Introduction

Some 130km east of Villa de Leyva is the largely unexplored region known in the indigenous Muisca language of Chibcha as 'Sugamuxi' – the Valley of the Sun. Ecotourism is blossoming in this area, which remains locked in tradition and offers a side of Colombia relatively unaffected by mass tourism.

There are several wonderfully preserved colonial villages here. While Monguí is the belle of the ball and Iza her worthy deputy, there are many other settlements worth a visit: Tópaga, famous for its devil sculpture inside the local church and handicrafts made from coal; Nobsa, well known for Boyacá handicrafts; and Tibasosa, the feijoa – pineapple guava – capital of Colombia.

Nature is another major drawcard in Sugamuxi, with great sightseeing around Lago de Tota, Colombia's largest lake, and an out-of-the-blue white-sand Andean beach, the 3015m-high Playa Blanca, sweetening the deal.