Colombia Lost City Tour
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Operates weekly, year round
The Lost City (known in Spanish as La Ciudad Perdida of the Tayronas) is one of the best restored and preserved archeological sites in. It is located in the Buritaca valley in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest costal range in the world. There are only two ways to visit the citadel; one is a helicopter's flight or trekking. The trek implies not only a challenge, but also an additional experience that enriches the trip. The treks to the Lost City are an adventure in itself, the beautiful and varied landscapes, the fauna and flora, the hike in the tropical rain forest, the hot and high humidity conditions and, on top of all that, the experience of getting an insight into the traditional way of living of the indigenous groups of the Sierra.
Day 01: (Sunday) ARRIVE CARTAGENA, OLD CITY TOUR
Arriving in Cartagen staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the historic Hotel Casa Del Curato. The hotel occupies a lovingly restored 18th century mansion, located in the most beautiful part of Cartagena's Historic Old Town: Barrio San Diego, right in between Santo Toribio Church and Hotel Santa Clara. Main attractions like Plaza San Diego, San Pedro Claver Church, Parque Bolivar or Plaza Santo Domingo are just a few minutes walk away. Walk the old town of Cartagena with a private English-speaking guide. It is a romantic city, full of legends and history, immaculately preserved by an impressive 8 mile long stone wall. The old part of the city is a declared World Heritage Site, with its maze of cobble alleys, huge balconies, massive churches and charming plazas. There will be plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to appreciate the beautiful evening illumination of this romantic city. Overnight Cartagena
Day 02: (Monday) EXPLORE CARTAGENA, TRANSFER TO SANTA MARTA
In the morning, continue exploring historic Cartagena. Start the tour by visiting the San Felipe Fortress, the most technically advanced military building during Spanish colonial times, then visit the old "Popa" Monastery where you will have a wonderful view of the city. Between these two places, visit the popular marketplace of Bazurto where fruits, vegetables and fish are traded by the locals, most of them descendants of the slaves of the colonial times. Cartagena is perhaps Colombia's most beautiful and interesting town. It was founded in 1533 and was, during the colonial period, the main Spanish port on the Caribbean coast and primary gateway to South America to receive slaves and to send treasures to Europe. After lunch (on your own), staff transfers you to Santa Marta (about 3 hours) on the coast highway with excellent scenery along the way. Arriving Santa Marta you will stay at La Casa del Farol Boutique Hotel. It's located in the historical center of Santa Marta, Colombia's oldest city, between the iconic cathedral (the oldest one in South America) and the "novios" park. The La Casa del Farol has two areas, each belonging to different periods in the history of Colombia. The colonial portion dates from 1720, built by the Spanish Don, Pedro de Sales, is a house with architecture typical of the era while the second house belongs to the architectural phenomenon that emerged in the late nineteenth century, known as Republican. An eclectic style with French, Italian and Anglo influences. In the evening there will be a briefing before the next days trek. Overnight Santa Marta
Day 03: (Tuesday) TREKKING
Morning pick up at hotel and transfer, in 4WD cars, driving northeastwards along the Caribbean coast. After 1-1.5 hours, leave the paved road and here the adventure begins! After about a 1-hour drive on a dirt road, through a beautiful landscape, the village of "El Mamey" also called "Machete Pelado" appears. Lunch and then the hike to "Ciudad Perdida" starts. This day's hike is exposed to the sun or the rain, therefore it is important to have a good amount of water and suncream!. Tropical fruit will be offered along the trek. We will take the river trail, which is a more pleasant walk than the main road. This trail follows "Quebrada del Alto Mamey" river valley for about 1 hour and then ascends steeply (1.5 h) to "El Mirador" pass (altitude 2,100 feet/ 640 meters), that has a great view down to the Mamey town and the Buritaca River. From this point, a constant descent (1.5 hour) to the "Quebrada Honduras" river, where the "Donde Adan"'s lodge is located. It is possible to take a swim in a beautiful natural river pool at the lodge. Dinner will be served in this rustic lodge. Night in hammocks. Overnight Donde Adan lodge (Altitude 1,575 feet/ 480 meters)
Meals: Breakfast in Santa Marta, Picnic lunch while hiking, Dinner at the lodge
Ascent: 1,608 feet/ 490 meters, Descend: 535 feet/ 160 meters
Highest altitude: 2,100 feet / 640 meters. Hiking duration: 4 hours
Day 04: (Wednesday) TREKKING
After an early breakfast, the ascent begins right away taking a well marked trail that gently gains altitude up to "Mumake" pass (altitude 2,230 feet/ 680 m). Before the pass, there is the invisible border between "Colonos" lands (Peasants not originally from the area) and the "Kogi's" Indigenous territory. From now on, the trek will be done in an area protected and ruled by this tribe. There are also "Wiwa's" indians, original from another sector of the Sierra, had settled in these valleys and now are running some of the lodges. It is also noticeably the change from extensive farmland into a better preserved and much less developed area. From the mountain pass, there is a relative quick descent to the "Buritaca" river valley, where the only Kogi settlement on the trek is placed. This settlement is called: "Montangi" and is a perfect spot to get an glimpse into the local life style and traditions. After about 1 hour's hike we arrive at the "Sierra" lodge (altitude 1,674 feet/510 m). It's nice river pools are perfect to have a refreshing dip. Night in hammocks. Overnight Sierra Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner
