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Indigenous culture and the legend of El Dorado

This day tour will introduce you to the customs and culture of the indigenous people who lived in the Bogota, Colombia area. We will also visit the spot many believe gave rise to the legend of El Dorado. Join us on a day trip outside Bogota to visit Lake Guatavita and Sesquile, two places of great spiritual meaning for native Colombians.

First, we will explore Lake Guatavita, a natural paradise and one of the most important Muisca sacred sites from pre-Columbian times. The mountains surrounding this site will amaze you as you climb to view the sparkling green lake. Afterwards, chow down on delicious Colombian food at a traditional restaurant. Then, we will visit an actual Muisca community centre in the nearby town of Sesquile. At the Sesquile settlement, you will see how today's Muiscas are trying to maintain their old traditions, despite adopting modern life and technology. You will also travel through the splendid landscapes, stopping at the beautiful colonial towns of Guatavita and Sesquile during this day tour from Bogota, Colombia. 

Departure Time: 8 am Tuesday - Sunday 


EXPERIENCE TYPE History, Nature & Culture

Sesquile & Lake Guatavita Tour Details

Lake Guatavita

We will start this Bogota day tour by heading to Lake Guatavita. The peaceful lake, located about 2 hours by car from Bogota, is in the form of a perfect circle and is the site of a centuries-old treasure hunt. There are different opinions about the origins of the lake as well as the reason for its rare circular shape. Some say it is a volcanic crater whereas others believe it is the result of a meteorite impact. What is known for sure is that the lake was once an important ceremonial site for the ancient Muisca civilization. In one ritual, the chief of the Muisca tribe used to coat himself in gold dust and then bathe in the lake while throwing offerings of gold and precious stones into the water. It was this ritual that gave rise to the legend of El Dorado.

Guatavita La Nueva

This small town lies only 15 minutes away from Lake Guatavita. It is called Guatavita La Nueva, as it was constructed in the 1960s as a way to relocate the inhabitants of the original Guatavita, which was flooded during the construction of the Tomine Reservoir (the Tomine Reservoir was created to generate electric power for the nearby localities and to increase the water supply to Bogota). The "New Guatavita" was constructed to be a perfect replica of a Spanish colonial town with houses exhibiting white façades, rustic stucco exteriors, traditional roofs made of clay tiles, and simple wooden doors and windows. You will have some time to explore this little town before we head to Sesquile. 

Muisca Settlement in Sesquile

Next we will head to Sesquile, which is another small town near Lake Guatavita. During pre-Colombian times, Sesquile was an important religious and commercial centre due to its proximity to the sacred lake of Guatavita. The descendants of the ancient Muisca tribe have created a new settlement in the mountain area surrounding the town in order to preserve their traditions and ancestral way of life. The settlement lends itself as a fascinating place to learn about, better understand, and observe the culture and traditions of the Muiscas. Afterwards, we will head back to Bogota and we will drop you off at your hotel.

What's Included

  • Transfer to and from your hotel
  • A professional tour guide, fluent in English
  • Entry tickets to Lake Guatavita and the Muisca settlement
  • Traditional Colombian lunch
  • Day tour insurance

What's Not Included

  • Any other personal expenses and tips


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