The Spanish commonly given name for this type of lake is laguna negra. In Venezuela, one of them is located in Mérida State. This black lake can be reached from Laguna de Mucubají, riding on horseback or just walking, one follows a path surrounded by an enigmatic and cold atmosphere, foggy at times, so silent that the superstition might be true: the lake cannot be disturbed.
Even though locals say its darkness is due to a limitless depth, the true is that it has an end of 24 meters (78 ft.) in depth. Momoyes are part of it as in every lake and water body found in both Mérida and Trujillo States (southwestern Venezuela). But who are these Momoyes? Also known as water enchantments, considered protectors of nature and very evasive, they dwell in this lake and are the Venezuelan equivalent to the European gnomes.
The stillness of this place cannot be disturbed, don’t even try to make noise or throw garbage because you’ll get to know the anger of these beings. They can make more difficult your way back by causing heavy fog or a storm, would you like to challenge them?
Last December, I found out that there is another black lake in Venezuela, in Trujillo State, less popular, but as enigmatic as the one in Mérida. It can be found in the way to Boconó from Guanare city, in a tourist place named Batatal. Some people call it Laguna Negra; others, Laguna de Agua Negra. It has a recent formation, between the years 1981 and 1982, as a result of floods that hit Boconó in 1981. The legend says that a young couple in love decided to drown themselves in this lake because their love wasn't allowed by their families. In full moon nights, one can hear the couple whispering eternal love to each other. Momoyes take care of this lake too, so be careful and avoid throwing garbage!
It is said that this region is full of Momoyes, you can hear them singing, whistling and can also steal food from excursionists. When visiting Los Andes, you can ask trujillanos and merideños about all these stories, they’ll be happy to share their knowledge with you, and in case you meet a Momoy by chance, offer him chimó* and aguardiente*, so he’ll be your friend forever.
Probably unknown words:
*Chimó: in rural Venezuela, especially in the western states, many ranchers, farmers and others who work out of doors chew chimó, a black, bitter paste made of tobacco juice.
*Aguardiente: it’s a hard liquor made from sugar cane, very cheap and available everywhere in the cities and rural areas.