Weekend in Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva is known as a romantic town for its construction and layout. And I have to say that I agree! I had the pleasure of visiting Villa de Leyva with 3 other friends in late October 2016.
Our journey started at 4:30 in the morning at the bus terminal in Bogotá. We bought our bus tickets on the spot and had just enough time to grab a Subway Sandwich before boarding. The bus left the terminal a little after 5 am, and we settled in for the 3 and a half hour bus ride. I couldn’t sleep between the jitters of going for the first time, and also because of Colombia’s crazy bus drivers. So instead I chatted with the others while they were still awake, and listened to music while they slept.
The Real Excitement Begins
We arrived into Villa de Leyva around 9:30. After that, we spent the next 90 minutes finding our hostel and getting settled in. Our hostel was called Hospederia Colonial, right next to the Plaza Mayor. The hostel was beautiful. It had spacious rooms and beds, a very pretty backyard, and the staff was very catering. They were even hospitable after we checked out the following day. They allowed us to stay and shower once we returned, muddy and dirty, from Periquera Park.
After getting settled, we headed out to the Plaza for some fresh juice. We had Yerba Buena, Lulo, and Strawberry juice, YUM. Then we set out into town, wandering and admiring the various shops. But ultimately, we knew even before leaving Bogotá for Villa de Leyva that we all wanted to do was go four-wheeled driving.
Road Warriors in Villa de Leyva
We signed up for the four-wheeled driving immediately. The price turned out to be only 25,000 Colombian Pesos per person for one hour. Not even $10 US Dollars! We ended up doing that activity at 4 pm. We followed with lunch and then headed back to the hostel to change our clothes.
Around 7 pm we arrived back to our hostel, all showered and rested for a bit before heading out to dinner. We wandered around the town for a little while before deciding on a restaurant. We ended up eating at a place called Mercado Municipal. Ginna ordered one of the barbacoas with chicken, and it was divine! I also had quite an amazing cocktail with the fruit Gulupa! I definitely recommend all of it.
After dinner we headed to a bar called La Cava de Don Fernando. By that time it was about 10:30 pm. The entrance was free, and we all chipped in to buy a bottle of the region’s aguardiente called Líder. We ended up dancing only until about 12 or 12:30. We wanted to continue, but each of us having had only about 3 hours of sleep, signaled time for bed. So we headed back to the hostel, made the agreement to meet for breakfast at 9:30, and all fell right to sleep.
While we were looking for the fourwheelers the first day, we saw the other famous touristic attraction of Villa de Leyva. The park! They offered a pack of various sporty activities, with different options for different parks. We were told that Periquera Park is the best, so we went to that one. However, the guides from town were charging very crazy prices, so we decided to go independently. The second day we talked with a truck driver at the portal in town, and he brought us over to the park for only 12,000 Pesos per person. Then the driver made a deal with us and guided us through the park (which I didn’t think was necessary, as it’s very easy to navigate). But with the driver, we ended up saving about 60,000 Pesos each person.
In the park we started with the zip line. Surprisingly, it was avvery simple ride that was actually much slower than we imagined, but still fun! They also had an activity that involved rolling down a hill in a giant hamster ball. I haven’t done it, but I’ve been told it’s quite fun! Next, we headed straight to the waterfall.
“Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls”
This had to be my favorite part- with a guide and a harness, we scaled down the waterfall. The water was freezing and so powerful! Some people went all the way in, and some people
stayed more to the side of the cascade. My guide wanted to take us all the way under. One of my friends actually went around the side to take a picture, and said he thought I was a goner because he didn’t see me. What actually happened; however, was that I was so far under the cascade that he couldn’t see me!
At the bottom of the waterfall, they had us jump into the river, swim across, and climb out on the other side. It was pretty scary because you couldn’t see the bottom, so you had to trust the guides that it was safe. It turned out to be safe, and quite exhilarating! We hung out at the falls afterwards for a little bit while drying off, and then headed back to climb back up the mountain that we had ziplined down. Climbing up the hill was made easier with the help of a rope tied from the trees.
About 2 hours had passed by this time, and at the top of the mountain we hopped back into the truck and headed back to the terminal. Between the mud from the waterfall, and then dust from the car ride (we sat in the bed of the truck, in the back), we were filthy by the time we got back into town. We ran into a bit of a horse traffic jam on the way as well, so we rushed to shower and headed back to the terminal to take the bus back to Bogotá at 5:30.
It was a very fun trip, with great friends, in a beautiful town. I hope you enjoyed my adventure and share plenty more just like this one!