One of the main reasons I decided to go to Colombia this winter was because a friend had really recommended The Lost City hike. I have always loved the outdoors, but had never gone on a true “sleeping in a tent, multiple day hike”. I knew I wanted to go on a hike that was not as touristy as say Macchu Piccu and one that would challenge me. Ciudad de Peridida did just that.
If you want to read more about what the history of The Lost City you can click here. This post is going to be mainly focused on my experience and tips for those who may be attempting it in the future.
We (my friend Brady and I who was traveling with me) set off for the hike on Monday January 4th, 2015 from Santa Marta, Colombia. The hiking group we were using picked us right up from our hotel and loaded us into a giant Land Rover with about 10 other people. In order to get to the base of our hike we had to drive 3 hours through some pretty rocky terrain and by the time we finally got to the base camp we were ready to go.
Day 1 was honestly one of the hardest days even if it was the shortest. We left camp after lunch and hiked for 4 hours up some pretty brutal hills. Maybe it was the heat (95) or our huge backpacks we had to lug the whole way, or just the fact that I had never hiked for that long before but when we finally reached camp one my legs felt like jello.
The camps were very outdoorsy to say the least. There were no concrete shelters, but rather just some wooden, open structures, with dozens of bunk beds and hammocks hanging under them. There was also a kitchen of sorts, and few bathrooms. The highlight of most camps though was the natural rivers and waterfalls by them in which we could swim in. Nothing felt better after a long days hike than standing under a waterfall and feeling the pound of the water massaging your back.
We got into a routine of sorts after Day 1 which consisted of waking up at 5 am to eat a quick breakfast and head of at the first sign of light to beat the heat. We would often hike until about 11 then we would stop for lunch and relaxation. Dinner was around 5, it got pitch black by 630 and almost everyone was in bed exhausted by 7.
On Day 3 we finally reached the steps to the Lost City. About 1200 of them to be exact. We climbed and climbed and crawled and then climbed some more until we finally reached the top. Witnessing this great Lost City with my own eyes made all the mosquito bites and sore muscle worth it. Pictures will never be able to do justice just how magnificent this city actually was.
Built in the middle of no where, the city consists of over 300 tears. Only about 5 % is open for the public to see, but even that 5% made the place seem gigantic. While up exploring the city we also had the pleasure of running into the leader of the Kogi people. He spoke to us a bit (in a language I could not understand) but seemed like a truly wonderful individual and it was an honor to have had to opportunity to have meet him.
Originally Brady and I had planned to do the 5 fay hike, but after seeing the city we decided that it was time to get off the mountain. There was just so many other things to do in Colombia and so little time. So, the next day at 5am we set off to hike all that we had done in the past 3 days. It took 12 hours, lots of fruit and a few chocolate bars, but we eventually made it all the way to the bottom in one piece (barely).
Looking back one of my favorite parts of the entire trip was just getting to experience the Sierra Nevada in all its glory. It amazed me just how much the landscape could change in a short distance. Sometimes we would be walking on sand type stones and then in the blink of an eye we would be surrounded by lush forest. All of it was breath taking.
Overall the hike was amazing and defiantly the highlight of my trip. It pushed me to the limit both mentally and physically while also giving me a greater appreciation for nature. I defiantly for see much more hiking in my near future.
For those readers who are going on or thinking of going on the hike here are a few tips I came up with to help you have the best experience possible.
- Bring AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. Seriously, everything you have should fit in a regular size backpack. Cleanliness doesn’t matter much on the trail as everything will quickly get dirty anyway. A few shirts, two shorts, and a swimsuit is all you need. Oh and a sweatshirt for at night.
- You don’t need to bring snacks/food. The food on the hike is very good and they accomodating to all types of diets. Plus every 2 hours we get fresh fruit to snack on while we are hiking.
- Bring a headlamp. It gets super dark at night and you will want one – trust me.
- Bug spray is your friend – do not forget to put it on!
- Bring a pair of flip flops for wearing around camp.
- A towel is nice, but also not really needed as they are huge and take up lots of space.
- Make sure you have a few ziplock baggies for your phone in case of rain.
- Also, there are no electrical outlets on the hike so make sure to use your batteries sparingly. You will defiantly want to have some way to take pictures once you get to the top!
Hope this helps and as always if you have any questions feel free to comment below!