Lost City Trek


Culture | Activity

The most intrepid trek of all

7 days £1,725 pp This is the price per person for a private tour (based on 2 people travelling) excluding international flights. Contact us for pricing for other group sizes including individuals.
Intro, Dates & Prices


The famous Lost City trek is the highlight of many people's Colombian adventure. Five days of trekking through jungle, wading through rivers and finally climbing the 1,200 steps to the magical Lost City or Ciudad Perdida (known as Teyuna) makes for an incredible experience. After vanishing off all maps for hundreds of years, Teyuna was rediscovered by the West in 1975 when treasure hunters stumbled across it. Learn about the history of the Tayrona people who built this city between the 11th-14th centuries and discover how the Tayronas' descendents - the Kogui, Arhuaca and Wiwa people - are keeping their traditions alive. This is an adventure for the truly intrepid.


  • Bathe in natural pools
  • Fall asleep to the “jungle chorus”
  • Meet remote tribal groups
  • Hike through lush thick jungle
  • Marvel at the beauty and ingenuity of the Lost City site

Places Visited

Santa Marta - Machete Pelao - Mamo Kogui farm - Mutanyi - Lost City

What's Included

Airport pick-up & drop-off
Internal flights between Bogotá and Santa Marta
Transportation in 4x4 between Santa Marta and Machete Pelao
2 nights' hotel accommodation in Santa Marta
4 nights' hammock/bunk bed accommodation during the trek
Entrance fee to the archaeological park of the Lost City
Use of mules on Day 2 to carry luggage (maximum of 6 kg per person)
All meals on the trek plus other meals as specified in the itinerary
Bilingual tour guide plus Spanish-speaking indigenous guide during the trek

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Day 1 : Bogotá - Santa Marta

Fly from Bogotá to Santa Marta. A Travel The Unknown representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.

In the afternoon, take a guided half-day tour of the oldest city in Colombia. Starting in the Bay of Santa Marta, continue to the Monument to the Tayrona gods and learn more about this culture that existed in that region long before the arrival of the Spanish. Visit the Casa de la Aduana Museum, which makes up part of the Antropológico and Etnográfico Museum, where there is a fine collection of Tayrona artefacts, and the Cathedral. Then, travel out to the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino with its beautiful gardens and where the great liberator Simón Bolívar passed away in 1830. Finally take a scenic tour of the bays of Rodadero and the fishing village of Taganga before returning to your hotel.

Overnight in La Casa del Farol, Santa Marta

Meal plan: Dinner

Positioned between the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains and the Caribbean Sea, Santa Marta’s history, colonial architecture and beaches make it one of the most popular tourist towns for Colombians. Santa Marta is the oldest remaining city in Colombia, founded in 1525 by Rodrigo de Bastidas in order to exploit the gold treasures of the Tayronas. By 1600, the Tayrona tribe had been wiped out and the gold had all been taken. La Casa de la Aduana is the museum dedicated to the Tayrona’s history. Simón Bolívar, who played a key role in Latin America’s fight for independence, died in Santa Marta in December 1830. His house Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino is now a museum.

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Day 2 : Santa Marta - El Mamey region

In the morning, you will be transferred to Machete Pelao by 4x4. Hike with your guide in El Mamey region, stopping for lunch at a rural farm in the Vereda de Honduras. Hike to the first Wiwa indigenous camp on the shores of Buritaca River. Dinner and accommodation in hammocks or bunk beds (subject to availability on the day) at the indigenous camp.

Distance: 6.8 km
Approximate trekking time: 4 hours

Overnight in Paraíso Teyuna, Machete Pelao

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 3 : Mutanyi and Buritaca River

After an early breakfast, hike in the valley formed by the Buritaca River, stopping by the Kogui village of Mutanyi and the Vereda de Koskunguena to admire beautiful panoramic views over the Sierra Nevada. Cross the Buritaca River and continue the hike up to the farm where you will spend the night. On arrival you can enjoy lunch then cool off in the natural pools and waterfall formed by the river. Overnight in hammocks or bunk beds (subject to availability on the day).

Distance: 14.7 km
Approximate trekking time: 8 hours

Overnight in Farm of the Mamo Kogui, Mutanyi

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

A Mamo is a spiritual leader of the Kogui people, descendants of the Tayrona people. These Mamos are part of a priesthood who believe that the spiritual balance they keep in their land directly affects the cosmic and ecological balance of the entire world.

