Whoever knows me can tell that I won’t miss any possible opportunity out there to visit Bogotá and its surroundings at any given time. This past weekend wasn’t an exception.
I spent this Saturday hiking up some hills (in my very bad shape, naturally) to reach this fantastic view you can see at the beginning of this article. Totally worth it.
Guatavita is a small town located 2h away drive from Bogotá. I didn’t spend time in the actual town as I was really excited to get to the lagoon, my one and only purpose of this trip.
I took a guided tour of the place, not sure if you can do it otherwise (there are rumors out there), but I think it’s important to pay the entrance and take the organized tour as the money helps maintaining this magical land in good conditions and prevents the place to get ruined by people. Before being what it is now, this place was closed for about 4 years so that the fauna would recover as people used to spend time there listening to loud music (scaring the birds), having a barbecue with friends, leaving trash behind, we all know that story, don’t we? The fee is just $10,000-$15,000COP (about $4) anyway. Plus, the history behind it makes the experience a complete one.
Turns out that the Guatavita Lagoon is the result of the dissolution of underground salt deposits from an anticline which makes it look like a sinkhole, despite all the theories. And it’s green because of the algae floating really close to the water surface. This lake was reputedly one of the sacred lakes of the Muisca, the native inhabitants of Bogotá and other parts of Cundinamarca and Boyacá departments. The legend says the Muisca chief was covered in gold dust and then sailed to the centre of the lake. He would jump into the water from a wooden raft, which was loaded with precious treasures later thrown into the water as a symbol of adoration to their gods.
Of course that years later, the Spaniards (and probably every human being in that time) tried to find the gold, organizing gold digging expeditions after they heard the legend of El Dorado (the Golden one), the Muisca chief. No gold was found naturally, but our guide did tell us the story of a man finding a golden souvenir while working on the maintenance of the place. Apparently that gold is in a Spanish museum and Colombia is negotiating with them to get it back, as they’re doing with various museums across the world as we speak (us, Romanians, know the feeling).
If you’re a Spanish speaker, you’ll get more on the history of this place from the guide, rather than from Google, so totally go for it if you’re anywhere near Bogotá. Especially if you’re into photography, I completely ran out of battery and took about 1000 photos in 2h. Could’ve done more, dammit!
Anyway, take this:
And I’m out!