Villa de Leiva Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by mircaskirca
  • Casa Museo de Antonio Nariño - patio
    Casa Museo de Antonio Nariño - patio
    by mircaskirca
  • Casa Museo de Antonio Nariño - patio
    Casa Museo de Antonio Nariño - patio
    by mircaskirca

Best Rated Things to Do in Villa de Leiva

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    Iglesia and Museo del Carmen

    by mircaskirca Updated Nov 11, 2009

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    Iglesia del Carmen is a striking building that belongs to a Carmelite monastic order. A simple, dignified church with a large fine Lady Chapel was built in 1850. It has some beautiful paintings in the chancel, including an image of the Virgen del Carmelo (Virgin of Carmelo), and the wooden structure that supports the roof.

    The church is open Mon-Sat 6:30am-8am and Sun 6:30am-8am & 11am-noon.

    Located in the Plazuela del Carmen is the Museo del Carmen, housed in the convent of the same name. This well-stocked museum of religious art is adjacent to the Iglesia del Carmen. A collection of religious objects includes paintings, carvings, altarpieces and communion vessels dating from the 16th century onward. It is considered one of the best museums of religious art in the country.

    The museum is open Sat, Sun and holidays 10am-1pm & 2pm-5pm.

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    Plaza Mayor

    by mircaskirca Updated Nov 12, 2009

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    Villa de Leyva's main attraction is an expansive cobblestone Plaza Mayor. This impressive plaza with a total area of 14.000 square metres (measuring 120m by 120m) is supposedly the largest main square in the country. It is the heart of the town and the social life, everything is going on around the plaza. Plaza Mayor is the best place to start your tour of the town.

    Plaza Mayor is surrounded by magnificent whitewashed colonial houses with typical balconies and doors. Buildings bordering the plaza include bars, restaurants, small hotels, handicraft shops and a couple of small banks with cash machines. On the southeast of the plaza is the Iglesia Parroquial, a parish church with the steps, built in 1608. Compared to other smaller squares of Colombia, it does not have any decoration. There is only a small fountain in the middle which provided water to inhabitants of Villa de Leyva for centuries. But perhaps it's this vast expanse that gives the plaza a very unique feel.

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    Casa Museo de Antonio Nariño

    by mircaskirca Updated Nov 9, 2009

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    Casa Museo de Antonio Nari��o - patio
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    Antonio Nariño was a Colombian patriot, liberal intellectual and passionate defender of human rights in Latin America. He won acclaim for translating Thomas Paine's Rights of Man into Spanish and is revered through Colombia for his commitment to promoting socioeconomic justice. Colombia even named one of its provinces in his honor.

    Casa Museo de Antonio Nariño was built in 1600 and this is where the independence hero spent a few years prior to his death in 1823. He moved to this house to improve his health but soon died. Nariño enjoyed the scenery from the balcony and only left the house for taking a walk or visiting friends.

    This beautiful mansion was restored in 1970 by the Ministerio de Obras Públicas (Ministry of Public Works), making it a monument to the memory of the precursor of Colombia's independence. It was restored again between 1999 and 2003. The house has been converted into museum containing colonial objects (furniture, ceramics) and memorabilia related to this great man. Behind a house is a nice patio.

    It is open Thur-Thus 9am-noon & 2pm-5pm. Admission is COP 3.000 (January 2009).

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    Casa Museo de Antonio Nariño

    by MalenaN Written Dec 7, 2007

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    Casa Museo de Antonio Nari��o
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    Antonio Nariño was a general and fought for the Colombian Independence. He had been injured at battlefield and had been imprisoned. After that his health was poor and he came to Villa de Leyva where he died in 1823. He had also been one of the candidates in the president elections.
    The house where Nariño died is now a museum containing furniture and other objects from colonial time and things related to Nariño. The house is a fine colonial building.

    The museum is open Thursday - Tuesday between 8 - 12 and 14 - 17.
    Entrance fee was 3000 pesos (July 2007).

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    Iglesia Parroquial

    by richiecdisc Written Sep 17, 2010

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    the town's main church is very much in service
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    Iglesia Parroquial is a simple parish church built in 1608 with no history of disaster in its past, making for a charming old building very much lost in time. Its key feature is an impressive gold retable that stands out in its otherwise stark surroundings. It is the main building on Plaza Mayor and makes for great photogenic fodder at sunset with its west-facing orientation. It is very much an active church and it seemed to have a mass either going on most of the times we looked in.

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    Plaza Mayor

    by richiecdisc Written Sep 17, 2010

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    Plaza Mayor at dusk
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    Plaza Mayor is quite possibly the largest square in the Americas at an impressive 120m by 120m but it seems even bigger due to a lack of much ornamentation on the square itself aside from the obligatory fountain. The large cobble-stoned area that is the vast square is oddly devoid of any trees or plants of any kind and makes for a somewhat eery and not all that inviting place to hand out. That said, it is a popular place in the evenings when the often blistering sun has set, making the lack of shade a non-factor.

