Last updated on August 11th, 2021 at 01:58 pm
My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!
Boyacá is a tourist destination that is full of culture, history and religion. This department is located in the east of the country and has 123 municipalities, the specialty of which is that they keep different names from the Muiski and Spanish prehistoric times. Not only is Boyacá a tourist attraction for its architecture and voted the best place for religious tourism, but it is also an important part of Colombia’s history as it is a region of heroes and battles. This was due to various events that took place in some municipalities of the department and which were essential for the independence of Colombia.
Apart from the importance of the department, the cities of interest have unique customs, gastronomy and products that will grab your attention in a few seconds.
Destinations in Boyacá
El Cocuy was once ruled by a Kacique of the Laches tribe who worshiped stones. So great was the belief that it became a myth that when someone dies they will turn to stone. El Cocuy, which dates back to before the conquest, is known as “El Pueblo Verde” (the green village). The mostly green and white painted houses form a great contrast to the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
Activities & attractions in El Cocuy
In this park, which lies between the departments of Boyacá and Arauca, there are at least 25 peaks covered in ice and snow that make up the largest glacier in the country. El Cocuy is one of Colombia’s natural parks with snow-capped peaks that allow incredible views. Accompanied by a local guide, you can discover the stories about the indigenous area on a tour in full intensity.
The first is the Ritacuba Trail which leads to the rim of the Ritacuba Blanco Glacier, the second is the Laguna Grande de la Sierra Trail which leads to the rim of the Pico Cóncavo Glacier, and the last is the Lagunillas Trail which leads to the famous Pico Pulpito del Diablo (Devil’s Pulpito Summit) ends. We can recommend these excursions to adventurers and photo lovers.
Peñón de los Muertos o de Gloria
El Peñon is an hour’s drive from El Cocuy. Due to the altitude, a good physical condition is required. It is advisable to have a guide accompany you so that you do not get lost along the way. There are many houses and streets in the area without addresses or signposts and along the way you pass farmers’ houses.
How to get to El Cocuy
From Bogota you can take the bus at the Salitre terminal. The trip starts at 4:00 a.m. and lasts 11 hours. The cost of the trip starts at COP $ 100,000.
Of course, you can also arrive with a private vehicle. The road to El Cocuy is very winding and the last time I visited the village, my passenger was a bit motion sick after arrival. On the way there, however, you should definitely stop in the various cities to be passed, because there is a lot to discover.
Where to stay in El Cocuy
Where and what can you eat in El Cocuy?
The most characteristic dish of this city is the arepa liuda (corn cakes), which is made from corn, butter and panela syrup. Below are the places to have a snack and try these arepa with incredible flavors.
Plaza de Mercado El Cocuy
Cra. 4 #41, El Cocuy
El Café de Mi Tierra-Tienda El Cocuy
Cra. 5 #566, El Cocuy
Monguí has been declared the most beautiful town in Boyacá and is one of the most visited in the department. I can confirm and recommend here that a visit is definitely worth it.
This enchanting city is the place to be for history buffs. Here you can explore the local traditions, see ancient buildings, visit the most important basilicas and monasteries and you will be amazed by the beauty of the city. Monguí is characterized by its Romanesque style architecture and is one of the cultural heritage cities of Colombia.
Activities & attractions in in Monguí
One of the peculiarities of Monguí is the colonial architecture. In the following I recommend some religious and tourist attractions.
Basílica Menor de Nuestra Señora de Monguí
Cra. 3 #42
The basilica is a very important tourist attraction as it is located in the main square of Monguí and is considered the most important religious building thanks to its colonial architecture, as well as the monastery and the Calicanto temple. It used to be a chapel that served to evangelize the indigenous people living in the city.
Convento de los Franciscanos
Cra. 3 #4-95 a 4-1, Monguí
This incredible structure took about 100 years to build. The monastery is very close to the basilica and inside it bears the story of the ancestors of the monks, Christianity and their beliefs. The architecture is Romanesque and has been very well preserved over the years. During a guided tour you can learn more about the history of the monastery. In addition, over 120 old relics are exhibited. Guided tours are offered by the indoor museum (Museo de Arte Religioso del Convento Franciscano), admission costs approx. COP $ 7,000. The monastery attracts many tourists, especially during Holy Week.
We can recommend the following attractions:
Museo del Balón
Cl. 4 #31, Monguí
Mongui is known for making soccer balls and other sports balls. In this museum you have the opportunity to take part in workshops and learn about the manufacturing process, the materials and the end product.
