Colombia, South America

Villa de Leyva is a Must! (Our humble opinion)

While driving around the Caribbean coast of Colombia many proud Colombians mentioned that the towns within the department of Boyaca are beautiful and very inviting. We have since discovered that they were not lying, there are many truly beautiful towns peppered around the countryside. We believe that in Boyaca the king of these towns is Villa de Leyva. Founded in 1572, and declared a Colombian national monument in 1954 this town is truly beautifully preserved and though it is a tourist mecca for Colombians and an increasing number of foreign tourists, it is well worth a visit.

We camped in Villa de Leyva for several days. “Several days!?” some have said, “in a year and half driving through Latin America haven’t you tired of Spanish colonial towns?” Well, no. At least not yet. Villa de Leyva is welcoming and beautiful and so far we cannot get enough of Spanish colonial architecture and its signature 3 foot thick walls and inner courtyards. During the work week there are very few visitors from Bogota and the town has a very relaxed, almost lazy feel to it that we can totally relate to 🙂

Other reasons to visit Villa de Leyva? Wonderful weather, great hiking, beautiful scenery,  waterfalls, weird mud house, a very beautiful monastery, wine tasting at a vineyard (albeit not that great), great farmers market (only Saturdays), great camping spot, an almost complete fossil of a Kronosaurus on display, an ostrich farm (if you are into that), Werner Herzog filmed here and last but not least there is El Infiernito (The Little Hell) a pre-columbian site full of phallic menhirs purportedly used as a rudimentary astronomical observatory of sorts. Need I say more?

How about some photos…

Villa de Leyva, a pictorial

The monastery of Ecce Homo. I won’t go all professor Lost World on ya, but “Ecce homo” or “Behold the man” was how Pontius Pilate presented Jesus Christ shortly before his crucifixion. Trivia for some essential for others. About the monastery: they claim four Dominican monks built this monastery in the 1600’s, the place is absolutely beautiful and many of the rocks used for the construction have amazing fossils of trilobites and other cool critters and plants. The cloister patio has 33 columns, which somehow  represent the years Jesus lived and a Passage of the Dead, under whose bricks abbots are buried. On that note…

La Periquera, a great hike through some private property that houses a wonderful series of waterfalls

The Mud House. A homeowner decided to get creative with his house and it has become a bit of an attraction due to its unusual design. We really liked some aspects of the design and if there were no houses around it the house could blend quite well with the landscape.

There is much more, but we are selfish… we keep some for ourselves 🙂 Thanks.



  1. Benji

    It is great to have people like you going around this beautiful land and writing so nice about it.
    enjoy your trip while in Colombia and have lots of fun

  2. Oh my goodness! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came upon your blog. I grew up in La Guajira, among the Wayuu people. (My American parents were missionaries there)
    It’s been many years, now, but I often think of my childhood there. Never a dull day. Never. We lived in several towns throughout the years, including, Riohacha and Uribia (don’t know if you went by there). Maicao was our shopping “mecca”. I now live in the caribbean on a small farm. I’ll be perusing your blog with nostalgia. Thanks for posting!

  3. Hi lovelies!
    We were just there! For two nights only though and we weren’t smart like you re: camping. And missed the mudhouse which I’m a bit miffed about.. Love your pics! Santo Ecce was one of my fave monastery type joints I’ve been to.

    Did you visit Catedral de Sal? Totally weird and amazing.

    Where are you now? CSing in Bogota for a week before going back to Salento

    Happy Trails!

    1. Luis Author

      Hi there Miin, fellow traveller! Camping in Villa de Leyva was great. We did go to the Zipaquira slat cathedral, we will eventually get around to writing about it.
      We are currently in a little farm just outside of Ibarra, Ecuador.

      Hope to run into you guys again soon 🙂

  4. Guys,
    We’re SO stoked that you’re going around the world! Which direction are you heading? We’re not sure if we’re going east or west yet

    1. Luis Author

      Hey Tree, how is the U.S. treating you?
      Our round the world trip extension is an idea that will depend on many things (mainly funds), but the will is there and strong!

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