The Road to El Dorado is a 2000 American animated adventure film directed by Don Paul and Eric Bergeron. The film was produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. The film was released on March 31, 2000.
In Spain, 1519, conmen Tulio and Miguel win a bet against a man named Zaragoza and win a map showing the location of El Dorado. After being accused of cheating, the conmen flee and stow away on the ship of Hermes Cortes as he sets sail. The conmen are discovered and imprisoned, but Cortes' horse Altivo helps free them. Using a rowboat, the three sail towards El Dorado using the map. Upon arriving, the three notice a stone stele bearing an image of the Divinities of El Dorado, which closely resemble the three. Shortly afterwards, the three come across a woman named Chel, who is being pursued by guards. The guards bring the conmen into the city of El Dorado, where the residents mistake the conmen for gods. Chel discovers that the two aren't gods, but agrees to help them with their scam, seeking to leave El Dorado.
Tulio informs Chief Tannabok, the ruler of El Dorado, that they will need a boat to leave El Dorado with the gifts the residents have given them. Tannabok orders construction on a vessel, informing Tulio that it will be finished construction in three days. While Chel bonds with Tulio, Miguel explores the city and discovers that Tzekel-Kan, the high priest, has ordered a sacrifice to the gods. Miguel begins to bond with the residents and Tzekel-Kan, upon noticing him play a ball game, challenges him and Tulio to play a ball game against the city's best players. Tulio and Miguel are outmatched, but Chel helps them cheat to win. When Tzekel-Kan asks that the defeated players be sacrificed, Miguel turns down the offer.
Tzekel-Kan notices a scratch on Miguel's forehead, which he had sustained during the game, and realizes that the conmen aren't gods. Tzekel-Kan conjures a stone jaguar to kill the two, but the conmen manage to outwit it, and Tzekel-Kan and the stone jaguar plummet into a whirlpool, transporting them outside of El Dorado. Tzekel-Kan meets Cortes and his men and, believing Cortes to be a true god, offers to lead him to El Dorado. To stop the Spanish troops form invading, Tulio suggests slamming the boat against the rock formations under the waterfall path to block the entrance to El Dorado. The residents pull down a statue to propel the boat, but Tulio fails to give the boat enough speed. Miguel then jumps into the boat and helps move the boat out of the statue's way. Tulio's plan proves successful and they successfully block the entrance to El Dorado, but in the process lose the treasure.
Cortes and his troops, upon arriving and failing to find the entrance, abandon the city, taking Tzekel-Kan prisoner. Tulio and Miguel, though disappointed that they lost the treasure, set off in a different direction, accompanied by Chel, unaware that Altivo is still outfitted with golden hooves from the city.