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Day 4 : Lost City

Today is the big day as you hike to the Lost City. Climb the 1,200 stone steps (1.5 hours) to arrive at this awe-inspiring archaeological site. Walk around the site with your guide, discovering the numerous terraces. Learn about the pre-Hispanic Tayronas, their culture and customs, and how they adapted to their jungle environment, and visit the ceremonial houses of the present-day Tayronas. Enjoy lunch beside a waterfall and bathe in the Pool of Youth, which, according to legends, has magical powers of preservation. Return to the farm of the Mamo Kogui for dinner. Overnight in hammocks or bunk beds (subject to availability on the day).

Distance: 6 km
Approximate trekking time: 7 hours

Overnight in Farm of the Mamo Kogui, Mutanyi

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Around the year 700, the Tayrona people arrived in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Colombia from Central America. Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) took them 200 years to construct and is 600 years older than Machu Picchu. In the year 1300, it had a population of 300. However, the site was abandoned in the 1600s when trade routes were cut due to the arrival of the Spanish. Fish and salt could not get through resulting in the spread of disease. The Tayronas had many unusual customs and beliefs one of which was that they thought they could be reborn as parrots, bats and jaguars, hence their prominence in Tayrona art. Another was the relationship between men and women. Men married at 15 after living for 6 months with a women of around 20 years who taught him about procreation as well as work. At this stage he built 2 houses, one for himself and one for his wife (large houses were for men and sons, smaller ones for women and daughters). Only chiefs could have 2 wives. Women were not allowed in men’s huts and men only entered the women’s house to cut the umbilical cord with a palm tree to prevent infection. Women would leave food and firewood at the door of the men’s huts and a special area in the fields was reserved for procreation. When indigenous women had twins they would suffocate the weaker as they could not go about their work and raise two sons/daughters. Blind and disabled babies were treated the same.

The Lost City disappeared for hundreds of years until its discovery in 1973 by grave robbers. It became widely known about in 1975 after ancient urns and other treasures started appearing on the black market. Prior to its official discovery, local tribes visited it and called it Teyuna. It is believed that Ciudad Perdida was the region’s political and trading centre on the Buritaca River until it was abandoned during the Spanish conquest. Ciudad Perdida lies at an altitude of 950-1300 metres in the Buritaca valley. Surrounded by dense jungle, the only way to get there is through a three day trek and a climb of 1200 stone steps. This isolation (there are no roads and it is hidden between mountains) and overgrown state gives the city a mysterious air that makes it so unique and an experience of a lifetime.

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Day 5 : El Mamey region

Hike in the Sierra Nevada and return to El Mamey region. Enjoy lunch near Mutanyi then continue to trek to the indigenous camp where you will have dinner and overnight in hammocks or bunk beds (subject to availability on the day).

Distance: 9.7 km
Approximate trekking time: 4 hours

Overnight in Paraíso Teyuna, Machete Pelao

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 6 : Return to Santa Marta

Four-hour trek to the village of Machete Pelao, visiting a magnificent waterfall on the way. Enjoy lunch then meet the 4x4 to take you back to Santa Marta. You will arrive mid-afternoon and the rest of the day is at leisure.

Distance: 6.8 km
Approximate trekking time: 4 hours

Overnight in La Casa del Farol, Santa Marta

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

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Day 7 : Departure from Santa Marta

At a suitable time, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Bogotá and onwards international connections.

Meal plan: Breakfast



All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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La Casa del Farol

Santa Marta (2 nights)

La Casa del Farol is located at the heart of the historic city of Santa Marta. The decor within the hotel is influenced by the city's colonial history, each room has taken its inspiration from a different city around the world - including Havana, New York and Beijing. The bedrooms are modern and spacious, providing access to free wifi, satellite television and air-conditioning. The hotel restaurant serves a fusion of Caribbean and Spanish food. Guests can also access the swimming pool and Jacuzzi on the hotel's roof terrace, where they can enjoy views of the iconic city cathedral against a beautiful mountainous backdrop. 

Visit hotel's site
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Paraíso Teyuna

Machete Pelao (2 nights)

Paraíso Teyuna is a traditional Wiwa indigenous camp located on the banks of the Buritaca River. The camp offers simple accommodation to weary trekkers in the form of hammocks and bunk beds, as well as hearty meals to keep energy levels high (please note bunk beds are subject to availability on arrival at the camp).

