Getting to Zipaquira is easy enough but time consuming. Buses depart from the Portal del North TransMilenio station up to four times an hour. It will take you about forty-five minutes just to get there but it will only set you back about 75 cents. A cab probably wouldn't be much faster and would cost certainly considerably more money. It also gives you a chance to check out Bogota's famed BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system which features over 1000 buses with their own lanes and self-contained bus stations!
The bus to Zipaquira itself is less than $2 but takes about 90 minutes or more depending on the traffic so you are looking at 2.5 hours in each direction. For this reason, one should consider doing this as a stopover en route to Villa de Leyva if going there anyway. The drawback is bringing your luggage with you but if you overnight in Zipaquira that would not be a major problem aside from lugging it on the TransMilenio, especially at rush hour!
A taxi to the mine was pricey at $2.50 for a very short if all uphill ride but the route there is not signed very well so unless you know where you are going it is quicker. Add to that how hot can be midday and it's not a bad idea. We walked back down as from up high, it's more obvious where to go and it's a lot less taxing in the heat too.
We did it as a day trip and it's ample time though 5 hours in transit is a bit much for the salt cathedral in itself. Seeing Colombians as tourist was what made it worth the trip for us.
I'm updating the last tip:
To get to Zipaquirá from the center of Bogotá, take one of the TransMilenio buses to Portal del Norte. http://transmilenio.surumbo.com/ --> Make your own plan using this website. Ticket is 1600 COP (less than 1 USD - Jul 2010).
Once at Portal del Norte just ask for a bus heading to Zipaquirá; they are very frequent. One way ticket about 3500 COP ( less than 2 USD - Jul 2010 ). The bus will take you for a nice little scenic country ride before dropping you off on the main street. ASK the driver where to stop.
To continue to Cathedral: From the city center you can walk OR take a taxi about 3500 COP or car-train (about 1500 COP).
I would recommend this route only for adventurous people or backpackers and spanish speaking. Not for family trip or non spanish speaking. Instead you can take the Touristren (http://www.turistren.com.co/; adult 35000 COP roundtrip).
To get to Zipaquirá from the center of Bogotá, take one of the TransMilenio buses to Portal del Norte. The closest station for me was Las Aguas on Av. Jimenez (alternatively Museo del Oro) and I had to take no. B 62 or B 74. The return ticket was $ 3.000 (December 2008) and it took about half an hour.
Once at Portal del Norte just ask for a bus heading to Zipaquirá; they are very frequent. The bus will take you for a nice little scenic country ride before dropping you off on the main street (you better ask the driver) and from there it's a short walk to the centre. One way ticket was $ 2.800 (December 2008) and it took about an hour.
To get back take one of the buses that frequently run by the same spot you get dropped off at, but of course on the other side of the road. Just make sure you get the bus heading to Portal del Norte.
It is very easy to make a daytrip to Zipaquira from Bogota using public transport. I took the TransMilenio (red buses) nr B74 from Avenida Jiménez bus stop to the end stop Portal del Norte. It was 1400 pesos and took 25 minutes.
From Portal del Norte there are frequent buses to Zipaquira. They were leaving from the other side of the platform I arrived to. The bus to Zipaquira was 2800 pesos (August 2007) and it took 55 minutes. When the bus stopped near a road crossing and many people went off I asked if it was Zipaquira and it was, and it was also the place for me to go off at as I wanted to visit the salt cathedral.
Going back to Bogota I walked down to the main road and stopped a bus with the sign Bogota. When it passed Portal del Norte it stopped by the side of the road and from there I and the others had to walk over the road on a bridge to the station. At Portal del Norte I looked for a sign saying B74 but couldn’t find it. I asked for the TransMilenio for Museo del Oro (the stop I wanted to go to) and I was told to take number J 72.
Getting to and from Zipaquira from Bogota is a very strait forward affair.
The cheaper way is by bus, take the Transmilenio up to Portal Del Norte station. If you are comming from downtown, hop on the B74 from Las Aguas or Museo Del Oro stations. When you get of the bus at Portal Del Norte, simply cross onto the other side of the platform and there will be several minibuses, hop on one labelled 'Zipaquira', you pay once on route. Buses to Zipaquira leave Portal Del Norte frequently, you won't have to wait more than 10-15 minutes at most. Then repeat the process in the opposite direction taking bus J72 to get back to the centre.
There is also a train (web address below), which is more expensive than by bus, that runs on Sundays and public holidays from Bogota to Zipaquira. It departs from Sabana Station, Bogota's main train station, at 8:30am. You can also catch the train from the north of Bogota at Usaquen Station when it stops here on route at approx. 9:20am. The train arrives in Zipaquira at 11:30am. The train leaves Zipaquira again at 2pm.
Zipaquirá is located some 60 km north of Bogotá, easily reached by bus or by car.
In my opinion the best way to drive around is to take the highway to Zipaquirá and go back to Bogotá via the little roads west of the highway.
Then you can keep relaxed, stop here and there for coffee and refreshment and enjoy the beauty of the land.
By car take the Autopista Norte to Chía and then follow the direction to Cajicá/Zipaquirá.
By bus the easiest way it to go to "Portal del Norte" de Transmilenio first and then to take a bus to Zipaquirá there.