In the eastern Andes mountain range lays the department of Boyacá, one of the 32 departments of Colombia. It is known as a cool region whose main economic activities are agriculture and emerald mining. However, this region has much more to offer. There are also warm climates, valleys and plains with a great variety of landscapes. The unique gastronomy has been passed down to us by our indigenous ancestors of the highlands. In addition, there are many beautiful villages in Boyacá that represent the history of the country.
In Boyacá was the religious center of Muisca culture. Further it was a very important area during the Spanish conquest and the war of Independence. Battles took place in the Pantano de Vargas and the Boyacá Bridge. Some of Colombia’s most beautiful cities, such as Monguí and Villa de Leyva, are also located in Boyacá. Specialties of the region are the local crafts, which produce ponchos, ceramics and fabrics.
In Boyacá, there are many gems (not just emeralds) to discover. From historic cities, craftsmanship, magical places, moors, mountains, lakes and friendly people who welcome tourists with open arms.
The transfer time from Bogota to Tunja is about 2 hours. The average journey time to the main tourist attractions in Boyacá from Tunja is about 90 minutes. Boyacá is hilly and the roads are therefore very winding. However, the general condition of the traffic routes is good. The whole area is also well served by bus connections.
- February: Art and Culture Festivals (Ventaquemada), Astronomical Festival (Villa de Leyva).
- July: Sochagota Lake Festival (Paipa), celebrations of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá.
- August: Dragon festival in Villa de Leyva.
- September: Paipa National Band Competition.
- December: Festival of Lights in Boyacá
The main tourist attractions of Boyacá are located at an altitude between 2,000 and 4,000 meters above sea level. As a result, visitors should allow time for acclimatization. Especially before physical activities should be given enough time to prevent health risks. Furthermore, the sun is intense and the use of sun protection is essential. Due to the altitude, the temperatures are sometimes very fresh. Clothes should be chosen accordingly. Certain routes are also very curvy. Sensitive individuals are therefore advised to take medicines for motion sickness.
Activities in Boyacá
Puente de Boyacá
The historical significance of Boyacá Bridge is undeniable. The last battle for independence against the Spanish crown was conducted here. Next to the bridge there are two monuments and a view of the beautiful landscape of the Boyacá mountains. It is a place of history and a cornerstone in the birth of today’s Colombia.
The city of Ráquira is famous for its ceramics. They are heirlooms of the natives who inhabited this region. Ráquira is pretty and small. Worth seeing are the sculptures, which stand on the main square. The city consists mainly of shops that offer the ceramics in all imaginable colors and shapes.
Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva is one of the most famous and touristic cities in Colombia. It was declared a National Monument in 1954. Its streets and buildings are well preserved and are witnesses of culture and history.
There are several attractions, such as the Paleontological Museum, which houses, among other things, a large fossil of a marine animal that lived in the area millions of years ago. There is a 17th century monastery, natural history museums, wineries, a terracotta house and much more. The average temperature is 17 ° C and the altitude is 2,149 meters above sea level.
With an average temperature of 12 ° C and a height of 2,900 meters above sea level, Monguí is one of the cooler places in Colombia. Monguí is also in the catalog of the most beautiful villages in Colombia and is not very well visited by tourists. Due to the altitude you can find nearby Paramos, which can be experienced with local guides. A culinary delight is the delicious rainbow trout. Monguí is also known for its leather industry. Footballs are hand crafted in many companies.
This small village on the outskirts of Duitama combines the architectural and cultural wealth of the department of Boyacá. The pretty streets and buildings can be explored on foot. In the village there are restaurants, hotels and local crafts.
At 3,015 meters above sea level, Lake Tota is the largest and highest lake in Colombia. With a surface of 55 km² and a maximum depth of 60 meters, this lake was one of the most important places for the indigenous people, the Muiscas. There is a beautiful beach of white sand that can be mistaken for a Caribbean beach. However, the water temperature is 12 ° C and therefore does not invite you to swim. Activities such as sailing, water sports or horse riding are offered.
El Cocuy National Park
This gigantic park (306,000 hectares) has the largest glacier mass in Colombia. It contains more than 25 peaks covered with snow and ice on two mountain ranges. The altitude ranges from 600 to 5,330 meters above sea level. Visitors can not only hike on different routes in the area and explore different ecosystems, but also observe animals and birds.