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Guatavita: mother of all legends


Discover the colonial town of Guatavita, north of Bogota, and its famous Laguna where the legend of El Dorado was born.

A two-hour drive from Bogota and perched at more than 3,600 metres of altitude, this is a popular excursion destination for tourists and Colombians alike. A replica of a typical Spanish village, Guatavita was built in the 1960s to accommodate the inhabitants of the ancient city, dislodged by the creation of the Tominé Dam.

Not far from these lovely white houses with terracotta tile roofs is Lake Guatavita, home of the legend of El Dorado. The story goes that the Muisca leaders, during their rituals, poured quantities of gold in the jade-coloured waters. The Guatavita Cacique (native chief) would travel by boat to the middle of the lake to throw gold coins and emeralds to appease the wrath of the demon. This mysterious lake was the object of the greed of Spaniards, who had long sought the treasure at the bottom of these mysterious waters. Today, the Colombian government prohibits excavations.

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