This rugged 10-day trip is ideal for those who want to focus on nature and the outdoors, as it highlights two of the country's biggest natural attractions. Start with a four-day trek to Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range close to the Caribbean sea. Dubbed 'the new Machu Picchu', this challenging journey reaches the archaeological ruins of Teyuna -- accessible by steep climbs and several river crossings. Continue the adventure with a sailing trip in the Caribbean Sea, and then spend two days exploring Tayrona National Park. Finish the adventure with a relaxing float on the Don Diego River.

Highlights

  • Follow the trails of the Indigenous people towards The Lost City 
  • Explore the terraces, ceremonial centers, and Waterfall of the Youth
  • Take a rewarding sailboat trip on the Caribbean Sea
  • Enjoy a free day in Tayrona Park snorkeling, boating, hiking and/or wildlife spotting

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santa Marta (optional city tour) Santa Marta
Day 2 The Lost City Trek - Day 1 of 4 On Trek
Day 3 The Lost City Trek - Day 2 of 4 On Trek
Day 4 The Lost City Trek - Day 3 of 4 On Trek
Day 5 The Lost City Trek - Day 4 of 4 Santa Marta
Day 6 Sailing Day-Trip Santa Marta
Day 7 Tour of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona Santa Marta
Day 8 Free Day Near Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona Santa Marta
Day 9 River Tubing Santa Marta
Day 10 Depart Santa Marta  

Day 1: Arrive in Santa Marta (optional city tour)

Santa Marta's historical downtown
Santa Marta's historical downtown

Welcome to Santa Marta! 

This busy port has a long history as the first Spanish settlement in Colombia and South America’s oldest surviving city. Though it’s often used as a stopping point for numerous day-trips in the area, the historical downtown has been restored, so take a stroll to see the multi-colored buildings and its magnificent cathedral, as well as a slew of hotels, restaurants, and bars.

Nearby, Santa Marta’s Sierra Nevada Mountains are home to Colombia’s tallest peak. It’s also a the gateway for ecological trips to the stunning Tayrona National Natural Park on the palm-fringed Caribbean coast.

If you have time, consider a private tour with a local guide. 

City Tour (3 Hours): A local guide will pick you up at your hotel and share his/her knowledge about this beautiful city. 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 historical center, which has a notable cathedral and gold museum, and then head to the Caribbean waterfront for panoramic views of Taganga, a traditional fishing village. (Optional add-on.)

Day 2: The Lost City Trek - Day 1 of 4

A guided tour of The Lost City Trek
A guided tour of The Lost City Trek

Today is the first day of an unforgettable journey through the Lost City! Depart from your hotel in Santa Marta with an English-speaking guide and drive to the village of Machete Pelao, entrance to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This four-hour hike meanders through traditional coffee and cacao farms reaching the Mamey region where you'll have lunch. 

When you arrive to camp (Adam's hut), there will be free time to enjoy the natural surroundings and swim in a nearby waterfall. Everyone will meet up for dinner, where your guide will share history, language phrases, and customs of this community. Sleep in the campsite's hammocks

Hike Duration: 4 Hours

Day 3: The Lost City Trek - Day 2 of 4

Views on the trail on the way to the Lost City
Views on the trail on the way to the Lost City

After breakfast at camp, you'll start an eight-hour trek. About halfway through the day, your guide will stop and visit the Mutanzhi indigenous community where you'll have a chance to interact with its settlers. 

Continue trekking until you arrive to the third hut in the Paraís Teyuna indigenous community, which is located high above sea level. Here, you will be at the foot of Teizhuna (teyuna), Tayrona's sacred city, where you will see a great deal of unique flora and fauna. 

Relax in the late afternoon and take a dip in the river. Later that evening, your guide will share more information about the Lost City and its sacred meaning for the indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain chain.

Hike Duration: 8 Hours

Day 4: The Lost City Trek - Day 3 of 4

Arriving at The Lost City!
Arriving at The Lost City!

Today is the final overnight of your adventure so enjoy every moment! After breakfast at camp, your guide will take you to the entrance of the Lost City where you'll climb 2000 steps to reach the archaeological site. There will be free time to explore the terraces, ceremonial centers of Ciudad Perdida, and Waterfall of the Youth. Have lunch and then get back on the trail along Buritaca River's indigenous paths, stopping for occasional swims in the natural pools. 

Hike Duration: 8 Hours 

Day 5: The Lost City Trek - Day 4 of 4

Waterfalls along the trek
Waterfalls along the trek

After breakfast at camp, you'll make your way from the Mamey region to Honduras. You'll eventually arrive at Machete Pelao — the entrance to the Sierra Nevada mountain range — and end the adventure! 

Return to your hotel in Santa Marta by private transfer. 

Hike Duration: 8 Hours

Day 6: Sailing Day-Trip

Snorkel in the crystal clear waters
Snorkel in the crystal clear waters

Today, put on your sea legs and enjoy a sailing trip in the Caribbean Sea where you can relax and partake in a range of water activities like sea kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. This area of Colombia is known for its various bays and secluded beaches, so take advantage of its protected coastline as well as the nearby coral reef system with a highly diverse marine habitat.

Day 7: Tour of Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

Beaches in Tayrona National Park
Beaches in Tayrona National Park

After breakfast at your hotel near Tayrona, you'll be transferred to the park where you'll experience some of South America's loveliest coastline with a local guide while visiting the stunning beaches and rainforests of Tayrona — one of three national parks on Colombia's Caribbean coast.

Tayrona Park Walking Tour

This tour includes 4-5 hours of walking and some additional time to relax on the beaches.

You'll first hike in the tropical foothills near Cañaveral, the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Then visit the exotic beaches of Arrecifes and stop at La Piscina, an ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling.

Continue to Cabo San Juan del Guia and see a wonderful bay of white sand surrounded by huge volcanic rocks. On the way here, you can observe several species of local flora and fauna pointed out by your knowledgeable guide. The afternoon is your free time to enjoy lunch on your own and relax on the shore.

Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Tour Duration: Full Day (with an English-speaking guide)

Day 8: Free Day Near Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

Enjoy the wildlife in the park
Enjoy the wildlife in the park

After breakfast, enjoy a free day to experience the natural surroundings around Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (Tayrona National Park), since entry inside the park is only allowed for one day.

This is your chance to explore the region's stunning topography on your own, which boasts the world's highest coastal mountain range. Better yet, take your pick between a range of organized activities such as snorkeling, sailing, river tubing, hiking, or wildlife spotting. You can also take a day-trip to Minca, a beautiful Colombian village in the mountains, and visit a coffee farm. (Optional add-ons.) 

Day 9: River Tubing

River tubing down Rio Don Diego
River tubing down Rio Don Diego

Today, bring your bathing suit take a relaxing tube ride along the lazy Rio Don Diego all the way to the ocean. This fun route winds at a manageable pace through hilly green jungle on both sides of the river where you can hear howler monkeys and see a variety of birds, butterflies and even snowy peaks in the distance. 

If that's not enough, the river culminates at a beautiful white sand beach along the Caribbean Sea. Here, you will have the chance to relax on the sand, swim in the turquoise water, and enjoy the sunshine. 

 

Day 10: Depart Santa Marta

Say goodby to Santa Marta
Say goodby to 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 next transfer and connecting flight home.

Map

Map of The Lost City & Tayrona Park Adventure - 10 Days
Map of The Lost City & Tayrona Park Adventure - 10 Days