Mina de Sal de Nemocón


Useful Information

Location: Cl. 2, Nemocón, Cundinamarca, Nemocón
65 km north of Bogotá, RN55 Bogotá-Tunja, after 37 km turn left in Gachancipa, after 2.4 km turn right, after 7.5 km turn left again.
(5.064028, -73.874810)
Open: All year daily 9-17.
[2021]
Fee: Adults COP 31,000, Children (4-12) COP 22,000, Colombian Seniors (60+) COP 22,000, Disabled COP 22,000.
[2021]
Classification: MineSalt Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightColoured Light
Dimension: T=12-14 °C, A=2,800 m asl.
Guided tours: L=800m, D=90min. Español - Spanish English
Photography:
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:
Address: Mina de Sal de Nemocón, Calle 2 # 0-05, Nemocón, Cundinamarca, Tel: +57-1-8544120, Cell: +57-321-2044506, WhatsApp: +57-312-3721923. E-mail: E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

~1500 town Nemocón founded, underground salt mining started by the Chibchas, the local indigenous people.
1537 first Spanish expeditionaries find the town.
1801 almost all men of the town work at the mine.
1946 Chapel of the Virgen del Carmen built.
1967 mine closed, massive strike.
2005 show mine opened to the public.

Geology

700,000 years ago, the whole area of Bogotá was covered by an inland sea, but due to a barrier it was not always connected to the ocean. As a result the water in the depression evaporated in the arid climate and limestone, gypsum and salt were precipitated. The evaporites were then covered by a layer of sedimentary rocks which protected them from weathering.


Description

The mine tour at Mina de Sal de Nemocón (Nemocón Salt Mine) starts with a visit to the museo de historia natural de la Sabana (Natural History museum) at the entrance. The musem shows fossils of mastodons, megaterios, pleistosaurs and ammonites. Here you can spend the time until the next tour starts. The word Nemocón means "warrior's lament."

Then the visitors are equipped with a safety helmet "making this an unforgettable mining experience". That's actually the first time that the operator of a show mine admits that the helmets are only there to make the tour a little more interesting. The underground tour takes place 80 m below the ground in an abandoned part of the salt mine, which was developed as a show mine with electric light. When the mine was still working the miners had an underground chapel, the chapel of the Virgen del Carmen, which mow part of the tour. Quite exceptional are the variated forms of salt crystals, helictites and stalactites, which are formed by the humidity and dissolving and precipitation by condensed water. The wealth of salt minerals has inspired the creation of a mineral museum, which is currently designed but not yet open. The mine passages were supported by the traditional German Door support, the wood was salted by the salty environment and as a result the wood is now absolutely waterless and quite indestructible. The cascada de sal (salt waterfall) is actually a formation of salt crystals which look like white water forming a water fall. It is said to be only 80 years old.

A highlight is the El Corazón de Nemocón (Heart of Nemocón), which is a massive block of orange salt which was sculpted into a heart shaped sculpture weighing 1,600 kg. It is the largest block of salt in South America, and was found in 1905. In the 1960s it was sculpted manually by a miner named Miguel Sánchez. It is illuminated by a lamp inside which gives a soft reddish glow. The chamber where it is located became known as cámara del palpito (heartbeat chamber) or cámara de los enamorados (chamber of lovers).

The salt mine is rather unique concerning wheelchairs. The flat floor and the complete lack of steps allow tours with wheelchairs. The tours for disabled and seniors are made by special guides, the wheelchair for the underground tour is provided. The tour is also available for seniors who are able to walk but not fit enough to walk the whole tour.

The mine also offers special tours for educational tours, for schools or for scientific interest groups. These tours are accompanied by a specialized guide who will introduce young people to the geology of the Bogotá savannah. Also the traditional underground mining techniques are explained in more detail than on the regular tour. The salt was mined in the room and pillar method, which was adapted for the physical properties of the salt.

The mine also offers underground spaces of enormous size for all kinds of congresses, conventions, incentive trips, conferences, seminars, forums, symposia, and even marriages. For all functions dinners or any other kind of catering can be booked, also there are locations for unforgettable pre-wedding photo sessions. Concerts by the Cundinamarca Symphonic Orchestra and an electronic music show have been held underground. Professional filming or photo sessions are also possible after appointment.

After the tour you may take a short walk on the trail "the path of the tree of dreams", from where you can see the panoramic view of the entire municipality of Nemocón. A nice addition to the mine tour is the museu de la sal (salt museum) which is located in central park of the town. It is located in the Casa del Encomendero, erected in 1665 and once inhabited by the official who organized the encomienda with the purpose of protecting the Indians. On the park there are shops and restaurants. Many restaurants in town of the plato del minero (miners plate) which consists of fried chicken blood sausage, pork loin, salted potato, stewed yucca, and guacamole. Other specialties are ajiaco, sancócho, and melted curd with honey. On Sundays and Holidays its possible to take the Turistren, a special train from Bogotá to Nemocón.