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Ciudad Perdida

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Revision as of 11:45, 28 December 2012 by (talk) (Typical itinerary)

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Ciudad Perdida

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Ciudad Perdida

Ciudad Perdida ("Lost City" in Spanish) is an ancient, ruined city located in the Colombian jungle close to Santa Marta.


The city was built between the eighth and the fourteenth centuries by the Tayrona Indians. Nowadays only circular stone terraces covered by jungle remain, but the views and the location of the site are extraordinary. Local name for Ciudad Perdida is Teyuna.

Get in

Treks to Ciudad Perdida are arranged by only a few different authorized companies and it is not possible to visit the site on your own :

  • Guias y Baquianos Tour, Calle 10C #1C-59 In the Hotel Miramar, 57 5 431 9667 - cel (57)317-6611-635 (), [1]. Guias y Baquianos was the first agency in organize the lost city tour, they have professional guides with long experience and they help to the indigenous and rural communities.
  • Turcol, Carrera 1C No 50-15, Santa Marta, 421 2222 (), [2]. Turcol is the tried and tested option, having long had an official monopoly on the trek. They also operate a very bare-bones guesthouse in Taganga.
  • Magic tours, (Calle 14 No. 1B -50, Santa Marta), 5 421 9429 / 5 421 94 72 / 317 6792441 (cellular) (). 8 a.m. Also offers treks to Ciudad Perdida.
  • Expotur, Calle 18 No.2-07, next to the soccer field in Taganga, Santa Marta, 57 54 421 9577-cell 3114182706 (), [3]. Expotur is the newest operator but is very professional and promotes sustainable community tourism working with indigenous and rural communities. They have good local guides and frequently offer English translators (These operators beside Guias y Baquianos Tours belong to Asoteyuna).
  • Aventure Colombia, Calle 38 and Carrera 8, Cartagena, (+57) 314 588 2378 / (+575) 664 8500, [4]. This is a travel agency that, apart from other stuff, offers to book the tour to the Ciudad Perdidad for you. They accept credit cards but will charge an additional 4% fee for credit card payments. (Your tour may end up being booked via Magictours, so there really may not be reason to use an agency, other than to speak to a real person before you book. They can, however, be helpful in determining the availability of your choice (6,5,4 day tour). Especially if you are on a very tight schedule it may make sense to book before you get to Taganga or Santa Marta.)

At the moment, all the tour companies have made an agreement such that every tour costs 600,000 COP, regardless of whether it lasts six or five (or only four) days (see below). Some hostels may also be able to assist you. Depending on the season, tours may leave every day or every few days - if you have one or two traveling companions, you are almost assured to be able to leave on the day of your choice. Here you can find more information about the Ciudad Perdida Tour and book online for 600.000 pesos [5]. You can also book your tour ahead while you are in Cartagena in a travel agency (see listing of "Aventure Colombia" above).

Make sure to bring appropriate gear for trekking, including good walking boots, mosquito repellent, a sleeping bag, appropriate clothing for hiking and for nights, and a water bottle. You will also want to take a pack of cards, a small amount of cash, a torch, toilet roll, hand sanitizer or soap, snacks and a book.

Note that Helicopter tours were outlawed in 2010 after studies demonstrated that the helicopter landings were causing site deterioration, and will not be returning.

Map of surroundings of Ciudad Perdida

Typical itinerary

The whole trek is 46.6 km round trip and starts in a small village of Macheté. Six days/five nights: The first day is a three-hour walk to the first camp. The second day is another four hours' hiking, and the third day is six hours to the third camp. The fourth day you walk 1km to the start of Cuidad Perdida and walk up ~1400 steps and spend about 2 hours exploring the site. The fifth day is a eight hour walk back to the first camp and the sixth day is only three hours back to civilization. (An alternative is to spend only the third night at the site and the fourth night in the same camp as the second night, meaning you avoid the eight-hour fifth day.)

Five days/four nights:

  • Day 1: three hour walk to the first camp (possibly the camp "de Adan", 7.6 km)
  • Day 2: four hours' hiking to the camp "Mumake" (7.3 km)
  • Day 3: five hours (7.4 km) to the camp "El Paraiso" located about 1 km (1 hour - bear in mind the 1400 steep and slippery steps) before the Ciudad Perdida.
  • Day 4: You may start early in the morning to explore the site. After your return, and possibly some breakfast, you return to the camp "Mumake" reached after the second day (1 km to CP + 1 km back from CP + 7.4 km = 9.4 km).
  • Day 5: An eight hour walk back to civilization (14.9 km). This last day is mostly downhill, however there are some steep parts - you will remember them from going down on the way to the Ciudad Perdida.