Puente de Calicanto
Cra. 3 #4-89, Monguí
This bridge attracts an immense number of tourists every year thanks to its architecture. Calicanto was built by the indigenous people of the Sanoha tribe under the command of what was then the Spanish colony. The name of the bridge comes from the object calicanto, a construction based on stones glued together with a mixture of lime, sand, bovine blood and molasses.
The bridge not only has a characteristic architecture, but also a connection to the Basílica Menor de Nuestra Señora de Monguí, because the stones of this bridge were the same as those used to build the Basílica.
The Páramo de Ocetá is considered the most beautiful paramo in the world and is only about an hour’s walk from the city. One of its attractions is the Laguna Negra, which can be seen from the top of the moor. Good physical condition is an advantage.
How to get to Monguí
The drive to Mongui takes around 4-5 hours from Bogota.
Where to stay in Monguí
¿Dónde comer en Monguí?
Un lugar famoso donde encontrarás delicias boyacenses es Camino a Calicanto. Aquí degustarás el cuchuco, la cazuela y otros platos extranjeros.
Camino a Calicanto
Cra. 3 #2-16, Monguí
Where and what can you eat in Monguí?
A famous place to find Boyaca delicacies is Camino a Calicanto. Cuchuco, Cazuela and other dishes are offered here.
Calle 4#3-25, Monguí
Cra. 4 #41, Monguí
Known as the bourgeois capital of Boyacá, this municipality of Boyacá is considered the Pearl of Boyacá for its spirit of solidarity and cooperation among locals.
Activities & attractions in Duitama
Capilla de la Trinidad
Built in colonial style in 1870, it is the oldest chapel in the municipality. The famous painting of the Holy Trinity was inside the church but was stolen. Inside the church there is an imitation of the painting by the Spaniard Arce y Ceballos. It stands out for its colors and although it is not the original, many believers approach it to be blessed.
Catedral de San Lorenzo
Cra. 14 #15-1, Duitama
This beautiful cathedral is located in the center of Duitama and has a colonial structure.
The lagoon can be easily reached by bike, enjoying nature and then taking a bath in the waterfall.
This incredible example of Boyacense architecture has 124 houses and 20 shops. Within the village there are 7 small squares that recreate the architecture of Villa de Leyva, Tenza, Tibasosa, Sáchica, El Cocuy, Monguí and Ráquira. This architectural model village presents the building materials of the cities mentioned above in every house.
The curious thing is that people from the region live there. When visiting Duitama, a visit is definitely not to be missed. The village was named Boyacá’s cultural and tourist heritage in 2006.
How to get to Duitama
The drive from Bogota takes around 4 hours.
Where to stay in Duitama
Some excellent options for staying in the city are:
Where and what can you eat in Duitama?
The most widely eaten dish in this city is dough tamales. They are partially filled with rice, peas, vegetables, and meat. Another well-known dish is the cocido boyacense, a kind of stew made from meat and tubers.
The following restaurants offer local dishes:
Tamales el Gallineral
Avenida Circunvalar 13A – 55, La Perla, Duitama
Cl. 2 # 6-101, Duitama
El Olleto-Restaurante Cafe
Vereda tocogua sector el rosal, Duitama
La Casona Del Prado
Cl. 9a #33-23, Duitama
Where to shop in Duitama
The handicrafts of Duitama are very well known.
Taller de Artesanías Stella
Cl. 15 #10-02, Duitama
Cra. 2 # 14 – 48, Duitama
This welcoming city is known for the Battle of Pantano de Vargas, an important site where the battle for the independence of New Granada was fought. Although known for this important event in Colombia, it is now one of the special tourist destinations for a different reason. Visitors come to enjoy some good hot springs and take a break with hydromassage therapies.
During Holy Week, the parish is teeming with parishioners who want to enjoy this festival at the center of great celebrations and the traditional Eucharist.
Activities & attractions in Paipa
Parroquia San Miguel Arcángel de Paipa
Cra. 22 # 23, 54, Paipa
This parish is one of the first buildings that formed today’s Paipa. Due to the Spanish architecture, the parish church attracts hundreds of tourists every year and is also a sought-after place for many believers of the Catholic religion.
This tourist attraction is ideal for photography and nature lovers. The lake has a variety of species of plants, fish, reptiles and some mammals in the area and can be navigated by boats and ships and practiced water sports such as kayaking, canoeing and jet skiing.