To Mumake pass: Ascent: 656 feet/200 m / Descend: 575 feet/175 m / Highest altitude: 2,230 feet/680 m Hiking duration: 4 hours
Day 05: (Thursday) TREKKING
The trail continues by the river side for a few minutes until a crossing over a hanging bridge, that leads up to "Koskunguena" pass with an altitude of 2,690 feet/ 820 m). Cross the pass then back down to the "Buritaca" river. After crossing the river an almost flat area up to "El Paraiso" rustic lodge (2,625 feet/ 800 m). The lodge is our home for the night. This lodge is just by the shores of the "Buritaca" river, a fantastic place to relax and swim. Night in hammocks. Overnight El Paraiso Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner
To Koskunguena pass: Ascent: 1,033 feet/ 315 m / Descend: 262 feet/ 80 m Highest altitude: 2,690 feet/820 m
Activity duration: 4 hours
Day 06: (Friday) TREKKING, ARRIVE LOST CITY
Very early departure taking the trail on the right bank of the Buritaca river for about 25 min. up to a crossing, once on the other bank, the archaeological stairway begins ascending rather steeply all the way to the first terraces of the Lost City (Altitude 4,330 feet/1320 m). From here begins a journey through time, to one of the most interesting archaeological sites of Colombia's pre-Hispanic period.
The Lost City of the Tayrona is known worldwide. Its original Indigenous name is "Teyuna" and is one of the three large citadels of vanished Tayrona civilization.
Teyuna is the only city that has been discovered until now and thus partially restored. Tayrona's cities were connected by a complex network of trails, from the Caribbean coastal area to the high mountain in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The Tayrona had a well- developed social organization and an effective system of products and goods exchange between the different settlements. Although there is no precise information of the role of Teyuna in the Tayrona culture, it is believed that it was a place for religious worship and center of political power.
During the course of a 4 hour visit to the archaeological complex, the group will learn about the different types of terraces and how the city was divided into areas according to hierarchy and types of work. During the visit, it is possible to see the home of a Kogi Mamo (shaman- wise person) who lives in the same traditional way, as it is thought the inhabitants did. It is also believed that the Kogis are descendants from the Tayronas, pushed to the higher lands during the Spanish conquest.
After the visit, hike down to "El Paraiso" lodge to have some lunch and then continue (4.5 hours), back on the same trail as the day before, but this time a bit further out, crossing the hanging bridge and down the Buritaca river valley, passing once again the "Montangi" Kogi settlement to "Mumake" lodge, just at the foot of the "Mumake" pass. Night in hammocks. Overnight Mumake Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner
To Lost City: Ascent: 1,706 feet/ 520 m / Descend: 1,706 feet/ 520 m / Highest altitude: 4,330 feet/ 1320 m
To Koskunguena pass: Ascent: 262 feet/ 80 m / Descend: 1,017 feet/ 310 m / Highest altitude: 2,690 feet /820 m
Hiking 4 to 6 hours + a 4 hour visit to antiquity site.
Day 07: (Saturday) TREKKING, RETURN TO CARTAGENA
Last trekking day! From "Mumake" lodge, the ascent being right from the front step, leading up to "Mumake" pass (Altitude 2,230 feet/ 680 M) and after descending to "Quebrada Honduras" river to ascent (1.5 hours) to the last pass: "EL Mirador" (Altitude 2,100 feet/ 640 m) and then to the final destination "El Mamey" town (Altitude 492 feet/ 150 m). Upon arrival there will be lunch and then a transfer by 4 X 4 back to the coast where you will meet your transport back to Cartagena. Arriving about 6PM enjoy the comfort of the Casa Curato. Overnight Cartagena
Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch
To Mumake pass: Ascent: 525 feet/ 175 m. Descend: 656 feet/ 200 m / Highest altitude: 2,230 feet/ 680 m
To El Mirador pass: Ascent: 535 feet/ 160 m / Descend: 1,608 feet/ 490 m / Highest altitude: 2100 feet/ 640 m
Hiking 4 hours, 4X4 2 hours, drive to Cartagena 4 hours
Day 08: (Sunday) INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE
Transfer to airport in Cartagena for international flight.
PRIVATE TOUR INCLUDES: Transfers related to the tour starting with arrival in Cartagena. Baggage handing of no more than 1 piece of luggage per person, however, baggage and personal effects are at the owner's risk at all times during the tour. Hotels (based on double occupancy). Mountain lodges are communal quarters with hammocks. Meals as noted. Fees for visiting antiquity sites and museums that are part of the tour program. Tours with the services of an English speaking guide. Hotel service charges and taxes.
NOT included: Air, items of a personal nature such as entry visa, entry or exit taxes, tips, telephone, laundry, anything not specifically mentioned as included.
$1,989 per person (based on a minimum of two travelers)
Tours must be booked at least 45 days prior to arrival.
Prices and itinerary subject to change without notice.
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