An attractive city filled with lots of culture and history. A place where the contemporary and ancestral cultures meet.
BOGOTA & VILLA DE LEYVA
EXPERIENCE 5 EXCITING DAYS
Bogota and Villa de Leyva
DAY 1 - BOGOTA
Arrival to El Dorado International Airport of Bogotá; here you will be met by your English speaking local guide, which will take you with a private transfer to your hotel. Bogotá is the capital district of Colombia and the country’s most populated city. It is the most important political, financial, educational, cultural city in the country. It was founded on August 6, 1538 originally named Santa Fe by the ‘Conquistador’ Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada who arrived in pursuit of ‘El Dorado’ gold legend and defeated the native Chibcha in Bacatá, which meant capital of the Zipa confederation. In 1717 the kingdom of New Granada was established here, and in 1819 Simon Bolivar chose it as the capital of the Grand Colombia. Accommodation.
DAY 2 - BOGOTA
Half day visit to the historic center known as La Candelaria. This antiquated "barrio" is of great architectural and cultural heritage and is made up of old “stately homes” or large Spanish colonial buildings with iron windows, thick and sturdy wooden doors, balconies and internal patios with beautiful yet hidden gardens. Visit the Plaza de Bolivar, originally called the Plaza Mayor, was used for civil and military purposes, as a marketplace, a bullring and a gallows. The Cathedral, on the eastern side of the plaza, is constructed on the remains of the first church built in Bogotá in 1539 and houses an important collection of religious artefacts such as textiles and artwork that has built over four centuries. The Capilla del Sagrario is located just beside the Cathedral and is a gem of religious architecture and which houses valuable pieces of colonial religious art by Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y Ceballos. The Capitol, built between 1847 and 1926, shows its renaissance and neoclassical influences with its carved stonework and tall columns and, it is the first republican piece of civil architecture. The central area of the Capitol, known as the Salon Eliptico, is where congress meets and is the actual chamber for politicians and the Senate. Around the Plaza de Bolivar are the Palacio de Justicia, the Mayor of Bogotá’s offices called the Edificio Liévano, the oldest school in the county called San Bartolome and the Casa de los Comuneros who participated towards the end of the XVII Century in some of the first movements towards independence from Spain and the formation of the Republic. The visit continues with the Museo Botero, a colonial house filled with works of art done by and donated by Fernando Botero in addition to artwork from his own personal collection that includes pieces by Picasso, Renoir, Dalí Matisse, Monet and Giacometti. Next is the Museo del Oro which has a permanent exhibition of some 32,000 pieces of gold, 20,000 stones, ceramics and textiles all precious to the Quimbaya, Calima, Tayrona, Sinu, Muisca, Tolima, Tumaco and Magdalena cultures. The Museo del Oro is considered as one of the most important museums of its type internationally and it has been functioning since 1939. End the visit in the Santuario de Monserrate, a symbol of Bogotá. Ride the cable car or funicular up to it, at 500 mts above Bogotá (total of 3140masl). The site offers the incredible panorama of the city on one side and the Andes on the other. Return to hotel. Accommodation.
DAY 3 - BOGOYA
Full day Zipaquirá & Guatavita tour. Travel through the beautiful landscapes of the Bogotá Savannah. Visit the mystical Guatavita lagoon to relive El Dorado’s legend, hear stories about gold fever, and appreciate emblematic offerings that Muisca people gave their gods in this magical place. Hike through path surrounding the lagoon. “El Dorado” legend comes to life in Guatavita lagoon, an ancestral place that fascinates all visitors. During approximately an hour and a half you will be enjoying the beautiful landscapes of the highways outside the city up to the very last minute when you arrive to “Guatavita la nueva”, a picturesque town with colonial architecture located next to Tominé dam. Get to know all the secrets from this place where the indigenous magic lives. After enjoying a typical lunch, drive to Zipaquirá to visit the famous Salt Cathedral. The three-nave Salt Cathedral is 120 meters long and bulges on a footprint of 8,500 square meter in the salt rock. In the interior of the cave cathedral there are monumental crosses, angels and Madonnas gracefully carved from salt crystal. In addition to the main cathedral, there are small chapels and a crossroads, whose 14 stations are connected through labyrinthine tunnels. Visit the historic, architectural and religious marvel 180mts underground-breathtaking majestic Salt Cathedral carved in a salt mine. Discover all the attractions that this area has to offer and coffee bar, where you can enjoy a delicious Colombian-coffee. Return to hotel. Accommodation.
DAY 4 - BOGOTA, VILLA DE LEYVA
After breakfast, you will travel to Villa de Leyva. A colonial town and municipality in the Boyacá department of Colombia, part of the sub region of the Ricaurte Province. It is three and a half hours by car or bus from Bogotá. Located away from major trade routes in a high altitude valley of semi-desert terrain, and with no mineral deposits nearby to exploit, the town has undergone little development in the last 400 years. As a consequence, it is one of the few towns in Colombia to have preserved much of its original colonial style and architecture: the streets and large central plaza are still paved with cobblestones, and many buildings date from the sixteenth century. This has resulted Villa de Leyva to become one of Colombia’s principal tourist attractions, and it was declared a National Monument on December 17, 1954 to preserve its architecture. The town and the surrounding countryside, which contains several sites of interest, are popular weekend destinations for citizens of Bogota, and attract an increasing number of foreign tourists. At your arrival to Villa de Leyva, your guide will take you to your hotel. Accommodation.
DAY 5 - VILLA DE LEYVA, BOGOTA
After breakfast walk over the main square, where you can admire the wooden windows and doors, and lovely balconies with a Moorish influence which are the characteristic accents of the Hispanic tradition of the town. Afterwards, visit “El fossil”, an impressive Kronosaurus queenslandicus 120-million-year-old fossil, “Infiernito”, which used to be the astronomical observatory of the Muiscas, the “Convento del Santo Ecce Homo”, founded by the Dominicans in 1620, an important point of evangelization in a region populated by infidel Indigenous communities. At the end of the tour, travel back to Bogotá; here you will be dropped off at El Dorado International to catch your international flights.
Culture is breathed and experienced every day in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, located at 2,600 meters above sea level. The past and the present blend in this metropolis that offers its visitors varied artistic expressions that include museum exhibits, dance, theater, music, and splendid cuisine. From old times, Bogotá has offered a rich socio-cultural context that is the product of the convergence of Colombia’s contemporary and ancestral cultures. As a result of this convergence, visitors will find an ancestral past represented in architecture and historical elements preserved in its museums in addition to a present full of life.