Instituto Termal de Paipa
Km 4 Vía Paipa- Pantano de Vargas, Paipa
This park, which specializes in thermal water, has 3 pools with thermo-mineral medicinal water, a children’s pool with slides, massages, mud therapy and sports fields. If you are looking for deep relaxation, I can highly recommend a visit.
La Casona del Salitre
Km. 3 Vía Paipa – Toca, Vereda el Salitre, Paipa
This casona is known both in Boyacá and all over Colombia, as the liberator Simón Bolívar was a guest in this accommodation. I recommend a visit not only because of the colonial architecture, next to the hotel there is also a chapel and a thermal bath.
Monumento de los Lanceros
This work by Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt is important to commemorate the battle of Pantano de Vargas. The monument consists of 15 horses, each weighing two and a half tons.
How to get to Paipa
The drive from Bogota takes around 4 hours. By car, you can take the Bogotá-Tunja road, go through Ventaquemada and then take the Tunja-Paipa road, which will take about three hours.
Where to stay in Paipa
- Hotel Hacienda El Salitre
- Estelar Paipa Hotel Spa y Centro de Convenciones
- Hotel Cabañas San Cayetano
- D’Acosta Hotel Sochagota
Where and what can you eat in Paipa?
One of the most famous dishes in Paipa is the cheese of the same name.
Cl. 23 #21-37, Paipa
Quesos Paipa Factory-La Redoma
Cra. 19 #39-19, Paipa
Another famous dish in town is the cazuela paipana, a very traditional breakfast made with milk, eggs, salt and pepper.
El Pobre Antonio Paipa
Cl. 25 #05 – 18, Paipa
Restaurante Sabor Sazón Boyacense
Cra. 24 # 27-56, Paipa
Where to go shopping in Paipa
As already mentioned, the Boyacá department is known for its handicrafts and clothing weaving.
Fábrica De Ruanas Y Cobijas
Calle 25 No.17-05, Las Quintas, Paipa
Pasaje Comercial Salitre Paipa
Cl. 25 #19-51, Paipa
The capital of the Boyacá department keeps history in its buildings. Here you can find a variety of cathedrals, museums, monasteries, paintings and important architecture from the 16th century that tell of the importance during the Spanish conquest. This small town has more than 10 religious temples. Thanks to this, Tunja has also become a representative city for the celebrations of Holy Week in Colombia.
Nowadays, Tunja is known as a university town for its literary, cultural, scientific and historical recognition. Tunja is also one of the safest cities in Colombia, with one of the lowest crime rates.
Activities & attractions in Tunja
Catedral Basílica Metropolitana Santiago de Tunja
This cathedral is the oldest Catholic cathedral in Colombia. The basilica has three naves with side chapels and a single tower that adorns the building. The architectural style is Renaissance and the cathedral was declared a National Monument of Colombia in 1959.
Casa del Fundador Gonzalo Suarez Rendón
Cra. 9 # 19-56, Tunja
This museum preserves the history of the Hispanic founding of Tunja. Its architecture dates back to the early days of the city, where the Spaniard Gonzalo lived and died and where gatherings and activities were held during the New Kingdom of New Granada. This place is recommended for tourists who love old architecture and like to take photos.
How do you get to Tunja?
The drive from Bogota takes around three hours.
Where can you stay in Tunja?
Where and what can you eat in Tunja?
Mazamorra is one of the most famous dishes in Tunja. It’s a soup made from beans, corn, chard, and tuber. The same applies to the picada, which contains different types of meat, potatoes, yucca and side dishes (chili, guacamole).
Restaurante Tierra Buena
Vereda de Pirgua Km 1, Tunja – Sogamoso
Julia, Cocina Boyacense
Av Universitaria #51-21 Local 234, Tunja
Piqueteadero Doña Rosalba
Where can you go shopping in Tunja?
As already mentioned, the Boyacá department is known for its handicrafts and weaving. Of course, every city has different customs and traditions, so different handicrafts are created.
Artesanías de Mi Tierra
Cl. 20 #8-32, Tunja
This city, known as “The Gateway to Eastern Boyacá” and formerly indigenous, was inhabited by the Chibchas, descendants of the Muiscas. With the arrival of the Spaniards, there were changes in the city. Some of them were the first evangelists who belonged to the Santo Domingo group and established Catholicism in the community.
