With its beautiful colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and white-washed facades, Villa de Leyva is considered as one of the most beautiful towns in Colombia. Located just 160 km away from Bogotá, it is no wonder that this charming town is a popular tourist destination for both local and international travellers. If you are visiting, these are some of the best things to do in Villa de Leyva.

Things to Do in Villa de Leyva

1. Hang Out in the Plaza Mayor

Measuring 14000 square meters, the main square in Villa de Leyva is said to be the biggest square in South America. It is also the ideal place to people watch and to get a sense of the local lifestyle. Plus, it is a great photo spot where you can admire some fine examples of the typical architecture of Villa de Leyva.

Good to Know

There are no benches to sit in the square, but you can always find a spot on the steps leading up to the church. If you are visiting in August, do not miss the kite festival that takes place every year!

2. Visit the Luís Alberto Acuña Museum

Located right on the Plaza Mayor, this nice little museum pays homage to Colombian artist Luís Alberto Acuña. The museum is housed in what was Acuña’s home for the last 15 years of his life and showcases some of his most important works, including paintings, sculptures, and tapestries. He was also a collector of crafts and fossils so there are also some diverse objects from his own collection on display.

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Although he might not have been very well-known abroad, he is one of Colombia’s most influential painters and sculptors. Also, he developed a very particular style that was influenced by the native Muisca culture; which gives a very unique touch to his art.

Good to Know

The museum is open from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm. The entrance fees are $6.000 COP for adults and $4.000 COP for children.

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3. Admire the Casa Terracota

Right on the outskirts of Villa de Leyva, you can find an irregular reddish construction that is built entirely out of clay. It is the very unusual Casa Terracota, a creation by Colombian architect Octavio Mendoza. Years ago, he decided to combine his love for architecture and sculpture by building this project.

Covering an area of about 500 square meters, the house was built entirely by hand using about 400 tons of clay. As such, it is now considered the biggest piece of pottery in the world. The project took over 14 years to complete, although Mendoza says that it’s still a work in progress.

Good to Know

To get there, you can drive (10 minutes) or walk (30 minutes) from Villa de Leyva.
Entrance: adults $10.000 COP – Children (under 12 years old) $5.000 COP
Opening hours: from 9 AM to 6 PM.

Casa Terracota in Villa de Leyva, Colombia.

4. Visit the Santo Ecce Homo Monastery

Set at the end of a small road, about 8 km away from Villa de Leyva, the Santo Ecce Homo Monastery is a peaceful oasis in the middle of nowhere. Founded in 1620, the monastery was declared a national monument and part of Colombia’s architectural heritage. The convent was built using local stones from the valley, so you can see some fossils in them. Another defining feature of this traditional building is the lovely inner courtyard.

Good to Know

The monastery houses a small religious museum as well. It is open for visits from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Entrance fee is 5000 COP.

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5. Hike to Laguna de Iguaque

Located in a protected area just 10 km away from Villa de Leyva, the Laguna de Iguaque is considered to be the cradle of humanity in the Muisca mythology. Getting there is an adventure in and out of itself, but it’s well worth it. The trail starts at about 2,800 m.a.s.l. and climbs up to 3,650 m.a.s.l., once you get to the lagoon. During the hike, you’ll get to see some interesting vegetation and exotic birds.

Good to Know

Visitors are only allowed to start on the trail from 8:00 to 10:00 in the morning and there is a limit of only 50 people each day. So it’s best to get there early.

Entrance fees:
Colombian adults: $17,000 COP
Foreigners: $44,500 COP
Children (5 – 12 years old): $9,000 COP
Children younger than 5 and Colombian adults older than 65: Free

Admiring the View at the Santuario de Flora y Fauna Iguaque in Colombia

6. Tour a Winery

Did you know that there is wine production in Colombia? Most people don’t, as Colombians seem to favour aguardiente and beer. It turns out that there are only four vineyards in the whole country. And just outside of Villa de Leyva, there are a couple of wineries that you can visit.

The Vineyard Ain Karim is perhaps the most well-known and is located about 10 km away from Villa de Leyva. Guided visits include a tour of the vineyard, an explanation of the wine-making process, and tasting of two of the wine varieties that they produce.

Good to Know

Guided visits are in Spanish only. The winery is open every day, including weekend and holidays, from 10 am to 5 pm. The cost of the guided visits ranges from $22.000 – $69.000 COP.

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Brindis por la Vida!

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7. Go Back in Time at El Fosil Museum

Villa de Leyva is set in a valley that is rich in fossils from the Cretaceous era. So you can see some fine specimens on display in several specialised museums in the area. The most impressive is a massive fossilized Kronosaurus, a Cretaceous-period crocodile relative, which is the main attraction at Museo El Fósil. The museum was actually built around it!

This community museum also houses a considerable collection of Ammonoids, commonly called “Ammonite”, smaller marine fossils and the remains of petrified plants of the Cretaceous period.

Good to Know

The museum is located 5 km away from Villa de Leyva. You can combine a visit with a stop at the Casa Terracota (see above). Museo El Fósil is open every day from 9 am to 6 pm. Entrance is $6.000 COP.

8. Visit the Ostrich Farm

The Granja de Avestruces (Ostrich Farm) is one of the most unusual things to do in Villa de Leyva. At the farm, you can learn about ostriches while you get pretty close to them and even feed them. There are also others animals for you to interact with at the far, such as a buffalo, goats, horses and goats. Overall, this is a pleasant way to spend some time with the family.

Good to Know

Entrance fees are $13.000 COP per adult or child (from 3 years) + $3.000 COP for parking.

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Hola 🐣

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9. Hike to Paso del Ángel

Located about 20 km north of Villa de Leyva, this vertigo-inducing hike is not for everyone. Surrounded by green vegetation, the trail brings you all the way up to a very narrow mountain ridge. The hike can be steep at some points, but what makes Paso del Ángel special is a very narrow section that is just 33 cm (13 inches) wide.

The narrow section is less than 2 meters (6 and a half feet) long, but there are vertical drops of over 100m on one side and 30m on the other. If you suffer from vertigo you might want to stay away from this one, though. Once you make it to the top, you are rewarded with some stunning views.

Good to Know

To access the hike, you have to go through some private terrain and pay the owner a small fee of $3.000 COP. Also, the trail is not well-marked so you have to pay attention.

10. Shop at the Mercado de Villa de Leyva

This iconic market has been taking place every week since 1573. This authentic market brings local farmers together to sell their produce directly to consumers. Everything you find here is biologic and organic, so it really doesn’t get better than this.

And even if you are not going to buy any veggies or fruits, you can still walk around and see an important part of the local life unfolding right in front of you. This is really one of the most authentic experiences in town!

Good to Know

The market takes place every Saturday at the Plaza del Mercado, just three blocks away from the main square.

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Villa de Leyva Map of Things to Do

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Things to Do in Villa de Leyva

What to Do in Villa de Leyva


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