Villa de Leyva is a beautiful authentic colonial town where all the rich Spanish families that lived in Bogota, had a holiday home. It’s filled with white villas with balconies and rich flower gardens.
The image of the cobbled street town hasn’t changed much over the centuries, only the houses are now filled with banks & ATM machines and modernized coffee houses and restaurants. Villa de Leyva is more focussed on tourism than Jerico and Jardin. It’s the Bruges of Colombia: very beautiful but it’s more about preserving and tourism than actually living there. I missed the laid-back vibe on the main square, the cosy chattering of locals, the horses riding into town, kids running around, the food stalls in the evening offering Colombian yummies, …
It’s nice but if you are looking for the authentic Colombian way of living, you might be disappointed.
Nevertheless, if you are in the neighborhood you shouldn’t miss out.
A lot of fossils have been found in the valley where Villa de Leyva is situated and the largest specimen is a nearly complete Kronosaurus Boyacensis, a very large marine carnivore. Very impressive. They have left the fossil where they found it and build a small museum around it. The museum has a large collection of other local fossils and, although not very large, is fascinating to visit – we turned ours into a school trip for our boys !