The Lost City trek in Colombia is not all about the archaelogical ruins. They are the finish line, and the arrival provide you a sense of accomplishment, but the journey itself, seen as an exploration, can surprise you. Let us show you 7 highlights of the Lost City Trek.

1 – Stunning plants and flowers

Tagua palm and exotic flower Lost City

Plant of purple leaves Lost City Trail
One plant that caught my attention was this one that looks like to be a fern. The leaves have a purple hue when the leaves are tender and turn green over time. It is pretty common there.

This region has a rich variety of plants, and the trek to Ciudad Perdida is the opportunity to see them for the first time. For those who live in the area, these plants are just “part of their world” and they do not see anything surprising in them. Yet, there they are, waiting to be admired.

Some examples are: the sensitive plant, a creeping plant that closes its foliage when you touch it. Heliconias, ferns, tagua palms, bromelias. The plants used by indigenous people are fascinating too, the coca plant, fique, and those used in dying their handicrafts. It is possible to see some fruit trees or plants like those of pineapple, avocado, mango, banana, tobacco, among others.

2 – Splendid views and scenery

Sunrise view from the Lost City trail

The Lost City Trail have really spectacular natural landscapes. Due to the combination of mountains and jungle leave a beautiful mark everywhere you see, from the stop places you can glimpse splendid valleys while you recharge your energy. This will be a constant, even from the Lost City, the views are amazing.

3 – The all-in-one cultural, historical, ecological and spiritual background of the tour

Spiritual indigenous leader home Lost City

The information discussed about the history of the place, the ecological and spiritual way in which the actual indigenous people live, can be very appealing. Teyuna is a sacred place for the natives and there are travelers and peasants that believe it is an energetic spot of the planet. For the traveler, these new points of view of the world are a remarkable thing of the tour, too.

4 – Refreshing waters near you all the time

River Lost City trail

The trail follows the valley of the Buritaca River and crosses several streams and springs. Close to each camp there is a section of a stream suitable for taking a dip. We can not deny that the weather here is hot, but we have near us these refreshing waters to make us forget about it and have a good time too.

5 – The challenge itself

Tourists doing the Lost City trek on a muddy terrain

Many find the challenge of the Lost City Trek itself appealing. In many cases, it is the first time that our visitors go into a jungle. In fact, we have seen that for some it is the first time that they are physically demanding in a tour like this, they go through muddy sections that test their balance and in some cases it is even the first time that they cross a suspension bridge!

It is possible that after finishing this experience, you know yourself better about what you are capable of doing and you could wish to repeat an experience like this.

6 –  What you feel when you get to the finish line: The Lost City

Lost City Archaelogical Site

The third day, before your arrival to the Lost City, you have to cross a river and then start climbing the famous 1,200 steps that take you to the Teyuna archaelogical site. It only takes 1 hour, but you could feel the sacred place is trying to see if you really deserve to get there. In this part you have to be focused on the tiny steps and to be patient, because the final stage of the challenge can not be done in a hurry. At your arrival, a sense of accomplishment can be felt and seen on all faces.

7 – Honorary mentions

Before leaving we want to add two more things. We have put them as they are one ‘extra’ highlight as we consider each of them does not make this trek unique, but are worth mentioning.

  • New friends: After being 4 days sharing this experience, any new person you know can become a new friend, a travel partner or at least someone that can give you great travel recommendations and direct reviews.
  • Food: We have to be honest, the food can be repetitive. But the rations will satisfy you, they are plentiful and tasty. For this reason, many find the meals of the Lost City trek a highlight of the tour, too.

Ready for discover these highlights of the Lost City trek in Colombia by your own. Mega Sierra Tour is glad to accompany you in this four or five days journey of exploration, and help you find surprises along the trail!

Would you like to know a little bit about the logistics of the Lost City trek? Let’s see what happens behind the scenes that makes possible this adventure.

Before the trek

The day before the trek they made sure that the pick up for the departure was arranged and clear. We should know what time we will pick us up at our accommodation, if we had to arrive at the office or if they would pick us up on the way to Ciudad Perdida.

Starting the tour

They carried the group’s information on a form. The driver and the guide kept one each. They also sent forms to the indigenous and peasant communities and to the ICANH (Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History) which is in charge of the conservation of the Archaeological Park.

