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Lake Guatavita

Lake Guatavita: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Bogotá: Lake Guatavita and the El Dorado Legend Tour

1. From Bogotá: Lake Guatavita and the El Dorado Legend Tour

A two-hour drive from busy Bogotá there is a lake synonymous with the legend of El Dorado and a whole town submerged beneath it. Today you will not find the city of legend, but a place rich with colonial history and indigenous mythologies. Join this day trip to New Guatavita and learn why the original town was flooded. Then, go on a short hike to the lake and discover what this unique ecosystem has to offer. On the shores of the lake, learn with the local expert about the old indigenous traditions that gave this lake its renown and the possible reasons behind the wonderous legend. On your way back, you can choose to enjoy a traditional lunch with a wonderful view of the neighboring water reservoir before visiting the town’s artisanal market. Finally, take in one last look and you will be on your way back to Bogotá.

Bogota: Zipaquira, Salt Cathedral & Lake Guatavitá Tour

2. Bogota: Zipaquira, Salt Cathedral & Lake Guatavitá Tour

The day begins with pickup from your hotel in Bogota and travels north into the savanna. Arrive at Zipaquira, a vibrant town with a history dating back to the 1600s. Visit Zipaquia's famous Salt Cathedral, an impressive subterranean building that stands on an old salt mine. Wander through the halls and marvel at the cathedral's stunning architecture while you learn about its rich-history. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, enjoy lunch overlooking the Tomine Reservoir, before continuing onto the spectacular Guatavita National Park. Upon arrival, learn about the cultural significance of Lake Guatavitá, as well as the characteristics of this peculiar ecosystem. After the park, make one final stop at a nearby village, and soak up the quaint and charming atmosphere of this traditional location. At the end of an unforgettable day, sit back and relax on the return journey to Bogota.

From Bogotá: Salt Cathedral and Lake Guatavita Day Tour

3. From Bogotá: Salt Cathedral and Lake Guatavita Day Tour

Learn about Colombia's salt trade dating back to the pre-Hispanic period. Take a tour of some villages outside of Bogotá, and explore the subterranean Salt Cathedral. Try a traditional Colombian lunch followed by a visit to Lake Guatavita, a sacred place for the native Muisca people.   A staff member will pick you up at your hotel in Bogotá. Your tour begins by traveling in an air-conditioned van or bus through some of the villages from the pre-Hispanic period. Learn the history of the exploitation and trade of salt and gold manufacturing in the area.   Travel north along the Bogotá savanna to the city of Zipaquirá. There you will visit the renowned Salt Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church built in the ancient hollows of a salt mine, 180 meters below ground. Marvel at the cathedral’s architecture built within the mine’s remaining caverns and tunnels.     After touring the cathedral, enjoy a typical Colombian lunch with boiled potatoes soaked in brine (salt water from the mine) and ajiaco (chicken soup). Then head to Lake Guatavita, a small crater lake surrounded by forest. Learn about this sacred site of the indigenous Muisca people, where the legend of El Dorado was born.   Relax on the ride back to Bogotá where you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Bogotà: Guatavita Lake and Nemocón Salt Mines Tour

4. Bogotà: Guatavita Lake and Nemocón Salt Mines Tour

Combine nature with industry on this 7-hour guided excursion from Bogotà to visit Lake Guatavita and the salt mine of Nemocón. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with this relaxing small-group tour of up to 11 people. After pickup at around 8:00 AM at your hotel, start the 2-hour drive through the savanna towards Lake Guatavita, a lagoon that is part of a protected natural area. Likely formed by the impact of a crater, the lake is almost perfectly circular. A native park guide will join the group for a 75-minute tour, during which he’ll explain the culture of the Muisca Indians, the legend of El Dorado, and the biological importance of the lagoon. During the tour, you’ll also take a half hour walk along a path at the edge of the crater to admire different views of the lagoon.   Next, visit the town of Guatavita to explore its architecture and environment. Enjoy a lunch typical of the region before heading out for Nemocón. On the way there, see the beautiful Tominé reservoir, a 9-kilometer-long body of water. When you arrive at Nemocón, you’ll experience what it’s like to be a salt miner: walk 60 meters below the surface of the Earth into an authentic salt mine and discover the history of the Colombian salt industry.

Bogotá: Salt Cathedral & Lake Guatavitá Tour with Lunch

5. Bogotá: Salt Cathedral & Lake Guatavitá Tour with Lunch

Head to the countryside from Bogotá on a 10-hour excursion to Zipaquirá. Discover the architectural achievements of architect Roswell Garavito Pearl and learn about history of salt exploitation in Colombia on a tour of the Salt Cathedral. Enjoy a typical Colombian meal at a local restaurant. See Independence Square, lovely colonial houses and the old church before continuing on to Lake Guatavitá. Take a short guided hike, admire the scenic landscape and discover the birthplace of the El Dorado legend. Take in views of the Tomine Reservoir before visiting the colonial town of Guatavitá. On the return trip to Bogotá stop at La Calera viewpoint for panoramic views of the city.

Private Tour of Lake Guatavitá from Bogotá

6. Private Tour of Lake Guatavitá from Bogotá

After pick-up at your Bogotá hotel at 09:00, join your English speaking guide and private transportation for the scenic two hour drive to Lake Guatavitá. At the lake, which is part of a private protected area, an English speaking park guide joins the group to explain the Muisca people, the legend of El Dorado and the area's biological importance for roughly 75 minutes, including a 30-minute walk up a trail to the rim of the crater to view Lake Guatavitá below After leaving the lake, travel to the nearby town of Guatavitá to explore architecture and ambiance, including the town's bullring. On the way back to Bogotá, pause at the La Calera viewpoint for views over the Colombian capital below before returning to your hotel.

Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Guatavita

Want to discover all there is to do in Lake Guatavita? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Lake Guatavita

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 34 reviews

Compassionate and interesting guide. This formula does not include Lake Guatavita, which allowed us to arrive at the cathedral early in the morning and has the advantage of enjoying the site without the crowds of groups arriving around 11am. A visit to the two sites would undoubtedly be a hindrance to a serene and peaceful discovery of the cathedral. When booking, you should pay attention to the formula offered, with or without Guatavita.

We did a private tour with Andres. He is a very knowledgeable guide, well spoken and helpful. The logistics coordination was easy with Andres getting in touch via WhatsApp to confirm pickup time and location. He also went out of his way to help us figure out our NYE plans. Great experience!

I had a great tour, pickup was right on time, and my guide, Rosita, was bilingual, super friendly and knowledgeable. Driver, Felipe, was great and safe as well. I would recommend. Thanks for filling my layover with fun and interesting things to do!

It so amazing to experience this salt mine. It’s over the top Colombia style. Lake Guatavita is an inspiration to see and the locals share their stories to give rich context. It is helpful to understand Spanish for this part.

Excelente Lugar, la logistica y el personal excelente, asi como la guia, super recomendables!