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    Parque Narino

    by richiecdisc Written Sep 17, 2010

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    D enjoyed while I found our room

    Parque Narino is an unassuming public park that you would easily stroll past without much notice. It is named after Antonio Narino who was a large figure in Colombia's independence. His home is just up the street on Carerra 9 and is now a small museum of colonial artifacts and personal possessions of the fierce defender of human rights. Admission 3000 COP ($1.50). Though it offers more shade than the town's main square, Plaza Mayor, it's palm trees are hardly perfect for such a purpose. That said, the small park provides a nice place for locals to sit outside and escape from the heat of the day. We only really used it once when we first got to town. My wife sat there while I went and looked for a room. She felt quite safe and it was a nice place to relax after the very long bus ride from El Cocuy. Its central location made it perfect for me to check a few rooms out before deciding which one to take.

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    Plaza Mayor

    by MalenaN Written Dec 7, 2007

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    Plaza Mayor, Villa de Leyva
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    The main square in Villa de Leyva did not change name after independence to Plaza Bolívar like in most mayor cities, but still keeps the traditional name Plaza Mayor. It is the largest square in Colombia and measure 120 metres on each side. It is a cobbled open square with only a small fountain in the middle. That fountain provided the inhabitants of Villa de Leyva with water for centuries.

    The square is surrounded by lovely white painted colonial buildings, the church, cafes/restaurants and handicraft shops. In the evening children and adults come here to fly their kite. It is great just to sit and watch what is going on.

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    balconies of Villa de Leyva

    by richiecdisc Updated Sep 17, 2010

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    green seems to be the color of choice
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    Villa de Leyva may seem short on actual sights but one thing it has a plethora of are balconies. It is a town full of charming colonial architecture and one of the hallmark features of such buildings are gorgeous wooden balconies. A stroll through its cobblestone streets with a camera in hand is all the scenery you'll ever need. We timed our visit for midweek to avoid crowds and also went out early in the morning to have the town virtually to ourselves.

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    Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen

    by MalenaN Written Dec 8, 2007

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    The Church of Carmen, Villa de Leyva
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    The tower of the Church of Carmen can be seen from Plaza Mayor. It is situated next to a Carmelite convent and the church was built in 1850. It is also a plainly decorated church with some paintings and wooden structures in the roof for support. The Church of Carmen and the parish church are the only churches in service in Villa de Leyva.
    It is open between 6.30 - 8 every day and also between 11 - 12 on Sundays.

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    Viewpoint - Sagrado Corazon

    by MalenaN Written Dec 10, 2007

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    View over Villa de Leyva
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    Above Villa de Leyva there is a viewpoint called Sagrado Corazon. You can see the white statue of Christ which is standing there on the hill from the town. To go there from Plaza Mayor you should walk up Calle 12, past the marketplace (it was empty when I visited) on to a sports field. The gates are locked but there is an opening in the fence where you can pass. On the other side of the sports field the path to the view point begins. When you come out on the bare rocks white arrows painted on the rock will show you the right way. I can’t remember how long it took to walk up to the view point, but it was less than an hour, and much less to walk down. It is good to bring water and some snacks.
    From the viewpoint you have a great view over Villa de Leyva, the valley and the hills around. It is absolutely worth the effort to do the walk up there.

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    Iglesia Parroquial

    by MalenaN Updated Dec 10, 2007

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    Interior of the parish church in Villa de Leyva
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    The parish church in Villa de Leyva is standing on the south-eastern side of Plaza Mayor, a few steps up. The church was built in 1605 and has got a plain interior. The walls are white with a few paintings hanging on them. There are brown beams in the roof and the benches are brown. But in the front there is a big altarpiece in baroque style and a smaller one in the side chapel.
    During the days I visited Villa de Leyva I only saw the church open once, in the evening.

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    Iglesia del Carmen

    by richiecdisc Updated Sep 17, 2010

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    great evening photo opportunities
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    Iglesia del Carmen is only the second active church in Villa de Leyva and worth peeking into for its paintings and fine carved wood. Your best shots of it will be in the morning light as it faces somewhat easterly though we found its sparse but tasteful light made for good night shots too. Bring a tripod.

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    Iglesia de San Augustin

    by richiecdisc Written Sep 17, 2010

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    a shame it's not open to the public

    Little Iglesia de San Augustin no longer is used for religious purposes and unfortunately is not open to the public. There is little information about the cute white-washed church that sits prettily behind Parque Ricaurte .

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    Parque Ricaurte

    by richiecdisc Written Sep 17, 2010

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    the pretty gate to the park
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    One of the more charming city parks in Villa de Leyva is Parque Ricaurte. It is across from Antonio Ricaurte's home of birth which now houses a museum full of furniture and weapons of the period. Ricaurte was renowned for his heroic deeds including blowing himself up to do the same to a Spanish battalion closing in on the city's armory full of gunpowder! Admission 3000 COP ($1.50).

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