This small colonial town has undergone little development the last 400 years and therefor is one of the few towns in Colombia that has preserved much of its original colonial style and architecture. The wide streets and enormous Central Plaza are paved with cobblestones, the houses have cute balconies filled with flowers, people sit outside on the wooden benches and the city is surrounded by beautiful mountains. It is a popular weekend destination for people from Bogota and attracts lots of (foreign) tourists as well.
From our hotel in Bogota, we ordered an Uber and left around 10.30 am to Portal Norte (10.000 Pesos). We took a bus from this terminal because it was closer to our hotel than Terminal de Transporte.
From Terminal Norte, several bus companies leave to Tunja (almost every 15 minutes there’s a bus going there) and we choose Libertadores (spacious and clean) who brought us to Tunja for 15.000 Pesos p.p. The distance is about 130 kilometers and took us 90 minutes. From Tunja, several minivans leave to Villa de Leyva. You don’t have to look, people will come up to you and help you find a bus. The cost of this ride is 7.000 Pesos p.p. and takes about 1 hour.
The centre of this small town is filled with lovely restaurants. However, during our stay, most of them were closed and/or completely empty probably because of the season. We had some good and cheap pizza and pasta’s at Peter Pan which is near the bus stop. And right at the corner of the Central Plaza is a combination of 9 restaurants which looks nice!
We stayed at Nomadas Hostel but don’t recommend this place. The only thing we liked, was the cheap price for the room. The host only speaks Spanish and doesn’t take any effort to talk a bit slower so we could understand. The room we stayed in was in the house and the house is really noisy. Not the best choice and you can probably find something better. There are plenty of guesthouses in the city.
During our hike to the viewpoint, we saw Hostel Colombian Highlands which looked really nice. It is however a bit out of town but that’s still only like a 10 minute walk.
Villa de Leyva is a cute, small, colonial village with colored houses and balconies filled with colorful flowers, friendly people and cobblestone streets. The Central Plaza is almost just as big as the rest of the village and this is the place were all the locals (and tourists) hang out at night. Drinking a beer at the steps in front of the church and enjoying each others company.
It’s about a 2 hour hike and you get rewarded with a great view overlooking Villa de Leyva and its surrounding mountains. The walk starts at Hostel Colombian Highlands and they can provide you with a map to make sure you are following the right path. We had some great company from 2 dogs that walked all the up and back into town.