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33 travelers at this place

  • Day429

    Villa de Leyva, Columbia

    July 9, 2018 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    Our middle-of-the-night flight out of Bolivia landed before 7am in Bogota. We hopped in a cab to the bus station and ~4 hours later arrived in the ridiculously charming colonial town of Villa de Leyva.
    We were immediately struck by how clean, well-developed, and vibrantly green Columbia appears. And this little village was a wonderful soft landing as it’s one of the most picturesque parts of the country and we were staying at a beautifully restored villa-hotel. Luxury!
    We love South America’s colonial cities. We recognize they were (sadly) mostly built on pillage and oppression and they can feel a little Disney-ish because they are just that perfect. Still, we can’t resist their charm.
    Apart from wandering through the cobblestone streets and enjoying some delicious juices, coffee (for John) and good food, we had to deal with a few annoyances. First, John threw his back out while playing with the adorable resident boxer (dog) and ended up in bed for a couple of days, unable to walk without discomfort. Luckily, it only cost ~$40 for a doctor to visit our hotel and give him a shot so he could get back on his feet. We also got attacked one morning by small biting insects that managed to bite Christy at least 40 times, and John a bit less. The bites are the worse we’ve experienced in terms of itchiness and swelling. We still don’t know what they were, but yuck. Otherwise, we loved this town!
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  • Day16

    Half of the country in one day

    May 29, 2015 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    A day of pure travelling: I started in the morning with a flight from Pasto to Bogotá, where I went to fetch some stuff at Daniel's house. From there, I took the transmilenio to the bus station, so I could go to Villa de Leyva, changing buses in Tunja. Even though it was a really tiring day, I enjoyed seeing the beautiful landscapes on my way. Also, in Pasto I launched from the smallest airport I have seen in all my life: it offers solely flights from and to Bogotá, has two waiting rooms and security opens only before boarding.
    In the afternoon I finally arrived in the amazing colonial city of Villa de Leyva, and in the equally beautiful hostel. It is a little far to walk and not really cheap, but worth going, because it has an awesome ambient.
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  • Day17

    Villa de Leyva

    May 30, 2015 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Today was reeeeaaaaally relaxed. In the morning I went to a farmer's market in town with Alicia from England. The food was by far not as cheap as we expected, but really good, so we bought fruits and vegetables for the whole stay in Villa de Leyva.
    After lunch and chilling for some time in the hammocks, we did a little hike right next to the hostel. What we didn't expect was the spectacular countryside that was waiting for us within a distance of only 1h of walking!
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  • Day19

    Horseback riding

    June 1, 2015 in Colombia ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We had a nice four-hour ride to pozo de la vieja. There is also a story to it, which locals claim is true: from 1910 to 1986, once in a while people would see a woman in that part of the river, which was only covered by her golden hair. We were told the story by a woman who has a little shop over there, and according to her even her grandpa had seen the “vieja“.
    It was a really nice ride through an absolutely beautiful landscape with a lot of cattle with their babies. Also, the horses were amazing and really well trained. I had one that loved galloping, but equal to the others would stop at the end of every galloping part it knows.
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  • Day562

    Villa de Leyva

    November 29, 2017 in Colombia ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    We left the San Gil area & headed off the beaten track on a windy, occasionally paved road to a great little spot that some earlier overlanders had discovered. A short walk from the road is a river that runs over smooth rock bed but has sudden & deep round holes - a bit like Swiss Cheese! Maya discovered this the hard way by happily trotting along in the very shallow water until suddenly there was no hard ground beneath her & she had an unexpected swim!

    We spent a fun afternoon here and found a lovely camp spot at a local swimming hole, although we did have to drive through a river crossing to get there. The next morning we visited the nearby town of Guadeloupe, which had a nice hustle & bustle about it along with some incredible BBQ (basically half a cow on a fire) that the chef took great pride in letting us taste - we of course bought some for our lunch.

    We continued on to the colonial town of Villa de Leyva, an incredible town of white-washed houses, cobbled streets and the biggest town square in Latin America. The scenery here is stunning, with glorious rolling fields and the high peaks create a lovely microclimate.

    This was also to be where Phil would start a new decade!

    On his birthday after an early round of Bucks Fizz we rode our bikes to look at the worlds most complete example of a kronosaurus (marine dinosaur). At 110 million years old it made Phil feel less ancient and I managed to find him another big fish as he’s become accustomed to on his birthday! We cycled on to see the calendar of the Muisca people who were the inhabitants here before the Spanish came along and massacred them. The calendar consisted of precisely placed phalic stones arranged so that the first light of the day would cast a shadow over other stones so they could follow the equinoxes for planting and harvesting. We had a wonderfully enthusiastic guide that really gave us an insight into the Muisca society and science behind the calendar. We finished off the ride with the obligatory tea & cakes.

