A Cathedral made of salt in Colombia

Zipaquirá is a quaint town near Bogota where there is a Cathedral inside a Salt hill. The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá was built inside the tunnels of a functioning salt mine.


The main section, where services are held on Sundays.

On Saturday on the way to the Cathedral we met an Australian woman and two South Africans who now live in Australia. It’s always a pleasure to meet friendly travellers along the way! To get to the Cathedral you need to take a bus to Terminal Portal Norte and from there buses leave every ten minutes to Zipaquirá. It is a 15minute walk to the Cathedral from where the bus drops you off. The trip takes about two hours.


The pedestrian streets of Zipaquirá


The beautiful plaza of Zipaquirá

You walk up a hill to get to the entrance of the Cathedral. There are guided tours in English and Spanish. Your entrance ticket of 23,000COP includes a guided tour, an (overrated)LED light show and a 3D movie.


The view of Zipaquirá from the Cathedral’s hill

Our Spanish guide led us into the Cathedral and past symbolic sculptures that represent the crucification and resurrection of Christ.


The salt walls that greet you as you enter the Cathedral


The cross sculptures that represent the crucification and resurrection of Christ


The resurrection of Christ


After the symbolic sculptures, we were led to a balcony where we looked out over the main section of the cathedral where the biggest underground cross stands behind the altar. Up to 3000 people attend the church on a Sunday.



The size of the tunnels and the cathedral is larger than I had expected. Inside the tunnels there are foodstalls, a coffeeshop and many dealers selling emeralds.


Interesting fact: Most of the world’s emeralds come from Colombia.


Rings with Emerald stones

It’s a strange thought to be surrounded by salt. The walls tasted salty – I licked a salt piece off my finger. The colour of the salt differs from white to gray to black. Our tourguide told us not to worry about earthquakes – apparently you don’t feel the quivers when you are underground in the salt mine.


Look at the texture and colour of the walls. All salt!


The walls look like marble


The floor is surprisingly smooth to walk on, though it doesn’t look that way.


An artwork hand carved into the salt walls.

At the end of one tunnel is a water mirror where you look into 10cm deep salty water and see the reflection of the roof.


You’re looking down into a mirror of water!

We paid 6,000COP extra to also do a mining route inside the mine. We where forced to walk in the dark for a while – it’s weird to just see blackness in front of you and to have no idea where the walls or roof are. We ‘mined’ a bit with picks and even experienced a fake dynamite explosion.


We are miners!

The salt mine/ Cathedral is a fun day excursion if you are spending a few days in Bogota.


2 thoughts on “A Cathedral made of salt in Colombia

  1. This is absolutely wonderful and surely not to bemissed when you visit Bogota. Thank you for the wonderful photos and commentary, Sune

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