After researching various tour companies, I chose Bogotravel tours to transport me to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira because they had the cheapest option. It included lunch, ticket entrance and round-trip transportation from Bogota to Zipaquira.
Prior to the tour, Bogotravel tours requested an address of my pickup location. Unfortunately, due to my Airbnb cancelation, I could not provide an address. I emailed and informed the company of the situation. They replied via email stating that “if I didn’t give them an address by 6 pm they would cancel the tour and no refund would be given”. Eventually, I found lodging but the lack of patience and empathy increased my anxiety about finding a location to stay.
The driver promptly picked me up from my hotel. The driver only spoke Spanish, I was happy to have Diana along for the ride as she was both bilingual and a solo traveler extending her travels to sight see after completing her work duties in Bogota.
Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira
We were provided with an English guide who led the group tour. A salt deposit was formed over 250 million years ago and halite aka salt rock is what the Salt Cathedral is made from.
The Salt Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church that was built in the tunnels of the salt mines. They have over 2500 visitors and hold regular services on Sundays.
Before the church was built miners used the mines a place to pray and ask for safety before starting there daily task. The construction of the old Salt cathedral began in 1950 and was completed in 1954 and dedicated to Our Lady of Rosary, Patron Saint of miners. Due to the fact that they were building over an active mine, construction was halted. The new cathedral began building in 1991 and was completed in 1995.
3 main sections
Stations of the cross: Represents Jesus journey before his death using 14 different crosses.
The Dome: balcony, cross chambers, narthex labyrinth
3 Naves: A crack representing the birth and death of Jesus Christ
The Salt Cathedral tour was emotional for me. It is difficult to imagine Jesus last moments before he died on the cross. As a Christian, Jesus death symbolizes salvation and him dying on the cross for our sins. I felt the presence of Jesus at the Cathedral and was grateful to have experienced this moment.
In addition to the 3 main sections, they have other activities such as a light show, reflecting mirror, souvenir shopping, and emerald tour.
After the tour, we went for lunch. I enjoyed the local soup ajiaco (corn, meat, potatoes), rice and meat. The great thing about solo travel is the opportunity to meet other cool solo travelers that may be interested in doing the same type of activities.
Museo del Oro aka Gold Museum
Diana and I decided that we wanted to explore Museo del Oro aka Gold Museum after visiting the Salt Cathedral. We paid a small entrance fee of 3000 Pesos. The museum has 3 floors showcasing more than 50,000 pieces of gold and other artifacts. It was great to see the gold museum or pre-Colombian gold. The gold worn by Colombians was used as a form of worship and not profit. Unfortunately, Spaniards became greedy and begin to kill Colombians in order to steal gold and make a profit.
I was intrigued by the history of gold and what it represented compared to how we value gold in modern times. It also made me realize that history repeats itself. The new generation thinks that they are starting a new trend. If we look back in history we can see that the trends are new to us but not new to the world. For example, I’ve seen in increase in septum piercing, I also saw the same piercing worn by Colombians thousands of years ago.
I highly recommend the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira. Many people don’t solo traveler because they don’t want to go alone. As you can see, I quickly made a friend and we traveled together to a new activity. If traveling solo, have you ever made friends along the way?