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Colombia: Trek to the Lost City

2nd Jul 2022 - 10th Jul 2022

9 days/Colombia /Challenging

Overview

Explore the deep Columbian jungle and channel your inner Indiana Jones as you trek to discover the Lost City!

Spend 5 days on one of the best hikes in Colombia, trekking through the steamy jungle, past dramatic waterfalls and through the stunning mountains. Hidden deep in the jungle you will find the ruins of Ciudad Perdida or Teyuna, an ancient settlement hundreds of years older than neighbouring Machu Picchu in Peru.

The city is a true feat of engineering built on an intricate system of more than 250 terraces connected by stone paths and supported by a canal circuit. At the time it boasted a population of up to 3,000 people who lived in circular stone houses with thatched rooves. Take on almost 2000 stone steps to reach the historic city nestled within mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria while keeping your eyes peeled for the unique flora, fauna and wildlife that call the lush rainforest their home.

You will be staying in hammocks or tents in basic campsites and local farms along the way which will serve to enrich your experience and understanding of authentic, rural Colombia.

 

This is a challenging trip for someone with a good level of fitness. Do not expect it to be easy; there will be a lot of steps to climb! It is physically demanding as you will be trekking over varying terrain, for long hours, carrying your own gear, over multiple days.

You must take your training seriously so you can cope with the various demands of the trek, including the tough terrain, high temperatures and high humidity. You should be prepared for all weather conditions and variable temperatures.  

You will be staying in very basic facilities which could involve simple shelters with a mix of bunk beds, hammocks or tents. 

 

The trek is accompanied by local English-speaking guides who have an excellent knowledge of trekking in the region. The guides are first aid trained and will support you throughout your journey. You will also be supported by an excellent team of assistant staff, cooks and drivers and a Different Travel Company UK tour manager.

The terrain varies greatly on this trek, from overgrown jungle paths to good open tracks and smaller paths. You can expect the terrain to be hilly and undulating with many steep sections and a lot of steps. You can expect uneven and often slippery ground underfoot. There will be a number of steep ascents and long descents so you must arrive in Colombia fit and prepared. You must be prepared to climb over overgrown vegetation, tree roots and other jungle obstacles while carrying your own kit. The paths can be muddy and slippery after rain. This trek is not easy.

The temperatures in Colombia remain generally unchanged throughout the year. July is the start of the dry season in Colombia with long sunny days. Temperatures will average around 30°C with highs of 33°C and lows of 26°C.
Temperatures do not drop very much overnight and it can feel very sticky and humid. It’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions and temperatures by packing technical non-cotton layers and waterproofs.

Although the temperatures and conditions above are historically accurate, climate change can impact the seasons so you may experience uncharacteristic conditions during the trip which are out of our control. Should this happen the guide will assess the situation and make decisions to ensure the best enjoyment and ultimately safety of the group as a whole.

Your trek cooks will prepare hearty meals during the trek to ensure that you have plenty of energy for each day’s exertion. They will look after you brilliantly, bringing hot drinks to your tent each morning to help you wake up and pack your gear, before enjoying breakfast in the mess tent. Breakfast will consist of, but not be limited to: seasonal fruits such as mango, pineapple, papaya, pin or banana, eggs, potato soup, broth with meat, bread or arepa, a usually grilled cornmeal cake.

The cooks will prepare traditional Colombian food for lunch and dinner which will include dishes such as rice, plantain, potato, cassava with a choice of meat, fish or chicken and some grains such as chickpeas, beans or lentils. Snacks include fruit, chocolate or sandwiches, and hot drinks.

Hot drinks are served at mealtimes (e.g. coffee, tea, hot chocolate). If you have a particular preference for tea, coffee or hot chocolate (e.g. herbal tea or decaf coffee), please bring a small personal supply.

Tap water in Colombia is not safe to drink. Purified water is provided for your water bottles each day however we recommend that you chemically purify this for peace of mind.

You will stay at a hotel for 3 nights, in Bogota at the start of the trip and in Santa Marta at the start and end of the trek. All hotels have en-suite facilities and are on a twin or triple-share basis. A single-occupancy hotel room may be possible subject to availability and payment of a single supplement.

You will camping in indigenous villages for 4 nights during the trek. Accommodation during the trek is very basic. You will be sleeping in bunk beds or hammocks in shared dormitories or in three-man tents (two to a tent) depending on availability. There will be a mosquito net, pillow and blanket but we recommend that you bring your own sleeping bag/blanket and travel pillows for comfort.

Meals will be taken in a mess tent or dining room where a table, chairs, plates, mugs, cutlery and other equipment is provided for you. Meals are cooked by your own dedicated trek chef who will prepare hearty, delicious Colombian and European meals.

