Villa de Leyva, Colombia

The identity of Colombia lies in its villages. While big cities are more western-like with their traffic, commercial centers and facilities, in the countryside everyone has time for a cafecito (small coffee) and not such a small talk. No wonder we always prefer small towns and villages.
Above Bogota there are few unmissable villages, three of which are on absolutely every "must see" list that I saw so far. Obviously that means crowds and higher prices in most cases. But not in Villa de Leyva. Places like that are a reason to travel really. Places that surprise us even though we saw every picture ever taken. First shock- no people, empty square, only a few locals, second- no one wanted to sell us a cow or not even a cigar. Villa de Leyva, ColombiaThird- the hostel we stayed in was really cheap (7 euro per bed) and absolutely stunning- two features that rarely go together. It had a huge outside common area overlooking the whole town with its mountains in the background. And the room itself was vintage in a European meaning of the word (in South America vintage is often synonym of broken, stolen from an old lady with dust untouched for quite some time). It was a pleasure to stay in Villa de Leyva and discover that there is so much more to it than just its main square. Charming broad streets, nice suburbs, mountains and superb ice cream is all we needed:)
After ice cream days we decided to burn some of the calories in San Gil- the capital of extreme sports. We started with our absolute favorite sport- walking in excruciating heat from the bus station to the hostel. JD was so tempted by the prices of extreme sports that he decided to try paragliding above the beautiful Canyon Chicamocha (170 000 pesos for a flight so around 50 euro). He didn't even have time to get scared before the flight because seconds after we arrived to the spot he was already tied to his instructor and the paraglide. The guy tied him faster than I could unpack the camera. True Ninja. San Gil offers not only paragliding but also rafting, caving, bungee jumping and sports that I have never heard about like rappelling which is descending from something (for example a rock) with a rope. We learn everyday while travelling:)Canyon Chicamocha, San Gil, Colombia
San Gil was actually also very close to another top destination village Barichara, supposedly the most beautiful town in Colombia. Definitely its cuisine has its charm as they eat "fat-ass ants" (hormigas culonas) which are deep fried huge ants. The town itself was also pretty although not as much as Villa de Leyva or any of the towns in the coffee regions. Maybe because it was Tuesday and Tuesday is the new Sunday in the area so most of the things are
closed and villages seem rather dead. From Barichara there is a nice, easy hike Camino Real (Royal Path) full of colorful birds that took us to Guane. It was like a mini Barichara, quite pretty streets with all the shops closed (Tuesday of course!) except for liquor shops (hmmm). After 10 minutes we already saw the whole village and there was nothing more left to do than to sit in the main square and wait for the bus to go back. It actually wasn't as boring as it sounds as there were really many beautiful birds flying around. Obviously too fast and too far for my photographic skills...



One thought on “Strolling through the streets of little towns north of Bogota

  1. Reply
    Lida - April 25, 2016

    Dat was een heerlijk wakker worden vanmorgen toen ik dit avontuur kon lezen! Alleen had ik een klein schokje van angst toen ik las dat het JD was die in de lucht hing aan een zeiltje met dunne draadjes????. Gelukkig hing hij daar niet alleen in maar met een instructeur! !????

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