Boyaca is the farm of Colombia, a quiet and peaceful landlocked state located in the central-east region of the country. Many of the most beautiful aspects of this region lie in celebration of the bounty of nature; rolling fields, vibrant jungles and highlands, impressive lagoons, snow-capped mountains, and diverse wildlife. Like many other regions in the Andes, the climate can range from tropical to temperate, and enjoys two short rainy seasons per year, each of which contribute to the fertility of the soil, and the diversity of wildlife. A great source of pride for Colombians, Boyaca was the site of many victorious battles against the Spaniards which ultimately led to Colombia’s liberation from colonial rule. This sense of pride can be perceived as modest nationalism by many of the locals, who enjoy living in a part of their country so associated with independence. Today’s locals are no militia however, the inhabitants are mostly local farmers, individuals of mixed ethnicities who make a humble living farming the land, in much the way they have been for hundreds of years. Travelers passing through Boyaca will find that the locals are hospitable and friendly, if a little bit reserved at first.
The final decisive battle which won Colombia its independence was fought at Boyaca bridge, in 1819. Since then, the region has held a sense of reverence historically, even though the customs of the area focus now more on humility and farming. As such, the culture of the Boyaca region is mostly rural. A decent population of transient farm workers and minors regularly pass through, working as either hired laborers on farms, or mining for the rich precious gem and iron deposits in the mountains. Nevertheless, some cities, such as Tunja, are in fact university cities, where as many as 20% of the population are students.
Despite the sleepy nature of the area, especially compared to busier Colombian hubs like Bogota, Boyaca still has much to offer for the passing traveler. Incredible scenery and landscapes can be found around the state, especially in the highlands. The Oceta Highlands are a beautiful place to visit, and offer vibrant green tones many months out of the year thanks to the farmland below. The Stone City is a part of the highlands, a natural group of outcroppings which are unlike anywhere else in the world. Additionally, the Cocuy Mountian Range is protected by a national park system with an area of 306,000 hectares. These ranges are often peaked with snow, and offer 23 astounding mountain tops, littered with tiny lagoons. These lagoons are an excellent place to observe many of the local flora and fauna which make this region so unique, from uncommon frailejon shrubs, to garrulous maiceroo monkeys, bears, and pumas.
Some of the most widely visited and beautiful landmarks of the area, include the following:
- Boyaca Bridge National Monument- This national park is the very site where Simon Bolivar and his troops finally defeated the Spanish and won independence. The park is memorialized with an eternal flame symbolizing Colombia’s eternal liberty, the small bridge spanning the Teatinos River where the battle took place, and the Von Miller Monument, a statue of five females symbolizing Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, holding up Simon Bolivar.
- Tota Lagoon- This enormous body of water looks like a piece of the ocean placed atop the Colombian mountains. At 47 square kilometers, this sky-high body of water is the site of its own unique ecosystem.