Nowadays it is known for its fairs and festivities that take place in December, but most of all for its fireworks show. The most beautiful celebrations take place in December and February, Christmas with the birth of Jesus and the celebrations in honor of the Virgen del Carmen.
Activities & attractions in Guateque
Parroquia San José de Guateque
Cra. 6 # 10-48, Guateque
The main parish of the parish is architecturally from the time of the Chibchas, but has been renovated.
La Cueva del Murciélago
The story goes that some people used to hide their treasures in this place and when there was a war, the residents hid there too. The cave is surrounded by forest, so it is not that easy to find and the entrance is very small.
The drive from Guateque takes around two and a half hours.
How to get to Guateque
The journey from Bogota takes around three hours.
Where to stay in Guateque
Where to eat in Guateque
Luz Salas Amasijos Y Manjares
Cl. 12 #5-53, Guateque
Encanto & Aroma
Cl. 9 #7-11, Guateque
Chiquinquirá is currently known as the religious capital of Colombia, one of the most populous cities in Boyacá. Thanks to the devotion to the Virgin, it is the number 1 destination for religious tourists, especially during Holy Week.
Activities & attractions in Chiquinquirá
As the religious capital, Chiquinquirá is home to various temples, basilicas and chapels, and every year a large number of parishioners visit these places to commend themselves to the Virgin and ask for a miracle.
Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario
Cl. 18, Chiquinquirá
As I mentioned earlier, Chiquinquirá is the religious capital of Colombia. For this reason you will find the most important Catholic basilica in the region, the temple of which was built to worship the Virgin Mary and is known as Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Chiquinquirá. The architecture is so impressive that inside there are fifteen chapels with depictions of the rosary.
Iglesia Santuario de Santa Bárbara
Cl. 21, Chiquinquirá
The Santa Barbara sanctuary is located on the top of a mountain, its construction allows not only a moment of reflection, but also of liberation. From there you can see the horizon and the city of Chiquinquirá. If you are physically fit and want to enjoy the way up, you can climb the 50 steps to the chapel. However, you also have the option of driving up to the top.
Iglesia de la Renovación
Cra. 13 # 17-48, Chiquinquirá
The built church became a ruin because of earthquakes and moisture in the place. However, a miracle happened. It is said that the painted image of the Virgin of the Rosary was renewed three times due to earthquakes and other natural disasters. The colors of the painting became more and more vivid and it then also showed the Virgin alive. To date there has been no answer on how this happened and it is known as the miracle of renovation.
Because of this wonderful story, many believers come to Church to reflect and ask the Virgin to protect them.
In addition to religious tourism, there are several green areas where you can enjoy nature, fresh air and spectacular monuments.
La Laguna Verde
If you enjoy hiking and enjoying the scenery, this place is perfect. It is a 1-hour drive from Chiquinquirá, but it is well worth the trip.
Some locals tell legends about the lagoon. It is said that it is haunted and every time an unfamiliar person comes to the lagoon the weather suddenly turns cloudy and rainy. It is also said that there are golden ducks in the lagoon and if a person tries to steal one, the lagoon will plunge the thief to the bottom of the water.
Parque Ecoturístico Los Currucuyes
This incredible park is located on Vereda Molino, just outside Chiquinquirá. In the park or Mirador Los Currucuyes you can make the trip to the summit by car, motorcycle or on foot. Either way, the landscape is spectacular.
Parque Julio Flores
Cl. 16 #-8-86, Chiquinquirá
Julio Flores was a poet from Chiquinquirá and the park was established in his honor in 1986. The park invites you to take a walk in the fresh air while looking at the surrounding buildings.
Parque Juan Pablo II
Cra. 3 Chiquinquirá
Like the aforementioned site, this park was built in honor of a historical figure, in this case, Pope John Paul II, and was built after the Pope’s visit to Colombia.
Palacio de la cultura Romulo Rozo
Cra. 7 #21-110, Chiquinquirá
The facility used to be a train station, today it is a cultural exhibition building. The palace has three floors. Art exhibitions are usually held on the first floor, religious objects are exhibited on the second floor, and dance and music courses are held on the third floor. In addition to the art and cultural exhibitions, you can visit the rooms of the train, which was in operation a long time ago, in the back of the building.
The pedestrian zone is ideal for a stroll through the city and to get to know the architecture of the place. You can find wooden balconies, lanterns that decorate the streets and contrast with the colonial architecture, statues of various historical figures and cobblestone streets.
