“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
In Colombia, a hotel sits atop a cliff overlooking a beautiful landscape highlighted with a waterfall that seemingly flows for what seems to be forever. This Hotel (Salto Del Tequendama) would seem to be the perfect Colombian getaway for travelers and sightseers from all over the world to admire and embrace as its far from the hustle and bustle of the country’s city, however, there are several problems that would plague this dream trip. The waterfall is among one of the most polluted on the entire planet, the hotel was abandoned in the early 90s and more interestingly according to the locals, the place has more ghosts than any other place in Colombia.
Now you may want to know how can such a beautiful place fall so far from grace and the answer is a lot less convoluted than you think. For starters, the water basin that feeds the waterfall is completely polluted with human waste because the surrounding town uses it as an outlet for their sewage. This is the result of building contractors cutting corners and piping outlets improperly. The raw sewage gets so bad that it froths up into a thick white foam as it pours over the waterfall. The smell is so strong that it can make a person sick to the stomach within moments of opening the car door. Because of this, the Hotel became less of a vacation getaway and more of a reminder of how easily things can go to waste (pun intended) in a matter of decades.
The hotel at Tequendama Falls already had a back story suited to a horror movie Steven King would be proud of. Once upon a time the area was heavily populated by the Muisca people, according to legend they occupied the land for 10,000 years until Conquistadors arrived with their steel armor and weapons in search of gold and silver (Fun Fact: Not all conquistadors were from Spain, many came from all walks of Europe such as the English, Dutch and French). When gold and silver cold not be found the Conquistadors would attempt to capture the Natives to use as slaves or to sell off into slavery. As the story goes the Muisca people believed that by leaping off of the waterfall it is possible through faith to be turned into an eagle and escape subjugation. Sadly, because of this belief, hundreds of people left to their deaths which if I’m not mistaken is a sure-fire way to make sure a place becomes haunted.
Fast forward years later to 1928, the grand opening. Something in the air just isn’t right. The hotel is a huge success but something about the history, the story of the Muisca people resonates with the broken hearted, the sad and the lonely and I draws them in. Summons them and beckons them to heed the call to leap.
Finding stories of those who met their end at the Salto del Tequendama is no easy task as the elite have a way of keeping these things from the public so it’s hard to put a number on the number of people who succumbed to grief but light estimates put the number somewhere around 55 people based on information gathered from an elderly resident that lived in Bogota through from 1940-1970.
Since it’s abandonment in the early 90s the hotel has been reopened as a Natural history museum with plans for the revitalization of the Bogota River and Tequendama waterfall by the French Government. In conclusion, this is a place that’s worthy of a bucket list visit. Colombia in general offers so much to see and do with just the history alone being the main draw. If you can manage to plan this trip in a safe way I highly recommend it.