Ciudad Perdida (or the "Lost City") is located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range close to the Caribbean sea. Here, you’ll discover the past life of local indigenous people with their wooden houses and stone structures, including terraces and stairways.

Highlights

  • Discover the Lost City located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
  • Visit local, indigenous villages such as Mutanyi
  • Climb ancient, stone steps while enjoying beautiful views of the surrounding forest
  • Reach the highest point of 1,500 meters or 4,920 feet
  • Spend 5 days enjoying spectacular jungle views and swimming in waterfalls
  • Sleep in hammocks overnight to enjoy the stunning night sky

Overview

This trek is not for the beginner hiker, but better for someone looking for a moderate to strenuous hike. The hike involves about 27 miles (44 km.) of walking, including many ascents and descents and very little flat areas. Although it isn't necessary to have special equipment for this trek, you do need a guide for help in navigating the trail, which crosses rivers.

The Lost City Trek is a great experience for anyone interested in the ancient history of the region. Discovered roughly half a century ago and established about 650 years before Machu Picchu, this archeological site, also known by the names of Teyuna and Buritaca, is one of a kind.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santa Marta

Sunset on Rodadero Beach, Santa Marta

Welcome to Santa Marta! This busy port enjoys the distinction of being the first Spanish settlement in Colombia. Though it’s often used as a stopping point for day-trips in the area, the historic downtown has been restored and is worth a visit. Stroll its cobbled streets lined with multi-colored buildings and take plenty of photos (you won't miss the stately, white-washed cathedral). There is a slew of hotels, restaurants, and bars in the area, too.

Nearby, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains are home to Colombia’s tallest peak, Pico Cristóbal Colón, which sits at a whopping 5,700 meters (18,700 feet). These mountains are also the gateway to postcard-worthy Tayrona National Natural Park, on the palm-fringed Caribbean coast.

A local guide will pick you up at your hotel and share his/her knowledge about Santa Marta. Your tour includes a visit to the botanical garden and Quinta San Pedro Alejandrino (where The Liberator, Simón Bolívar, died in 1830). You'll explore the city's historic center and then head to the Caribbean waterfront for panoramic views of Taganga, a traditional fishing village.

Day 2: Santa Marta - Mamey Region

Local guide pointing out natural waterfall

Departure from Santa Marta in 4x4 for roughly 2.5 hours to the village of Machete Pelao, the entrance of the Sierra Nevada. You will walk until the Mamey region across coffee and cacao farms. Next is the arrival to the first camp, located close to a beautiful waterfall. You will visit the area and swim in the waterfall. Total walking time for the day is roughly 4 hours.  Later, you will have dinner and a night in hammocks at the camp.

Day 3: Mutanyi and Buritaca River

Indigenous village of Mutanyi

Today, you will walk approximately 4 hours in the tropical forest along the Buritaca Valley, crossing the river until you reach the Indigenous village of Mutanyi. During the afternoon, there is the possibility to swim in natural pools and to participate in the activities of an Indigenous family living in the camp where you will spend the night. Later, you have dinner and stay a night in hammocks.

Day 4: Koskunguena, Rio Buritaca

View of the Sierra Nevada

Day three begins with a walk along Indigenous paths crossing the Buritaca with a nice view over the Sierra Nevada until the camp of the Mamo (Mamo: Kogi spiritual leader) of the Lost City. You will have lunch and swim in the Buritaca River close to a waterfall. Today's total hiking time will be approximately 6 hours.  Later is dinner and a night in hammocks at Mamo Romualdo's farm.

Day 5: The Lost City

Ancient structures in the Lost City

On day four, you walk to the entrance of the Lost City and climb the 2,000 steps up to the archaeological site. You will visit the site with all its terraces, ceremonial centers of Ciudad Perdida, and the waterfall of the Youth. Then have lunch and walk along the Buritaca River on Indigenous paths. There is the possibility to swim in the Buritaca natural pools as well. Total hiking time for today will be about 7 hours.  Later, have dinner and stay another night in hammocks.

Day 6: Honduras

Beautiful waterfall flowing into the river

On the last day, hiking roughly 4 hours, you will have breakfast and return by foot from the Mamey region to Honduras. Upon your arrival at Machete Pelao, it's the end of the adventure! You depart and head to Santa Marta in 4X4 for a 2.5-hour return trip.

Day 7: Depart Santa Marta

The cathedral, Santa Marta

It's time to say goodbye to Colombia! Enjoy your last morning in Santa Marta with a leisurely breakfast and walk along the sea. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your connecting flight home.

Map

Map of The Lost City Trek - 7 Days
Map of The Lost City Trek - 7 Days