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Farm of the Mamo Kogui

Mutanyi (2 nights)

The farm of the Mamo Kogui (the spiritual leader of the Kogi people) provides a unique opportunity for travellers to experience the way of life led by this indigenous community. Its location makes it the perfect base from which to explore the Lost City. The campsite has very basic facilities, which allows guests to immerse themselves in the traditionally rural lifestyle. Guests at the farm sleep in hammocks with mosquito nets or bunk beds (subject to availability on arrival). 


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Thanks for making my trip possible and so successful in such a short time. I loved every single second and the trek to the Lost City is amazing. Would do it again in this precise moment. And Colombia was a pleasant surprise, the country is incredible and really safe against the common stereotypes. It is a place I would be happy to live in, with the good weather, the colours and on particular the music. The food was incredible and freshly cooked. I am normally a fussy eater but I had every single meal almost cleaning the plate every time! Really enjoyed the fresh fruit supplied during the breaks.
The package was excellent considering the very short notice. I was impressed by the efficiency and the great communication.

Lisa Zardoni , Lost City Trek, Colombia

David and Rahul, what a great company you run! My tailormade trip to Colombia was just perfect! Your advice and guidance in advance of the trip was excellent. I loved the accommodation in Bogota and Cartagena; quaint and traditional. And the staff were incredibly friendly, welcoming and helpful. Your agent, Russell, was very attentive, and the drivers allocated to transport me were punctual, friendly and helpful! I cannot fault a thing. Thanks so much for planning such smooth-running trip for me. And, naturally, Colombia was the big star; can`t wait to visit again!

Stuart Robinson , Tailormade Colombia

The Lost City trip was amazing. Would recommend this trip to anyone who has a sense of adventure and not afraid to leave their comfort zone. Machu Picchu is nothing like this and the sense of achievement you get when you reach the Lost City is truely outstanding. I am now looking for a similar adventure in another part of the world.

Daniel Bean , Lost City Trek, Colombia

Seamless, worry-free travel in a far flung corner of the world. It was the best way to make sure we used our travel time seeing the country, interacting with the people, and tasting the food. I`ve already spent enough time, in queues, on buses, or just generally lost to appreciate a well planned trip.

Sean and Bonnee Gregg , Tailormade Colombia

This was a great adventure. Be prepared to get hot and wet but the rewards are worth it. Beautiful scenery and we learnt a lot about the history of Colombia and the local region from our guide. Would recommend Colombia to any travellers. Thanks to Travel the Unknown for organising trip, we had no issues which allowed us to appreciate the country even more. This was one of the best treks I have done. Very enjoyable and some amazing scenery.

Terry Cooper , Lost City Trek, Colombia

Thanks so much for a wonderful trip. The whole trip was fantastic. Our guides throughout were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and friendly. The Humming Bird walk in Manizales was probably the highlight but it`s not easy to choose. We will definitely travel with Travel the Unknown again.

Shaun Matthews , Tailormade Colombia

I would recommend Travel The Unknown`s Colombian Odyssey tour for anyone who wants a fairly comprehensive tour of the highlights of Colombia. I would definitely advise an add on to Cartagena, if you haven`t already visited. Colombia is a wonderful place to take a holiday whether you have been to Latin America many times before or even if it is your first trip. Travel The Unknown have definitely chosen the best places to stay and we were very well looked after. If you want a completely tailormade trip, I`m quite sure that the experience would be equally excellent. It`s good to find a smaller company where you get a more personal service and which goes to off beat places or off beat areas of well known but far away places.

Julie Crank , Colombian Odyssey, Colombia

There have been so many highlights on our 15-day trip to Colombia: the Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira, Colonial towns of Villa de Leyva and Cartagena, learning about the coffee culture, the wonderfully crazy Carnaval de Negros Y Blancos at Pasto to name a few. The guides were friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to introduce us to the local culture, making this one of the most memorable trips I've ever taken.

Albert Chau , Festivals of Colombia, Colombia

We have just returned from a three week trip to Colombia organised on a private basis by Travel the Unknown. This followed our tours with them to both Eastern and Western Turkey in 2015 and to Iran in 2014. We view all three trips as great successes, wherein everything that was promised, was delivered. We will be planning further trips with them.

James & Margaret Stewart , Tailormade Colombia

An amazing and comprehensive tour of Colombia. This is a beautiful county, go now before it gets too touristy!

Gillian Lowe , Tailormade Colombia

Travel the Unknown organised a brilliant three-location private trip to Colombia, including Bogotá Gold Museum, coffee-country and colonial and Republican Cartagena. Practical arrangements for transport, hotels and guides worked well. It was a delightful tour.

Tony Cram , Tailormade Colombia
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