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We’d been walking along a slightly muddy path, up and down hills for about 2 hours when it dawned on me what exactly I’d signed up for. A 6 day trek through the jungle of Colombia! I’m not a trekker, I had a terrible fitness level and had just spent the last 2 weeks partying in Bogota, what was I thinking!? But it was too late, I was there and we were walking. It would take 3 days all the way to the Lost City and back again.
I was with a friend I’d met in Bogota and we’d embarked on a journey to the Caribbean coast of Colombia ending up in the small fishing village of Taganga where we signed up for the trek. Our group was small, around 6 people; however we teamed up with another group most days that had begun the trek at the same time. I took as little as possible with me as I knew I had to carry it myself, we only needed clothes and dry shoes as all the food was provided by the tour company and so were the hammocks that we slept in each night. Each afternoon we’d arrive to a permanent camp with hammocks set up under a shed-like shelter, go for a swim in the river to clean up, eat something and play cards and relax.
Arriving to the path that takes you up to the Lost City is a little daunting. There are more than 1000 extremely steep steps that have to be climbed rather than walked up, but the view from the top was stunning and worth the hard climb. The Lost City itself is beautiful, although maybe not what is to be expected. All that’s left of the Lost City are simply circular terraces among the mountainous landscape where the houses and buildings once were. The houses were temporary structures made from timber and thatched roofs and some have been recreated to give an idea of how it might have been. The city was built by the Tayrona Indians and is believed to be older than Machu Picchu. It was only rediscovered in the 1970’s.
It was an amazing walk and I highly recommend it. The landscape was stunning and we visited some of the Indigenous communities along the way. There were lots of animals to look out for and unfortunately, mosquitoes to fend off in the evenings. Each day we followed the river, crossing it numerous times usually by walking through it or stone hopping. At one point we had a particularly deep section of river to cross and had to use a kind of cable car that was very small and a slightly frightening encounter.
You can’t do this trek independently but there are a lot of tour companies you can sign up with, either from Santa Marta or Taganga. They offer 5 or 6 day tours. There’s also an option to fly in with a helicopter if you have the luxury of being able to afford such things. However I found the days of trekking added to the amazing experience. The Lost City is a very interesting part of Colombia’s history and something remarkable and unique to see.