Plaza de la Libertad
Cra. 11 #17-2 a 17-126, Chiquinquirá
This square is an important part of Chiquinquirá’s history. In the middle is the monument of the liberator “El Bolívar Joven”, which refers to Simón Bolívar, the former president of Gran Colombia (the old name of Colombia). Around the square, you can stroll through the streets and see the facades and architecture of the colonial houses of Chiquinquirá.
How to get to Chiquinquirá
The drive from Bogota takes around three hours.
Where to stay in Chiquinquirá
Where and what can you eat in Chiquinquirá?
Gallina is an exquisite dish in town and is called “la comida rey” (king dish). The different spices give it the typical taste of the department. In many restaurants, it is accompanied by sauce and potatoes, yucca, and patacón.
Cra. 11 #17-32, Chiquinquirá
Cra. 10 #10-37, Chiquinquirá
Plaza de Mercado de Chiquinquirá
Cra. 7 #9″N, Chiquinquirá
Where to go shopping in Chiquinquirá
Chiquinquirá is one of the cities that offers wooden and tagua handicrafts. They specialize in musical instruments, with the guitar being the best-selling instrument.
Fábrica Guitarras-El turista Tagua
Dirección: Cl. 18 #1184, Chiquinquirá
Música y Arte Chiquinquirá
Dirección: Calle 2A #2-35 Apayares
This community has retained its traditional, colonial and rural architecture over the years. That is why Iza was declared a cultural asset of national character in 2002. Iza shows through its architecture the history of the development of the city in the time of the Spanish colonization of America, when the city was taken over by pre-Hispanic descendants, from which the architecture was made of clay with wooden doors and windows. The village is also famous for the desserts that are sold around the main square.
Activities & attractions in Iza
Templo Histórico del Divino Salvador
This enchanting temple was rebuilt after being destroyed by seismic movements and a fire inside the temple. Its architecture currently consists of adobe, clay bricks and stone slabs. Inside is the stone of the Divine Savior, which many parishioners visit every year. Of course, everyone wants a miracle or a blessing.
Lago de Tota
Lake Tota is the largest lake in the country and is only 20 minutes by car from Iza. A boat can be rented to explore the lagoon. If you’re looking for adventure, ATVs can also be used on a racetrack. Here you can also go horse riding and hiking.
This part of the lagoon has a Caribbean beach with very light sand, the water is very cold and the colors are light green to blue. The drive from Iza takes 20 minutes by car.
Termales El Batán
In El Batan, iron and sulfur springs help you relax deeply. Inside there are various water features for children and Turkish baths for adults. Admission is COP $ 15,000 for adults and teenagers over 12 years of age and COP $ 10,000 for children under 12 years of age. The hot springs are located in the Hotel Termales El Batán, the drive from Iza takes about 15 minutes by car.
Cueva de Bochica
This magical place has an indigenous history because the cave is named after the god Bochica. The Muisca revered his presence and made the trip to the cave to learn from him and receive his teachings and advice. The story goes that after the god, satisfied with his mission in the Muisca area, sealed the entrance to the cave leaving only a footprint, went to the river bed and was never seen again.
How to get to Iza
The drive from Bogota takes around 4 hours.
Where to stay in Iza
Where and what can you eat in Iza?
Here are some places where you can try the best desserts in Iza.
Cra. 4, Iza
Plazoleta de Postres Iza
Iza – Cuitiva, Iza
Where can I shop in Iza?
In Iza you can buy ruanas, blankets and all kinds of hand-woven clothing.
Tejidos Iza Boyacá
Carrera 5 #7-35 – Alcaldia de Iza
Calle 4#5/52, Iza
marble pits. The city has hiking trails, ancient buildings and paleontological riches.
It used to be an indigenous village, but the Spaniards took over the place and the indigenous people were punished for not following the orders of the Spaniards. Since then, the indigenous population has declined, but their customs and architecture are still in force.
Activities & attractions in Sáchica
If you want to immerse yourself in religious tourism, below is one of the most important and famous places in Sáchica.
Iglesia Doctrinera de los dominicanos
This famous church in Sáchica has an architecture with special details. In addition to the figures and decorations inside, it has a facade with a balcony, where trade fairs are held in the open air and without crowds. Due to several seismic events, the church shows some signs of wear and tear.
