San Pedro the biggest island of freshwater

AUTHOR: Silvia Corredor

San Pedro is one of the 4 islands, which are located on the Tota Lake next to Chico hill, Santa Elena and Santo Domingo. Is the biggest of all with an extension of 44 hectares. With a standard temperature of 7º, get to this island situated 3.015 meter above sea level it’s quite an experience of adventure and physical condition.


The Tota Lake is considered the second highest navigable lake of Southamerica after the Titicaca Lake located between Bolivia and Perú. This place is located 15 km south of Sogamoso municipality, Boyacá, between the Cuítiva, Tota and Aquitania municipalities.


To get the San Pedro Island one can take a bus from the transport terminal of Sogamoso going to Aquitania. Closed to the 27 km you’ll find La Peña, a small harbour where motorboats with different sizes and colors wait for the hundred of tourists who frequent this place. These motorboats are driven by inhabitants of the nearby municipalities who know well the area or who works in fishing in this Lake.


The trout is one of the typical dishes of this zone, as it is the favorite and most abundant specie of the Tota Lake. In this Lake exist fish hatcheries from more than 30 thousand trout, which are monitored by fishers who use artificial bait or nets to capture them.



After half an hour in motorboat, where the cold that emerges from the Lake and the fog that surrounds the mountains are mixed to provide a great landscape, you get the San Pedro Island. On arrival, there is a big stone, some wooden benches, a Virgen del Carmen carved on the trunk of a tree and some painted stones in which is narrated the myth of the muiscas indigenous about the creation of this place.



One of the yellow stones painted with the faces of the muiscas indigenous has written the next legend:


In much earlier times a mysterious ‘múcura’ of living water, was delivered to an indigenous family from the nature Gods to pour the precious liquid and form with it a big Lake. The restless sons dropped the múcura and made the water spilled accidentaly and then befell a cataclysm. Upon contact with the land the waters grew, the afraid kid ran away from his parents, the girl went to his mother but all of them were reached by the waters that petrified them instantly and formed the Islands. The father wanting to climb the moor of the Cintas, was also reached, being formed the Potrero peninsula. That’s how according to the mythical legend, the Gods of the nature had created the Tota Lake, leaving for rest ‘Playa Blanca’, the most beautiful beach of freshwater that is known.


Besides to have this legend, the San Pedro Island was a prosperous place for the agriculture, especially for the planting of long onion, which is one of the most representative crops of the zone.

There are the ruins of a small hut where years before lived a group of peasants who harvested tons of onion. This activity was suspended towards the Island conservation and the strictly use for tourism and hiking led by the inhabitants of the nearby municipalities.


San Pedro is one of the most unexplored destinations of the Tota Lake that contains histories and beautiful representative landscapes from the colorful lands of Boyacá.



Silvia Corredor

Periodista y antropóloga en formación.