Our guide was very early in the public market of Santa Marta acquiring all the supplies needed for the trek. He took into account the size of the group and our food preferences. All supplies were carried in the same vehicle that transported the group that day.

After having the supplies, the pickup started. Meanwhile, at the office, they were registering everyone’s details to the medical assistance service and reporting to Migración Colombia (Colombia’s immigration office). Well, they do that and more boring office stuff, but quite important as you see.

The trek

When we arrived at El Mamey, we had lunch. In the village, we ate lunch in restaurants of the peasant community. There you can leave the luggage you do not need for the trek, it is free of charge and safe. You can pick up your luggage on the last day of the tour.

At this time we could get to know our guide better, who gave us more information about the tour and some recommendations.

During the trek, our cook went ahead of us, he must arrive with enough time to prepare our food. In the old days the cook had to carry everything! They even cooked with wood, for which the cook was also responsible to get. For this reason, even today the cook is called porter. Everyday, both the guide and the cook get up early to have everything ready to start the hike between 6 and 7 AM.

The mules on the trail carry the food to each camp and only carry supplies. Since the price is based on the animal carrying several bundles of food, renting a mule to carry just one backpack, is quite expensive.

Staff and communication

Alfredo Campsite - Lost C‫ity
Alfredo camp, one of the campsites where to stay the first day of the tour.

As most guides do not speak English, there is an interpreter who also helps the guide in some cases. For example, if there are tourists who are very far behind, the guide stays with them and the interpreter can go ahead with those who walk faster and do not need as much help.

All camps and companies were connected via walkie-talkie, but since some months ago all camps got internet connection to which staff have access and thus can communicate more quickly and directly with each office in Santa Marta (Tourists have access in two of the three camps).

The staff working on the trail includes people we have not mentioned yet.

At the campsites there are “cabañeros” (managers or owners of the cabin), who manage the accommodations and together with their staff are in charge of organizing and cleaning.

ICANH officials who look after the Lost City ruins, manage the carrying capacity and issue the tickets. In addition, there is a base of the Colombian army in the area.

The last day of the tour

The last day, we end in El Mamey, any extra luggage is picked up at the restaurant where we say goodbye to our adventure with a delicious lunch. A car that is dropping off a group of new trekkers, took us to Santa Marta.

All the people along the Teyuna – Ciudad Perdida trail act as one to make this tour an unforgettable experience. Do not hesitate to book it!

Note: Some details may vary from one tour to another.

One of the things that stand out in the reviews about the Lost City trek is its food, since it is not only delicious but also abundant. If you want to know in advance what awaits you, this is the article you were looking for.

Ingredients used in the kitchens of the Lost City Trail

Below we explain the most common ingredients in the preparations offered in the tour to Ciudad Perdida and explanations about some typical foods.

  • The fruits offered at the stops are generally watermelons and/or oranges. At breakfast the most common are: pineapple, melon and papaya.
  • Arepa: This is a typical food of Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine, made from corn flour. It has a circular and flattened shape.
  • Cheese (Queso costeño): It is a low humidity and hard cheese. It is characterized by being salty.
  • Ingredients of the soups: Ahuyama, cassava, potato, corn, cooking banana. Vegetables such as onions, coriander.
  • Protein: Beef, chicken, fish, tuna, chorizo. (Pork is not offered).

Breakfast

Breakfast (Bread, cheese, eggs, fruit)
Breakfast

In each camp the work starts quite early and a good coffee cannot be required. So you can start the morning with your coffee while you finish getting ready for the hike.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and if it is for such a demanding hike much more! For this reason breakfast should provide the necessary nutrients and energy. Generally, breakfast will be a simple but generous portion of bread, eggs and/or cheese and fruit. In some cases the bread can be replaced by arepas. This breakfast can be accompanied by a good hot chocolate.

Lunch

Lost City Lunch - Rice grilled chicken salad and soup of vegetables
Lunch

In Colombia a typical lunch includes rice, meat, vegetables, salad and soup. Lunch can be a combination of the usual rice, with beef, chicken or fish. Beans or lentils, some salad and soup.

Soups are usually just vegetables and tubers, so they are suitable for vegetarians too.