These paintings are located on the Sáchica River, 20 minutes from the center of the village. This place is full of history as the paintings are of pre-Columbian origin. The symbols represent nature, some human faces and objects related to religion and magic. The culture or origin of the paintings is still unknown. However, there are reports that date back to the 4th century and claim that they came from the Chibcha and Arawak cultures.
Termales de Azufre
Km 4 vía, Sáchica, Boyacá
The perfect plan for those seeking relaxation is the Azufre thermal baths. The thermal water is 100% recommended, as the composition of iron with bicarbonate or sulfate is good for the body. The main thing is to improve metabolism and facilitate digestion.
Mirador de Arrayán y del espinal
Surrounded by nature, the Mirador de Arrayán y del Espinal is the perfect vantage point if you want to see the city and take a break. I recommend the hike to all nature and photo lovers.
Desierto de la Candelaria
This desert full of rocky structures is a fascinating tourist attraction. The Candelaria Desert is the third largest desert in Colombia and consists of 6 communities (Villa de Leyva, Sutamarchán, Sáchica, Tinjacá, Ráquira and Samacá). Not only can you go hiking there, but you can also go horseback riding and do various nighttime activities such as lunadas. You can perfectly observe different celestial phenomena and enjoy starry nights.
How do you get to Sáchica?
The drive from Bogota takes around 4 hours.
Where to stay in Sáchica
Where and what can you eat in Sáchica?
Sáchica is particularly known for desserts and coffee sweets.
Calle 4 # 3 -76, Sáchica
Cl. 3n #1-14, Sáchica
Café-Bar Vintage Campanario de Sáchica
Cl. 2 #2-87, Sáchica
Raquira is known as the pottery capital of Colombia, which is reflected in the buildings and local handicrafts. It’s the perfect place to pick up souvenirs. This small town surprises with its fascinating architecture, the houses and facilities are made of clay and the facades are colorful.
I recommend visiting in October when the Festival de Cargueros takes place. Then you see a multitude of young artisans who show a selection of their handicrafts on a donkey or on their shoulders.
Activities & attractions in Ráquira
Monasterio La Candelaria
The monastery currently serves as a retreat for the Augustinian Fathers. It’s a quiet place. I recommend this place to visitors who appreciate ancient architecture and want to enjoy the tranquility at the same time.
Iglesia de San Antonio
This is the main church of Ráquira, its colonial architecture is impressive.
Patio de Brujas
This tourist attraction is an astronomical observatory. The figures placed there show how the ancestors orientated themselves thanks to the stars. The place is made up of totems that gave the ancestors guidance on how to perform simple tasks, such as: B. the time to cut hair, sowing and cultivating.
How to get to Ráquira
You can reach Raquira in around 4 hours from Bogota. However, I recommend a visit in combination with Villa de Leyva, which is only 30 minutes away.
Where to stay in Ráquira
Where and what can you eat in Ráquira?
One of the favorite dishes of the boyacenses is the cazuela boyacense, similar to the changua bogotana, prepared with eggs, milk, cream, almojábana, coriander and salt.
Restaurante Cazuelas Boyacenses
Restaurante del Fogón Pa Sumercé
Cl. 3 #4-62, Ráquira
Where can you go shopping in Ráquira?
Ráquira is known as the capital of ceramics and therefore there are a multitude of shops where you can buy souvenirs and handicrafts. You can find everything from glasses, plates and pots to toys and Christmas decorations for the house.
Canaan Artesanías en Ráquira
Cl. 3 #3-46, Ráquira
Cl. 3, Ráquira
Artesanías A.R.C Arte réplicas y cultura
Calle 2 #2-35
Recognized as a National Monument, this popular city transmits pure energy full of history and joy to its visitors and locals. Villa de Leyva is host to several important Colombian festivals that reflect not only the culture but also the people of the country. With its 14,000 m2, the main square is considered the largest square in Colombia.
Besides being considered an important place for Colombia, it is one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations. Residents of Bogotá and Boyacá visit the city regularly to get away from the routine and enjoy walks in the beautiful and historic city center.
If you want to find out more information about this heritage city, I invite you to visit my guide to Villa de Leyva.
How to get to Villa de Leyva
A drive from Bogota takes around 4 hours.
Where to stay in Villa de Leyva
This city full of friendly locals is characterized by its colonial architecture. Tibasosa is known for the cultivation of feijoa and the products made from this exotic fruit and every year it welcomes many tourists interested in the fairs and festivals in Boyacá. The Feijoa festival is celebrated in July.
