Northern Colombia-Tayrona Park-Guajira, Lost City, and Cartagena

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to the Lost City in the famous Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombias’ Caribbean Region. Our adventure begins in with a visit to the Parque Tayrona. We will explore this magnificent park and enjoy the crystal-clear blue waters and the lush tropical lowland forests that can be found at the foothils of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the tallest coastal mountain range in the world!. From here we leave for El Mamey where our 4-day hike to the Lost City begins.

Hidden in the jungle for more than a thousand years and only accessible by a 50km trek through inhospitable terrain, visiting Ciudad Perdida will give you the chance to battle rock scrambles, steep ascents and numerous waterfalls along the way. You’ll visit indigenous communities and enjoy the cool stream waters that make their way from the mountains to the ocean. before climbing the 1243 steps that lead to the main city of Teyuna. This is truly a unique adventure that few have a chance to experience!

After our trek, we will head to Cartagena, a truly wonderful city full of history. We will explore the historic center and surrounding structures that made this city an imposing port during the spanish conquest.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1. Arrival in Santa Marta or Barranquilla.

Upon arrival, we take our transport to our accommodations in Rio de Piedra. From Barranquilla, te trip to Parque Tayrona is about 3 hours. From Santa Marta about 45 minutes.

Day 2. Parque Tayrona

Today we rise early and after a good breakfast we will head out to the Tayrona National Park. We will begin our hike from the entrance towards Canaveral (60 min). where we will likely see Tamarins, Capuchins and Red Howler Monkeys along the way. From Canaveral, we will take the Nueve Piedras Trail Towards Arrecifes (1 hr). The Nine Stones hike, (Nueve Piedras) a hike around the park following egg-like stones at points along the way, is a good way to see more of the park and its environment at a more leisurable pace. After a short break in arrecifes, we will hike to la Piscina (15 min) where we will be able to swim and snorkel around the coral reefs. From there we will head to El Cabo where we can also swim and snorkel. We will return to our starting point, where our transport will take us back to the hotel.

Day 3. Camarones, Los Flamencos Sanctuary

After an early Breakfast we will begin travel about 2 hours to Camarones, a small fishing town in the Guajira region of Colombia. From here we will visit the the lagoons in the park searching for American Flamingos and seabirds. and explore the dry desert forests in the area. We will have lunch at El Remanso, a small oceanfront resort where we can enjoy a swim. After a full afternoon, we head back to our hotel.

Day 4. Parque Tayrona

oday after breakfast, we head back to to the parque Tayrona (to the alternate entrance and head for a hike towards el El Pueblito which is a one to 2-3 hr hour hike (2.4 km). This town is an archaeological site and gives you an insight into how indigenous communities lived in previous times; this town is pre-hispanic and similar to the Lost City or Ciudad Perdida. It requires scrambling over large boulders and is definitely a good workout. From here, from here, we return the same way. Alternatively, we can use this day to relax and enjoy the beaches in preparation to our Lost City hike.

Day 5. Lost City

After Breakfast we will leave to the Aguacatera where our Ciudad Perdida trip begins. Once in Aguacatera, we will board a 4x4 to the region of Mamey (3hrs). When we arrive at the town of Machete Pelao, we will have lunch. After lunch and a brief rest, we begin our trek (7.6 km/ 4.7 mi) to our first encampment where we will spend the night. Along the hike, we will stop at a crystaline river to bathe and refresh ourselves. Once at our camp, our indigenous guide will talk to us about the history and customs of his community and the region.

Day 6. Lost City

The day begins and we have breakfast early in the morning, we will then embark on a longish 7 hr treck (14.7 km, mostly uphill, some downhill) then we start to walk by the riverside of Buritaca River where we’ll find the Kogui indigenous of Mutanshi. We will pass through some impressive jungles and beautiful scenery along the way. We will reach camp (equipped with hammocks and/or beds) where we´ll have a delicious dinner and rest after a strenuous day.

Day 7. Lost City

After Breakfast we will begin our 45 minute trek to the Lost City. Our trek will include another river crossing and a climb up the 1243 steps. After this arduous climb you will be rewarded for all the efforts. After a brief introduction, we will walk around the lost city and visit the areas for trade, for living, the political centre and more – Once we get to the middle point we will have breath-taking views across the entire valley, including green trees, waterfalls and cliffs engulfing the valley. Our guide will tell us more about the history as we enjoy the sunshine before continuing. Afterwards, we begin a our downward route passing various terraces and important areas on the way. If possible, we will visit an indigenous home where the shaman and his family live, he is a respected elder of the Kogi people who blesses their marriages, laws and makes important decisions about their community. From there we begin our descent on our way back to Camp #2. On our descent we will enjoy the stunning scenery.

Day 8. Lost City

We wake up and after breakfast continue our climb down from the los city. There are some steep climbs but the scenery is spectacular. After a hard 3 hr hike, we arrive to our Camp #1. There we have a good lunch and then continue on the last 3-hr stretch of our trek. As the landscape becomes more and more “civilized” we may come across locals and their livestock. We walk up a steep incline and thereafter are rewarded by taking a cold swim in the river. Half an hour later, we will arrive back at our starting point. There, our 4x4 will take us back to ELl Mamey where our van awaits to take us to the famed Walled City of Cartagena (4 hr Drive total). After we get settled at the hotel and freshen up, we will have dinner and go on a brief horse-drawn carriage tour of the Walled City.

Day 9. Lost City

We will wake up at leisure and take a guided tour of the walled City of Cartagena. We’ll also visit the Castillo de San Felipe built by the Spaniards in a strategic location in the Bay of Cartagena, to fend of looters and suspicious foreign vessels from approaching the city. If time perits we will also visit the Monastery in the Cerro de la Popa, and the Santa Catalina de Alejandria Cathedral. After the tour we will have free time to relax and explore the walled city on our own.

Day 10. Cartad=gena and Islas del Rosario

Today we wake up have breakfast and take a boat ride to Islas del Rosario. A beautiful archipielago 40 minutes north of Cartagena. We will disembark in one of the islands where we will be able to snorkel and swim in its cristal clear turquoise waters. WeWe will have lunch here and then enjoy the sun before we head back by 3:00 pm. We will have the rest of the evening off to relax in the walled city.

Day 11. Cartagena homeward or to Extension Tours

Today we check out of our hotel and transfer to the airport for our international flights or to extension tours.

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

  • All entrance fees
  • All transport
  • All meals from dinner Day 1 to breakfast Day 11
  • Accommodations (double occupancy).
  • All snacks and refreshments
  • Gratuities

WHAT TO EXPECT AND WHAT TO BRING:

When visiting Northern Colombia, you can expect hot humid days for the most part. Accommodations vary from 3-4 star hotels and cots or hammocks during the Lost City Trek. In order to be comfortable, we strongly recommend that you dress with light, fast-drying clothes, good rubber boots and comfortable hiking shoes. The sun is strong in here, therefore a good hat, sunglasses, and good sunscreen are a must (see downloadable detailed itinerary pdf for additional info).

Other items to bring include:

  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Insect repellent (with Deet)
  • Good walking shoes.
  • Long-sleeved pants and shirts
  • Bathing suit