BOYACA’S PICTURESQUE VILLAGES & THE BEAUTIFUL LAGO DE TOTA

As there are many holidays in Colombia – it was a must to take advantage of a long weekend to travel and discover more of this amazing country. With my friends Yury, Angela y Eugenia we decided to get to know more of the region Boyaca! After a great salsa night and not much sleep, I met my girls at 8am at the bus terminal in Bogota on Friday morning! Luckily there was a bus leaving right away. Our destination for this weekend was Sogamosa! From there we planned to visit different places in the surroundings.

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On the way I recognized that I haven’t been travelling along these beautiful countrysides for too long! It is just amazing to cross this wonderful country with its breathtaking landscapes by road! After a long ride of 6 hours we finally arrived in Sogamoso which lies at an altitude of 2.560 meters and welcomed us with great sunshine! We walked about 15 minutes from the bus terminal to our hostel “La Cazihita”. The owner Miguel welcomed us very friendly and gave us many recommendations of what we can do in the surroundings! As we arrived very hungry we headed to the restaurant “La Granja” where they served us a delicious lunch!

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Afterwards we started to explore the surroundings and went to the wine yard Marques de Puentelarga which is about 30 minutes from Sogamoso! Actually the owner of this wineyard has lived and studied in Germany and brought the wine grape to Colombia in 1984. Here they have been cloning the grape and by now 18 families in different regions of Colombia are part of the “wine family”! They gave us a tour around the wine yard and of course a wine tasting was also included – and this wine was delicious!!! So we decided to enjoy the magnificent surroundings of the so-called “Valley of the sun” watching the sunset by drinking a bottle of the delicious fruity white wine!

Afterwards we continued our trip to Nobsa, a small little town famous for its handicrafts! Here you can find everything: from small souvenirs like keychains, cups to handmade tools for the kitchen and of course many clothes made out of whool like ponchos, hats or gloves! You will definitely need it here as it gets pretty cold at night! We strolled through the little shops and streets of the small town before we took the bus back to Sogamoso.

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On Saturday we were served a delicious breakfast by Miss Doña Blanca! We really felt like home in this cute little hostel! Don Miguel & Doña Blanca took very good care of us and gave us all the information which places we should visit, how far the places were and which bus and route we should take! Our destination for today was the Lago de Tota. With 55 square kilometers it is the largest lake of Colombia at an altitude of 3.015 meters. We took a bus from Sogamoso and our first stop was the little town Aquitania.

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This little village and its surroundings provide one of the biggest productions of onion in Colombia. Walking along the streets we actually smelled onion everywhere and our noses felt very itchy most of the time! We had a coffee in a nice cafe in front of the church and market place of the cute little town before we continued our journey to the white beach “Playa Blanca” of the Tota Lake “Lago de Tota”.

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Everyone told us to bring very warm clothes because it will be freezing at the Tota lake but we were pretty lucky with the weather – bright sunshine everywhere! There were even people in their swim suits but the water of Lake Tota was pretty cold! We relaxed a little bit on the white sandy beach and enjoyed the beautiful landscapes of the surroundings! If you want, you can also do many activities here, for example go on a jetski or boat for a ride on the lake or explore the surroundings by quad or horseback riding. As we were there on a holiday weekend there were many people visiting this wonderful place but I guess if you go there during the week or on a normal saturday you will probably be one of a couple people that are looking for hidden treasures in Colombia. At Lago de Tota we also enjoyed a delicious lunch and of course we needed to try the typical “rainbow trout – trucha arco iris”. And yes, it was a delicious recommendation!

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Afterwards we continued our journey to the town Iza! On our bus ride there we passed very cute little villages like Tota and Cuitiva. Iza is the town known for its delicious deserts. The whole market square is surrounded by litte shops that are selling their sweetest delicacies mainly consisting of tasty fruits and also chocolate! Of course, we couldn’t resist this sweet temptation accompanied with a great Colombian coffee. After a wonderful day we returned to our hostal in Sogamoso!

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On Sunday we decided to get to know Monguí which is known for being one of the most beautiful villages in the region of Boyaca. And yes, I would say it definitely belongs to one of the most beautiful towns (of course Barichara in Santander can not be topped!). We walked along the narrow cobblestone streets and enjoyed the quiteness and peace! We passed the old bridge and climbed up some stairs from where we had a wonderful view of the town surrounded by the majestic Andean mountains! This was just the right place to enjoy a cup of coffee.

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There was also an animal market where farmers exchanged their sheeps, goats, cows or chicken etc. Then we returned to the market place and had a look at a ball factory. Actually Mongui is known as the place where most of the balls are produced – footballs, volleyballs, handballs etc. The market square is surrounded by these factories and besides buying a special edition (for example the football of different world cups, clubs etc.) you can also have a look at the factory. Don Segundo was so nice to show us around in the ball factory and explained us the processes even though there were no workers as it was a Sunday.

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After this nice morning trip, it was time to return to Sogamoso from where we took a direct bus back to the capital city! Luckily it took us only 4 hours to arrive back safely in Bogotá. As always I returned very happy from a great trip where I got to know more beautiful places of Colombia and spent an amazing time with my dear friends!

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