The hotels have en-suite facilities with flushing toilets and showers.  At camp there are separate Western-style toilet and shower blocks. Toilet paper is not provided so you will need to bring your own. If you use the toilet during the day whilst on the trail, you must carry out any toilet paper you use in a sanitary/nappy sack, to dispose of properly at camp. You must NEVER leave toilet paper, fruit peel, nut shells or other litter on the trail.

The showers in camp use very cold water, brought directly from the river. You are advised to bring a small pack of baby wipes and use natural or biodegradable soap/shampoo e.g. from Little Footprint Gifts where you are entitled to a 10% discount.

There will also be the opportunity to swim in rivers and waterfalls during the trek so bring a non-cotton trek towel e.g. large travel towel and some basic bio-degradable toiletries should you wish to take this opportunity.

The minimum age is 18 (or 16-17 if accompanied by a parent/guardian). There is no upper age limit.

An ideal candidate is someone who is open minded, positive, flexible and enjoys the challenges of the great outdoors. Adventure travel involves elements of the unexpected so do not expect the standards to be the same as you are used to at home. Remote areas are sometimes unpredictable (be it because of group pace, weather conditions etc.) and itineraries may be altered to allow for this. You must also be willing to train hard for this challenge!

You should start a training programme at least 9 months before your departure including hill walking while carrying a heavy backpack, general cardio workouts, and exercise to strengthen your legs and core. If you are unfit at the time of booking you should consider starting training 12 months before departure. If you do not already regularly exercise you should aim to start training (including plenty of hills) as early as possible. The best training is hill walking, which will prepare you for the type of terrain you will experience trekking to the Lost City. By the time of departure you should feel confident in your ability to walk up and down steep gradients for many hours per day on consecutive days.

Building up your core and leg muscle strength is important so exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, planks and crunches will really enhance your training. These exercises can be done at home – no gym needed. You can download a number of free apps, which will help you train and track your progress, e.g. MapMyWalk, C25K (couch to 5k run), MyFitnessPal (for a variety of sports).

You must take your training seriously and arrive as fit as you can be, so you get the most out of this challenge.

The trek is rated as challenging and you are advised to train to a good fitness level before departure to ensure fast recovery from each day’s exertions. There are many steep uphill and downhill sections and lots of steps to contend with and you must be prepared to carry a daypack weighing 10-15kg.

This trek is graded ‘challenging’ as you will be trekking over varying terrain, in high temperatures and high humidity, while sleeping in campsites with basic facilities. You should be prepared for all weather conditions and variable temperatures. Each day’s trek is between 4-8 hours, you will be carrying all your own equipment and there are some big hills to climb! This is an endurance challenge so you are strongly advised to build up a good level of fitness – the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the challenge.

We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.

The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing this booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.

If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP. We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.

In the event that your medical issues represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your deposit will be refunded. Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.

Essentials

E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport + copy
Travel Insurance info
Pen for immigration forms
Cash (£ Sterling) / ATM card(s)
Head torch + spare batteries
Adaptor 2 round pins (Euro)
Sunglasses (100% UV)
Camera + spare batteries
Mobile phone + charger
Walking pole(s)

Clothing & Footwear

Hiking boots*
Slippers/Crocs/sandals
Casual clothes for non-trek days
Non-cotton trek socks + trek underwear
Non-cotton long sleeve base layer
Non-cotton t-shirt
Long sleeve warm layer/light fleece
Lightweght trek trousers
Waterproof jacket + trousers
Sun hat
Buff multifunctional headwear
Casual clothes/travel clothes
swimsuit

Hygiene

Shampoo + conditioner*
Toothbrush + toothpaste*
Antiperspirant deodorant*
Wet wipes*
Toilet paper (1-2 rolls)*
Sun cream (high SPF)*
Hand sanitizer
Feminine hygiene products*
travel towel

First Aid Kit

Prescription medicine
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Plasters
Blister plasters (e.g. Compeed)
Imodium (Loperamide)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Muscle rub (tiger balm/Deep Heat)
Anti-histamine tablets/cream
Antiseptic cream (e.g. Savlon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Scissors/tweezers (optional)
Indigestion remedy (optional)
Zinc oxide tape
Spare glasses/contact lenses

Optional

Portable charger (optional)
Video camera (optional)
iPod/MP3 player
Diary/notebook and pen

Luggage

Suitcase or kit bag (for flight)
Backpack (45-50 litres)
Small hand luggage
Waterproof dry bag(s)
Combination Padlock
Luggage organisers (optional)

Eating and Drinking

Energy snacks
3x 1-litre water bottles or
2-litre water bottle (e.g. CamelBak)
1-litre standard water bottle
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)

Sleeping

Lightweight sleeping bag
Silk sleeping bag liner
Travel pillow
Ear plugs (essential)
Pyjamas (use spare base laters)

Please note: This list is just a guideline and is not exhaustive. The items on this list do not take into account your personal preferences based on your previous trekking experience, or individual requirements. For information about items on this list please refer to the trip dossier or contact The Different Travel Company on info@different-travel.com

*Please ensure you pack your hiking boots into your hand baggage in the unlikely event your checked luggage goes missing or is delayed.

