Chameleon Americas Colombia Trek to the Lost City 2

Trek to the Lost City

13 days

The trek to Colombia's Lost City or Ciudad Perdida is one of South America's classic trips. The Lost City is made up of terraced complexes, bridges, paths and aqueducts. It's believed to have been built by the Tayrona people around 800 AD. It's a tough five day trek through steamy jungle ascending the slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

The Chameleon team have arranged many holidays to Colombia over the years and have prepared the following itinerary based on our personal recommendation and experience. A reasonable level of fitness is needed to enjoy the trek to Ciudad Perdida. In this trip we include some time in Cartagena, a wonderful colonial city on the Caribbean before the trek. Following the trek, there are a couple of nights included on some beautifully wild beaches around Tayrona National Park - a great way to rest at the end of the trip. Note that the trek is normally shared, but the remainder of the trip can be altered and tailor-made to your requirements. You may wish to combine this trip with other parts of Colombia - please enquire for options.

Holiday Highlights

  • Follow the five day trek through the steaming jungle to reach Colombia's Lost City
  • Explore the colourful city of Cartagena
  • Enjoy a well-earned rest on wild, unspoilt Caribbean beaches
Day 1. Depart UK
Depart the UK in the morning and fly to Cartagena arriving the same evening. Once used by the Spanish as the storehouse for gold and other plundered treasures, the walled city of Cartagena still retains many aspects of its colonial past, with superb architecture and a relaxed Caribbean atmosphere. Spend three nights in Cartagena.
Days 2 and 3. Explore Cartagena
We include a guided half day tour of Cartagena. The rest of the time you have free to explore on your own.
Day 4. Cartagena to Santa Marta
Today you'll travel along the coast to Santa Marta passing through the city of Barranquilla on the way. The journey takes about 5 hours. Santa Marta has a pleasant historic centre on a smaller scale and less restored than Cartagena. Spend two nights in Santa Marta.
Day 5. Trek to Pueblito (optional)
You can either spend today at leisure, or (extra cost) we can arrange a day trek in Tayrona National Park to the small archaeological site of Pueblito or Chairama. The walk climbs through jungle to reach the small ruins before descending to the wild beaches of Tayrona where you can enjoy a well-earned swim before returning to Santa Marta.
Day 6 to 9. Trek to the Lost City / Ciudad Perdida Trek
La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the highest coastal mountain range in the world. It rises up to 5775 meters at Bolivar peak and is only 50 kilometres, as the crow flies, away from the sea. In addition to its immense wealth in bio-diversity, the park is also the home of indigenous groups such as the Arhuacos and the Koguis. It also contains one of the most outstanding and impressive archaeological sites of the continent: The Lost City or Ciudad Perdida is situated at an altitude of 900 to 1,300 meters and completely surrounded by the jungle. The Tayrona Indians, who flourished between the 13th and 14th century are thought to have constructed this archaeological wonder. Ciudad Perdida is composed of terraced complexes, bridges, paths and aqueduct.

The trek takes five days: three days up to the ruins and two days back downhill. Distances covered each day are small, but the terrain can be difficult, with high temperatures, stream crossings and mud. A good level of fitness is essential. Accommodation is usually in hammocks with basic facilities. You need to carry your personal belongings, but a porter will carry equipment such as sleeping bags, mosquito nets and hammocks. Meals are included throughout. Your guide may only speak Spanish, though we will try to arrange an English speaker.

Typically the trek works as follows with the first three days being all uphill and the last two downhill:

  • Day 1: Santa Marta to Adan - three hours of trekking (5 km)
  • Day 2: Adan to Gabriel - three hours of trekking (6 km)
  • Day 3: Gabriel to Ciudad Perdida - five hours (8 km)
  • Day 4: Ciudad Perdida to Gabriel - five hours (8 km)
  • Day 5: Gabriel to Santa Marta - eight hours (14 km)
Day 10. To Tayrona
At the end of the final day of your trek, you will be taken to a private nature reserve not far from Tayrona National Park. You'll stay here two nights (more if you wish) where you can relax and enjoy some wonderfully wild and unspoilt beaches. On a clear day you may be able to see the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Should you still be feeling active, there is plenty to do here, with day walks, horse-riding and kayaking available. Accommodation is in comfortable, thatched beach cabins, all within 100 metres of the sea. There is no electricity, light is provided by candle. All meals are included during your stay here.
Day 11. At leisure
Free day to rest following the trek, or do an optional activity arranged with your lodge.
Day 12. Depart
You'll be taken to Santa Marta airport and fly back to the UK overnight via Bogota.
Day 13. Arrive UK

13 days

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