Laguna de Iguaque

Going from Villa de Leyva to “la casa de piedra” (the stone house) takes 30 minutes by bus, once you get there you have to start a 3 km hike, which will take about 1 hour, to get to the entrance of Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque (Iguaque Wildlife Sanctuary), a gorgeous place full of magic and history.

The landscape to the entrance won't disappoint you.

The landscape to the entrance won’t disappoint you.

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

We were very punctual at 7 a.m. at the bus terminal in Villa de Leyva, the bus was supposed to leave at this time but you know, we are in Colombia, so they needed to fill it up and it left only at 7:30 a.m. We were aiming to be a bit before 9 a.m. at the entrance because the hike is 6 hours long –3 of ascent and 3 of descent– and the last bus back to Villa de Leyva was at 4 p.m.

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

We were at the entrance at 8:45 a.m. ready to start, so we proceeded with the registration with Parques Nacionales de Colombia and we got some information about the trail. The entrance is 16,000 Colombian pesos (about $5.5) for Colombian residents, and 42,000 (a bit more than $14) for foreigners.

You're surrounded by thousands of melodies during the walk. Keep silent and listen.

You’re surrounded by thousands of melodies during the walk. Keep silent and listen.

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

This snake was converted into stone by Bachué.

This snake was converted into stone by Bachué.

We began just on time at 9:10 a.m., we did the first part at a slow pace until the refuge where we stopped for a short while to eat something and get enough energy for the last part.

"Me, if I was a tree" said Stefano.

“Me, if I was a tree” said Stefano.

While you don’t need to be an athlete, it’s important not to be a sedentary person.

The hike to Iguaque lagoon is amazing but it can be a little demanding if you’re not acclimatized to the altitude and you are not in a good shape. We saw various people who gave up and didn’t get to the lagoon. While you don’t need to be an athlete, it’s important not to be a sedentary person, some parts like “la pared” (the wall) require a good physical effort and if you’re not in a good physical condition, altitude might give you a hard time.

Climbing "la pared", it looks easy from here!

Climbing “la pared”, it looks easy from here!

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

To Iguaque lagoon is attributed the myth of Bachué, the mother that gave birth to humanity in the Muisca culture.

However, it is worth all the effort, Iguaque lagoon has a unique and ancestral beauty. To this place is attributed the myth of Bachué, the mother that gave birth to humanity in the Muisca culture. Upon arriving, the immensity of nature prevails, and you get captivated by the calm and cold waters, this is an incentive to not give up during the ascent.

Laguna sagrada de Iguaque.

Laguna sagrada de Iguaque.

Laguna de Iguaque

Laguna de Iguaque

We need to confess that our case is particular, when it’s time to do a hike Stefano and I are divided, for him it’s easier to go downhill more than uphill, for me it’s the opposite –this is due to my condition– I always need more time for the descent as I need to go slowly.

By being turtles we can notice these details.

By being turtles we can notice these details.

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

Going down from the lagoon shouldn’t be taken too easily, all those steep climbs become steep descents where you need to be very careful not to slip or injure your knees.

And discover beautiful hidden corners.

And discover beautiful hidden corners.

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

Santuario de Fauna y Flora Iguaque

Thanks to the fact that I am a turtle, we were short on time to take the bus back to Villa de Leyva so we needed to speed up a bit –and my ankles and knees always pay for this later–, but at the end we made it. We got on the bus on time and during the ride Stefano learned some new songs. The driver’s companion was very cheerful singing improvised and repetitive lyrics with his Guacharaca.

It was fun, we ended up repeating them and laughing until we got in town. The bus left us just in front of our hotel, lucky coincidence as we were already exhausted from all the walking.

How to get there?
  • From the bus station of Villa de Leyva you have to get a colectivo to Arcabuco and get off at “la casa de piedra“. It costs 3,500 pesos (about $1.15) and it takes a little bit more than half an hour.

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