Villa de Leyva has gone mostly untouched for the past 400 years. They are far enough away from any trade routes and have no nearby exploitable mineral deposits, making them a colonial time capsule. Don’t text while walking through the city or you may find yourself face down in the road. The cobblestone is very uneven, which can lead to many unforeseen bumps, dips, trips, slips and falls.
According to our tour guide, much of the cobblestone road in and around Plaza Mayor was hauled and laid by inmates, hence the uneven terrain. In some cities you may worry about walking the streets at night; here it is as safe to walk around at 3am as it is at 3pm. In and around the plaza there are a plethora of local artisan shops, restaurants, bars and bakeries. The arts are a very important part of life in Villa de Leyva, which makes it such a popular destination. You can go out any night of the week and hear live music at La Tarima. We caught an amazing Jazz band while we visited.
Walk down the road to La Guaca where they serve three or four different types of fare and the owner plays live music each night. For dessert you have to go to La Galleta and order the Miloja. They make the Miloja fresh for each order and smother it in arequipe.
After a night out on the town you need to spend a day visiting the local attractions. We didn’t get to see them all, so I guess we will have to go back! We started our tour with the Posos Azules, or the Blue Ponds.
The ponds were very low due to the ongoing drought but they were no less beautiful. Scanning the surrounding area, one expected Clint Eastwood to come over the hills.
Make sure to stop by the prehistoric museum, to see one of the many dinosaur fossils found in the area.
They built the museum over the fossils in order to keep them in Villa de Leyva rather than have them shipped to Bogotá.
As part of a city full of talented artisans, you have to go visit Casa De Barro, or the mud house. The house is built with an iron frame and the rest is clay and tile. The outside was baked in the sun and took 11 years to complete. The owner built the house to live in, but soon found he had people coming to look in his windows at all hours. He now resides in Bogotá, but is moving back soon into a new master bedroom that is being built. The house is an amazing feat of architecture, green housing, and artwork. When you walk through the front doors you half expect Dino or Wilma to greet you.
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There are also small towns and beautiful churches around the area you need to visit.
Make sure to get an arepa in the town of Tinjacá. A little further down the road, go see the clay statues in Ráquira.
Go see all that Villa de Leyva has to offer!