This lake set amid lofty mountains is a mystical, peaceful spot with a fascinating history of indigenous princesses, gold-covered chieftains, and treasure-gouging conquistadors—purportedly the site where the El Dorado legend began (indeed, gold artifacts have turned up on the shores). Colombian guides can explain the local history, recount famous tales, and identify the highland vegetation you pass as you wind up a trail to the stunning lagoon. Its perfectly circular shape once fueled speculation that it is a volcanic crater or the result of a meteorite impact, but it’s been found to have been formed from a sinkhole. The lake’s located about two hours outside Bogotá; the drive to get there crosses some beautiful country.

More Recommendations

Laguna de Guatavita

This lake set amid lofty mountains is a mystical, peaceful spot with a fascinating history of indigenous princesses, gold-covered chieftains, and treasure-gouging conquistadors—purportedly the site where the El Dorado legend began (indeed, gold artifacts have turned up on the shores). Colombian guides can explain the local history, recount famous tales, and identify the highland vegetation you pass as you wind up a trail to the stunning lagoon. Its perfectly circular shape once fueled speculation that it is a volcanic crater or the result of a meteorite impact, but it’s been found to have been formed from a sinkhole. The lake’s located about two hours outside Bogotá; the drive to get there crosses some beautiful country.

Laguna de Guatavita

This lake set amid lofty mountains is a mystical, peaceful spot with a fascinating history of indigenous princesses, gold-covered chieftains, and treasure-gouging conquistadors—purportedly the site where the El Dorado legend began (indeed, gold artifacts have turned up on the shores). Colombian guides can explain the local history, recount famous tales, and identify the highland vegetation you pass as you wind up a trail to the stunning lagoon. Its perfectly circular shape once fueled speculation that it is a volcanic crater or the result of a meteorite impact, but it’s been found to have been formed from a sinkhole. The lake’s located about two hours outside Bogotá; the drive to get there crosses some beautiful country.

Treasure Hunting in Lake Guatavita

Just outside Bogota, Lake Guatavita is a crater lake 3,100 meters above sea level that served as a sacred site for Indians who worshiped the goddess of water. Later, it became popular with treasure hunters who scoured the water for gold and jewels. Today it’s a popular day trip and welcome reprieve from the bustle of Bogota. Tip: Go during the week and you’ll have the lake to yourself.

See anything inaccurate? Let our Editors know

More From AFAR