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Boyacá, Santander & Norte de Santander

Boyacá, Santander and Norte de Santander together form one of the first areas settled by Spanish conquistadores and its calling as Colombia's heartland cannot be understated. It's here that the seeds of revolution were sowed, culminating in the victory at Puente de Boyacá that ultimately led to Colombia's independence.

Amid its deep gorges, fast-flowing rivers and soaring, snowcapped mountains, extreme is the game in Colombia's outdoor adventure capital, San Gil, and the glacial peaks of Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) El Cocuy. But it's the region's bucolic villages that forge the most lasting impressions – immensely beautiful Villa de Leyva and its massive main plaza; fiercely authentic Monguí burrowed beneath the páramo near Lago de Tota, Colombia's largest lake; unadulterated Playa de Belén, saddled up against the eroded brownstone pedestals of Área Natural Única Los Estoraques; and cinematic, perfectly preserved Barichara.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Boyacá, Santander & Norte de Santander.