Imagine a cathedral 180 meters underground in a salt mine? It doesn’t make sense, does it? And yet, this extraordinary place exists just a few kilometers from Bogotá! I must admit, it’s one of the most impressive tourist attractions I’ve ever visited! I could have spent hours in this magical and surreal place. If I’ve piqued your curiosity, now is the time to learn more about the Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral.
Practical information:

The Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

An excursion to the Salt Cathedral takes you to Zipaquirá, a charming little village located 48 km from the Colombian capital, which has become a must-visit for tourists from around the world.
Underneath the mountains of the city, over 400 years ago, the inhabitants of the time discovered a significant deposit of salt. This marked the beginning of the exploitation of this mineral in a traditional manner. Over time, techniques evolved and the mine expanded.
In the mid-20th century, mine workers built a small chapel to pray before going to work in risky conditions. Years later, the idea of building a cathedral inside the salt mine was born. However, the chosen location for this grandiose work was at risk of collapse.
In the 1990s, the cathedral was relocated to a lower level. This is the one you can admire if you decide to visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá.
cathedrale de sel de zipaquira

A Colombian wonder

The visit to this unique and atypical place declared the first wonder of Colombia in 2007, begins with the Stations of the Cross. For each of the fourteen stations, there is a different cave with its cross. The audio guide, which is included in the entrance fee, will allow you to understand each representation in the language of your choice.

visitar la catedral de sal
visitar la catedral de sal

Slowly, always guided by the audio guide, you advance toward the cathedral to admire this extraordinary place. The size of the cross, as well as the color of the walls and ceilings, are impressive. It’s a place filled with serenity, inviting you to prayer or simply to lose yourself in your own thoughts.

Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

A mini shopping center.

A few meters from the cathedral, the atmosphere takes an unexpected turn. Cafés, souvenir shops, art boutiques… The mysterious and phantasmagorical salt mine transforms into a mini shopping center to conclude your visit. To return to the surface, you can retrace your steps, but I recommend taking the little train for a quicker departure.

Entrance fees to the Salt Cathedral

There are several types of tickets to visit the Salt Cathedral. Foreigners pay a higher price. There is also a discount for children and seniors. You can check the different rates here. As an indication, the cheapest entry for foreigners starts at 110,000 Colombian pesos.
You can purchase your ticket online, but also at the ticket office on-site. The rate is the same.

opening hours of the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

Visiting the Salt Cathedral is possible all year round. The famous monument never closes its doors.
You can explore it from Monday to Sunday, from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
It is advisable to avoid weekends to enjoy the place without a crowd of pilgrims and tourists.
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
visitar la catedral de sal

How long does the visit last?

The visit generally lasts between 2 and 3 hours, but if you wish to fully enjoy the place and take your time, you can easily spend more time there.

cathedrale de sel de zipaquira
cathedrale de sel de zipaquira
cathedrale de sel de zipaquira

How to get to the Cathedral?

To get to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, you have several options.

By car

Of course, you can rent a vehicle to get to the Salt Cathedral and also take the opportunity to explore the surroundings of the Colombian capital.
You will need to take the Autopista Norte and then continue with the 45A. Then, let your GPS guide you. To compare car rental prices, click here!

By bus

This is the solution I chose to go to Zipaquirá. Firstly, I took the Transmilenio to the Portal del Norte station. From there, I boarded one of the many buses headed to Zipaquirá. Almost all companies offer a similar fare.
Make sure to ask the driver to stop near the cathedral or close to the village center.

By train

There is a train that departs from Bogotá and arrives at Zipaquirá. It’s the Turistren. Not only will you reach your destination, but you will also be able to enjoy the journey as you traverse the Sabana de Bogotá (the Bogotá Savannah).

Zipaquira Salt Cathedral tour

Other places to visit in the surroundings

If you take an excursion to the Salt Cathedral, you must absolutely take the opportunity to visit the charming village of Zipaquirá, which is truly sublime.
I recommend wandering through its charming colonial center and visiting its lovely cathedral during Mass.
On your way back, you can also take the opportunity to visit the Laguna de Guatavita and learn more about the legend of El Dorado in a sublime setting.

Tips for a successful visit

Visiting the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is suitable for people of all ages and physical conditions. However, here are some tips to ensure a smooth experience:
  • Claustrophobia: If you’re claustrophobic, consider whether visiting an underground site is suitable for you. While there’s plenty of space inside, you are still several meters underground. Make sure you feel comfortable before proceeding.
  • Watch your step: Some areas have stairs, and others may be slightly slippery. Pay attention to your surroundings and walk carefully.
  • Bring a jacket: Despite not being cold, the underground environment can feel a bit chilly. Consider bringing a light jacket or sweater for added comfort.
  • Use the restroom beforehand: It’s advisable to use the restroom before starting the visit. Restrooms are available at the end of the tour as well.
The Zipaquirá Cathedral is definitely a must-visit if you’re in Bogotá. I loved this place and would be ready to revisit it without hesitation, as it’s an incredible site even for non-religious individuals like myself.
If this article has been helpful in planning your trip to Colombia, feel free to share it on Pinterest!
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

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