The Great South American Journey: The Lost City Trek

The Lost City Trek is a 4 to 6 day trek (46km) to reach (and back) the lost city of the Taironas. We did the trek in 5 days.

The lost city is a city of the Taironas people who went high into the mountains of Sierra Nevada to flee from the Spanish colonists. There they flourished for centuries. The city was discovered around 1973 hence the name. Today we have 4 tribes descended from the Taironas: Wiwa, Kogi, Arhuaco and Kankuamo.

Day 1: Hiked 7.5km in intense humidity and heat with some really steep inclines and declines followed by heavy rains as we continued hiking.

Day 2: Hiked another 7.5km in similar conditions.

Day 3: Hiked 10+ km in similar conditions with a few river crossings. Due to heavy rains we had so many slippery slopes.

Day 4: Climbed 1200 steps to reach the lost city and it was with very aching bone and muscle. We then hiked back to the starting point over day 4 and 5.

Accommodation on all days were basic camps, with bunk beds provided. You have showering facilities along the way but the facilities are quite basic. Infact, it was quite a lot of fun just enjoying the rivers and waterfalls along the way. The food at these camps is excellent: basic but very tasty and healthy. The folks at these camps knew exactly what to prepare on what days and we enjoyed the experience quite a bit. There are quite a few bugs along the way and insect repellent is highly recommended. Given that you are going to get wet anyway (due to the rains), I would suggest hiking in the same clothes daily (we did that) and it helps reduce the weight. In terms of stuff to carry, I would recommend minimum weight – the lower the weight the better the experience especially if you are not an experienced hiker (like myself).

The experience leading to the city and back is exceptionally beautiful. You get breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevedas, clouds and mist along the way, cattle with fresh fruit provided along the way. At the city itself, given it is considered sacred by the native tribes, we first did a circle of prayer to the gods before exploring the remains of the city. The feeling is of awe and respect: you have to wonder how the natives built this centuries back.

I would highly recommend the Lost City Trek: It is one of the best experiences I have had in South America.

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