Activities & attractions in Tibasosa
Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Rosario
Cl. 3 #955, Tibasosa
The main parish church of Tibasosa is located in the center of the village. It is an ideal place to look at architecture and also the surrounding mountains.
Museo Diocesano de Arte religioso Julio Franco Arango
This museum houses an exhibition of religious art and was declared a national monument in 1986. The works on display date from the 16th century and are housed in ten different rooms, each with 500 pieces, paintings and ornaments depicting the religious life of the ancestors. You can find pieces and works of art by Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos.
Km 1, Vía las Antenas, Tibasosa
For nature and animal lovers, we recommend a visit to Bioparque Guátika, just 10 minutes from Tibasosa. Here you can see more than 500 animals that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. In Guátika you can meet exotic, wild and farm animals. There are also adventure activities for children and adults. There is a climbing wall, riding afternoons, a cable car, buggies and much more.
How to get to Tibasosa
The journey from Bogota takes around 4 hours.
Where to stay in Tibasosa
Where and what can you eat in Tibasosa?
Tibasosa is known for its feijoa sweets, an exotic fruit. It is used to make desserts, sweets, ice cream, juices and sabajón (a creamy liqueur). Many tourists come to the city thanks to the many feijoa products that Tibasosa sells in the market.
Restaurante Tierra de Feijoa
Cl. 4 # 9-52, Tibasosa
Calle 3 # 9-81, Tibasosa
Where to shop in Tibasosa
Cl. 4 #4-2, Tibasosa
Productos de Feijoa San Nicolas
Carrera 2 No 3-33 Via Principal, Tibasosa-Sogamoso, Tibasosa
Agroindustrias Las Margaritas
Cl. 4 #9-90, Tibasosa
Don Joaquín-Fábrica de Sabajon de Feijoa
Cl. 5 #2-29, Tibasosa
Like several communities in the Boyacá department, Firavitoba is known as a religious destination. Before becoming a city, Firavitoba was home to an indigenous settlement long before the arrival of the Spanish colonists. Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, some indigenous peoples and customs were destroyed as they were believed to have come from the devil. Various diseases plagued the community at that time, with both indigenous peoples and Spaniards dying.
Activities & attractions in Firavitoba
Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Las Nieves
The church is built in a neo-Gothic style, with a marble floor, stained glass windows and aisles. The architecture is unique and it has two towers that support the facade and represent a striking detail.
Iglesia de la Misericordia
This large church was built with the help of tourists.
How to get to Firavitoba
To get there from Bogotá you need to take a bus to Sogamoso; the trip takes three and a half hours and costs COP $ 40,000. When you arrive in Sogamoso, take a bus or taxi to Firavitoba, the journey takes 10 minutes.
Where to eat in Firavitoba
Restaurante Como en Casa
Cl. 7 #6-65, Firavitoba
Mi dulce Boyacá
Vía Pesca-Sogamoso, Firavitoba
This historical parish was formerly known as “la Venta” as it was a center of trade. Ventaquemada once received many workers and locals, as it was the way to the capital Bogotá. The characteristic name of the municipality comes from the fact that “la venta” (the sale) was burned down. The owner, Mr Albarracín, had a confrontation with some neighbors, which resulted in the shop being destroyed and turned to ashes.
Nowadays Ventaquemada is known as La Puerta de Oro de Boyacá. Not stopping there for an arepa (corn cakes) at one of the countless restaurants is certainly bordering on blasphemy! It was there that the title “The largest arepa in the world” was won.
Activities & attractions in Ventaquemada
Embraced in historical events of great importance to Colombia, Ventaquemada offers several tourist attractions. It is an ideal place to immerse yourself in the revolts, battles and conquests of this incredible land.
Puente de Boyacá
Km 110, Bogotá – Tunja, Ventaquemada
This famous monument has been declared the Nation’s Heritage Site and is of great importance to the history of Colombia. It was here that the Battle of Boyacá took place, an essential event for Colombia’s independence, during which a confrontation broke out between the Liberation Army of New Granada (former name of Colombia) and the army of Spain.
Monumento a Simón Bolívar
Vías Puente de Boyacá, Ventaquemada
This monument was erected in honor of the liberator Simón Bolívar. The work created by Ferdinand Von Miller is structured with bronze parts. Simon Bolivar is surrounded by 5 women, each representing the nations he has liberated, and on the pedestal he is accompanied by 4 angels who represent the cardinal points of the Battle of Boyacá.