*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday 2 July 2022):

London to Bogota
Depart for an overnight flight to Addis Ababa.

Day 2 (Sunday 3 July 2022):

Bogota
Arrive in Bogota and transfer to a central hotel.  Depending on flight times, there may be a chance to take part in a city tour of the Old Quarter this afternoon, including guided visits to the main square, the Botero Museum and the cathedral.  We will have a welcome dinner this evening.
Meals: Dinner

Day 3 (Monday 4 July 2022):

Bogota – Santa Marta
We will return to the airport for the short flight to Santa Marta.  We will take a walking tour of the city with our guide to learn all about the local Tayrona culture that existed in the area long before the arrival of Europeans.  This evening there will be a briefing on the trek.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 (Tuesday 5 July 2022):

Santa Marta – Mamey
After a hearty breakfast we will set off in four-wheel drive vehicles to the starting point of our trek to the lost city.  We spend the morning hiking through the Mamey region before stopping for lunch at a local finca, after which we hike to the first indigenous campsite, on the shores of the Buritaca River.
Trekking: 4 hours (Approx. 7km)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 (Wednesday 6 July 2022):

Buritaca River – Mutanyi
Today’s hike takes us through the Buritaca Valley, stopping briefly at a couple of small villages to admire the stunning views over the Sierra Nevada.  After lunch there is a chance to swim in the waterfall before continuing to our campsite located on a small farm.
Trekking: 8 hours (Approx. 16km)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 (Thursday 7 July 2022):

The Lost City
Today we reach the highlight of our trek – the Lost City!  2,000 stone steps need to be climbed in order to enter the ancient site, and then the views of its numerous terraces and ceremonial artefacts unfold.  Enjoy some time exploring this incredible archaeological site before returning to the previous night’s campsite.
Trekking: 7 hours (Approx. 6-10km)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7 (Friday 8 July 2022):

Mamay
Today’s hike follows a route through the Sierra Nevada and back into the Mamey region. After enjoying the undulating trails, and incredible views, we arrive at our final camp.
Trekking: 5 hours (Approx. 10km)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 (Saturday 9 July 2022):

Mamay – Santa Marta
We leave camp this morning and will enjoy a short walk to another spectacular waterfall before a hike to the tiny town of  Machete Pelao. After lunch, we head back to Santa Marta, where we check into the hotel and are reunited with our luggage.
Trekking: 4 hours (Approx. 7km)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 (Sunday 10 July 2022):

Santa Marta – Bogota – London
We will transfer to the airport for the return flight to London, via Bogota, which may arrive the following day, depending on flight schedules.
Meals: Breakfast

N.B. This itinerary may change due to unusual weather patterns, the ability of the group, and so on. We will do our best to keep to the set itinerary however we cannot be held responsible for changes that might occur outside of our control. In all such circumstances your guide and tour leader will have the final say in the interest of the health and safety of the group.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £380
and then either…

Self-funded: £1995

or

Sponsorship: £3990

or

Flexi: £1995 trip costs and £1995 sponsorship for a charity of your choice

SELF-FUNDED

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves. There is no sponsorship required although if you wish to raise sponsorship for a charity you are welcome to do so.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to Different Travel 10 weeks prior to departure.
  • You are welcome to fundraise separately for any charity of your choice but this is not mandatory. Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

SPONSORSHIP

This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation to their chosen charity. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each tour that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • The minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • The amount the charity receives is at least 50% of the minimum sponsorship total.

FLEXI

This option is for those who choose to pay the trip costs (flights, accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A registration fee is payable at the time of booking.
  • Trip cost balance is payable to the charity 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • Any fundraising undertaken cannot be used for your trip costs.

What's included

  • Return flights from the UK
  • Airport taxes and charges
  • Domestic flights
  • All transport in Colombia
  • Accommodation (2 star hotel in Bogota and Santa Marta, basic shelters on trek)
  • Meals as specified in itinerary
  • English-speaking guides and support crew
  • National Park entrance fees
  • Trek permits

What's not included

  • Visa if required
  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, snacks, showers, souvenirs, etc.)
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips (approx. £xx per person)
  • Trek kit and equipment

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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