Most of the time when the topic of buried treasure arises it pertains to some television show or movie. Buried treasures aren’t real! Even buried treasures that are supposedly real are just myths, right? That isn’t the case for Lake Guatavita.
A few centuries ago there were many natives that lived in the Colombia area. These natives had a ceremony where the chief would cover himself in gold dust and float out into the middle of Lake Guatavita and throw gold into the lake. This ceremony presumably was a sacrifice to the gods that these natives believed in. Why they had to throw gold into the lake nobody knows. Maybe one of the natives caused a giant oil spill and they felt the need to apologize.
The legend spread for years until 1545 when the first attempt to recover the treasure was launched by Lazaro Fonte and Hernan Perez de Quesada. Fonte and Quesada had a brilliant idea. They got slaves to get a bucket and one bucket at a time removed the water from the lake. After 3 long months of watching other people do hard work Fonte and Quesada gave up. The slaves had only managed to rid about 20 meters of water. Some gold was found but most of the buried treasure remained.
The next adventurer to take a stab at the Lake Gautavita buried treasure was Antonio de Sepulveda. Instead of removing the water with buckets Sepulveda decided to build a channel to lead the water out of the lake. Sepulveda also managed to drain about 20 meters of water but then walls of the channels collapsed and it drowned many of Sepulveda’s workers. Sepulveda also found some gold so I guess the death of those slaves was worth it to him.
Finally there was a successful attempt at draining Lake Guatavita in 1911. The man behind the draining of Lake Guatavita was Hartley Knowles. Once the lake was drained Knowles claimed to find $20,000 worth of buried treasure but there was still a lot more treasure. Unfortunately the buried treasure had been covered in mud after sitting at the bottom of the lake for a few centuries. When the lake was drained the mud hardened since it was no longer wet. The mud became so hard that much of the buried treasure was covered in mud as hard as concrete.
There have been other attempts to recover the buried treasure at the bottom of Lake Guatavita but they have not been as successful. Unfortunately we can’t form a party of treasure hunters ourselves unless we want to get in a lot of legal trouble because the Colombian government no longer allows attempts to drain the lake.