Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is filled with many amazing wonders. From the beautiful waterfalls to the comprehensive museums, Bogota is a city that will make many travelers fall in love. Many of the best things to do in Bogota are located in the city, but some of the best ones require a day trip from Bogota.
My favorite day trip from Bogota is definitely the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral. Known as the First Wonder of Colombia, Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is an architectural accomplishment as well as a religious landmark.
The Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is located about 200m below ground and contains the biggest underground cross in the entire world. It is a place that must be included in any Colombia itinerary.
Not only is Zipaquira Salt Cathedral a marvelous wonder, but it is also extremely easy to get to.
In this guide, you will find all the information on visiting the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral as a day trip from Bogota.
How to Get to Zipaquira Salt Cathedral From Bogota?
Getting to Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is probably the hardest part of this day trip.
The Salt Cathedral is located about an hour north of Bogota in a town called Zipaquira.
The easiest way to do visit the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is probably with a tour company, but that can be quite expensive.
The harder way, and more adventurous, is to take public transportation. There are two terminals where you can catch the bus from Bogota to Zipaquira. They are Portal Norte and Terminal del Norte. Either terminal you will find buses that go directly to Zipaquira. The buses from Bogota to Zipaquira run quite frequently and are operated by multiple companies.
The two terminals can be reached by a convenient yet confusing system of TransMilenio. If you are a traveler, it will be close to impossible to understand the different routes and their stops. My suggestion is to ask your accommodation which TransMilenio you have to take and where to take it. There is always the option to take an Uber or taxi!
Once you arrive in the town of Zipaquira, you will have to walk about 20 minutes to reach the ticket booth of the Salt Cathedral!
If you prefer doing it with a tour, check out our recommendations down below:
Cost to Enter Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
The prices for the most basic entrance was $57,000 Colombian Pesos (~16 USD) as of July 2019. That includes access to a tour guide, a short 3D film, a light show, and the water mirror.
If you want a different package such as entrance to the museum or a city tour, the prices will be different obviously.
Refer to the above image for the prices of the various types of packages. They were the prices in July 2019.
Short History on the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
If you don’t like spoilers, then skip this part. On your visit to the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, you will learn about all of this with the tour guide.
The Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is an underground Roman Catholic church built inside the tunnels of a salt mine near the city of Zipaquira. Even before the underground church was built, miners built a little altar where they would pray daily and ask for protection before starting their dangerous work. Eventually, the altar became an actual cathedral. But the first construction of the cathedral proved to be too unstable and was closed. In 1991, the construction of the new cathedral began. It was officially inaugurated in 1995 and that is the cathedral you can visit today.
Our Experience at the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
It was 10 AM and I was standing in front of Terminal Del Norte waiting for a Swiss friend I had met the day before.
He is a little late, that’s fine, considering how confusing the TransMilenio system is in Bogota.
Then I received a message from him saying “Where are you”?
I told him, “At the terminal.”
Turns out, I was at the terminal, but there is another stop that has buses to Zipaquira from Bogota. That stop was Portal Norte, and my friend was there.
We decided to just meet up in front of the Salt Cathedral. The bus journey took me about 1.5 hours to arrive in Zipaquira, picking up and dropping passengers along the way. The Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is located on a hill about 20 minutes walk from the center of town.
After some time, my friend and I were finally reunited. Already somewhat tired from the journey, we bought our basic tickets to the Salt Cathedral. They cost us $57,000 Colombian Pesos each. And very luckily for us, the English tour that comes with the ticket started in the next 10 minutes. If we weren’t lucky, the next English tour could’ve been more than 2 hours later.
The salt cathedral itself was amazing. We were completely speechless. The moment we walked into the tunnels, we could feel a difference in the air. The smell of the sulfur from the minerals was attacking our senses. It was quite a surreal place.
The Zipaquira Salt Cathedral was much bigger than I thought it was going to be. We spent 3 hours in there, checking out every little crevice, the 3D movie, the light show, and the emerald shops.
The whole thing was like a maze with surprises every corner. There were many things we didn’t know but our tour guide was very good at explaining.
Where to Stay in Bogota Colombia
Best Hostel in Bogota – Aurora Hostel
Aurora Hostel is a cozy hostel with a beautiful interior located in a safe neighborhood. It has comfortable beds and a social common area to meet other travelers. The bar on-site that sells affordable drinks, which is rare for a hostel. Very good value-for-money.
Best Cheap Hotel in Bogota – bs Rosales Hotel
bs Rosales Hotel has beautiful big rooms away from the hecticness of Bogota. The included breakfast is amazing, the beds are comfortable, the gym has good facilities, and the interior design is modern. One of my favorite places to stay in Bogota.
Best Luxury Hotel in Bogota – Casa Dann Carlton Hotel & Spa
Casa Dann Carlton Hotel & Spa has extremely high standards for quite an affordable price. The gym, breakfast and the spa in the hotel are luxurious amenities. This 5-star hotel is not to miss if you have the money!
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Have you been to Zipaquira Salt Cathedral? It is definitely one of the best DIY day trips from Bogota. History, architecture, and religion, it just has everything that makes Zipaquira Salt Cathedral something you must include visit in Bogota!
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!
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