Villa de Leyva, a national monument town and its charms

Michelle Jiménez | Live the World

November 23, 2022

This town's charm is undeniable and can be felt instantly. Villa de Leyva is part of Colombia's heritage towns' network and was declared a national monument in 1954: nowadays, it is one of the most important touristic destinations in the country. It is located in the department of Boyacá, about three hours away from Bo[gotá]( by car, and its weather is of 18°C temperature average.

Considered one of the most beautiful towns in Colombia, some of the things that make Villa de Leyva stand out are the way it still preserves its colonial architecture. It has the biggest main square in the whole country, a 14.000 square meters main square, with cobbled stones, surrounded by beautiful white colonial houses. Something else that makes this a unique town is the variety on its landscapes, that goes from moorland with its springs, waterfalls, big lakes, and water reservoirs, to the desert type areas.

© Laura Olejua / iStock

Special dates & celebrations

Kite festival week

Twice a year, Villa de Leyva becomes extra special. One of them is in August, which is a windy month in Colombia; it is considered the month of the kites since it offers the perfect conditions to fly them. Everyone goes out with family and friends to do this fun activity. Villa de Leyva's big main square is a great place to fly them. There is a 'kite festival week' when a good number of exhibitors gather with stunning kites and show their best tricks. They then compete to win one of the prizes.  

The lights festival

Another special month is December. The town looks beautiful and magic throughout the whole month with its natural charm, plus all the beautiful Christmas decorations.  During this month there is a "lights festival" where the big fireworks companies get together to compete and put on a fantastic show for everyone to enjoy. 

Candles' day

In Colombia, there is a religious date on December the 7th, called 'candles day' and it is mainly dedicated to the Virgin Mary. On this day, people get together with their loved ones to share food and light up some candles; each candle can symbolize a prayer, a wish, or a person you want to send 'light' and good wishes to. Locals and visitors gather in the main square of Villa de Leyva. During this time of the year, the town gets the most visitors.

© Laura Milena Sánchez

Blue lagoons in Villa de Leyva

The blue lagoons or 'Pozos Azules' are a must-see while in the area. These are artificial waterholes that get a beautiful deep blue color due to the action of salts and minerals present in the soil. They are located about 3 kilometers away, just right outside the town. To get to them, you can go by car, on foot, by bike, by a four-wheeler or a boogie car that you can rent in town. There is a dollar fee to get into the property where the lagoons are located. 

© Markpittimages / iStock

More to see and do

Casa Museo Capitán Antonio Ricaurte

While in town you can spend some time relaxing in one of the nice little cafés or walk the cobblestone streets, delighting your eyes with beautiful gardens and colonial houses adorned by flowers. Visit one of the museums, such as the Casa Museo Capitán Antonio Ricaurte, where the Colombian Army Captain, who fought for independence, was born. This is now used as a historical museum for the Colombian Air Force as well.  

The Muisca Observatory

Half an hour away from town, you can learn about one of Colombia's native groups, the Muiscas, at the Muisca Observatory. In this place, they use to analyze elements such as time and weather, which they needed to take into account for their agriculture practices.

Whatever time of the year -even if it is on a day trip- a visit to this lovely town will definitely be memorable. Enjoy Villa de Leyva's charms and tranquility while having an encounter with Colombia's history and culture.

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