Every time I’ve visited Villa de Leyva there are Horses everywhere. By the way, I’ve been visiting this magical place for 40 years. Horses are simply part of this town, so if you enjoy horseback riding, there are many Trails and Tours that you can partake in. I do them every time I go and love them so much.
The Desert of Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva has a diverse array of picturesque landscapes, and one of those is the desert. The desert in Villa de Leyva is called “El desierto de la Candelaria”. You can explore the desert of Villa de Leyva in cuatrimotos (4×4 ATVs) and desert buggies, or you can gallop at the pace of a beautiful horse.
I will confess that when we travel to Villa de Leyva, we never book activities and tours ahead of time. Instead, we tend to wake up, have breakfast, and explore the town. Our days range from drinking coffee in the plaza while flying a kite to embarking on an unexpected adventure.
On this particular day, we were walking down to the Plaza Mayor. I saw a sign that said “cabalgatas” – horseback riding tours. I knew my 10-year-old would love a little time with horses, so we went ahead and talked to the gentleman in front of the tour’s office.
Horseback riding in Villa de Leyva
The tour we chose included horses for 4 of us (my husband, my cousin, my 10-year-old son, and myself) for 2 hours. First, it took us through the outskirts of Villa de Leyva, passing by the Casa Terracota, a house made of clay. It’s basically a gigantic piece of pottery. As a matter of fact, it is considered the largest pottery piece in the world. Super cool to see. Then the tour took us to the desert to see the Pozos Azules, which are man-made wells that, thanks to the minerals found in the soil they have taken on a beautiful blue color. Together with the landscape, they create an incredible scene.
The tour did not include entry to the Pozos Azules, which we paid separately when we arrived. The price of the ticket to entre Pozos Azules was $12,000 Colombian Pesos, approximately $3.50 USD at that time.
The company we booked this tour through is called Enduro and is located in Calle 13 No 9-72. In the main square of Villa de Leyva.
The total amount of our tour in 2021 was $280.000 Colombian Pesos (COP), approximately $80 USD based on the currency exchange at that time.
After paying the total amount, we followed our guide to a field where they kept the horses. It was about a 10-minute walk from the plaza. Once there, a charming woman paired us up with the horse she thought was best for us. I think it depends mainly on height.
We got on our horses, and we followed our guide. A few minutes into our ride, another mini-guide joined us. It was a boy of about 12 years old named Daniel. My son loved seeing someone his age and truly enjoyed conversing with him. Perfect to practice his Spanish.
At this time, my husband realized that we never signed waivers, didn’t sign up for medical coverage, didn’t have helmets, and nobody showed us how to ride a horse. We simply walked into a field of horses, a person helped us get on the horse, they told the horse to go, and the tour started before we knew it. I didn’t think about this until he mentioned it. Everything in Villa de Leyva is so casual, easygoing, and “go with the flow.”
After this initial surprising experience, it was amazing how the local tour guides guided us through the town, up and down hills, through different terrains, and helped us maneuver our horses. They were true professionals.
We started out slowly as we left the city of Villa de Leyva. We maneuvered through traffic, cyclists, pedestrians, and other horses. The guides were fantastic, and we always felt safe. Daniel, the young guide, took it upon himself to maneuver his horse and my son’s horse so we could keep up the pace and he could help him if needed.
The terrain changes as you progress through the tour, from dirt roads to cobblestone to pavement and back to dirt roads. As we got away from traffic into the beginning area of the desert, we picked up our pace. My son loved it. The ever-changing scenery, from mountains to deserts and beautiful landscapes, amazed me the most.
After arriving at the Pozos Azules, we bought our tickets and grabbed a drink at their store. Then, sodas in hand, we walked the Pozos Azules and took in nature and a well-deserved break.
We galloped back to town as fast as our guides allowed. Once we were back in Villa de Leyva, we were thrilled to find live music and performances on the streets.
What to wear for your horseback riding tour in Villa de Leyva
I recommend you wear sporty workout clothes and layers. Closed-toe shoes are a must. Most of us wore hiking boots. Light sweaters are recommended. I felt I needed my sweater while riding the horse; however, I took it off for a bit once we arrived at the Pozos Azules. Be sure to wear sunglasses as the dust from the desert can be bothersome to your eyes. We watch out for the sun when we are in Villa de Leyva. Although the weather is never too hot, the sun feels stronger and brighter than it does here in Florida. Because of this, sunscreen and hats are recommended. As my uncle likes to say, when in Villa de Leyva, you are 2,149 meters closer to the stars and, therefore, to the sun.
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