Many artists have found their home in Villa de Leyva. There are dozens of handicraft shops as well as a number of artisan vendors. Various pieces of art and handicrafts can be found here, such as fine basketry, brightly coloured ceramics, jewellery, bags and ruanas (ponchos) as well as woven blankets and rugs.
Be sure to visit Saturday market held in the Plaza del Mercado (three blocks southeast of Plaza Mayor) which is famous through Colombia and attracts visitors from miles around. It starts early and it's busiest in the morning.
On the Plaza itself three beautifully restored colonial buildings contain various artisan shops and crafts. Casa Quintero, Casona La Guaca and Casa de Juan de Castellanos each have gorgeous patio areas with seating and cafés that serves snacks and cold drinks.
What to buy: fine basketry, ceramics and pottery, jewellery (emeralds and gold for which Colombia is famous, but which I really liked were some pieces made from seeds and natural fibres), hammocks, woven blankets and rugs, bags, ruanas (ponchos), shawls, hats, gloves and socks, all made by hand from sheep wool. I bought a nice and warm red woolen hat made by hand from sheep wool (35.000 COP) in Tejidos Dansa (I think it's on the picture, on the middle shelf). It kept me warm the whole winter after I returned from Colombia. A very good buy :)
What to pay: very affordable
Shopping is interesting in Villa de Leyva as there are a lot of shops selling little works of art. There are nice handmade pieces of jewelery, fine clothes, antiques, leather goods, and nice decorative objects. The shops are found mostly in the streets around Plaza Mayor, on Carrera 9 and Carrera 10. Even browsing is nice if you don't feel like buying.
Libelula is a very eclectic shop. All the items are very original and nicely made. There are leather goods of good taste, handbags, belts.. There are accessories and impressive decorative objects. It's on Calle Peatonal (Carrera 9) just a few steps before 'Indios' Icecreams on your left.
Cel : (315) 311 3851 / (315) 6064955
Click to see 'Indios' Icecreams
In Carrera 9, between Calle 13 and Calle 15, there is a shop, in which you can buy excellent and unusual ceramics.
What to buy: As and example - here a picture of an ashtray, made of stone, carvings on the side and a kind of emaille layers inside and on the sides.
This one was about 2 USD (in 1998), and has a diameter of about 10 .
What to pay: Depends on the items you buy, this ashtray was 2 USD, a mirror with candles around 5 USD.
All over town there are little artisan shops, Many are identical but some show off interesting leather work, Antiques, and other interesting stuff. Just fun to look through
What to buy: Be sure to try the pastry called Bessos de mi Novia, Kisses from my girlfriend, Marrangue arount cake, very tasty.