Iglesia Parroquial de Ventaquemada
The main church of the parish still maintains its colonial style and is a cultural heritage of the parish. The church was also the headquarters of the Liberation Army.
How to get to Ventaquemada
The drive from Bogota takes around two hours.
Where to eat in Ventaquemada
Fábrica de Arepas El Triunfo
Diagonal 5ª #41, Boyacá, Ventaquemada
Bogotá – Tunja, Ventaquemada
San Luis-Arepas y Envueltos
Parador El Altiplano
This huge gorge and geographical peculiarity measures about 2 kilometers at the deepest point and extends to a length of around 227 kilometers. The gorge crosses the departments of Boyacá and Santander. The gorge offers incredible views, pleasant temperatures and an ideal landscape for photography.
- Pyrotechnics Festival: music, culture and fireworks show in Guateque.
- Horseback Riding in Duitama: Horseback riding through the city’s main streets followed by a music show.
- Feria y Fiestas de Duitama: parades, music, plays, dances, bike races and more.
- Moniquirá summer festival: music, gastronomic offers and competitions.
- Festival del requinto y la poesía costumbrista de Tuta: Musical showcase of the Andean region.
- Tunja Housing and Construction Fair: Housing projects and financing alternatives.
- Lake Sochagota Festival in Paipa: Raising tourists’ awareness of water management.
- Festival of the Sun and Steel in Sogamoso: Celebration of the Spanish, Indigenous and Eastern llanera cultures.
- Feria de las Tractomulas in Tibaná: tractor-trailer competition.
- Feast of the Virgin of Carmen in Sativanorte: Adoration of the Virgin.
- Festival of the Kites: Representation of figures in the air of the Plaza Mayor with the winds of Villa de Leyva.
- Fiestas de la Virgen del Tránsito de Oicatá: Adoration of the Virgin Mary.
- Festival Internacional de la Cultura de Boyacá: theater, music, dance, literature, cinema and culture.
- National band competition in Paipa: competition of music groups.
- Fairs and festivals of the Virgen del Carmen de Tipacoque: homage to the Virgin.
- Festival of Lights: Welcome to Christmas in Villa de Leyva.
- Aguinaldo Boyacense de Tunja: cultural events, music, sports, floats, dance competitions, etc.
- Aguinaldo Garagoense (Garagoa): Christmas lights, nativity scene competition.
- Aguinaldo Paipano: Events on the theme of Christmas.
- Fairs and festivals of sweets and sandwiches in Moniquirá: Christmas lights, gastronomic offer.
- Aguinaldo Sativeño (Sativa places): Gastronomic offer, music and dances.
- Carnaval de la Alegría Soatense (Soatá): Parade with floats and processions.
Best time to go to Boyacá
If you like to immerse yourself in local traditions and festivals, then you should base your visit on the events mentioned above. The festivals in December are well known in Colombia. In Boyaca, the Christmas atmosphere is lived to the fullest, especially because of the lighting and light shows.
Nightlife in Boyacá
Since Boyacá is one of the most religious and architecturally diverse departments in the country, there are hardly any bars or nightlife options outside of the larger cities.
Transport in Boyacá
Most cities are small and can be explored on foot. All municipalities within Boyaca can be reached by bus and the roads are generally in good condition.
What I like and dislike about Boyacá
When I traveled from Bogota to El Cocuy, I was surprised by Boyaca’s cultural wealth. You immerse yourself in history and find yourself back in colonial times. The many destinations, including villages not mentioned here, with the beautiful central squares and the associated churches, are an impressive experience.
The only negative point I can think of about the Boyaca department is that I’ve never been as frozen in any other department as in Boyaca.
Colombia Travel Guides
Below you will find the finest selection of travel guides around Colombia. Feel free to check them out.
- Colombia Travel Guide
- Bogota Travel Guide
- Medellin Travel Guide
- Santa Marta Travel Guide
- Cartagena Travel Guide
- La Guajira Travel Guide
- Llanos Travel Guide
- Providencia Travel Guide
- Coffee Triangle Travel Guide
- Amazonas Travel Guide
- Choco Travel Guide
- Santander Travel Guide
- Boyaca Travel Guide
- Villa de Leyva Travel Guide
- San Andres Island Travel Guide
- Tayrona Park Travel Guide
- Palomino Travel Guide
- Heritage Towns Colombia Travel Guide
- Chicamocha Canyon Travel Guide
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