Harman Patil

Lake Guatavita

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Location  Sesquilé, Cundinamarca
Basin countries  Colombia
Max depth  125 m
Length  1 m
Max width  700 m
Primary inflows  Rain
Max. length  700 metres (2,300 ft)
Surface elevation  3,000 m
Area  20 ha
Lake Guatavita seecolombiatravelblogwpcontentuploads201106
Surface area  19.8 hectares (49 acres)
Similar  Salt Cathedral of Zipaqui, Tominé Reservoir, Gold Museum - Bogotá, Lake Tota, Monserrate

Lake Guatavita (Spanish: Laguna de Guatavita or Lago Guatavita) is located in the Cordillera Oriental of the Colombian Andes in the municipality of Sesquilé, in the Almeidas Province, Cundinamarca department of Colombia, 57 kilometres (35 mi) north-east of Bogotá, capital of Colombia.


Map of Lake Guatavita, Sesquil%C3%A9, Cundinamarca, Colombia

The lake is circular and has a surface area of 19.8 hectares. The earlier theories of the crater's origin being a meteorite impact, volcanic cinder, or limestone sinkhole are now discredited. The most likely explanation is that it resulted from the dissolution of underground salt deposits from an anticline, resulting in a kind of sinkhole.

There are hot springs nearby in the municipality of Sesquilé, which means "hot water".

While the existence of a sacred lake in the Eastern Ranges of the Andes, associated with Indian rituals involving gold, was known to the Spanish possibly as early as 1531, its location was only discovered in June 1537 by conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada while on an expedition to the highlands of the Eastern Ranges of the Andes in search of gold. This brought the Spanish into first contact with the Muisca inhabiting the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, including around Lake Guatavita.

The lake is now a focus of ecotourism, and its association with the legend of El Dorado is also a major attraction.


The name of the lake is derived from Chibcha, the language of the Muisca: gwa: mountain or gwata, gwate: high elevation, or gwatibita: high mountain peak; hence, a pool at a high mountain peak. Another meaning is "End of the farmfields".

Muisca mythology

Lake Guatavita was reputedly one of the sacred lakes of the Muisca, and a ritual conducted there is widely thought to be the basis for the legend of El Dorado, "the golden one". The legend says the lake is where the Muisca celebrated a ritual in which the zipa (named "El Dorado" by the conquistadors) was covered in gold dust, then venturing out into the water on a ceremonial raft made of rushes, he dived into the waters, washing off the gold. Afterward, trinkets, jewelry, and other precious offerings were thrown into the waters by worshipers. A few artifacts of gold and silver found at bottom hold proof to this claim; however, to date, attempts to drain the lake or salvage the gold (see Lake Guatavita gold) have yielded no more than these.


  • Lake Guatavita is the filming location of the music video of the song No Te Pido Flores by Fanny Lú
  • References

    Lake Guatavita Wikipedia

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