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The Good, the curious and the charming! of the Sal de Zipaquirá Cathedral

Hotel Andes Plaza 01/03/2021
Although visiting the First Wonder of Colombia was not among the plans of the Festive Bridge - Well, I certainly prefer warm climates with sun, beach and sand ... - the effort of my best friend when trying to agree between the destinations to visit the End de Semana left me without many options: -Let's go to Bogotá! I want to know the Cathedral of Salt ... - As if he had written it down in his favorite places to be seen, in a couple of minutes he was filled with arguments and managed to convince me to be part of this new adventure.

We took a flight on Saturday, and we arrived in Bogotá at around 5:15 in the afternoon. Upon arrival, we planned the activities of our stay in the capital during the long weekend and after visiting various places in Bogotá, finally on Monday we headed to the municipality of Zipaquirá.

We left the Hotel at around 8:00 in the morning. The tour took us about 40 minutes leaving Bogotá. Great flow of cars. But nothing overwhelming and less with the beautiful landscapes that adorn the savannah. When we arrived in Zipaquirá, the first thing we noticed was the entrance to the town, very different from the municipalities we knew: A subtly elaborated arch in reddish bricks that welcome visitors to this wonderful place. Handicraft sales, shopping center and "piqueteaderos" on each side are at the entrance to Zipaquirá. Although our plan also included getting to know the town, we preferred to go first to the Cathedral and start our tour there:

The good:
If you have your own car, have two large parking areas: one located at the top of the mountain and another much higher up, closer to the entrance to the Mine, perfect if you go with small children, the elderly, or people with reduced mobility, as they will not have to climb steps.

The Cathedral is just one of the attractions that make up the "Salt Park" as such, outside of it you will find an amphitheater where events are held; a labyrinth to play with children, a square with a food court; several places with sale of souvenirs; there is also a wall to climb, and a zip line (*) to slide if this type of activity catches your eye.

Despite the altitude, between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm the weather is quite manageable.

At the time of buying your tickets there is very specific information about the routes and the options you have. In the same way there is always a guide available to explain everything you need about the park. At the entrance to the mine, there are guides every 15 minutes who organize you into groups and make a station with stories and interesting facts about the place and the different sections of the mine: The Way of the Cross, The Dome and ships. Very important: Paramedics and first aid personnel are always in view of visitors for any type of emergency that may arise. The entrance is not expensive. You can spend between $ 30,000 and $ 40,000 pesos per adult. You can purchase additional tours from $ 3,000 pesos, depending on what catches your attention. If you want to know in addition to the park, part of Zipaquirá, we recommend you buy the tour on the famous Train and take a tour of this beautiful municipality.

Inside the Salt Mine, there are strategically placed signage for your orientation in Spanish and English. If you get lost, there are always park staff to help you get back on track. After the walks you can always buy sweets or something to "snack" inside the salt mine to recharge. Ideally, you should enter with at least one bottle of water for the journey, as the journey inside lasts approximately two (2) hours.

The curious:
Like a large amusement park, in the Parque de la Sal there is a whole organized system for its operation. All the staff working there are focused and committed to their work; intercommunicated by radio at all times and in fact they wear uniforms similar to those of a real miner: with helmets, vest and boots.

Make important calls and messages before entering the Mine, because at a depth of 180 meters, the signal for your mobile phone is usually lost. Rather, focus on taking a good amount of photos or if you prefer to save battery for when you go out, there is a staff equipped with professional cameras who can take the photos for you and give them to you on the way out as a souvenir. The mine, gentlemen, is also rented for events, and wedding receptions ... 180 meters deep.

The Enchanting
Among all the sites that are in the square before entering the mine, the Monument in the Plaza del Minero made of steel is perfect for a memorable selfie.

Once inside the tunnel the majesty surrounds you. Although the place is quite dark, the lighting details to highlight the carved stone figures are incredible. There are places where one would think to see natural light, but at that depth it is almost impossible.

The stone crosses are surprising. The tunnels and the atmosphere inside, between altars and colored caverns, is really beautiful.

The light show: absolutely unmissable, an art of the digital age where various figures take shape with hundreds of led lights.

The most beautiful and genuine pieces of emeralds can be found in the commercial area, inside the mine. If you are a lover of this precious stone, you will be amazed by the delicate pieces of jewelry displayed here in the different display cases.

Not to forget the visit, in the commercial area, you will be able to find the most beautiful and unimaginable figures carved in salt; Many souvenirs from the mine and it is almost impossible to resist taking a souvenir of this place that is undoubtedly a true Wonder!

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* A zip line, canopy, or zip line is a pulley suspended by cables mounted on a slope or incline. They are designed to be driven by gravity and can slide from top to bottom on a cable, usually stainless steel.

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