Oct 16

Day-Trips from Bogotá: The Legend of El Dorado, Lake Guatavita

The charming pueblo of Guatavita

Guatavita is a small pueblo about 75km from Bogotá characterized by colonial whitewash buildings and a wealth of arts and crafts stalls. It’s a peaceful excursion from the bustling city and a great place to pick up lunch and wander around, picking up souvenirs and snacks along the way. It’s a romantic pueblo and is a popular choice for Bogotanos looking to leave the city for a day-trip.

The pueblo was built when the old colonial town of Guatavita was submerged in the nearby reservoir. Today, when the water level is low enough, it’s possible to see the peak of the old church jutting out of the reservoir. Although the Guatavita you’ll visit today is palpably new, it’s possible to imagine just how the old pueblo used to look thanks to the architecture remaining true to the original colonial design. In fact, it’s illegal to paint houses in Guatavita any color other than white.

Laguna de Guatavita
Laguna de Guatavita

From the pueblo it’s a simple half-hour bus ride to Lake Guatavita, where the Legend of El Dorado originates (another post for another time). The lake itself is a beautiful, tranquil area where you can observe the far-reaching landscapes of Colombia’s countryside, typified by lush, rolling hills and dense forestry.

To get to Guatavita and Lake Guatavita you can take a bus from Portal Norte (on Autopista Norte) and it’ll take about 1.5 hours. If you want to skip the pueblo, you can disembark at a junction where more buses will arrive to take you to the lake (ask your driver to tell you where to get off).

At the end of the 1.5 hour walk you can either walk the distance back to the entrance (about 1 hour) or take a mini-bus back, which costs only $1,000COL and is highly recommended.

See Colombia Travel can arrange the trip for you meaning you’ll be taken there directly with an English-speaking guide. This is especially useful at the lake, since the only guides that operate there are Spanish-speaking, meaning unless your Spanish is fluent, you could miss out on the fascinating history of the area. Additionally, a trip with See Colombia Travel gives you the option of visiting the stunning Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, too, which would complete a perfect day-trip from Bogotá.

See two options offered by See Colombia Travel here.


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