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28th-31st March 2015 La Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City – Colombia

  • Spent 4 days in the jungle to follow the footsteps of treasure hunters and ancient peoples of the "Lost City", La Ciudad Perdida, the ancient city of gold in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Had extremely nice people in my group, spending a very good time with them, lots of laughs, good hikes and talks. We woke up each day at 5 am to start the day early and avoid hiking during the warmest hours. The humidity is extremely high here and the trek was not the easiest either...but it was worth the effort climbing the steep paths, and there are several refreshing natural pools along the way where we were jumping in freely into the cold water. And I have seen again the blue Morpho butterfly, my favourite one, 2 of them were even flying around me.
  • The only way - after 23 km hiking - into the lost city is to climb 1,200 mossy stone steps through the jungle from the river. The path leads to the 169 stone terraces and several small circular plazas carved into the mountainside. This magical place was once the capital of Tayrona people, founded about 800 AD, some 650 years earlier than the Machu Picchu. Because of its hidden paths and the circumstances that everything is covered with moss, makes it more mysterious. 
  • According to Historians, there were between 2,000 and 8,000 people lived in the city of 12,000 sqm. 3,000 sqm of the site are open to explore: houses, ceremonial areas, stone-lined roads, staircases, storehouse, canals, they had even hospital, but they say that the jungle still hides another 9,000 sqm of the structures. If they removed all plants, we could probably see a city like Machu Picchu?!
    The place was abandoned after the Spanish conquest as diseases were brought by the Spanish intruders. For 350 years the city laid hidden and was discovered in 1975 again, when hunters found a series of stone steps rising up the mountainside and followed them to the abandoned city (where lots of gold was found and later sold on the black market, now most of them are to be seen in the gold museums of Colombia). 
  • There are several settlements on the way up to the lost city where the Kogis live. They say that they are descendants of the Tayrona people. They have a simple life there and also a pretty rough life. I have not seen any of them - not even the children - smiling, not even between each other...
    Since 2005 the military has also been present at the main sector of the city as in 2003 eight foreigners hiking to La Ciudad Perdida were kidnapped by guerrillas and held for three months.