Lake Tota: beach in a cold climate
Lake Tota is in Boyacá, a department in the Andean region of Colombia, characterized by its green countryside, fertile land and noble people. It is surrounded by pretty villages and beautiful, peaceful countryside. Immerse yourself in the lush surroundings!
On the way to Lake Tota and the neighboring villages
View of Lake Tota in Boyacá / Photo by Flickr user migd.
This 60 km² lake is accessed by road and the easiest way to get there from Bogotá is via the Autopista Norte that goes through Tunja, the capital of Boyacá, and passes through many small towns, including Sogamoso.
In Sogamoso, known as the city of sun and steel, it is worth stopping to see the Virgen de Morcá sanctuary, the Archaeological Museum and the solemn Templo del Sol, or Temple of the Sun, a place that embodies the wisdom of the indigenous families in the region.
There are innumerable places worth visiting along the road to Tota.
From there you can head to Yopal (capital of the department of Casanare), known for its beautiful panoramic views that reach El Crucero, where the route to Lake Tota starts winding through potato, green onion and pea cultivations.
The distance from Sogamoso is only 29 km, but it may feel longer because of the uphill climb from 2,560 meters to 3,015 meters above sea level. Furthermore, the beauty of the countryside means you will want to stop along the way.
Three islands and a beautiful beach at great heights
Lake Tota's beaches are easily mistaken for those of the seaside/ Photo by Flickr user saminblue.
Tota means “land for farming” in the indigenous language. The lake is a huge natural, fresh water formation that is 61 meters deep in some places. Its water is usually between 0˚ to 12˚ C. In the middle there are three islands called Cerro Chiquito, Santa Helena and San Pedro, also known as Amor, La Ballena and San Pedro.
In addition to the crops mentioned, the lake is surrounded by weeping willows, and the water is full of rainbow trout that is cooked locally in a variety of tasty ways.
The three Tota islands are Cerro Chiquito, Santa Helena and San Pedro.
On the shores of the lake is the town of Aquitania, a picturesque place where they pay tribute to onion growers, a plant which is produced by the ton in this region. Stop off for a succulent trout or an aromatic coffee before continuing on your way to Tota and Playa Blanca, an exotic beach with a cold climate.
Playa Blanca is in a cove on Lake Tota and is notable for its white sands. This peaceful place is ideal for hiring a boat, walking or camping, as well as for water sports and sailing. There is an annual fishing and water sports championship here.
Traditional villages around the lake
You don't have to go back the way you came, you can go all the way around the lake towards other villages such as Tota, Cuítiva and Iza, all calm and traditional villages of the Boyacá region. They are all characterized by their traditional architecture, a mix of rural and colonial buildings.
In the Cuítiva Park, you will find the impressive Bochica monument and a Lake Tota replica. In Iza, it is essential that you visit the thermal springs, browse and buy crafts, try new trout dishes and take in the stunning views.