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A Trip to the Zipaquira Salt Mine – aka The Underground Salt Cathedral

One of the popular day trips out of Bogota is a trip to the Zapaquira Salt Mine – which doubles as an underground Salt Cathedral.

The salt mine has been in existence for centuries and is still active. The Salt Cathedral sits within the halite mine – more than 500 feet beneath the surface.It’s been nominated a Jewel of Modern Architecture and The First Marvel of Colombia.

Getting to the Salt Cathedral takes about 90 minutes via taxi from Bogota – even though it’s only about 49 kilometres away. Traffic is that bad!

Once you arrive at the entrance you have a veritable menu of tour choices. We went for the basic tour without a guide – and I’m glad we did. It took us about 90 minutes to wander around underground and that was plenty.

"Entrance to the Salt Cathedral"

Entrance to the Salt Cathedral

The cathedral has been built within the tunnels of the salt mine. The church does function and on Sundays can see upwards of 3000 visitors – a day in my  mind to avoid.

"Walking underground "

Walking underground

The paths through the salt mine take you by 14 small chapels representing the Stations of the Cross to an enormous chamber filled with seats and a cross.

"Small side room with a cross"

"Love the lighting on this cross"

Love the lighting on this cross

"A cross deep at the far end of one of the cuts to access salt"

"The main room where services take place"

The main room where services take place

"Underground shopping anyone?"

Underground shopping anyone?

By the time we’d spent 90 minutes looking in wonder at LED lit crosses, we were ready to be above ground again.

There is a cafeteria where we had lunch and killed some time waiting for our ride back.

Don’t miss this sculptural piece of a salt miner – who looks positively ripped.

"Back above ground a statue of a salt miner"

Back above ground a statue of a salt miner

As I’m sure it was and still is for today’s miners, the blast of colour when you’re back above ground is very welcome. The agapanthus were in bloom when we were there.

"Lots of natural blue above ground with agapanthus everywhere"

Lots of natural blue above ground with agapanthus everywhere

Is a trip to the Zipaquira Salt Mine worthwhile?

I think it is but unless you’re very religious the short tour will probably be adequate.

Leigh McAdam

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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure – & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project – a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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