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Villa de Leyva, Colombia

Villa de Leyva holidays

At 2,144m above sea level, this lovely colonial town is a four hour drive north of Bogotá. The town, with a population of 12,000 has been declared a national monument and was founded in 1572 in the early days of Spanish rule.

Villa de Leyva is perfectly preserved - it has never been modernised and never will be as it is protected by law. It deserves at least a two night stay as exploring this small town with its beautiful buildings, museums and churches is a must. All the houses are white-washed and all have terracotta tiled roofs with bottle green painted doors and balconies. Colourful geraniums feature prominently on balconies and the whole town is a blaze of colour.

There are several very good restaurants.

Villa de Leyva, Colombia

Holidays In Villa de Leyva

The uneven stone paved streets are of particular interest as there are fossils from the surrounding area embedded in the stone. Plaza Mayor, the undulating main square is cobbled in its entirety and at 14,000 square feet is the largest square in South America.

There is plenty to do around Villa de Leyva. To the west of the town the landscape is semi desert with many fossils from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Nearby are colonial monuments, caves and lakes. The Convento del Santo Ecce Homo, founded by the Dominicans in 1620 is particularly worth a visit as is El Fossil, the world's most complete specimen of a 120 million year old baby kronosaurus marine reptile fossil which is 7 metres long. It is also a good base for horseback riding, mountain biking and trips to nearby sites.

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