Laguna de Guatavita

The Muisca people of the Andes, believed that Laguna de Guatavita was created by a crashing meteor that transported a golden god who resided in the lake’s floor.

The legend says the lake is where the Muisca celebrated a ritual in which the cacique (named El Dorado, “ The Golden One”, by the conquistadors) was covered in gold dust, and then, venturing out into the water on a ceremonial raft made of rushes, dove into the waters, washing off the gold. Afterward, trinkets, jewellery, and other precious offerings were thrown into the waters by worshipers.

We are stardust, we are golden

DreamOn tour manager, Mark Wahanik and I, travelled here by bus on a gloriously cool and sunny afternoon. The air was the sweetest and purest I’ve ever breathed. A welcome relief from the fumes of Bogota.

The lake is 3000 metres above sea level, in the central Andean highlands, 35 miles north-east of Bogota, and it’s dramatically set in a forest-fringed crater.

The Muisca were one of the four great civilisations of pre- Hispanic America (the others being, the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas).

Another less savoury story associated with the Lake of Gold is about the wife of a chief who was disloyal to her husband. As punishment for this act, the people tortured her lover, a guecha warrior, by cutting off his private parts and eating them in a ceremonial ritual. The wife of the cacique jumped into the lake with her son and drowned. The cacique mourning the deaths, ordered to retrieve the bodies from the lake.

This story was recorded by an early Spanish chronicler, Pedro Simón.

Mark – last surviving member of the Wahanik tribe of Colombia