    The previous evening we had a lovely meal in a fancy restaurant, where the owner tickled the ivories in the background, but I'd spotted a fondue restaurant and didn't see why I couldn't have two birthday meals. Unfortunately when we arrived ravenous after our long ride and wanting to ease the aches with a massive cheese overdose, they were shut despite earlier telling us they would be open.

    The drive out of town up through a high pass was even more spectacular, with landscape reminiscent of the states albeit it on a smaller scale.
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  • Day5

    Villa de Leyva

    April 4, 2017 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Spent one day in this lovely village, where the film Zorro was filmed. Our room was beautiful, with a balcony overlooking our garden with hammocks we could enjoy. All this for the equivalent of a tenner a night. During the day we hired bikes and cycled round the main tourist attractions - the clay house, the fossil museum, the ostrich farm and the 'blue pools'. The square was lovely and the locals were very friendly.Read more

  • Day6

    Casa Terracotta

    November 28, 2018 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    Extraordinary house built of terracotta. The clay was placed by hand the fire in place, if I understood the Spanish description. The also said that the conical design had seismic benefits. In pic 3 you can see a built in barbeque and table with seats. Lots of other interesting details, like the handrails at the stairs are wrought iron snakes.Read more

  • Day5

    Villa de Leyva

    November 27, 2018 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    A colonial town north of Bogota. First is the Plaza Mayor, the town's main square. This is looking from the door of the Hospedería (hotel) where I stayed. The second is inside the Hospedería. The next 2 are typical street scenes of the colonial town, still with the stone paved streets. The last pic is not of Villa de Leyva but is of a nearby town showing a bit of the surrounding area.Read more

  • Day424

    Villa de Leyva, Colombia

    July 29, 2018 in Colombia

    25. - 29. Juli 2018

    Villa de Leyva liegt vier Stunden nordöstlich von Bogotá auf 2100 m.ü.M. Ich stehe in Medellín morgens um fünf Uhr auf, mache mich zu Fuss, mit der Metro und dem Kleinbus auf zum Flughafen, fliege nach Bogotá, fahre mit dem Taxi zum Busterminal und finally mit dem Bus nach Leyva. Puh, was für eine Reise:). Die Umgebung bei der Busfahrt erinnert mich an die Schweiz mit ihren Äckern und grünen Weiden.

    Leyva ist eine weisse Stadt und bekannt für ihre mit grossen Steinen gepflasterten Strassen. Nicht ideal für Highheels. Zudem besitzt sie mit 120x120 Metern einen der grössten Hauptplätze Südamerikas. Die Stadt gefällt mir gut. Noch am Ankunftstag besichtige ich das Casa Terracota, ein riesiges Haus, das nur aus Lehm und sonstigen natürlichen Baustoffen erstellt wurde. Der Architekt wollte eigentlich selbst darin wohnen, aber all die Bewunderer des Hauses (oder Touristen), die das Haus besichtigen wollten, waren dann doch zuviel. Jetzt ist es ein Hausmuseum geworden. Sehr eindrücklich.

    Am nächsten Tag laufe ich hoch zur Statue des Santo Cristo. Von hier oben geniesse ich eine wunderschöne Aussicht auf die Stadt und ihre Umgebung. Das heraufkraxeln hat sich definitiv gelohnt.

    Und dann meldet sich Suti aus dem Dschungel und sagt, dass er auch noch nach Leyva kommt. Jepii, was für eine schöne Überraschung!

    Zusammen machen wir eine Wanderung zum ‚Santuario de Flora y Fauna de Iguaque‘ oder besser gesagt, zur Laguna. In diesem Nationalpark existiert das einzigartige neotropische Páramo-Ökosystem, das von Hunderten von Tier- und Pflanzenarten beheimatet ist. Am bekanntesten und für uns die grösste Attraktion sind die Frailejones, ein Halbstrauch, der typisch für diese Höhenlage der Anden ist. Wir befinden uns zwischen 3000 und 4000 m.ü.M. Ja, es ist kalt. Zudem regnet es. Aber die Strapazen lohnen sich; die Frailejones sind wirklich speziell und schön anzusehen, und es wachsen schöne Blumen. Als wir endlich bei der Laguna ankommen (die übrigens superklein ist) ziehen die Wolken für zehn Sekunden auf. Zum Glück haben wir die Kamera griffbereit:).

    Heute gibt es einen weiteren Reisetag; mit dem Bus zurück nach Bogotá und mit dem Flugzeug direkt weiter nach Curaçao:). Unsere Tauchferien beginnnen. Und damit gleichzeitig unsere letzte Woche auf unserer grossen Reise.

    Memories: schöne Souvenirs; Glühwein ist hoch im Kurs; Spaziergang durch Wies und Feld (und wieder zurück, da das Strässchen plötzlich aufhörte [ja, wusste es]); Marktbesuch; Besichtigung Monolithen, die an Stonehenge erinnern; Wenn beim Coiffure der Strom ausgeht, wird mit Handybeleuchtung weitergemacht.
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