Snacks in Lost City
Served! The snacks in Lost City

Snacks

The guide will offer snacks which are usually cookies, chocolates or other. In Ciudad Perdida a variety of snacks are offered that can include chips, popcorn, fruit, cookies, snack (a type of guava candy), etc.

Dinner

Dinner is similar to lunch. It can be rice with vegetables or rice accompanied by some variety of salad and beef.

Common questions about food

Can I have vegetarian or vegan meals during the Lost City trek?

Our cooks have the training to prepare vegetarian or vegan meals and will be happy to consider your request. (During the booking process, we will inquire about your food preferences or restrictions in order to prepare your meals according to your specifications).

If I have food allergies or special dietary requirements, can you handle them?

These cases are frequent. So, our cooks will also be ready to strictly follow your instructions. During the booking process we will need you to tell us the severity of the allergy, a detailed list of the foods you are allergic to and what type of medication you will bring with you, in case of an emergency. If your allergy is very severe, it will be better if you come with someone trained in attending any unforeseen event.

Do you provide water during the trek to Ciudad Perdida?

You can refill your bottle or camelbak at each campsite. Just bring it full of water on the first day of the tour. We take the water from pure water sources and then filter it, so it is not necessary to bring pills or drops to purify the water. We recommend being reasonable with the amount of water you will carry during the tour as you will be carrying your backpack all the time. Keep in mind what to bring and what not to bring for the Ciudad Perdida tour.

Evidently, you will eat like an ancient Tayrona leader, so you can have the enough energy to live this challenging experience.

Mega Sierra Tour runs daily departures to the Ciudad Perdida (Lost City), come and see why we are a different company. Do not hesitate to visit this historical site with us!

The best time to do the Lost City trek is the dry season. In this region this season runs from January to July with a minimum increase of the precipitations in April and May. The most popular periods for doing the Lost City trek are August, the last week of December and the first week of January. In this article we want to show you what you can expect each month of the year. We take into account the weather and the flow of people. (The weather station in Santa Marta collects data from some points of the territory, the data we analyze here corresponds to those of the Tayrona Park in view of the fact that they are the closest to Ciudad Perdida and with the most similar climate).*

Precipitation and weather Tayrona Park
Annual Precipitation and temperature.

The Lost City Trek month by month

January – February

By January, the rainy season has ended totally. December, January and sometimes February are windy months. The nights are cooler than others during these days. In January continues the holiday season in Colombia, so the first days of the month could be very crowded.

February is similar to January. The windy period known as “La Loca” ends. Other info: In February the Tayrona Park is closed but it does not affect the Lost City Trek.

March, April, May, June

By March, the previous dry days are so evident in the level of water of the rivers and the mountains around the urban area. The flow of people goes down until its lowest peak in May – June. This is the best moment to do the trek if you care about crowds. Just remember when is the Holy Week, this short period of time has an increase of local tourism, but even that, the campsites are not going to be so busy. From April on you will have some rainfalls, in some cases there will be a refreshing drizzle or the clouds will just cover the sun.

July – August

So similar to April and May, during July and August there is an increase in the flow of people and rainfalls. In recent years, August has been really wet.

September (The Lost City is closed)

Remember, September is the month when they close the Archaelogical Park. The companies restart operations by 29th September (This date cannot be guaranteed. Please contact us to get more info about it).

October – November

The rainiest month of the year is October. If you do the trek during this month, or November, be ready for the toughest and most challenging version of the Lost City trek.

December – January

By December, the rainfalls stop gradually as the breezes increase. The last week of the month can have days really crowded as so the first week of January.

Flow of People 2018 - 2019 - Lost City trek
Flow of People 2018 – 2019 – Lost City trek

Extra things to take into account

  • This article is intended as a guide, not a weather forecast.
  • The humidity in the mountainous region is high all year round (higher than 80%).
  • Whenever you do the trek be prepared for surprising rainfalls or drizzles. But do not bring thick raincoats or you will cook yourself wrapped in it. Check our Lost City Packing List out for more information.
  • No matter what season it is, when it rains it is almost always in the afternoon. This offers a double advantage: first, you will be arriving at each campsite by the time it starts raining, and second, the Lost City is visited in the morning, so the weather will not be a problem.

* Notes: Other points such as San Lorenzo (2,200 m.a.s.l.) have a totally different climate and those located in the urban area record higher temperatures, less humidity and less precipitations. For that reason we consider the Tayrona Park or Guachaca as the most accurate references.

