Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, or Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá, is an underground Roman Catholic church built in the tunnels of a salt mine. Located 660 feet underground, the Cathedral is both a perfect day trip from Bogotá and a must-visit when you’re visiting the city. The Cathedral is a marvel to behold – and the views of Zipaquirá from top of the mines is quite nice as well.
In the beginning, salt miners of Zipaquirá had carved a sanctuary for their daily prayers. It wasn’t until 1950, the construction of the Cathedral began and upon completion, was dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, the patron saint of miners. Carved by removing 250,000 tons of salt, the Cathedral is a major tourist destination and one of the most notable architectural achievements of Colombia.
Visits to the Salt Cathedral begin with a guided tour, which is included with the most basic admission tickets. Tours are in Spanish, but you can rent an English audio guide at the ticket booth. You must follow the tour inside, but once you’re inside you can wander off on your own and follow the numbered stations with the audio guide.
The tour begins with the 14 stations of the cross, which features 14 small chapels with abstract depictions of the stations. Scattered between the stations are marble statues or sculptures.
The Cathedral also features an impressive dome and 3 naves, with replicas of the Creation as well as the Pieta.
Our own tour of the Salt Cathedral lasted about roughly 2.5 hours, but you can definitely do it at your own pace. We opted for the cheapest admission option, as we didn’t want access to the Salt Park or extra tours. I think we learned a lot with the audio guide (and X eavesdropping on the tour) and it was definitely more than enough. The mines are truly a marvel of architecture and I would highly recommend making the trip out if you’re visiting Bogotá.