A small village has sprung up around the church, mostly offering snacks, drinks and souvenirs. During the season I was there it was fairly quiet, but during the busy periods, you could tell the location would turn into a market square, with shouting and haggling going on in all corners.
A cable car offers to take you from one side of the canyon to the other, giving a different view of the church.
Sights & Culture
Santuario De Las Lajas
The Church is incredible.
Build into the rock on one side of a valley, on the spot where a young girl saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. Originally this vision was simply painted onto the rock wall, and then the church was finally build around it. The painting, protected by glass, is now the focal point of the church.
Its inside, because it is focused on a rock wall painting, is unusual in Catholic Churches in that it is some what understated, or at least comparatively so.
The dramatic grey and white building, has a bridge leading to it spanning the river and giving the church its famous and iconic profile. View points dot the hills around the church and give unique perspectives on this unusual building.
Estatua de San Miguel Arcángel
High on a hill opposite the Church is a statue of the Archangel Michael slaying a serpent.
Museums & Galleries
In the basement of the Church there is a small museum with a $5 entrance fee. The museum has an interesting video of the construction of the church as well as photos and models from various points in its history.
Further down, there a Rea number of per-columbian artifacts to see, mostly clay pots and figurines. Its something of a strange set of items to have in the church basement.
Restaurants & Bars
Dozens of small cafes and restaurants dot the road between the car park and the church, and a number are also in the ground of the church. Offering grilled corn, coffee and soft drinks, they are all much the same.
Sports & Activities
Teleferico Las Lajas
South America loves a good cable car, and one is on offer in Las Lajas, giving new views over the Church. Strangely it is actually three small cabins welded together in a slight angle.