Four days/three nights: If you are in a rush, the trek is definitely doable in four days - it usually means that you start at dawn on the second, third and fourth day, walking about 6 hours each day. Quite a hike, but for fit persons nevertheless a healthy option to escape extensive playing games and reading books in the camp. You will still have down time, just not as long as the other options.


  • During the trek you will pass many little streams and waterfalls, some of which you can swim in, and which have great views. There are several steep uphill climbs (the worst one takes about an hour on the first day), but it is worth it.
  • Although the community atmosphere while walking is great, it is also fun to spend an hour or so away from the group while trekking to see more wildlife, particularly on the 3rd day.


Some of the 169 terraces of the city
  • Make sure to bring a book and some kind of reading light for the downtime each day and night and for the early morning hours.
  • You may end up playing cards a lot during rest periods; it gets dark quite quickly and while the thought of walking in the jungle sounds good, you will be knackered. Plus, it's not a great idea to go wandering about at night outside of the camps.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to swim when you can. This is obviously dependents on your personal preferences. Note that every camp has the opportunity of a shower and/or a nearby river to get some fresh water. Keep natural time constraints for your walking in mind (e.g. daily rain - see below).
  • Try to finish your tour goals before the daily rain at around 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (true [at least] for September). Not only is hiking in the rain bothersome, but it will also get stuff wet and everything that once has become wet will stay wet for the whole trip in this humid climate.
  • Get up as soon as the sun rises and start early with your walk. Since you are close to the equator and electricity is scarce it gets dark soon and you are well advised to use as much natural lighting as possible. This will allow you to indulge in nature even more.
  • As much as you might want to just put your head down and keep walking, take the opportunity to watch for wildlife or take in the amazing scenery.
  • Mosquitos are much less of a problem if you are constantly moving. However, you should not be reluctant on the use of repellent. Bear in mind that after crossing a river water may have taken away some of your mosquito protection, and reapply frequently.


In addition to the occasional beer, bottled water or Gatorade purchasing possibility listed below there is no good reason to bring money.

However, if you do get hurt there is an exit option to take a mule (or horse - depending on availability) back from the camp "Mumake". There is no earlier return point (except a military helicopter, with which they can fly out severe cases from the top of the Ciudad Perdida). If you need this exit option let your guide know in advance because they will bring that poor animal up the mountain just for you. The price for the return should be between COP 80.000 and COP 100.000. Try to avoid this "service" for the animals sake; choose the tour package (6 or 5 days) according to your personal level of fitness.


Meals are included in the price of the tour. The food is basic and scrumptious after intense activity, with plenty of beans, rice , and meat, plus a bit of salad. Dinner and lunch are accompanied with... Tang? Don't worry, you'll be tired enough where everything tastes fantastic. Expect a break or two during the day's hike to stop and refuel with a sugar kick from some fresh fruit.


Bottled water, gatorade, Coca Cola and beer are sold on most of the campsites for 2000-3000 COP each. Prices go up the further you go and reach 5,000 COP at the last camp. Bring extra cash! Better yet, pack a full bottle of something stiff to uncork and share with your new friends after reaching the city.


Sleeping space is either in hammocks strung out under a communal shelter, or in small bunkbeds under netting. Some cabañas even have tents so you can snuggle with another trekker. Blankets are provided if you ask; it's worth asking for one even if the evening is warm as it can get very cold at the higher altitudes. Bringing an inlay may be a wise choice since you can never be sure when those blankets have been washed the last time.


Showers are available at the camps along the way (but lingering in the rivers during crossings makes for a good rinse in the meantime). Just be aware that remaining dripping wet for extended periods in an already humid environment can lead to fungal infections and just generally smelling bad, so it is good to dry off completely after swimming, showering, etc.

Bring at least one full bottle of bug spray and at least one pair of long pants and one long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself from the swarms during rest periods and breaks. Mosquitoes and biting flies are a constant nuisance, especially when you are resting or stopped at camp - when you are actually hiking and moving the problem is much less severe. Bring more bugspray than sunscreen, as often you will be hiking with substantial tree cover.

For each piece of electronic equipment you choose to bring (cell phone, camera, ipod, etc.), purchase a waterproof, crushproof, drybox.

Footwear: The actual hiking should be done with hiking boots. Tennis shoes or sneakers may also work but bear the risk of injury (due to extremely challenging terrain). Remember that you will be walking for a couple of days without getting the chance to seriously cure any achings. For most people hiking boots are advisable as the terrain can be extremely rocky, muddy, and most important - slippery. Probably the most important consideration is to bring a pair of shoes that have a strong grip and are well broken in to avoid blisters.

It is convenient to bring a pair of quick-drying, teva(Chaco)-like sandals for river crossings or to hang out at the camp. The tough minded can also cross the rivers barefooted. In fact, it is very advisable not to soak your hiking shoes as it is highly unlikely they will dry again during the whole tour and a dry shoe will usually greatly improve your comfort.Create category

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