We could answer inmediately with a resounding yes, but we are a company that offers the tour so, you would think we only want to sell you something. That is why we want you to show the answers of travel bloggers that have done the trek in the last 3 years. What we did is simple: We have collected their answers and put them on the same place, so you can compare them and conclude by yourself if the Lost City trek is worth the money. As we want to be as fair and transparent as possible, these blogger have done the trek with different companies. We are focusing on the destination itself. So, let’s start!

What travel bloggers tell you about the Lost City trek

“… when I found out about the Lost City trek & the journey involved, my heart leapt at the prospect of such a mysterious escapade. It’s been on my radar for years, and after finally doing it the other week, I can say it’s even better than I thought it would be.”

Ford, Where’s the gringo

 

“It’s a tough but rewarding journey. After all, like all great treks, it’s not just about the end destination. The entire trip has a lot to offer and you’ll be in awe of your surroundings from start to finish. It’s definitely something to add to your bucket list.”

Juan Martínez, Traveler’s buddy

 

“If being hot, fatigued, sweaty, dirty, and bug-bitten is a suitable trade-off for you in exchange for incredible landscapes and ancient ruins, then you’ll find this hike well worth it (we certainly did!).”

Jen Avery, Thrifty Nomads

 

“Overall, the Lost City Trek was a tough hike, but it was definitely worth it to see more of the Colombian jungle and the remnants of the Ciudad Perdida.”

Claire, Tales of a backpacker

 

“Most hikers are not that experienced, they just see this as a cool challenge. So you don’t have to be experienced at all. If you like to hike, just do it! You won’t regret it, I promise you.”

Maaike Lut, Travel a lut

 

“You might be asking yourself, ‘Is the Lost City trek worth it?’ and our answer is “YES!” It’s a unique hike that allows you to experience the natural beauty of the region as well as immerse yourself in the history of the area.”

Oksana and Max, Drink tea and travel

 

And your conclusion is…

Whether you are deciding to start this adventure or you just booked it and need an extra confirmation you have made a good decision, we are sure the experience of these travelers will be very helpful. As shown, what you have to consider the most is the effort required by the trek and the toughness of the jungle. We have dedicated an article to see all the factors that can help you to determine the level of hardness of the Lost City trek and show you if the trek is for you, do not hesitate to check it out. Now it’s time to live the Lost City Trek experience by yourself and write your own review! It will not be much different from those seen here!

The difficulty level of the Lost City trek ranges from moderate to difficult. Factors as weather (rainy vs dry season) and your condition of fitness, vary the perception of difficulty. Basically the tour is suitable for most people provided that they do not have any health issue. Let us explain you how we can rate this trek considering different factors, so, you can be prepared for it.

Wet clay-like soil
You will be literally walking on clay.

The Lost City Trek, for everyone?

As we have pointed out in our article about safety in the Lost City Trek, there are health issues you have to take into account while deciding taking the trek. But in general, even people with a sedentary lifestyle can finish the trek satisfactorily. In these cases we recommend to take the 5 days trek. The difference between the 4 day and 5 day tour to the Lost City is not so significant (for a trekker) and can take you one more day of your holidays, but enough to let you finish it without being extremely tired.

Of course, there are other reasons that can help you determine if this trek is for you or not: if you do not want to be surrounded by the lushness of a rainforest, be exposed to annoying bugs or other small discomforts, you have 2 options: Take the trek to overcome these challenges 💪 or stay in a safer place 👎. In this article we will focus on the physical effort required by this trek and the factors that make it more or less difficult.

The terrain of the Ciudad Perdida – Teyuna Trail

The terrain varies across the trail from a clay-like to a rocky soil. The tight clay when wet can be slippery but the muddy ground can be heavy instead. Fortunately, as you can see, most of the trail can be walked with confidence… as long as it is dry.

Altitude and distances of the 4-day Lost City tour
The distances may vary depending on the camp selected by the guide for each day.

How long is the Lost City trek?

In total, the round-trip Lost City trek is about 48 km (29.8 mi) long. Which means to arrive to the Lost City Archaeological Site from the starting point, it is about 24 km (14.9 mi) long. For the common 4-day Lost City trek the distances are: the first day, 8 km; the second day, 14 km; the third day, 13 km, and the fourth day 13 km, (The distances here are rounded approximations, the distance for each day depends on the campsite choosen by the guide).

