Not so lost in Cuidad Perdida!!

Taganga Travel Blog

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model of the city... found in Santa Marta museum

...rising early last wednesday after a sweaty nights sleep down on the coast in Taganga, we smashed down a little breakfast and mandatory coffee whilst waiting for the tour co. to pick us up for a 6 day trip to ´Cuidad Perdida´ literal translation - City Lost.... or in english... the Lost City.

We were picked up in an old Short wheel base land cruiser... and to all our suprise, we managed to fit 9 people in total in the car, plus bags, and food for 6 days on the roof. To top it off, the windows were tinted enough to inhibit your vision out, and it was bloody hot! The car was filled with a silence that only comes when 9 strangers are packed into a hot, tight space for a solid hour.

...the way they roll around here, 4/6 wheel nuts
Soon enough we arrived at checkpoint 1, to log in with the military (general security business), and meet our guide... a seemingly serious chap by the name of Juan Carlos (turned out to be quite a character by the end). We drove onwards, away from the highway and civilization, and into the moutains...

The trek/hike/walk/whatever started well, easy stroll, through the thick tropical forest. We came to our first creek crossing, and we all hesitated at the thought of getting our shoes wet as we cautiously jumped from rock to rock across the stream. Then there was another... the majority of the group once again, hopped from rock to rock, avoiding wet shoes at all costs.... me, I conceded early, and walked straight in the water... we all knew our feet would get wet, we just didnt know how soon.

9 people... sure!
...

...it turned out to be a wise decision as that afternoon, we trudged through heavy rain and thick mud up and down moutains. I´m not too sure about the rest of the group, but the same thoughts ran over and over through my head.... ís this what its going to be like?..... why am I doing this?

Turned out both those questions were stupid. The next days we walked in the sunny morning through the jungle, fields and plantations. Apparently, Coca (cocaine) plantations recently covered the hillsides and was a profitable business and typical crop for farmers, but nowdays, its just a memory, as the area was sprayed by plane and farmers arrested for growing coca. The further we went, the thicker the jungle became, and the more difficult the trail.

gun & moto...sure
 

We waited out the rainy late afternoons playing cards (actually an adapted version of the game ´rummikub´with cards - works very well!) and drinking cup after cup of coffee, hot chocolate, sweet cinnamon and sugar cane drinks that Willian (Guilian) the cook conjured up for us. We had a group of 9 punters, Jaun Carlos our guide, and 2 cooks, 12 people total. The food was carried most of the way on Donkeys clambering up hills that were difficult even walking. In the evenings we stayed at shelters set up for groups of tourists and slept in Hammocks. Food was cooked exclusively using an open fire, and we ate good meals that were held together with beans, rice and ´tang´ (cordial).

As we ventured into the forest, we came across an increasing no.

wet & waiting
of native ´Kogi´people, who still live (mainly) off the land. They seemed happy that we were bringing the tourist dollar, but also disgruntled with our presence.... all in all, we didnt really have much to do with them, most of them avoided tourists, except for a few children who jumped at the food tourists offered them.... I took minimal photo´s of the people as I´m not into offending and making fun of indegenous people by taking photos....

The last section in and out of the lost city was inaccessible for donkey, with multiple river crossings, and narrow tracks. Since we were without donkeys, our cooks carried supplies, in what can only be described as a fertilizer bag adapted into a backpack, loaded with 30kg of supplies. Something which blew us away´, as it wasn´t exactly an easy walk up and down slippery trails.

hammock town
.... especially during the final ascent up thousands of steep, slippery stone steps into the city.

The city itself was amazing... terraces set on the moutainside upon which were once houses of the Tayrona people... about 500 years old. The city was discovered by local tomb raiders, about 30 years, ago, and soon after brought to the attention of the government who endorsed archeologists and anthropologists to restore and study the site. They also posted military and police to guard the site against further tomb raiding. The military are still present, and very happy to interact with the tourists... they come over to the campsite in the evenings to interact with tourists who are a  little taken back by the machine guns they are toting....

...it really was quite surreal, camped out with an incredible view of the lost city, and surrounding moutains and valleys, with a guy on guitar playing latin american tunes, a guy playing a bucket, and another on the grater (yes its a musical instrument), a couple of colombian military types, just finished a meal cooked on an open fire .

.. this is living!!!

soon enough, we hit the hard slog back to civilization.... a 2 day journey which wasn't exactly easy. Once we arrived back, and after a couple of beers, we realised we didnt have a ride back to town... we later discovered the car we came up in rested broken down ont he side of the track we drove in on. Juan Carlos was all over it though, found another car, which fit most... but a few others and I 'had' to ride down on motorbikes.... another great little trip.... doubled on the back of a 125cc mini road bike, riding through creeks, mud, and dodging fallen trees and erosion ruts (clearly not the bike for the journey).... then another bus and taxi, and we were back in Taganga!!

All up, an excellent 6 days of perpetually wet shoes, swimming in cold water, rice, awesome swimming holes, rugged landscapes and thick forests....

 

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model of the city... found in Sant…
model of the city... found in San…
...the way they roll around here, …
...the way they roll around here,…
9 people... sure!
9 people... sure!
gun & moto...sure
gun & moto...sure
wet & waiting
wet & waiting
hammock town
hammock town
...perpetually wet & trying to dry…
...perpetually wet & trying to dr…
gas bottle and donkey... yep!
gas bottle and donkey... yep!
camp #2
camp #2
the sleeping quarters... hammock a…
the sleeping quarters... hammock …
sugar cane grinder - as used by lo…
sugar cane grinder - as used by l…
the lost city!!
the lost city!!
new friends
new friends
love this photo... had to put it up
love this photo... had to put it up
camp #3
camp #3
wild cilantro
wild cilantro
fern in roof...
fern in roof...
dinner
dinner
songs and good times
songs and good times
one of many river crossings
one of many river crossings
steeper than it looks
steeper than it looks
the ride home....
the ride home....
Taganga
photo by: will62