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Find the Lost City of Colombia

April 12, 2017

In the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia, hides the ruins of an ancient indigenous town called “Teyuna” (Lost City). The city was built by the ‘Tayronas’ in 800AD, some 650 years before the world famous Machu Picchu and long before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived.

It has an architectural style that had never been seen before; it is based around a series of 169 terraces carved into the mountainside and with an especially unique design. The entrance can only be accessed by climbing around 1,200 stone steps that pass through beautiful, dense jungle- making it a popular hiking route for visitors in the modern day!

It was rediscovered as recently as 1972 when a group of local treasure looters followed the ‘steps’ up the hill and came across the abandoned city. When mysterious gold items and decorative urns started to appear on the Colombian black market, archaeologists and historians were set the task of finding where they came from, and that is when they came across the city too and restoration and conservation projects commenced.  It is thought to be the centre of a whole network of villages and settlements in the area that once thrived.

The Trek

There are a number of different ways of doing the trek depending on your fitness level and how fast or slow you want to take it. You have the choice of 4 days, 5 days or 6 days. The route below is one example of how to see the ancient city and amazing surrounding landscape in all its glory.

This challenging yet deeply rewarding trek up to the lost city will take you far into the mystical jungle-laden mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Jungle paths, stunning waterfalls and amazing natural pools, all amidst a towering green mountain landscapes are just some of the highlights of this adventure. 

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Day 1: Your journey begins in the capital Bogotá where you will spend the night, before travelling to your starting point in El Mamey. Alternatively stay in near by Santa Marta - just a short drive from the start point. From here you trek to Adán camp, the first camp of the trek where you climb into your covered hammock for your first night in the jungle wilderness! 

Day 2: This is a challenging day, as you cross some tricky terrain and climb some steep uphill inclines, however you can take all the time you need, stopping for breaks to admire the fantastic surroundings. This includes passing some traditional thatched huts of the Kogi people, proof that there are still indigenous people living in this area. The tropical wildlife and vegetation is outstanding- this is real-life rainforest territory! After stopping at Wiwa camp (camp no.2) for lunch you push on to camp 3 - El Paraiso Camp, for another night in a hammock covered only by a thatched roof!

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Day 3: In the morning you take a short walk to the 1,200 steps leading up to the lost city ruins! After battling the stairs, you have the whole morning to explore this fascinating and awe-inspiring settlement. The city is so quiet and serene it is incredibly moving and will take your breath away.

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This afternoon, it’s time to start your journey back down the trek - stopping at Camp no.3 (El Paraiso) for a quick lunch before progressing on to Wiwa camp (camp no.2) for the night - you will start getting used to this unique way of living! 

Day 4: After a night at Wiwa camp, you complete a challenging stretch back to Adán camp where you will spend the night.

Day 5: Today you will head back to your starting point of El Mamy for a rewarding lunch! 

After the trek, many people then take a bit of relaxation time travelling down the coast to enjoy the stunning scenery of the Caribbean coastline. This area is an absolute paradise of white sandy beaches surrounded by lush jungle, natural pools and crystal clear seas.

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Interested in The Lost City Trek or discovering the beauty of Colombia? Get in touch today! Check out our Colombia itineraries here. 

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