When you think of Colombia’s most beautiful white villages you quickly think of Barichara, Villa de Leyva and Santa Fe de Antioquia. But there is so much more. Namely, off the beaten path in Colombia. Cucunubá is known as the most beautiful white village in Cundinamarca, and rightly so. Although I am equally fond of Guatavita, this too is an undiscovered white gem more than worth exploring. So today a mini-guide to Cucunubá. For the traveler who would like to see the real Colombia rather than just the highlights. And if you need a touch of Dutch and the most delicious Greek yogurt in South America, this is the place to be. Curious?
Cucunubá: the village of Greek yogurt
Those seeking the best Greek yogurt in the Americas must be in Cucunubá. Or at least, that’s what people say. The company Conylac produces and preserves this yogurt and the village makes grateful use of it. No matter how small, everywhere they sell the most delicious Greek yogurt desserts. Even if you miss the Netherlands, Cucunubá is a must-see in Colombia, but more on that later. And all in this small village in Cundinamarca, Ubaté region. Located at an altitude of 2590 meters, Cucunubá has only 7,500 inhabitants. The village was founded in the year 1600 and is tucked away in a valley away from major roads. Cucunubá breathes history and, in my opinion, is among the most beautiful and fun white villages in the country.
Things to do in Cucunubá
Cucunubá is only small, so you don’t have to stay there for weeks to see everything. A day or two is enough to enjoy the beauty and deliciousness that Cucunubá has to offer. And even a day trip would suffice.
Walk to the chapel
The first thing you notice as you approach Cucunubá is the mountain with the chapel where Cucunubá is written large in white Hollywood letters. A great place to enjoy the view of this picturesque village as well as a nice walk. From the main square, walk right past the church, where you will again see a sign on the right that reads “Sendero Capilla Ntr”. S. De Lourdes’. Follow the arrow after which you will emerge at the entrance to the hike. This leads you along a stone path crisscrossing up the mountain, with each step the view becoming more beautiful. Just ignore the Christmas lights that they apparently leave up and hanging all year. Once at the top, you see how small the village actually is in the mighty valley with high mountains. Much more than an hour is not required for the walk up and back and is very rewarding.
Dining at the extraordinary restaurant La Belle Epoque
Especially in such a small and non-touristy village, I did not expect such a nice and tasty restaurant. The owner is incredibly nice and really makes you feel at home. But more than that, it is the look of the restaurant that can easily be called special. A sea of colors, frills, French, Oriental and I don’t know what all. Even the restroom is worth taking your camera inside. The menu is embroidered and handwritten and the food is fantastically delicious. Are you going to Cucunubá? Then don’t forget to have lunch or dinner at La Belle Epoque restaurant on Cra. 3 with road 56.
Feast your eyes on Casa Madera y Sandalo
As soon as you stand in the central square, you’ll see it right away: the green and pink bikes in front of the entrance to this café/shop. Just this cafe Casa Madera y Sandalo is in itself a reason to visit Cucunubá. Not only do they sell the most delicious Greek yogurt desserts you’ve ever eaten, but this is also the place to shop for fun gadgets and, yes, where you’ll come across some real Dutch goods. We were amazed and discovered more and more little things. So I drank rooibos honey tea from Albert Heijn, you could order coffee from Kruidvat, the place was full of bicycles and we marveled at the Hema goodies you can buy there. After some inquiries, it turns out that the owner’s sister has been living in the Netherlands for ten years and every year she brings goodies for this café. Please note that this café is only open on weekends and holidays. If you come outside these days, you will unfortunately have to miss this highlight of Cucunubá.
Souvenirs and warm clothing shopping at Artesaniás Lourdes
On the same street as the Dutch cafe you will find another store worth a visit. Here you will find a large loom and lots of beautiful wool clothing, shoes, bags and scarves. In some places in the country, such as Villa de Leyva, you’re not always sure where this typical Colombian clothing comes from, but in this little store you can’t miss it. The owner is well known in the village and provides many warm clothes for villagers and visitors (because yes it is cold here). From ponchos to beautiful woven scarves to warm wool sweaters. It is also much cheaper than in more popular destinations. We bought two bags full of wool clothing, including the lovely sweater I’m wearing in the photo below. Don’t need anything yourself? Then you might find a nice souvenir from Colombia for home.
