Villa de Leyva is unquestionably one of Colombia’s most well preserved historic towns. Nestled in an arid valley between Tunja and Chiquinquira, Villa de Leyva was founded in middle of the 16th century as a retreat for Spanish soldiers and nobles who were advancing from the coast to the interior. Steeped in history and legends, Villa de Leyva, has preserved throughout the centuries its colonial roots and is one of the most sought after destinations for Bogotanos heading out on weekends. An easy 3-hour drive north of the capital, visitors can wander the cobble streets and browse the many shops selling antiques and handcrafts. Given its geography of dry rolling hillocks and olive orchards, Villa de Leyva offers hikers a chance to step back in time, and explore the Candelaria desert, where fossils are still encrusted in what once was a lush river valley. Villa de Leyva’s ideal climate of blue skies makes for stunning photographs given the town’s stark white walls contrasting with the clay tile roofs of untouched history.