Does the Ciudad Perdida trail passes through rivers you will have to cross?

Yes, you will have to cross some rivers using bridges. But there is one exception, the third day you will have to cross a river by foot twice (once, going to the Lost City and the other when returning). Most people just take off their shoes and cross it barefoot. Be careful because the river bed is pebbly. Tie your shoes to your backpack and cross the river with both hands free, this will help to keep your balance better. A good option is to bring water shoes and wear them here, or if you prefer, wear hiking sandals (we recommend to keep your foot totally covered, but it is up to you).

Lost City trail elevation

The starting point (El Mamey) is at 140 m (459 ft) above sea level. The highest point is in Lost City, at 1,200 m (3,937 mi) above sea level. Forget about any altitude sickness issue or freezing cold, on the contrary, there is a lot of humidity and the weather is hot.

If you see the elevation profile map, you will see the steeper sections: The first day, the first 5 km (3 mi) have an elevation gain of 500 m (1,640 ft). From the first day on, none of these parts exceed an elevation gain of 370 m (1,213 mi) in a 2 km (1.2 mi) long section each.

Section of the Lost City TrailFitness level

If you have a sedentary lifestyle or work out rarely, the Lost City trek will be really challenging. But do not worry if you find yourself there walking slowly, your tour guide will keep an eye on you and will help you if you need it, that is one of the advantages of the Lost City tour small groups of Mega Sierra Tour. On the other hand, if this is not the first trek you take, you work out frequently or by no known reasons you enjoy an enviable health despite doing nothing, the Lost City trek will be an adventure in the jungle where you will have the chance to work out and breath pure air at the same time. If you are a high performance athlete, it will be a walk in the park.

Despite your fitness level, you know everything worthwhile requires effort, so even tired, you will feel the joy of having lived this amazing experience, the Colombian Lost City adventure.

 

Looking for what is the best option for you between the 4 and 5 day Lost City trek alternatives? Let us answer any doubt you could have about it.

Before starting take into account these points:

  • Your physical condition.
  • You need to carry your stuff on your back.
  • There is only one path to the Lost City, and only one path back from it.

The first three days are exactly the same in both cases

You will arrive in Ciudad Perdida on the third day of your adventure. On the same day you will start your return journey, arriving at the “Mumake” or “Wiwa” camp where you will spend the third night of the trek.

From the fourth day onwards you will see the variation in the four or five day tour.

The difference in the 5 day Lost City tour

Lost City Trail elevation profile and distances

In the 4 day tour, the fourth day is taken to return to the city, in total you will walk 15 km, while in the 5 day tour the trip is divided into two stages, the fourth day you will only walk 8 km to the first camp, where you will have the rest of the afternoon of that day to rest and take a dip in the river if you wish.

On the fifth day you will complete the journey, walking the remaining 7 kilometers to El Mamey from where the car will bring you back to the city.

Some frequent questions

Do I see new things if I take a longer tour?

No. Since it’s the same road back and forth and everything interesting happens in the first three days, we can make sure you will not miss anything just by doing it in less time.

If I book the 5 day tour and I see that I can finish the tour in 4 days, can I make this change after starting the trek?

Yes, it is possible. However, Mega Sierra Tour will not be responsible for any additional expenses you could have because of it, for example when booking accommodation for a date that was not planned in advance.

If I book the 4 day tour and after starting the trek I find it necessary to add one more day, is it possible to make this change?

In this case we regret to tell you that you will have to finish it in the time you booked, as there is already a limitation in the medical assistance policy, so any additional day would leave you without coverage. In these cases of doubt, it is best to book for 5 days and let us know that you could finish the tour a day earlier if you see fit.

Are there any differences in prices, can discounts or increases be applied for booking one or another tour?

No. Both the 4 and 5 day tours have the same price and this is not subject to variations by season or dates of the year, number of people in the group, or others.

We are pleased to help you personally with any additional doubt you could have about this topic, just let us know!

 

More from Mega Sierra Tour:

Need more precise information? Our detailed 4-day Lost City itinerary and maps article is perfect for you.

Ready for booking? here the links for reserving the 4-day Lost City tour and the 5-day Lost City tour.