The hike to the Lost City really is about the journey. You’re likely to see, hear and learn things you never expected.
Upon completing the Lost City we remember thinking that we could write a sizeable essay on our experience. We heard and saw so many different things. We learnt a lot about things we didn’t want to learn about, things we had no idea about and things we are now grateful to know. We wanted to write about it all and share everything with everyone.
With time we realise that this might not be the right thing to do. The Lost City is about the journey. Your journey. What you see, hear and learn. For that reason, we’ll provide some pictures of our time and a bit of basic information including how to pick a tour company, what to pack and fitness. The rest is up to you.
How to pick a tour company:
This website provides a basic overview of the 4 companies that provide tours to the Lost City. Yes you have to go with a guide. We spent a lot of time trying to research different company reputations. To make things easier they all have a set price which they do not budge from – COP600,000. Its quite steep but thats the way it is. Trust us, we tried to haggle.
We booked through Expotur. All the companies are much the same – share the same camp sites, share the same food, share the same equipment. We are relatively convinced they’re all the same company. The only difference is the guides, although theres no way of telling which guide you’ll get. Most of the track you’ll walk without a guide right by you. They’ll walk with the front of the pack and then wait at certain points for you to catch up.
Just book a tour company and hope for the best. Theres not a lot more you can do.
What to pack and what not to pack:
• 2+ litres water for the first day. Water is provided from first camp onwards. We didn’t use water purifying tablets although you might want to.
• Snacks aren’t necessary to bring. Perhaps bring some sweets if you want. The three meals of the day are large. There are also frequent snack stops with fruit and treats supplied by the guides.
• A quick drying towel, not a lot drys on this walk.
• Torch or headlamp
• Mosquito repelent
• A change of socks for every day
• Dry bag – there are river crossings from day 2 onwards. On day 1 you also cross a river crossing but you’re unlikely to get wet feet. The rain is highly likely to wet all your belongings at some point so dry bags are a good idea to protect your valuables or all your belongings!
• Rain jacket
• Good shoes or hiking boots. You don’t necessarily need hiking boots for this walk although they might make things more enjoyable if its raining. The track does get muddy!
• A book if you’re doing the 5 day hike. See below for our tips on hiking durations.
Am I fit enough to hike the Lost City?:
Yes. The real question is, do you have the perseverance to hike the Lost City? With exception to the first day, the hike is not overly steep or difficult. However it does often rain, its hot and humid and you needn’t be a princess. If you can overcome these things theres no reason you can’t do the walk. We hiked with a lady in her 70s. If she can do it, you can do it.
• There is lots of military and other artefacts for sale. This is illegal. Don’t buy them.
• The Lost City hike is offered as a 3-5 day hike. Most relatively fit people could easily do this walk in 4 days however the price doesn’t change if you a quicker. For this reason we decided to stay on the track longer and thus, save money by not having to pay for hostels back in Santa Marta. We would recommend packing a book if you’re doing this longer duration.
• None of the guides we saw spoke English. If its an option for you, go with a Spanish speaking friend. Information given at the actual ruins requires a high level of comprehension.