Boyacá Sights

Desierto de la Candelaria

  • Geological Site

Published 10/13/2013

Fodor's Review

The Desierto de la Candelaria, 7 km (4 mi) east of Villa de Leyva, is covered with marine fossils left behind when the ancient sea that once covered the area receded. The most impressive is El Fósil, a 30-foot skeleton of a kronosaurus. This ancient ancestor of the dolphin swam the seas in the Mesozoic Era, long before the Andes pushed their way out of the ocean. In the middle of the Desierto de la Candelaria is El Infiernillo (literally "little hell"), a field of phallic statues dedicated to long-lost fertility rites. The best way to find these sights is by horseback; you can find horses and guides in a field three blocks north of the northwest corner of the Plaza Mayor. Several companies offer tours in air-conditioned vans.

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