La Ciudad Perdida (the Lost City) is not only Colombia’s but one of South America’s most iconic treks. And unlike some of the more famous alternatives (the Inca Trail, for example) there is no altitude to contend with! So while it’s a challenging hike, you don’t need to worry about acclimatising. But there are a few things you need to know: it’s hot, it’s humid and the overnight camps are basic. There is no luxury accommodation along the trail! Instead, enjoy the luxury of spectacular scenery, authentic indigenous villages and of course the fabled Lost City itself.
La Ciudad Perdida trek is a fascinating hike through the dense green foliage of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It will take you into remote river valleys to reach isolated indigenous communities. And along the way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to cool down in crystal clear mountain streams (and you’ll need them, believe us!).
The Lost City can be done as a four-, five- or six-day hike but we recommend five so you can relax the pace and enjoy the beauty of the Colombian jungle. This is a trek that is as much about the journey as it the destination. When you do reach the remote Lost City, you’ll rarely have to share it with more than a dozen others. Perched high on a plateau and with stunning views of the surrounding valleys, Teyuna archaeological park was the heart of the Tayrona civilisation.
Have a look at what Heather (one of our consultants) experienced during this trek!
Depart Santa Marta or Taganga this morning and travel by road to the town of Machete, where the trailhead begins. Your hike through the spectacular Sierra Nevada begins here! Set off with your guide and hike along gently inclining terrain until you reach Mamey River, where you will stop for a light lunch. You can also take a dip in the refreshing waters to cool off if you like. After lunch, continue hiking to the first overnight camp, surrounded by lush greenery, small pools and with views out over the valley. Overnight in hammocks with mosquito nets (around 6.8km hiking or 4 hours).
Today you will have an early start for what is probably the most challenging day on the trek. After breakfast, you will start walking and continue your journey through the Sierra Nevada. Along the way, you will visit indigenous communities Mutanyi and Koguis. Later you can take a swim in the rivers of the Sierra before arriving at Camp 2 for lunch.
After lunch and some time to swim in the Buritaca River, you will continue your trek, arriving this afternoon at camp 3, Mamo Kogui’s Farm (accommodation in hammocks or bunk beds subject to availability). (Approx 14.7km or 8 hours – today is mostly uphill hiking)
Early this morning you will cross the river that guards the fabled Lost City. Climb the 1,183 stairs to find La Ciudad Perdida. Your guide will take you on a tour of this ancient place, visiting the terraces, roads and ceremonial centres in the middle of the jungle. After time to enjoy the surrounds and take photos, you will descend back along the stairs and then hike back along the trail to a small waterfall, where you stop for lunch. After lunch, you will hike back to Camp 2, where you stay overnight (approx 6km or 7 hours hiking).
Depart the camp this morning and continue retracing your journey back through the Mamey region of the Sierra Nevada. We will have a stop for lunch near Mutanyi and then continue to the first campsite where we overnight. (Approx 9.7km or 4 hours hiking)
After breakfast we will visit a magnificent waterfall and then start hiking back to Machete Pelao, where you will celebrate the end of an unforgettable hike with a final meal together with your group. After lunch, transfer to Santa Marta or Tayrona National Park. (Approx 6.8km or 4 hours)