The Misplaced Metropolis trek is an arduous however rewarding 5-day traverse by way of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia.

The trek provides a singular alternative to attach with nature, to see the traditional ruins of a Pre-Columbian society, in addition to to cross by way of the land of the Kogi tribes. These indigenous folks dwell in conventional methods contained in the Sierra Nevada reservation.

Whereas exchanging journey ideas with different travellers in Colombia, I’ve usually been requested if I’ve executed the Misplaced Metropolis trek and whether or not it was value it. It’s really one of the frequent questions I get about Colombia.

That is comprehensible because the trek does take round 5 days and prices COP 1.400.000 per individual (at the moment about $315 US {Dollars}).

If you happen to’re questioning about the associated fee or time wanted, or simply what the expertise will likely be like, then let me share every thing right here as a way to make up your individual thoughts.

What number of days do you want?

The Misplaced Metropolis trek might be accomplished from 4 to six days. It appears mostly executed in 4 days, however I believe it’s greatest to do it in 5 days.

I did it in 5 days myself and thought this was simply the right tempo.

I’m a frequent hiker and do take pleasure in a stiff hike, however I preferred that this 5-day itinerary additionally left a bit extra time for swimming within the river, correctly having fun with the views, and spending a while at camp.

On the 5-day trek, you’ll spend the primary three days mountaineering to the Misplaced Metropolis. On the morning of the third day, you’ll discover the archaeological ruins. You’ll trek the identical manner again on the 4th and fifth days.

You’ll be able to examine the precise trekking itineraries provided by the totally different tour corporations, although they’re all roughly the identical. If you happen to select the 4-day possibility, it can sometimes be the identical for the primary three days, however you then’ll trek all the way in which again in simply in the future as a substitute of two.

Problem stage

Whereas not tough in a technical sense, the path is fairly strenuous. By the top of it, I used to be completely exhausted.

If you happen to completely detest mountaineering, then that is not the expertise for you.

However in case you are up for a problem, then stamina is de facto all you could do the Misplaced Metropolis trek. I noticed hikers of varied ages alongside the path. If you happen to can put one foot in entrance of the opposite repeatedly for 4 to five days, then you are able to do it.

On common you’ll hike about 5 hours per day should you’re doing the 5-day itinerary.

The trail goes up and down in elevation quite a bit. You’ll be alternating between ascending and descending the entire manner, although the final path to the Misplaced Metropolis is up, and it’s typically down on the way in which again.

Mules will carry water and meals to the camps, so all you need to carry are your private belongings similar to garments, a towel, sunscreen, a rain jacket, and so on. Only a daypack needs to be sufficient for this trek.

You’ll principally hike on a mud path. Relying on the season, you’ll be dealing both with numerous mud or plenty of mud, and doubtlessly plenty of mosquitos.

Count on it to be fairly a tiring trek. When my group reached the minibus again to Santa Marta, everybody was silent and all of us fell asleep on the bus.

Whereas I’ve executed far more difficult treks (similar to going up steep volcanoes or trekking within the Himalayas), the Misplaced Metropolis trek continues to be a considerably powerful one, so that you want a fundamental health stage to do it.

Doing it independently

If the worth tag of an organized trek appears a bit hefty, you may surprise about doing this trek by your self. Can’t you simply pack a bag with a tent and your individual meals and do the Misplaced Metropolis trek independently?

I see this query requested continually on social media teams for Colombia. The reply is that you can’t do the Misplaced Metropolis trek independently. This has nothing to do together with your trekking talents. It’s merely not allowed.

The path runs by way of the ancestral lands of the Kogi tribes who’ve given just a few tour corporations permission to take guided teams into the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta nationwide park. Impartial hikers will not be permitted below this association.

I really like (and normally choose) mountaineering independently however I perceive why solely excursions are allowed on this case. It’s a manner for the assorted events concerned to learn financially but additionally to correctly handle customer numbers.

The individuals who name these jungled valleys their house solely gave permission to a number of tour corporations to do that trek. There are additionally some Kogi tribes away from the path that need to keep remoted. That’s why signing up with a guided group tour is the one manner.

Reserving the guided trek

There are 5 tour operators licensed to do the La Ciudad Perdida trek:

  1. Turcol
  2. Expotur-Eco
  3. Magic Tours
  4. Baquianos Travel
  5. Wiwa Tours

The costs are standardized so there isn’t any want to buy round. Merely select a tour operator that you just assume provides you with a great expertise.

