Finding The Lost City (trek) – Colombia

After four days of trekking (44km) in the jungle, I was exhausted. The last day was especially difficult as it was the longest and most tiring one. The temperatures were high and so was the humidity. My feet were covered in blisters and my knees in pain. So, why all the effort? To discover The Lost City. Was it worth it? YES!

Ciudad Perdida trek, Colombia.

Finding the Lost City (trek) in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City (trek) in Colombia.

They say it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. I say it’s both. At least for the Lost City. The scenery, as you start your walk early each morning is undeniably beautiful and although it’s physically demanding, you can’t help but being impressed and often stopping to admire it. OK, I also stopped a few times to catch my breath :).

Finding the Lost City trek in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City trek in Colombia.

Day one: Welcome to the jungle

We left the agency in Santa Marta past 10am, arrived in Machete (the starting point of the trek) for lunch, and soon after we started the hike. The first hour of the first day is extremely hard. The way up is really steep and you are climbing it at midday when the sun is at its strongest. I was more than thankful for the cold watermelon that was waiting for us as we arrived at the first stop, one hour later. We walked for about 4h until reaching the campsite located near a lake which allowed for a cooling night swim. Soon it was dinner time and then off to bed for a well-deserved night rest.

Finding the Lost City (trek) in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City (trek) in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City (trek) in Colombia.

Day two: One long and hard day

Early start at around 5:30am, then breakfast and the start of a 6h trek. The views on day two were probably the best especially the sunrise ones. We arrived at the campsite – the biggest we had seen – had an early (candlelight) dinner and called it a day. The next day was the big day.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Day three: Finding the Lost City

We woke up at around 5am with departure time just after breakfast at around 6am. The trek to the Lost City was short, about 1h, but so damn hard. The rock steps were difficult to climb and when you looked up you could see they were never ending. Advice, don’t look up :).

After climbing the 1260 rock steps we reached the Lost City. I had read that the site itself was not as impressive as the trek, but I disagree. I think the site is spectacular, and what I loved the most was the quietness. It seemed like everybody understood and respected the Lost City. Ok, maybe they were also tired from the grueling 1260 steps :).

The time spent at the site was about 1-2h. This allowed us to rest and take in the beauty of the surroundings.

We then made our way down on the rocky steps. I can’t say which part was more difficult, the way up or the way down :).

After lunch which took place at the same camp where we spend the night, we started going back following the same path as when we came.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City (trek) in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City trek in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City trek in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Day 4: Early start and the toughest day

The last day was the toughest day because I was already really tired, my feet were covered in blisters, so walking the whole day was not my idea of fun. But hey, no one forced me to do this. Well, actually, Bertrand sort of did :).

I was happy to finish the trek and until the last painful step, I told myself that I was not going to do this kind of trek again, only to change my mind a few minutes later. After all, the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu was waiting for me :).

In conclusion, the Lost City trek was the hardest trek I have ever done, and in the same time one of the best experiences. I would not do it again, but I am pretty happy and proud to have done it.

Finding the Lost City trek in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City (trek) in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

Tips and tricks:

How to get there: You need to get to Santa Marta first where all the tour agencies are located. We took a flight from Bogota and then a taxi from the airport (there are no buses).

Where to stay: We booked Media Luna hostel in Santa Marta for one one night before the trek and one after. The best part about staying there was that they kept our luggage for four days (during the trek) without charging us.

Choosing your tour agency: Once you are in Santa Marta, you can choose your agency (we went with Magic Tour) and most of them offer similar services. In the end, it will be the people (guides) that make the difference. We were lucky to have a great guide, Saul, who took great care of us throughout the trek. I warmly recommend him.

What the package should include: Transportation from Santa Marta to the village of Machete where the trek starts; lunch and dinner on the first day, all three meals on day two and three, breakfast and lunch on day 4 (we also had fresh fruit at every stop along the way, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to eat a cold slice of watermelon after walking in the sun for hours); accommodation each night in single beds covered by mosquito nets (no hammocks); guide briefing and information each day and a thorough description of the Lost City; transportation back to Santa Marta. *Our tour also included an English translator.

 

If you like it, why not Pin it! :)

Finding the Lost City in Colombia.

 

Be careful!

When researching the trek we found a  European agency who gave us more than twice the price we got in Colombia. The Santa Marta agencies should all have the same price, so be aware of international ones that will overcharge you. We were there in March 2016 and paid COP 700000 per person.

 

*This post contains affiliate links.

 

34 Responses
  • Karen
    October 1, 2016

    This is so dreamy and loved it! I would love to go here! So inspiring!

    • Hidden Gems
      October 2, 2016

      Glad you liked it, Karen.

  • Zoe Naylor
    October 1, 2016

    Wow, this looks such a great experience! Absolutely love the photos :) I hope to do this trek one day

    • Hidden Gems
      October 2, 2016

      Thanks, Zoe :).

  • Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie
    October 1, 2016

    Looks like quite the accomplishment! The scenery of the mountains and jungles around you look incredible. What’s the historical significance of the lost city? Do they know who built it and lived there?

    • Hidden Gems
      October 2, 2016

      They compare the Lost City to Macchu Pichu, and although it’s much smaller, it has quite a few similarities. It was built by the Tairona people (that might not be the right spelling btw) who used to leave there and just like Macchu Pichu, the Lost City was not discovered by the Spanish. It was inhabited and was considered the political and commercial heart for the Tairona people. Hope this helps :).

  • Stacey
    October 1, 2016

    This is fantastic! I really want to do this trek! Thanks for this!

    • Hidden Gems
      October 2, 2016

      :).

  • Christina
    October 1, 2016

    Fabulous photos. Love the scenery! Colombia looks beautiful and the Lost City Trek looks intriguing. Was the weather really steamy? What’s the best time of year go to?

    • Hidden Gems
      October 2, 2016

      We went in March and it was hot as hell, however, the guides were telling us that it’s better than the rainy season when it gets really hard to cross the rivers.

  • Alina Popescu
    October 1, 2016

    The photos are absolutely stunning! This search for a lost city looks like a proper wild adventure!

    • Hidden Gems
      October 2, 2016

      thanks, Alina :).

  • Jennifer
    October 1, 2016

    Awesome job! Multi-day treks like this are tough because your body just doesn’t get a chance to rest and the aches just never ease. Like you, there are a couple treks I’d just never do again but every painful step was worth it in the end.

    • Hidden Gems
      October 2, 2016

      Thanks, Jennifer :).

  • an old friend
    October 1, 2016

    Absolutly breathtaking. What a wonderful planet God has given us!
    Your are truly brave and have a strong will to have done this treck. I could see it in on your face how proud you were for getting there, and you should be proud of it. Did you “meet ” any wildlife ?

    • Hidden Gems
      October 2, 2016

      Thanks :). I did meet a “lovely” wild pig who scared the s… out of me :).

  • Megan
    October 3, 2016

    Congrats on completing the trek! I felt the same way about my Kilimnajaro climb – it was the toughest thing I had ever done, but those experiences are the most rewarding. I love that the lost city seems far less touristy than the likes of ruins like Machu Picchu – the mass tourism there really ruined it for me.

    • Hidden Gems
      October 4, 2016

      I agree about Machu Picchu, and although the Lost City is far from being so touristy now, in a few years it will be less “peaceful”. But, hey, everyone wants to see these wonders and who can blame them :).

  • Mar
    October 3, 2016

    Great job completing the trek and taking so many lovely photos! Really inspired and adding it to my bucket list now, on top of Machu Picchu, thanks for sharing this otherwise overlooked treasure! Like Megan said it seems far less touristy, would love to try it out!

    • Hidden Gems
      October 4, 2016

      Thanks for dropping by, Mar :).

  • Indrani
    October 3, 2016

    Incredible journey! I like how you have documented day wise with wonderful pictures.
    Great that you completed the trek, I have done comparatively smaller and easier treks.

    • Hidden Gems
      October 4, 2016

      Thanks you, Indrani :).

  • Natasha
    October 3, 2016

    Great photos and storytelling! Everything is so green and lush. Makes me just want to get out of the city and get away on a fantastic trek.

    Awesome on you guys for completing the journey!

    • Hidden Gems
      October 4, 2016

      Thanks you, Natasha :).

  • Kelly
    October 3, 2016

    This really sparked the inner adventurer in me! I’ve never heard of this lost city before. Maybe I am way off base here but did any concerns about the FARC come up? I know if I were to tell my family an friends that I was going to go trecking in the Columbian jungle they would be a little worried.

    • Hidden Gems
      October 4, 2016

      If I remember correctly, a few years back, Farc used to control the area. However, the Colombian army took over and they are now protecting the site. I didn’t include the pictures where they appeared but they were there. Indeed, many years ago some tourists were kidnapped, a story we found out from our guide during the trek, which was a bit scary, but now it’s OK, and not just the jungle. We traveled in Colombia for one month and it was perfectly fine.

  • Vicky and Buddy
    October 4, 2016

    Your photos are really beautiful. Although the trek was difficult, it definitely seems worth it. How many people were in your group? It seems like it was small, which makes for a more personal experience.

    • Hidden Gems
      October 4, 2016

      I can’t remember the exact number but it must have been 12-15. Even so, it was a great experience as well all got along well and our guide was awesome :).

  • Carla
    October 5, 2016

    loved the photos! Really looks like the 4 days trek was worth it. I too, would be willing to do this if I get to visit Colombia.

  • Trisha Velarmino
    October 8, 2016

    I was here about 3 years ago and I definitely loved it! I don’t remember if I did 4 days tho. Was it really 4 days? Anyway, thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos!

  • AlicevstheWorld
    November 4, 2016

    It looks incredible, gorgeous photos!

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