Villa de Leyva makes a great short getaway from the hectic life of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá. This article explains in detail how you can travel from Bogota to Villa de Leyva with ease on public transport.
Now from what we understand, the best bus company to use for the journey is Los Libertadores and they have two direct buses to Villa de Leyva each day which leave from the main terminal in Bogotá. When we looked online, the times of these buses didn’t really match our needs – there was a really early morning one (around 5 – 6am) and then one later in the afternoon (around 2 – 3pm) which would’ve arrived later than we wanted to.
Terminal Satélite del Norte
If Los Libertadores times don’t work for you either, you can go to the Terminal Satélite del Norte , which opened at the start of 2017 and lays just to the north of Portal Norte. Before this new bus station opened you had to flag down the buses outside the Exito store at Portal del Norte (hence why older internet instructions are WRONG!). We tried this for a good 45 minutes until we realised that all the buses to Tunja were refusing to stop. Luckily for you, we’ve tried this and realised it no longer works, so you don’t have to!
To get to Satélite del Norte, you can catch the Transmilenio bus service. Google Transit is fairly reliable regarding Transmilenio, so take a look to see which service you need depending on where in the city you are setting off from. If you’d rather, you can also get a taxi, but the buses are so cheap (2000-2200 COP per journey) and the Transmilenios often have priority bus lanes so it might actually be quicker not to! For us, we caught the Transmilenio to Portal del Norte, then switched to Transmilenio no. 8, from platform 8, and rode two more stops to Terminal (which is opposite Satélite del Norte).
Changing buses in Tunja for Villa de Leyva
From here Los Libertadores, as well other companies, run regular services to a town called Tunja. This journey takes around 1.45 – 2 hours and from Tunja you can really easily switch buses to Villa de Leyva. The bus station has two levels, our bus from Bogotá dropped us off on the lower one, and we had an easy walk to the upper level for the Villa de Leyva bus (locals are friendly when you ask for directions!). The second part of our journey took around 1-1.15 hours.
We paid for each bus separately, Bogotá to Tunja was 15,000 COP each and the bus from Tunja to Villa de Leyva was 7,000 COP each so (22,000 COP in total, which is about £5.00)
Returning to Bogota
If you’re heading back to Bogota after Villa de Leyva like we did, you will need to buy your tickets at the bus station (Terminal de Transporte) where you got dropped off. The times of the direct Los Libertadores buses were a lot better for us, and we got the 1pm service at 22,000 COP each. The bus driver asked us if we wanted to get off at Satélite del Norte or the main terminal. We would recommend getting off at the first, and getting the Transmilenio to where you are staying as these services will weave their way through the city’s traffic much quicker, but this obviously depends on where you’re staying!
We hope this helps but feel free to give us a shout if you have any questions and we will do our best to help!
If you aren’t sure if it’s worth making the trip to Villa de Leyva, read about our stay to help you decide. You can also find inspiration in our other posts if you are thinking about doing more traveling around Colombia.