8 Things To Do In Boyaca, Colombia

Things to do in Boyaca

Let’s start with what Boyaca actually is: it’s one of the departments of Colombia, located in the northern centre of the country. It lies on the range of the Eastern Cordillera and is fully covered in mountains. Boyaca has two rainy seasons: the first one is from April to June, and another falls between October and November. From the historical side, the Boyaca region was a battlefield for many battles in Colombia’s Independence War with Spain, so it’s called “The Land of Freedom”. It’s an incredible and magical place to visit. Why? Check out the list below to find out.

1. Lake Tota

Tota Lake 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Petruss used under CC0

Boyaca pops out from many of Colombia’s regions thanks to not only beautiful villages, which I am going to introduce later, but also thanks to the beautiful green landscape and peaceful countryside. We can see this beauty especially in the Lake Tota department, which is part of the Boyaca region. The name of the department comes from the actual natural lake – Lake Tota, which spans 60 square kilometers (23 sq mi) and is the largest lake in Colombia.

In the past, the lake was a sacred place for the Muisca culture, but now the western shore of the lake is a very popular tourist destination. You can sunbathe on the Playa Blanca, swim in the cool water, fish for some succulent trout, or explore the villages around it. Worth mentioning is town of Aquitania, where you should stop for a fresh coffee before starting your lake adventure. The legend says, there’s a monster living in the Lake Tota, known as a diablo ballena, which in English means “devil whale”.

Lake Tota

Address: Lake Tota, Boyaca, Colombia

Website: Lake Tota (in Spanish)

2. Try longoniza in Sutamarchan

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ardo Beltz used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Sutamarchán is another cute little village in Colombia, located just 14 kilometers (8.6 mi) west of Villa de Leyva. The town of Sutamarchan was founded in 1556 and today, you can still see remains of the Spanish Colony. One of the main tourist attractions is Santo Ecce Homo Convent or a Tomatina Festival, festival of tomatoes. But that’s not why so many tourists gather in Sutamarchán every year. The town is the longaniza capital of Colombia. Longoniza is a type of a pork sausage, similar to the Spanish chorizo. It’s a traditional regional sausage, and there’s no doubt that people love trying the regional food. The best place to try longoniza is in La Fogata restaurant or Fabrica de Longoniza.

Try Longoniza in Sutamarchan

Address: Cl. 2 #2-55, Sutamarchán, Bonanza, Boyacá, Colombia

Website: La Fogata

3. Visit Mongui, the most beautiful village in Boyaca

Centro Urbano de Monguí
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Martinduquea used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Just imagine a little town with colonial architecture, white buildings with green balconies and terracotta roofs, sitting on the side of the mountain, offering beautiful panoramic views from almost every street. And, the best part is that it has not yet been invaded by tourists; it is just full of locals and rural people sitting by the buildings in their ruanas, which are Colombian ponchos. And those are just some of the reasons why Mongui was called the most beautiful village in Boyaca. It’s a perfect place for a one-day trip or as your base, because the village, though not very famous, offers good accommodation options. When you’re there, go people-watching, visit the market, or go for a trip to the wilderness, explore blue mountain lakes, surrounding the village. Believe me, your trip to Mongui will bring a lot of fun and joy.


Address: Mongui, Boyaca, Colombia

Website: Mongui

4. Hike Paramo de Oceta

Paramo de Oceta
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Javier vargasj used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Have you ever heard a word “paramo”? Well, if you never been to Colombia, it’s not surprising you don’t know what it is. Paramo is a type of ecosystem that appears only in Colombia, and it’s a variety of alpine tundra, full of giant rosette plants, shrubs, and grasses. In simple words, it’s tropical mountain vegetation. There are a lot of paramos in Boyaca, but the one I want to tell you about is especially beautiful. The elevation ranges from 2,950 metres (9,680 ft) to 3,950 metres (12,960 ft) and it’s a beautiful experience that lets you get closer with typical Andean fauna and flora. It also offers incredible views of the huge rocks and the forests around. Hiking Paramo de Oceta is a perfect opportunity for great pictures and an unforgettable adventure. To get to the start of the hike you should take a taxi from Mongui. Just remember, if you’re not an experienced hiker and you’ve never hiked at that kind of elevation, don’t risk it and don’t go by yourself. Find someone who knows what they’re doing or take a guided trip.

Hike Paramo de Oceta

Address: Paramo de Oceta, Mongua, Boyaca, Colombia

5. Swim in the thermal water pool of Hacienda del Salitre hotel in Paipa

Hacienda El Salitre Paipa, Boy
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Luisangelb used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The town of Paipa in Boyaca is especially famous for their large number of thermal pools and waters, both private and public. So if you go there, you should definitely try this out. People say thermal waters are full of minerals, so thanks to that they are a perfect way of treating muscle pains, stress, and they also help with skin problems. But the question is where to find these hot waters and which one to choose, because there are so many of them. One of the most recommended places to go and relax in thermal waters is Hacienda del Salitre hotel in Paipa. The hotel is located a little bit outside of Paipa and it offers not only an amazing thermal pool but charming rooms with beautiful views.

Thermal water pool in Paipa

Address: Km. 3 Vìa Paipa - Toca,, Vereda el Salitre, Paipa, Boyacá, Colombia

Website: Hacienda del Salitre

6. Look for emeralds in Chivor

Gem Emerald
Source: Pixabay

If you’re a gem lover (saying gems, I mean the shiny rocks) you probably know something about emeralds, but if you’re not, let me give a little information before we start. An emerald is a green coloured gemstone. And a town in Boyaca, Chivor has world-wide fame for its incredible emeralds. An emerald found here, called La Magnífica, is 1,225 carats! And emeralds are still mined here, meaning you can actually take a tour down there! You should check it out. Other than that, the Emerald Reservoir in Chivor is a perfect destination for hiking and other outdoor adventures.


Address: Chivor, Boyaca, Colombia

7. Get a Colombian souvenir

Ruanas in Colombia
Source: Photo by user momentcaptured1 used under CC BY 2.0

In Boyaca, you can find the best Colombia souvenirs. Why, you ask? Because it’s a country of artisans, full of amazing products, like the iconic ruana, colourful bowls and vases, beautiful emeralds, and woven baskets. There are so many souvenirs to choose from for you and your friends back in home. So getting a traditional souvenir is definitely a must-do.

8. Villa de Leyva (from USD 243.0)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Darina used under CC BY-SA 3.0

We all know the stories of the Spanish colonies in South America back in XVI and XVII centuries. We’ve seen them in paintings or little drawings, but would you like to see one with your own eyes? Would you like to find out more about colonial life and and see what a village looked like? Then there’s no better place than Villa de Leyva, located 160 km (99.4 mi) northeast of Bogota. Villa de Leyva is full of stone-paved streets, whitewashed colonial buildings, and the 17th century Our Lady of the Rosary church standing on a charming square. The town is a perfect place to get some cultural and historical knowledge about the area. It’s a part of the Colombian National Network Of Heritage Towns. And if you’re staying in Bogota and you don’t have a car but really would like to visit charming Villa de Leyva, you should book a one day tour with Viator Tours.

Villa de Leyva Day Tour - Premium

Duration: 12 hours

Beauty of the nature and colonial life

Boyaca is a perfect connection of history, illustrated by beautiful colonial architecture and incredible nature, where there are a lot of adventures waiting for us. It’s a perfect destination for an incredible and busy vacation.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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