Situated far from any major trade routes in a high-altitude valley, the colonial town of Villa de Leyva has seen little development over the last 400 years. As a result, it is one of the few towns in Colombia that has seemingly frozen in time, with much of its original style and architecture still intact; its streets are paved in stone and many of its whitewashed buildings date back to the 16th century.
While this photogenic town remains a sleepy and traditional place during the week, in recent years it has attracted an influx of tourists and expats on weekends. As a result, a number of hotels, restaurants and tourist shops have sprung up, and the town’s narrow alleys become abuzz with day-trippers from Bogota each Saturday and Sunday.
Most people tend to visit Villa de Leyva on a day trip from Bogota, but to fully appreciate this charming colonial town, join a three-day tour instead.
Villa de Leyva is about a three-hour drive from Bogota. It's possible to catch a bus from the city; they leave hourly throughout the morning and mid-afternoon.
Did You Know? In 1954, the town of Villa de Leyva was declared a national monument in order to protect and preserve its ancient architecture.