Ciudad Perdida de Teyuna

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

Ciudad Perdida

Understand

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

Indigenous Koguis Shaman

Treks to Ciudad Perdida are arranged by five different authorized companies and it is not possible to visit the site on your own. The government made an agreement with tour companies that every tour costs 700,000 COP (February 2015), regardless of whether it lasts for four, five or six days. Depending on the season, tours may leave every day or every few days - if you have one or two travelling companions, you are almost assured to be able to leave on the day of your choice.

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.

Typical itinerary

The whole trek is 44 km long. 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 Ciudad Perdida. The fourth day you spend exploring the site. The fifth day is an 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.)

If you are in a rush, the trek is definitely doable in four nights - it means a few long days of hiking, but nothing too strenuous.

See

Do

Some of the 169 terraces of the city
Stairs at Ciudad Perdida

Buy

In addition to the occasional beer or Gatorade purchasing possibility listed below, you can bring a bit of extra cash to negotiate for random items from people you meet. Note that, ah, it is illegal—despite difficulty of enforcement—for non-military personnel to have in their possession official Colombian military uniforms/equipment...

If you want to get a photo with the soldiers in the city itself then a small present will get you all the time in the world with them. Think about what a young boy trapped in the jungle for 8 weeks would like, think sweets and magazines with plenty of pictures.

Eat

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.

Drink

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.

Sleep

Hammocks with mosquito net

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.

Cope

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 - an absolute must is a pair of quick-drying, teva-like sandals for river crossings. The actual hiking can be done with hiking boots, hiking shoes, or tennis shoes. 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.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 03, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.