La The Lost City is a place that has a mystic feel to it, and has a historic and natural richness that is uncomparable. Along with the fact that, honoring its name, it is actually “lost” in the mountains
of the Sierra Nevada in Santa Marta, Colombia.
One can access the Lost City by trekking 4 days (47km) there and back, by a trial on the edge
of the Buritaca River, a watery area that is formed by the melting of the glacier combined with
the accumulation of rainfall in the upper part of the mountain.
The destination is fascinating with an architecture that is without equal embedded in a mountain
that is difficult to access which can only be reached by a staircase that has more than 1,200
stone steps. However, the adventure is in the hike about which, later on, we will share various
recommendations to keep in mind before embarking on this journey which will be unforgettable.
Here are our recommendations:
On the trek to the Lost City each traveler carries their own luggage. (The agency only takes care
of what’s logistically necessary to ensure a comfortable stay at the camps and offer you
something along the path like fruit that will keep you going on your adventure.
Forget about those huge backpacks that backpackers lug around, here you’ll find a small
backpack that can hold no more than 20 liters of capacity very useful. Don’t even think about
bringing luggage with wheels or even less your backpack that you used in school.
Comfortable and quick-drying clothes
With cotton garments you’ll be better off during your stay in the campsites posted along the
route to the Lost City. However, during the strenuous hikes it’s best to dress in clothes that have
polyester to ensure that your clothes dry quickly. Keep in mind in the campsites that when you
hang your clothes out to dry that in the morning you’ll find them more wet than when you hung
them up. This is due to the high level of dampness which is typical of the area. For this reason,
the predominant ecosystem along the route to the Lost City is called a tropical rainforest where
the atmosphere is really damp.
First you’ll need four or five pairs of socks , one for each day and one in case of some kind of
emergency. Remember that during these hikes the most important thing is to keep your feet dry
to avoid blisters and lacerations to your skin.
With four polyester shirts or ones with quick dry fabric you’ll be just fine during your adventure;
ideally ones with long sleeves. Also bring at least one or two pairs of trekking pants that have
quick dry fabric, a pair of Bermuda type shorts for the first day of the trek which is sure to be the
hottest, a pair of shorts or a bathing suit for if you want to cool off by taking a dip in the
refreshing river. Finally, bring along a sweatshirt or cotton shorts to sleep comfortably.
TIP: Bring two large plastic bags. One for keeping wet clothes from dry clothes and the other
one to protect your travel pack from the heavy rains during the trek in order to keep your
belongings as dry as possible. IF you do not bring plastic bags, be sure to let your guide know
and he will get them for you in “Machete” (a small populated area along the trail).
The right shoes
This is perhaps the most important factor during this journey, which is why you should take heed
these recommendations to guarantee an enjoyable experience during the treks. In Expotur we
recommend our travelers trekking boots or shoes for trekking. Mountain boots are not
necessary for this type of route, they’re very heavy and are hard to take off with ease. Tennis
shoes could be comfortable if the trail is dry, but if the rains wetten the trail it will become difficult
and your experience could be adversely affected. Forget about industrial shoes, flip-flops or
crocs, o leather shoes (they’ll never dry) if you don’t want to be miserable.
You should also read: All that you need to know before start your trek to the Lost City
On the way to the Lost City we’ll be obliged, on numerous occasions, to cross streams of water
like small ravines and the harmless Buritaca River that we’ll cross on six occasions. Only two of
these crossings will be on a bridge, the other four will be on foot across the basin. There is a
section next to the Lost City that in the case of the river being so high that one cannot cross on
foot, we’ll use a metal basket that is fastened to a zipline.
During these crossings the recommendation is to avoid at all costs getting your shoes wet,
because they will never dry. Because of this we recommend that our travelers take the time
necessary, when crossing water, to take off their shoes, cross, then dry their feet with a towel
upon reaching the other side, then put their shoes back on to continue the journey with dry feet.
For the stay in the campsites you’d do well to bring a pair of flip-flop type shoes for your feet to
rest a bit and to wake up feeling like new.
For the first day on the trail you should bring a water bottle of 1.5 litres which you can buy in the
area surrounding our Expotur office in the centre of the city of Santa Marta or once you get to
“Machete” a town where we’ll eat lunch on our first day and from which we’ll begin the trek.
For the rest of the days the agency will take care of bringing you water that is treated with pills
with which you’ll be able to refill your water bottle, or camelback.
Remember especially to keep in mind that water treatment pills take at least 30 mins to take
effect. Because of this we recommend that before refilling your water bottle you ask your guide
if the water is ready to be consumed by humans. Once you’ve verified this crucial detail, then
you can refill your water bottle.
We’ve had cases where travelers have refilled their water bottles before the pills took effect and
their experience was affected. Diarrhea is unavoidably imminent if you consume untreated
During the treks you’ll need to stay hydrated which is why you’ll always need your water bottle
Mosquitos are king of the jungle and could easily make your experience a nightmare, however,
there are preventive measures to lessen their attacks.
In general, mosquitos start their shift after 4PM which is why you should be prepared as a first
measure applying a good dose of insect repellent to the parts of your body that are exposed to
The hammocks or bunk beds available in the campsites come with their own mosquito net. So
when you choose yours, make sure to keep the net closed and in its place.
We are in Colombia and we are very close to the equator where the suns rays affect us much
more than at other altitudes. Due to this, the recommendation is that our travelers take
measures to prevent the effect of the sun on our skin.
Bring with you and apply regularly sunscreen according to your skin type for during the treks.
The jungle will help you to protect yourself in some stretches of the trail, however, on the first
few paths the vegetation will be poor and shade hard to come by, although, you can reinforce
your protection against the intense sun by bringing accessories like hats or other headgear.
Personal grooming kit
All campsites along the route to the Lost City are equipped with sanitation services appropriate
for the adventure, however, it wouldn’t help to bring your own, toilet paper, toothbrush and
toothpaste, soap, deodorant, towel, etc… at this point everyone will know what to bring, we only
make recommendations so that you’re not completely confused.
The recommendation to bring your own med kit is not something to cause alarm, the agency will
provide the necessary assistance to its travelers if the situation requires it.
However, it wouldn’t hurt to bring pills to alleviate headaches or a toothache that pops up
unexpectedly. Bring some band-aids or adhesive sanitary bandages in case you suffer from foot
blisters, mild bites or scratches, a medicine to relieve the effects of diarrhea or vomiting. This is
to say that each traveler knows their necessities in this respect and everyone should take the
necessary precautions to not lose out on their experience by not coming prepared.
What you pay at Expotur for the Lost City trek includes all that you’ll need for during the trip,
transportation, food, lodging, guide fees, entrance to the archaeology park, community
contribution, etc… For these things you won’t have to pay a penny more, everything is included
in the original fare, however, it wouldn’t hurt to take some extra money if you want a fresh
energy drink or a cold beer for your efforts on the trek, which you’ll be able to buy in the
campsites. These extra items are on the travelers dime. Likewise, in which case you want to
travel more comfortably you’ll be able to hire a mule to carry your luggage. If you so choose,
you’ll be able to dedicate your time and efforts on enjoying the journey and not have to worry
about carrying your bags. The mule service is a negotiation outside of the agency and with the
help of your guide you’ll be able to carry out these transactions with the muleteers available
along the route. As you’ll understand, the muleteers only receive payments in cash.
In Expotur we always and at all times strive to offer you the most pleasant experience possible
along the route to the Lost City, but at the same time, everything relies on the attitude and
tenacity that our travelers invest to enjoy the journey and take this adventure on like a
Don’t let them come back and tell you about it, come and live it yourself!