Things to know
Overview of the Lost City trek and its significance
- The Lost City trek, also known as the Ciudad Perdida trek, is a multi-day hike through the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Colombia. The trek takes visitors through the heart of the Colombian jungle and is considered one of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in the country.
- The Lost City is believed to have been built by the Tairona people, a pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the region around 800 AD. The site is thought to have been abandoned around the time of the Spanish conquest in the 16th century and was only rediscovered in the 1970s. Today, it is considered one of the most significant archaeological sites in South America and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- The trek to the Lost City is an opportunity to discover the rich history and culture of Colombia, as well as to experience the natural beauty of the Colombian jungle. It is a challenging hike, but the rewards are worth it as the view of the city from the top is truly breathtaking.
Description of the 4 day itinerary and what to expect
The 4 day itinerary for the Lost City trek typically starts with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Santa Marta, and a drive to the starting point of the trek :
- The first day of the hike is the most challenging, with a steep ascent of over 1,200 meters through dense rainforest.
- The second day is a bit more moderate, with a mix of steep inclines and flat sections, and the chance to explore some of the ancient Tairona terraces and learn about their agricultural practices.
- On the third day, hikers will reach the Lost City itself, where they will have the opportunity to explore the ancient ruins and learn about the Tairona civilization from their guide.
- The final day of the trek is a descent back down to the starting point, and a drive back to Santa Marta where you will be greeted with a celebratory meal and a chance to reflect on the unforgettable journey you have just completed.
Along the way, you will also have the opportunity to take in the stunning natural landscapes and witness the traditional way of life of the indigenous communities. After the trip, you will be transferred to the Santa Marta Airport for your flight back home or another city (depending on your program), with a lifetime of memories, a wealth of knowledge and a greater appreciation of Colombia's hidden gems.
How much does the lost city trek cost ?
It's important to be aware of the cost of the trek before setting out on your adventure. As of July 2022, the Lost City trek is priced at $1.4 million COP (Colombian pesos) per person, roughly equivalent to $360 USD when booking directly with tour operators in Santa Marta.
How hard is the Lost City hike?
The Lost City Trek is an unforgettable Journey Through Colombia's Hidden Gems, but it's important to be prepared for a moderate intensity hike. The trail is a bit challenging, with some ups and downs on sometimes muddy and slippery jungle trails, covering a distance of approximately 44km (28 miles) out and back and a 2,700m (9,000 ft) elevation gain and loss.
The trek usually takes 4 days (a half-day, two full days, and a final half-day) and with the right preparation, anyone can complete it and make the most of the experience. Be sure to pack your backpack and be ready to explore the hidden gems of Colombia.
Can you do The Lost City trek without a guide?
It is important to note that the Lost City Trek can only be completed as part of a guided tour with one of the approved tour companies. The hike is not open to independent travelers and cannot be accessed through any other means besides the designated multiday trek.
Preparing for the Trek
Physical preparation and recommended gear
When preparing for the Lost City 4 day trek, it is important to consider both physical preparation and necessary gear. The trek involves hiking through rugged terrain and steep inclines, so it is essential to be in good physical condition and to have proper footwear and clothing. It is also recommended to bring a backpack, water bottles, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a headlamp for the night hikes.
Importance of hiring a reputable guide and ensuring safety measures
Additionally, it is essential to hire a reputable guide for the trek, it is important to note that the Lost City Trek can only be completed as part of a guided tour with one of the approved tour companies. Not only do they possess the knowledge and experience to lead the trek safely, but they also have access to permits and resources necessary for the journey. It is important to research the guide and their company prior to booking, and to make sure they have a solid reputation and good reviews.
Practical tips for preparing for the journey, such as obtaining necessary permits and vaccines
Furthermore, safety should be a top priority when preparing for the Lost City trek. It is important to ensure that safety measures, such as first aid kits and emergency communication, are in place. It is also recommended to check with a healthcare professional and obtain necessary vaccinations and medication, such as yellow fever and anti-malarials (but it is not mandatory).
In addition, practical tips that are important to be mindful of when preparing for the journey includes obtaining necessary permits such as national park entrance permits, bring adequate amount of cash since those places has limited option of electronic payment, having enough capacity for phone or camera battery as well as have sufficient storage for the photos and videos during the trek, and researching about the weather in the area and pack accordingly.
Day 1: Arrival and Orientation
Overview of the day's itinerary, including transportation to the starting point and briefing with the guide
The first day of the Lost City 4 days trek begins with your arrival at Santa Marta, a city located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. You'll be greeted by your guide who will provide you with a detailed overview of the itinerary and the trail you will be following. Your guide will also give you a brief on the history and cultural significance of the region. After the briefing, you'll start your journey with a drive to the starting point of the trek, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
The trail itself is challenging and can be quite steep in some parts, but it is also incredibly beautiful. You'll pass through lush tropical forests and witness the stunning natural landscapes of the Sierra Nevada. The trail is well-maintained, and the guide will provide you with a detailed map and information on the flora and fauna of the area.
Description of the starting point and its historical and cultural significance
As you make your way deeper into the Sierra Nevada, you'll come across the first signs of the ancient civilization that once inhabited the area. You'll also pass by the remains of terraced fields and houses, offering a glimpse into the lives of the people who once lived in this remote area.
Overview of the trail and the first day's hike
After a full day of hiking, you'll set up camp in a secluded spot, where you'll enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by the guide. As the night falls, you'll be able to relax and take in the stunning views of the Sierra Nevada under the starlit sky, knowing that you have only just begun your journey to the Lost City.
