Lost City Trek: 4 days of hiking

Lost City Trek, one of the highlights of our trip through Colombia. It is a relatively expensive excursion, but for us it was worth every euro. For 4 days, you will be far away from civilization, deep in the jungle. Along the way, you will encounter exotic animal species, the coolest natural pools and local tribes still living in the jungle far from civilization. The goal is to reach the Lost City. This city was inhabited long ago and was discovered just over 40 years ago. We did the tour with MagicTour Colombia and it went very well. The prices are the same with all tour operators. There are set price agreements, so no negotiating is possible. 

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Are you excited? Well done! You certainly won’t regret it. Keep in mind that this hike goes through a tropical rainforest. This means it’s very humid and hot, meaning you’re going to sweat to death (figuratively speaking 🙂 ). But good news, you get used to it and will accept it. The hike itself is not extremely heavy. It’s mainly the hike in combination with the heat and humidity that makes it tough. If you’re reasonably fit and, even more importantly, if you’re mentally strong enough to persevere, you’ll be fine.



Here’s our list of must-haves for the lost city hike:

  • 5 pairs of dry socks (1 spare).
  • Shorts for days 1, 2 and 4 and long pants for the day you hike up the lost city.
  • Water shoes/sandals for river crossing and swimming. You can also do without, but it hurts.
  • 2 waterproof bags. 1 for dry clothes, 1 for dirty/wet clothes.
  • Dry clothes with long sleeves and pants for the night.
  • Good hiking/trekking shoes. Running shoes can be used, but when it has rained it is very slippery, so grip is important.
  • 4 quick-drying T-shirts for hiking.
  • Plenty of repellent. The area is full of mosquitoes, so it is never enough. 
  • Sunscreen (at least factor 50)
  • Swimming suit
  • Flip-flops for the night
  • Flashlight (or phone with flashlight function)



At 10:00 a.m. you will leave Santa Marta for the start of the trek. This is about a 2 hour trip (1 hour by road, 1 hour by dirt road in the Sierra Nevada) in a 4×4 jeep. On the way you will meet your group, with whom you will be for the next 4 days. At about 1 o’clock you will arrive for lunch together after which you will leave at about 2 o’clock. The first day consists of about 3.5 hours of hard climbing in the sun. You will arrive at camp 1, where you will sleep the first night after a delicious meal. Our group went to sleep around 8 o’clock.


At around half past six we started breakfast. The second day was the hardest day, physically speaking. This day you will walk for about 7 hours, in the morning you start with a big climb of about 60 minutes and you have another one after the break. Halfway you will have lunch at camp 2 (where you will also sleep after day 3), here you will have the opportunity to have a swim in the river. Our advice is to take it easy and don’t be in a hurry, you will still make it! 

Tip: Small steps at a steady pace make the climb much less difficult.


Day 3 brings you to the finish: Ciudad Perdida. Just like day 2, you should wake up early to have breakfast together and then cross the river to start the 1200 steps to the lost city. This sounds easy, but it is not so easy. This is because the steps are very narrow and you have to constantly pay attention. When you finally reach the Lost City, the feeling is very special. Brian even found it to be a magical place, very special.

The guides tell a lot about this very special place. We don’t want to tell you too much, you should experience it for yourself. One of the special things is that there is a map of the Sierra Nevada on a stone. There it is shown with all the routes, something very clever. You will spend about 3 hours in the lost city and you will really need it, it is very big and it is estimated that only 20% of it has been discovered, what a great city it must have been. 

After the visit, you return about 3 hours to the camp where you had lunch on day 2. Again, a good camp and a beautiful river to cool off. In the evening, a mamo from the Kogui tribe spoke to us about the culture of the indigenous people. He was very special and said that you lose all negative energy in Ciudad Perdida and come back with positive energy. Was that the magical feeling? 


The fourth day is all about getting back to the city. We left very early (5 am) to be back at 10 am at the place where it all started. This meant walking constantly at a fast pace without taking a break. We arrived at 10:30 but normally you get there at a reasonable pace around 1-2. You will have one last lunch, after which you will return to Santa Marta (or Palomino if you want) in the 4×4’s.

When you have lived in the jungle for 4 days, it is quite a shock to walk back through the chaotic city. It takes some time to acclimatize. Overall, we thought it was wonderful, we think it is a must see during your trip in Colombia. It is the combination of 4 days in the jungle, meeting the indigenous tribes and visiting the lost city trek.

With special thanks to Alex, Rodrico and Wilson. The nice guides of Magic Tour, Lost City Trek.


Author: De Wereldreizigers. Visit his blog here

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