The Pogues search for the legendary City of Gold in Outer Banks season 3, and here is the true story of El Dorado that the treasure hunt is based on.

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Outer Banks season 3!Outer Banks season 3 makes a treasure out of El Dorado and the real story behind the legendary City of Gold. After finding the Cross of Santo Domingo in season 2, the Pogues return with a mission to help find evidence that El Dorado exists. They originally come to learn about pursuits of the legendary gold through Carlos Singh, but it is the return of Big John to John B’s life that really gets him wrapped up in his father’s greatest pursuit. The result is a race to gather information and clues to find El Dorado, culminating in a search through South America to find the lost city.


The introduction of El Dorado to Outer Banks season 3 comes through links to the other legendary treasures that the Pogues have had a hand in finding. After finding the Royal Merchant and Denmark Tanny’s treasure and then the Cross of Santo Domingo, the Pogues learn that they were both connected to the search for El Dorado. This includes more revelations about Pope and Denmark Tanny’s family ties, while his diary also holds valuable information to find the City of Gold. It also helps that Big John has also done plenty of research about how to find Outer Banks‘ El Dorado.

Related: Outer Banks: Pogues & Kooks Explained

Outer Banks Season 3’s El Dorado Isn’t Real (But Is A Real Story)

Outer Banks Season 3 John B Sarah El Dorado

There is no evidence that El Dorado is as real as presented in Outer Banks season 3, but the story given to the legendary city is based on a true story. As the story goes, Spanish adventurer Diego de Ordaz learned of an El Dorado-like city of gold in 1531 during an expedition to the Orinoco river. Ordaz died on his way back from this failed expedition to find gold, possibly of poisoning, but that did not stop others from pursuing the city. The continued searches for El Dorado have never resulted in any firm evidence being discovered that the legendary city of gold is real.

Outer Banks keeps a few of the main details about El Dorado’s real history intact, such as putting it near the Orinoco river and the legend originating from a Spanish soldier. However, no soldier has ever found gold beads from El Dorado as presented in the series. It also added to the legend by linking the many casualties that came in pursuit of the city to a mythical curse. Outer Banks‘ El Dorado becomes realized through the indigenous Kalingo who created the Gnomon of Solana, which included a cipher with clues and directions to find the city of gold.

How Outer Banks Using Real World Legends Improves The Show

Outer Banks Season 3 Pogues Group JJ Sarah Cleo John B and Pope

The decision to keep using real world legends like El Dorado as Outer Banks‘ MacGuffins is a smart way to keep the show grounded in reality. It is easier to believe the search for these legendary artifacts and locations when they are based on actual stories that already exist in human history. This is the same type of trick that Indiana Jones or National Treasure used to build believable treasure hunts. Viewers already could have some level of familiarity with these stories then, allowing them to connect to the Pogues’ new adventure more easily.

It also allows the series to make changes to fit the show’s growing mythology. There are no links between the Royal Merchant, Cross of Santo Domingo, or the City of Gold in real life, but Outer Banks‘ El Dorado story smartly changes that. The series could have gone in a different direction and created an entirely fabricated treasure to make that mission easier possibly. However, Outer Banks‘ connections to true stories and bringing attention to the legends are part of the show’s fun.

More: Outer Banks Season 2 Has Perfect Indiana Jones And Goonies References

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