Mosquitos and rivers and stairs oh my! How to find a lost city

Ciudad Perdida Travel Blog

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The Fantastic Four at the start, fresh and smelling good
The Lost City Trek has become a legend amongst travellers.  It´s true it´s no Machu Picchu, but the hike itself is immensely beautiful, a challenge to the long time "una mas cerveza por favour" traveller and also offers the chance to cross paths with the Colombian military and hopefully none of the paramilitary.

We signed up with Magic Tours and paid our $500,000 COP (270 GBP) which is the standard price of all the tours.  Despite the growth in popularity there are still only four or five main agencies and they all seem to work together.  The hike only started in the 80´s and was a favourite amongst adventure seeking Israelis, now it´s more secure and more expensive to pay for that security.  A fair trade i´d say.  The hike itself is a 5-6 day hike through the Colombian jungle to the Lost City of the Tayrona people.
Chocolate plant
  It´s known for it´s beauty, steep uphills, hungry mosquitos and the 1,200 steps you have to climb to reach the city.  It´s 56km in total (3 days there and 2 days back) and in 80% humidity so it´s no stroll in the park.

D Day started fairly eventfully with Seb not being in fine health.  Being the tough cookie he is he pulled his socks up, stuck on his Addidas hiking shoes and we joined the rest of our group.  Introducing Nate and Jake, two Jewish American brothers more intelligent than most, more agumentative than anyone i´ve ever met and the best people to trek with.  Prime candidates for the Amazing Race!  We bonded immediately and it felt like fate had dealt another fortunate card as i also had 4 people on the Inca Trail and that had been an amazing experience too.
The amazing view
  So we set off on our jeep to the local village where the hike starts and met our guide Miguel ... another legend.  It was also a really good chance to practice my Spanish as he only spoke Spanish.  So the Fantastic Four headed into the start of the trek and battled the humidity, mozzies as well as the donkey poo and severe up hill hike through some of the most spectacular scenary i´ve seen to date.  Just beautiful to be out in the jungle again listening to the sounds of an ancient forest.

Our camp for the night was beautiful and near a natural swimming pool that you needed to jump into.  All fine apart from the fact that the jump was quite high and on impact i popped my ear and couldn´t unblock it.  I came out in sympathyu pains with Seb who also had a bad right ear, the gammy ear twins! 

We also decided as a group to pay an additional $30,000 to visit a local cocaine factory.
Sympathy pains with Seb
  It´s part of the story of Colombia and whilst keen not to support it or condone it, it´s never the less an interesting part of the history and make up of the country.  A local "farmer" met us and took us to a mock factory where he explained the process and the penalties for developing the base which is sent off to a final place to be made into the white powder that has done so much damage to this country.  The quantities required for the production of one kilo of base are immense:

1000kg coca leaves
2000kg salt
1000kg calcium carbonate
120 litres of petrol
500mg sulfuric acid
Pottassium
Caustic soda

It´s a 10 day process which involves a 5 man team.  Needless to say, the process is complicated and a slight miscalculation can ruin the whole batch and hours of hard work.
The cocaine Factory
   One kilo of base is sold for $4,000 USD and costs just $2,000 USD to make. It was a fascinating 3 hours and it´s sadly easy to see why the production of cocaine is such an attractive option in a country where the average wage is $500,000 COP a month.  There is still a lot of work to be done in Colombia.

The third day is one of the toughest days of the hike as it´s filled with river crossings and scrambling across rocks and various terrains for around 4 hours.  As always we set a blistering pace despite our tired legs.  It is however the most beautiful and fun day of the trek as it feels like real exploring scrambling, climbing and crossing rivers.  I however managed to fall in the first of the river crossings and will now forever have a reminder of the trek on my knee.
My shower. Just breathtaking
  Miguel was a legend though and helped me across the rest of the crossings and managed to also make up some natural remedies to heal the leg and stop it swelling on the trek.

The end of the third day is also special as it´s the day you arrive at the footsteps of the Lost City.  I say footsteps as the treat at the end of the trek is climbing 1,200 (count them!) steps to the Lost City itself.  I thought the Inca´s liked a stair!


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The Fantastic Four at the start, f…
The Fantastic Four at the start, …
Chocolate plant
Chocolate plant
The amazing view
The amazing view
Sympathy pains with Seb
Sympathy pains with Seb
The cocaine Factory
The cocaine Factory
My shower.  Just breathtaking
My shower. Just breathtaking
The rainbow after the storm
The rainbow after the storm
Our watering hole
Our watering hole
The amazing jungle
The amazing jungle
With Miguel
With Miguel
Tombstoning
Tombstoning
One of the Cogi tribes people in t…
One of the Cogi tribes people in …
The boys washing their clothes in …
The boys washing their clothes in…
For Kev .... Birds of Paradise in …
For Kev .... Birds of Paradise in…
Who´s a clever girl?!
Who´s a clever girl?!
Our group at the end of day 3
Our group at the end of day 3
What every hiker needs, fags and u…
What every hiker needs, fags and …
The local children joining us for …
The local children joining us for…
The waterfalls near the Lost City
The waterfalls near the Lost City
A local girl in the rain
A local girl in the rain
Survivors!  After a long hard hike…
Survivors! After a long hard hik…
Ciudad Perdida
photo by: melsadventure