Day 2: Exploring the Jungle
Description of the day's itinerary, including the continuation of the hike through the jungle
Day 2 is a continuation of the hike into the jungle, where hikers will be surrounded by lush green foliage, exotic birds and wild animals, as well as the chance to see indigenous people living in the area. A skilled guide will provide information on the various types of flora and fauna, as well as guidance on how to safely interact with them. It's important to remember that these animals are wild, and it's essential to respect their natural habitats.
Information about the flora and fauna found on the trail and how to safely interact with them
As the hikers make their way through the jungle, they will be faced with challenging terrain, including steep inclines and rocky paths. The trail is well-marked, but hikers should be prepared for a physically demanding hike. The guide will stop at various points of interest, providing information on the history, culture and traditions of the region.
Overview of the campsite for the night, including amenities and safety measures
At the end of the day, hikers will arrive at the campsite, where they will be provided with basic amenities for the night. The campsite is a safe, secure and comfortable base from which to explore the region. Safety measures will be in place, including security personnel, to ensure the well-being of the hikers. The campsite is equipped with basic facilities such as toilets and showers, as well as areas to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.
Day 3: Climbing the Lost City
Description of the day's itinerary, including the ascent to the Lost City
Day 3 is the highlight of the trek, where we will finally reach the Lost City, also known as Ciudad Perdida. After a challenging ascent, you will be rewarded with incredible views of the surrounding jungle and the ancient ruins of the Lost City. The Lost City is believed to have been built by the Tairona people, an indigenous group that flourished in this region from the 8th to the 14th century. The city is made up of a series of terraces, stairways, and plazas that stretch across the mountain.
Information about the Lost City's history and significance
As we explore the Lost City, our guide will share information about the history and culture of the Tairona people. You'll learn about the various theories about how the city was built and how it was used by the Tairona people. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of Colombia's most important archaeological sites, and a remarkable example of pre-Columbian architecture.
As you take in the views from the top of the Lost City, you'll be able to see the sheer size and complexity of the city, and its impressive engineering. Many of the structures are still in good condition and offer a glimpse into the past. The terraces are overgrown with vegetation, but you can still see the intricate drainage systems and irrigation channels that were built to support the city's population. It is a truly a fascinating glimpse into the past.
It's worth noting that the ruins are not reconstructed and not all the terraces are accessible. the trail is steep and the climb can be challenging, but the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the summit and the views will make it all worth it.
Photos and description of the views and scenery from the top
As we embark on the ascent to the Lost City, it is important to note that altitude sickness, as well as stomach issues, can be common. One of the founders of Travel Differently had an unfortunate experience on the third day of the trek, when the group set out to climb the Lost City. The night before, he had experienced stomach discomfort and nausea due to eating too much chicken, and unfortunately, as the group progressed on the hike, others began to experience similar symptoms. Despite this setback, the group persevered and made the 100-step climb to the top of the Lost City, where they were rewarded with breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. However, it is a reminder that when embarking on a trek like this, it's important to pay attention to your diet and not to over-indulge to avoid similar issues.
Day 4: Return and Reflection
Overview of the final day's itinerary, including the descent from the Lost City and transportation back to the starting point
On the final day of the trek, participants will begin their descent from the Lost City, making their way back down the 100 steps. This can be a challenging, but also a rewarding experience as you reflect on the journey and all the sights and experiences that you've encountered. Your guide will lead the way and provide support throughout the descent.
Tips for reflecting on the journey and what to do with memories and photos from the trip
Once you reach the starting point, transportation will be provided back to Santa Marta, where the journey began. This is also an opportunity to reflect on the trip, the memories and all the new knowledge you've gained. You may wish to organize your photos, journal or blog about your experiences.
Information about post-trek activities, such as visiting nearby towns or relaxing on the beach
There are many options for post-trek activities such as visiting the nearby towns, where you can learn more about the culture and history of the region, or relaxing on the beach for a well-deserved rest. Some people even decide to extend their trip to explore other parts of Colombia. Whatever you choose to do, the Lost City trek is sure to be an unforgettable journey through some of Colombia's hidden gems.
Summary of the highlights of the Lost City trek
The Lost City trek is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that offers a unique glimpse into the ancient history and culture of Colombia. It is a journey that will take you through lush jungles, across rushing rivers, and up steep mountains, all the way to the breathtaking summit of the Lost City. The trek is physically demanding, but with proper preparation and guidance, it is accessible to anyone with a sense of adventure and a love for the outdoors.
As you prepare for the trek, it is essential to focus on both physical preparation and practical planning. Make sure to consult with your guide and tour operator to ensure that you have all the necessary gear and equipment, including sturdy hiking boots, a good backpack, and appropriate clothing for the weather.
In conclusion, the Lost City trek is an unforgettable journey through Colombia's hidden gems. This 4-day itinerary takes you through stunning landscapes and ancient history, culminating in a climb to the legendary Lost City. Whether you're an experienced trekker or a first-time adventurer, this journey is sure to leave a lasting impression.
At Travel Differently, we offer a comprehensive program that includes the Lost City trek and other must-see destinations in Colombia, such as Bogota, Cartagena, and the Tayrona National Park. With our experienced guides and carefully curated itineraries, you can rest assured that your journey will be safe, enjoyable, and truly unforgettable. If you're looking for an adventure of a lifetime, consider joining us on our "LOST CITY TREK AND COLOMBIA'S HIDDEN GEMS" package and discover the hidden gems of this amazing country for yourself!