Ciudad Perdida – guest blog by uber hiker, Bridget

Our decision to visit Colombia for the wedding sparked an online journey into discovering all that Colombia has to offer. One of the “must do’s” was this 4-6 day 45 km hike to the ‘Lost City/Ciudad Perdida’. After reading numerous reviews we decided to book our 4 day hike through Magic Tours, a local company. The Colombian government regulates the tour prices which are set at about $300 dollars, which ensures the company’s all offer great quality for the same price.

We were strongly advised that our trusty Tabard/Peaceful sleep would be no use against these hardy tropical mosquitos and that the only bug repellant that would be effective is a local product called Nopikex (Amazing and most effective, but probably contains some deadly ingredient which prevents it being available internationally).

Our hike started in a little town called Machete where we were briefed on what to expect for the next couple of days. There were 16 people in our group who had all elected to do the hike in 4 days (we were advised it would be a challenge, especially if it rained).

The first day we were expected to cover between 6-8 km and would face a challenging 1,5hr uphill. The temperature was mid 30’s and humidity at an all time high. The guides broke the hill up by supplying much needed 1/5 time oranges.

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Once the big uphill was over we were treated to the beautiful surroundings of the first camp.

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The camp was amazing, complete with flushing loos and cold showers. Our beds for the night were to be hammocks with mosquito nets complete with an old Disney blanket

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Our second day began at 5 am with brekkie at 6. We were in for our hardest day, roughly 7 hours of walking including one or two significant climbs. The further we hiked the further we moved uphill into the jungle and much appreciated cooler temperatures. Again our guides were well prepared with watermelon and mandarin’s to break the monotonous uphill.
Almost every step was on beautiful caramel coloured soil, glistening with fool’s gold.

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All along the route we crossed the major rivers frequently and took every opportunity to take a much needed dip.

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The second day took us to within 1km of the lost city where we would spend the night and get an early wake up to ensure we were the first group to reach the top, we had been advised that it does get quite crowded and would be best to be there early. The city did not disappoint. After climbing the 1200 steps to the top, we were given a thorough tour of the 2 square kilometer city that had it’s earliest inhabitants in the 700’s and were eventually forced further into the sierra nevada’s by foreign diseases (bought in by the Spanish) that they couldn’t treat. The Tayrona used the Lost city as their capital for both trade and politics. Roughly 2000 people lived at the city in these circular formations.

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The whole city is really beautiful, precisely built with rocks carved from each other and now after 400 years of in occupation the whole city is covered in moss and surrounded by beautiful flora.

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The ruins were discovered by looters in the 70’s whereafter the government intervened, allowed archeological exploration and rehabilitation before the city was opened to tourists in the mid 80’s.

We spent hours at the city admiring the ruins and the incredible vistas surrounding it.

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Our return home was down the same slippery steps we climbed to get up, which proved slightly more difficult than the ascent, cos the steps were really tiny (the locals are/were really little and must have/had tiny feet).

We returned to the starting point along the same route, although we managed to cut our return journey in half by galloping down the hills followed by the essential swim and clean at the bottom.

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All in all, was it worth it? Most definitely!

A few tips:
Bug spray, essential!
Rainy season, a definite no, no.
There are snakes, we came across 3, 1 scarily too close for comfort.
Don’t pack anything that is not essential, you can manage the trip in the same outfit, with a change of clothing for the evenings (clean socks for each day = essential).
Water purification, very necessary.
A pack of cards, ideal.
Magic tours, a great company and our guide Jorge and his team were beyond helpful and thorough.

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