So, remember when I said that the Lost City trek (Ciudad Perdida) wasn’t speaking to me? Well, I changed my mind, and I’m so happy that I did.
Santa Marta, Colombia
After leaving Cartagena, I’ve been in Santa Marta for almost a week now. We arrived after a four-hour, $25,000 bus ride (about $12) and found La Brisa Loca, the best hostel ever! Love this place. It’s cheap (about $10/night), there’s a pool, a restaurant, bar, and rooftop terrace with a bar, hammocks, and day beds. They have a DJ on the weekends, too. Seriously the best. The only thing that sucks is the kitchen, it’s tiny…
Let me just say that I love Santa Marta. It’s a cute little town and there is so much to do around it! Beaches, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, camping, you name it, it’s here.
When we arrived, I was convinced that night to do the Ciudad Perdida trek. It’s a four-day trek (can be done in five or six days, though) for about $275/person and includes everything: food, transportation, permits, a guide, and accommodations. The girls and I decided we’d do the trek together and then go to Tayrona Park for a few days after.
La Ciudad Perdida Trek
The day of our trek, our guide picked us up at 9 AM from the hostel and the three of us jumped into the back of a jeep and rode along as we picked up the rest of our group. The drive to the trail in the jungle takes about two hours as our group started to get to know each other. It consisted of my French-Canadian friend, my Australian friend, a British guy, an Irish girl, two guys from Brussels, a Brazilian woman, and Miguel, our guide. Miguel spoke zero English but I could understand most of what he said, and the French-Canadian friend is fluent in Spanish so she was our translator. Thank goodness for her!
Miguel was great. A slow walker, but so nice and knowledgeable. He always gave us treats at the end of the day and brought us coffee early in the morning. A man after my heart.
So, I thought I was in shape but this trek kicked my ass. I’ve never been in a jungle before, let alone trekked through one and I’ve never sweat so much in my life.
The scenery is incredible but the hike itself was tough for me. We climbed up huge hills and mountains with bugs and mosquitos all around you (yes, I have lots of bites), and once you get to the top, you have to go down the hill and then do the whole thing all over again. I was always at the back of the group, which eventually I came to terms with, and you just smell and sweat. Non-stop. All the time. Your clothes are dirty and damp, and then never get dry. Now, I know it sounds terrible when I put it this was but the trek was still so awesome regardless. It’s all part of the experience!
Our first night we arrived at our camp after about three hours of walking. After dinner, it was off to bed for me for a well-rested for our 6 AM departure time.
That next day was a long day of walking, about 11 miles, to the next camp and the bottom of the Lost City ruins.
Ruins of The Lost City
On Friday it was up early again and off to the Lost City, where we climbed 1,200 very steep steps to the entrance. It had also rained that night, making the steps slippery. Our group was luckily the first up there and it was a cloudy, misty morning, which made the entire site feel very mystical and surreal. I even did a little bit of yoga at the top, so amazing.
The ruins are incredible, and there is something so magical about walking around ruins that old and picturing what it use to be thousands of years ago. It’s a very humbling feeling. And everywhere you look is beyond gorgeous. Like something out of a movie set.
After a few hours at the Lost City, it was time to head back. We picked up our backpacks at camp and began the trek back to the town where we started. I actually thought this part would be harder on me mentally, knowing what I had already climbed and then climbing it all over again, but it turned out to be ok.
When we arrived in Santa Marta, I took one of the most amazing showers I’ve ever had in my life. Tomorrow, I’m off to Tayrona National Park. One of the girls is headed to Medillín on Tuesday, so soon it will just be me and one other girl. Eventually, we’ll be splitting up too because she has to head back to Canada for work.
I’m really excited about Tayrona and have loved everything in Santa Marta. It’s funny how you think you’ll love a place when you do your research and then you don’t necessarily love it as much as you thought you would. Then other places you check out because people tell you to, not knowing too much about the place, and that’s what you end up loving. I’mc constantly surprised by what I like and dislike these days.
So far the trip has been great and everything I hoped for (hasn’t even been three weeks yet!).