Strolling the white streets
Cucunubá is wonderful for just wandering around its white streets. Discover the cute little houses in which the people live and the colorful buses that take you from A to B. The village is so small that you get through it pretty quickly. Enjoy the Greek yogurt and the friendly people.
Discovering the environment
In the immediate vicinity is not particularly much, except for a lake, a farm where you can take tours and hikes. But a little further on you will find a lot of beauty. Don’t have a car? If so, it becomes difficult to see all of this from Cucunubá and you’re better off staying a week in Cundinamarca to explore this beautiful (and often overlooked) department.
What is there to see? Consider:
- Rock climbing in Suesca
- A drive around Lake Suesca (can only be done by car (4X4) or walking)
- The salt mine in Nemocón
- Visiting Parámo de Guacheneque
- Walking through the extraordinary cemetery in Chocontá
- Petting llamas at the lake of Sisga
- To the colorful market in Ráquira
Without a car, you’ll spend more time getting somewhere, but it’s not impossible.
Where to stay.
There are only two hotels in Cucunubá; after all, you are going off the beaten path. These hotels are not in the middle of the village, but a bit on the outskirts in the mountains. So with both, you have to walk a bit to get to the village. But that is no punishment in this environment.
Hotel Campestre Los Duraznos
We stayed at the adorable Hotel Campestre Los Duraznos. North of the village along a dirt road where no one comes, on a hill with nice views. The owner is extremely kind and hospitable and really takes good care of you. There is no restaurant, so you have to return to the village in the evening to eat. We did have a simple but delicious breakfast in the round hut outside the cottage. It is very cheap and we had the suite for 30 euros. With balcony and beautiful view. The hotel is simple and old, with lots of wood and plants. A mini bathroom with a hot electric shower. We also slept wonderfully. It is tremendously picturesque and a wonderful place to stay. It is so safe there that many doors are not closed, which also gives a very homey feeling. Definitely recommended! Book your stay here. Or check here the other hotels in the area.
How to get to Cucunubá?
The surroundings of Cucunubá are very beautiful and worth a road trip. I know the area well, but looking for Tatacoita (small Tatacoa in Cundinamarca) we got completely lost. We really spent hours driving through the mountains looking for the main road. A wonderful adventure where we enjoyed farm life and lovely people. We didn’t find Tatacoita, by the way, so we’ll have to go back again….
Should you want to explore the area by car, keep in mind that the roads are bad and you may not get through without a 4X4. You don’t have to worry about safety, you do have to worry about the condition of the car and whether you won’t have to go back because the car can’t handle it. There is one route to Cucunubá that goes on a paved road, via Ubaté. So if you stay on the main road, a regular car is fine. Read all about driving and car rental in Colombia here.
By bus you go via Chocontá or Ubaté (depending on where you are coming from). There may also be a bus directly to Cucunubá: ask for it at the place you are traveling from. If not, go via Chocontá or Ubaté.
From Bogotá, it is about 2 hours away (by car). By bus, it will probably take a little longer.
Combine Cucunubá with your itinerary Colombia
Cucunubá is perfect to combine on a tour of Colombia. For example, are you going from Bogotá to the north? Then make a stop here. Or do you want something different from the touristy Villa de Leyva? Then choose Cucunubá. Or are you staying in Sopó to explore Colombia off the beaten path? Then take a day trip to Cucunubá. There are many options, but if you are in a hurry and only want to see the Colombia highlights it might be better to skip it. Find here travel itineraries Colombia off the beaten path. And here you can read 15 travel routes Colombia along the highlights.
Along with Guatavita, the most beautiful white village in Cundinamarca: not to be missed! Curious about more white villages and towns in Colombia? Click here for inspiration!
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