The department of Boyacá is located in the Andean Region of central Colombia. Here you will find some of the most beautiful towns in all of Colombia. Its towns are colorful, cheerful and with plenty of history and beauty. The best part is these towns can be easily visited as a day trip from Bogotá, the Colombian capital. Boyacá with 123 municipalities, with a large number of tourist attractions. In this guide I will share my favorite towns in Boyacá for a day trip or weekend getaway from Bogotá.
Tips to visit Boyacá:
- Bring cash
- Pack a coat (The temperature in Boyacá is between 45°F and 55°F)
- Pack your camera and cell phone (you’ll be taking lots of photos)
- Bring along a battery pack or cell phone charger
- Book a guided tour, as there is a lot of history in these towns
- Pack a hat, pair of gloves and a scarf
- Use sunscreen
- Pack a suit bathing for the hot springs
Villa de Leyva:
The first city you should visit is Villa de Leyva, where you can have breakfast, walk around the downtown and take lots of photos. It is very easy to get to Villa de Leyva from Bogotá, you can get there by private taxi (a little more expensive), tours (there are quite a few) or by taking a bus from the Salitre Terminal in Bogotá. The bus ride is 4 hours and the ticket is around $30,000 COP.
I recommend leaving first thing in the morning to make the most of your day. If you go by taxi, I recommend you go through the Boyacá bridge. This small bridge is the location of an important battle in the liberation of the region and serves as a symbol of the independence of South America. It is located very close to Tunja, the capital of Boyacá. In addition to the historic bridge, you will find the Monument to Bolívar, the triumphal arch and the Obelisk of victory.
Without a doubt, Villa de Leyva is one of the most visited and beautiful towns in the department of Boyacá, as it is one of the Heritage Towns of Colombia. Its cobbled streets and colonial vibe narrate its history and transport you back in time.
Villa de Leyva has many things to do, such as touring its historic center, having a coffee in the Plaza Mayor, visiting the Iglesia del Rosario, enjoying a delicious meal, tasting chocolate at the chocolate museum. You can also visit its museums such as the Luis Alberto Acuña House Museum, the Nariño House, the Royal Liquor Factory, the Vargas Tejada House, the Ricaurte House and the General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla House. If you are more adventurous, you can ride a quad (scooter), visit the dinosaur museum and stroll through the iconic blue wells.
Villa de Leyva is home to several large festivals including the Wind and Kite Festival in August, the International History Festival in September, the Festival of Lights in December and the Astronomical Festival in February.
For the second part of you trip I recommend you go to Ráquira. It is one of my favorite towns and one of the most important tourist places in Boyacá. Its beautiful murals and colors on the walls combined with the amount of handicrafts for sale, this town is not to be missed.
In fact, Ráquira is considered the artisan town of Boyacá, given its strong ancestral tradition focused on pottery and the manufacture of handicrafts based on baked clay. You have to visit the church of San Antonio, the La Candelaria monastery, its many craft shops and workshops, and of course take photos with its beautiful murals. This beautiful town is located just 30 minutes from Villa Leyva.
The Most Beautiful Towns To Visit In Boyacá, Colombia
Exploring Villa de Leyva and Ráquira can easily fill an entire day trip from Bogota, there are many more beautiful towns in Boyacá if you want to stay for the weekend or longer. Some of the most picturesque towns to visit in Boyacá are:
- Tota Lagoon: Tota Lagoon is a beautiful lagoon with turquoise water and white sand. The weather is cold so don’t forget to bring a coat. Here you can also enjoy various water sports.
- Paipa: This is the town for history lovers, because the Battle of the Pantano de Vargas took place in Paipa, one of the most important battles for the Independence of New Granada. You can also visit its hot springs, several historic monuments and Hacienda el Salitre, where Simon Bolívar stayed. Make sure try the Paipa cheese.
- Tibasosa: A colonial town with very friendly people, as you can expect in Colombia. In Tibasosa you can walk through its beautiful streets which are covered with flowers of various colors, which explains its nickname as the Garden of Boyacá. It is also know for its products made from feijoa (a guava-like fruit), such as feijoa sabajón, feijoa arequipe and feijoa jam.
- Duitama and Pueblito Boyacense: Also called the Pearl of Boyacá these towns rich in culture. The most famous is the Pueblito Boyacense, this area has more than 100 houses that bring together the beauty, gastronomy and culture of all the towns of Boyacá. You can also take photos with the houses painted in white and green, contrasting with the Sierra Nevada de Güicán in the background.
- Mongui: Another town where you can still appreciate the Spanish colonial architecture. You have to see the popular Monguí soccer balls, visit the Páramo de Ocetá, visit the ball making workshops, its main square and the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Monguí.
- El Cocuy: Visit the snowy peaks of Cocuy, bathe in the hot springs of Güicán, visit the living museum of the salt route, and tour this beautiful town.