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.

Jungle Trekking 

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!).



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  1. Lucia

    March 19, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Beautiful pics! I really wanna go to the ciudad perdida

    1. kcoleswo

      March 19, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      You absolutely should! It’s pretty incredible to see the ruins. Is recommend the four day trek. You don’t really need the extra day.

  2. Nina Verrochi

    April 30, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Which company did you trek with? Were you happy? I’m heading down in June, so I’ll take any recommendations or pointers that I can get.

    1. kcoleswo

      May 4, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      Sorry, last comment was for the wrong trek! For Ciudad Perdida I booked through my hostel and we used Expotour-Eco, but honestly they are all the same and offer very similar experiences for the same price. Regardless, I was happy with the company, though. They did a good job. Have fun!

  3. janikaberridge

    January 13, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Hey, your blog is one of many I’ve read about the Lost City, and it seems like quite the adventure. My friend and I are traveling to Colombia in March, and I’d like to do this trek, provided I can prepare myself beforehand! Since you also went in mid March, did you find that it was very rainy during that time? I know that we should expect rain, but I hope not too much.

    1. kcoleswo

      January 14, 2016 at 5:57 am

      That’s so exciting you’re doing the trek in just a few short months! You’ll love it. In March, I didn’t find it to be too rainy at all. In fact, it was hot, humid and pretty dry for most of the trek. I will say that the final day, as you get deeper into the mountains, higher in elevation and deeper into the jungle, it does get wetter. That final morning hiking to the Lost City was a wet one, but it’s so warm that it really doesn’t matter, just make sure you bring quick-dry clothing, the less cotton the better. I would also say that the less amount of clothing you bring the better. I brought two shirts, one for sleeping and one for hiking, a pair of shorts, two pairs of socks, one for hiking and one for sleeping, a fleece, leggings, and a rain jacket. I’d also suggest, if possible, bringing a sleeping bag liner because you never really know the cleanliness of the beds. My last piece of advice would be to book your trek when you’re in Santa Marta. You can book ahead of time, but you may end up over-paying and there are three companies that do the trek daily, so you’re bound to find a company that has space for you. We booked our trek the day we arrived in town and left a day later. Have so much fun! It’s truly an incredibly experience.

      1. janikaberridge

        January 14, 2016 at 2:59 pm

        Thanks so much for your response and advice! I really appreciate it. It is not yet decided if we are doing the trek! My friend and I are still playing with the idea. Given the amount of time we have in Colombia, it is either we do the trek or visit Bogota – two completely different experiences. My curiosity and want for adventure is pulling me toward the trek, but since we are two, we both will have to be very on board for this one. I’m also wondering if I even have the stamina to keep up! In any case, we will soon decide which we’ll do. Did you also visit Bogota?

        Thanks, once again, for your response!

        1. kcoleswo

          January 14, 2016 at 3:54 pm

          I did not make it to Bogota so I can’t speak to it. My initial plan was to go to Bogota and then last minute decided to go to Medellin instead, which I loved. Bogota is a huge city in the mountains, and I’ve heard it can be cold and rainy in the spring. Santa Marta is in the Caribbean and the Ciudad Perdida is in the jungle, so you’re guaranteed warmer temperatures. More than anything, it just depends on the type of adventure you’re looking for. If you can swing it, you might look into flights on Viva Colombia, a low-cost airline in Colombia. They have flights from Santa Marta to Bogota and Medellin (that’s how I got there) and the trips take 1/8 of the time a bus would and cost about the same. Something to look into. Have fun!

          1. janikaberridge

            January 14, 2016 at 5:39 pm

            We’ve got 11 days and want to see Cartagena, Santa Marta, and Parque Tayrona, so the next big thing would be either Bogota or the Lost City. I’ve heard good things about Medellin – what is it that people love about the city so much? Again, thanks for sharing all this information!

          2. kcoleswo

            January 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm

            Sounds like a great 11 days! I personally loved Medellin because of how much the city has grown and changed in the last 20 years, and you can tell the locals are so proud of how it’s turned around. It’s really moving. It’s also beautiful with lots of parks, nicer weather, fun neighborhoods and public transportation is super easy, too.

          3. janikaberridge

            January 14, 2016 at 11:48 pm

            This makes our decision so difficult! I am sure we will have fun, either way. Thanks again for sharing all this information. Happy travels :]

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