, with sweet balconies which views stretches over the nearby mountains.

Day 1 Bogotá ►Villa de Leyva

Your private driver will pick you up at your hotel in Bogotá and brings you in about 3 hours to Villa de Leyva. After arrival you will be brought to your hotel. The hotel has the same colonial atmosphere as the rest of the town and is located a short walk from the main square (Plaza Mayor).

The characteristic entrance leads you to a courtyard full of flowers and plants and a fountain made of carved stone. The quiet rooms have free internet, a TV, minibar, balcony and furniture with antique details. We immediately felt at home here.

In the afternoon you can stroll around the historical center, watch the whitewashed houses and visit some of its churches. The main square, covering over 14,000m², is the biggest square in Colombia and surrounded with comfortable restaurants. There are many handicraft shops with handmade souvenirs and good-quality woven items such as bags and ponchos. We bought delicious home-made meringue cookies wrapped in colorful papers.

At night we had dinner at miCocina, a beautiful restaurant with a courtyard and a wood oven where you can eat typical Colombian dishes such as ajiaco or ternera a la Llanera. It is also nice to have a drink (try the canelazo!) in one of the many courtyard cafes at the main square. Bring a warm sweater if you're going to do something in town since it can get cold at night.

Day 2 Villa de Leyva

Your private driver will pick you up around 9.00am for a tour in the surroundings of Villa de Leyva. The first stop is the archaeological site El Fosil. Here you will visit a nearly complete fossil of a 120 million year old baby Kronosaurus. Villa de Leyva is known for its abundance of fossils from the time it was covered by a sea.

The tour goes on to El Infiernito, a pre-Columbian site of the Muisca Indians. Here the Muiscas built rows of cylinder-like stones and symbols of fertility. The cylinder-like stones were used to determine the seasons. We found it very impressive to see these centuries-old constructions. You will finish the tour with a visit to the magnificent monastery Ecce-Homo from 1620, where you will also find fossils covered in the walls of the monastery.

Around lunchtime you will be back at your hotel. The afternoon is free to spend. You can for example take a taxi to the vineyard of Marqués de Villa de Leyva for a good glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. We liked to go horseback riding to Pozos Azules, a natural pool with crystal-blue water.

Day 3 Villa de Leyva ►Raquira ►Bogotá

After breakfast your private driver will pick you up at your hotel for your trip back to Bogotá. On the way back you will make a stop in Raquira. A town with brightly colored buildings and unique paintings on its facades. Raquira is known for its handicraft shops with a wide selection of local souvenirs. We bought Colombian black pottery and beautiful hammocks. After lunch you head back to Bogotá.

We found Villa de Leyva a very nice place to stay a little longer because of its pleasant atmosphere and many walking or other outdoor activities. If you want to take your time to go horseback riding or hiking in the mountains for example, it is possible to extend your stay in Villa de Leyva.

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