You can’t say you have seen Villa de Leyva and the surrounding area, until you’ve spent a day at the National Park Iguaque. It’s located about 1 hour from the town by bus; the entrance fee is $15 dollars. It’s well worth a visit solely to see the unusual types of fauna and flora. The trek is approximately 4 hours long: you move through numerous types of forest from wet jungle to a dry forest with the types of flora and fauna changing as you move through the different eco systems. The highlight of the trek is to reach the laguna at 3700 meters considered by indigenous people to be the birth place of humanity. It does have a magical almost out of this world feeling about it.
I think the following photos capture the essence of this unusual place
Recreate the trip:
You can go to the National Park by booking a tour from the Colombian Highlands hostel or if you want to save money and prefer to do it yourself do as follow:
- Take the bus at 7 o’clock am from the bus station in villa de Leyva. Ask at the bus station which bus to take for the Iguaqua National Park. If you are lucky enough, you can get a lift with a colletivo which is a minibus that takes you right at the entrance of the park for the same price of the normal bus. The collectivo finds you when you walk to the bus station
- Ask the bus driver to drop you off at the Iguaqua National Park
- You will have to walk 3 Km to reach the entrance, but it is a nice walk, well worth it.
- At 4.30 pm make sure you are at the point where the bus driver dropped you in the morning. There is only one bus back to Villa de Leyva in the evenning, so make sure not to miss it. If you go to the park with the collectivo, he will pick you up as well.
- The cost of the bus (same for the collectivo) is 30oo pesos each way
Don’t underestimate the walk to the laguna: if for any reason you can’t make it to the top or it is too late go back to the start of the trek. Getting lost in the dark inside the park is not worth it.