How to Spend A Weekend In Villa De Leyva, COlombia
Villa de Leyva is a colonial town of 15,000 people and it’s one of the prettiest towns in Colombia. It’s a popular weekend getaway for residents of Bogotá and the relaxed town is the perfect antidote to the bustling capital. Villa de Leyva moves at a slow pace during the week and becomes a lot more lively on weekends.
The Andalusian architectural influence is prevalent and Villa de Leyva’s cobblestone streets and white houses with green balconies look very similar to Seville. There are only a few attractions in town and visiting Villa de Leyva is more about the small-town experience and walking the charming streets.
How to Get There
There are frequent direct busses from Bogotá to Villa de Leyva and the journey takes 4 hours. If you’re coming from San Gil, you need to take a bus to Tunja and a second bus to Villa de Leyva.
What to Do
El Fósil – In the 1970s, a local farmer discovered a 125-year-old dinosaur fossil and the excavation site is now a museum. Most of the information is in English and the entrance is 20,000 Colombian pesos (COP).
Mirador El Santo Sagrado Corazón de Jesús – A lookout point over the town that is reachable by a short hike. The trail can be difficult to find, but it’s well worth it.
From the main plaza, follow the road to the right of the church until you reach a soccer field. The trail starts on the left-hand side of the field near the workout equipment. From the soccer field, it’s only a 20-minute walk, but make sure to wear proper shoes because it gets steep. It’s best to come down before sunset because it’s a difficult trail and I had a fall myself.
Plaza Mayor de Villa de Leyva – This is the most beautiful plaza I saw in Colombia and it’s huge for a town of this size. Between the cobblestones and the view of the hills in the background, it’s very picturesque.
Casa Terracota – About a 15-minute walk from the center is the world’s largest terracotta house. If you want to enter, it’s 40,000 COP, but I was happy to just see it from the outside. The scenery isn’t anything spectacular, but it’s a nice walk from here to El Fósil along the back roads. You can also hire a taxi to take you to both the house and museum.
What to Eat
La Tienda de Teresa – A hole in the wall restaurant offering a delicious set lunch menu for only 17,000 COP!
Happy Monkey – Happy Monkey is worth a visit for the patacones, local craft beer, and relaxed atmosphere.
Where to Stay
Selina Villa de Leyva – With awesome staff, a pool, and live music, there’s nothing not to love about this Selina.
Family Host Hostel – The best budget option in town has a very homely vibe and a friendly house dog.
Where to Next
Bogotá (4 hours by bus) – Capital city with great museums, the country’s tallest waterfall, and one of the most iconic nightclubs in the Americas.
San Gil (7 hours via Tunja) – Adventure capital with paragliding, bungee jumping, and a day trip to Colombia’s most beautiful town.
Lost City Trek ( 18 hours via Tunja and Bucamaranga) – Hike through the jungle to a Tairona city abandoned over the fear of Spanish diseases.