Solely Wiwa Excursions is barely totally different from the others as they make use of indigenous guides, although they’re (because the title implies) from the Wiwa tribe reasonably than Kogi.

Different worldwide tour corporations (similar to G Adventures) may supply the Misplaced Metropolis trek, however they’re merely reselling the identical excursions whereas including a revenue margin for themselves. For the very best value, merely guide straight with any of the Colombian corporations.

If you happen to choose to guide by way of a platform, you possibly can book the Lost City trek via GetYourGuide. That is the quickest manner however they cost a bit extra. Nonetheless, perhaps you don’t need to cope with contacting the native operators in Spanish, or maybe you simply need this booked straight away.

If you happen to reserve by way of GetYourGuide, you can be going with Baquianos Excursions.

What to anticipate

Many who’ve executed the trek will say the identical factor: “it’s much less in regards to the vacation spot and extra in regards to the journey”.

Don’t anticipate the traditional ruins to be a Machu Picchu-like revelation. What’s nonetheless visibly left of the town are only a few flat terraces the place as soon as there have been buildings.

There are mentioned to be 170 stone terraces carved within the mountain, however most are lined in jungle. There are virtually no partitions or constructions left, solely foundations.

Your information will make the place come to life by offering data, however there’s not essentially an entire lot to see.

Whoever known as it the Misplaced Metropolis did an excellent job naming it because it sounds so tantalizing and mysterious. Admittedly it’s buried deep within the Colombian jungle and wasn’t rediscovered by outsiders till 1972.

From an archaeological perspective, the positioning is clearly vital. The town is estimated up to now again to 800 AD and to have had round 8000 inhabitants. It’s a must to stroll up 1200 moss-covered stone steps to succeed in the highest.

Nonetheless, it’s the trek itself that I loved most.

The path follows a river for nearly the whole size, letting you cool off the water usually and go to small waterfalls. Hummingbirds, butterflies in giant numbers and sizes, and vibrant tropical birds might be noticed all alongside the path.

Being distant from any electrical energy or WiFi enhances the expertise. You’ll sleep at easy camps the place dinner is served by candlelight.

The shared expertise helps you to simply get to know many individuals in your group. I went on the trek throughout a solo journey and loved chatting with my fellow hikers in the course of the day or enjoying card video games at camp at night time.

There’s nothing fairly like falling asleep to the sounds of the jungle. Laying at midnight in a hammock lined in a mosquito web will make you’re feeling such as you’re in a comfy cocoon, letting you deal with the orchestra of crickets, frogs, and birds which can be on the market someplace. On my first night time, I even heard monkeys whooping within the distance.

What makes the trek fascinating as effectively is the prospect to see or meet members of the Kogi tribes. They are often simply recognised by their white robes and the sharp hats worn by the male clergymen.

These indigenous folks have maintained their conventional lifestyle, sometimes residing in small thatched huts. Their perception system is centred on residing in stability with nature, with their God, Aluna, being a form of Mom Nature determine.

They name outsiders the ‘Youthful Brothers’ believing us to have brought on Earth’s ecology to change into unbalanced, whereas they name themselves the ‘Elder Brothers’ and see themselves as caretakers of the Earth. Studying about their easy and nature-focused lives is kind of fascinating.

Whereas the Misplaced Metropolis in itself is probably not fairly as majestic as you may think, the trek is however very memorable, with the journey making it particularly rewarding.

Is it well worth the time?

It’s tough to say if the trek is value your time with out understanding your Colombia itinerary. 5 days could possibly be a very long time or not relying on how a lot time you’ve.

I spoke with some travellers in Minca who solely had ten days on their Colombia journey. They had been hotly debating whether or not to do the Ciudad Perdida trek and hoped I could possibly be their tie-breaker. I believed perhaps it will take up too many days for them. But it surely nonetheless relies upon.

In case your journey time is restricted (e.g. below 2 weeks) then you may additionally select to spend 4 or 5 days on a wide range of different experiences in Colombia. You might nonetheless scratch your trekking itch with one or two days of mountaineering within the close by Tayrona Park. To see plenty of wildlife, you may go on a birdwatching tour in Minca. Maybe you’ll get extra selection that manner.

If you’re on an extended journey in Colombia (e.g. at the very least just a few weeks), then doing the Misplaced Metropolis trek turns into a neater resolution to take. I did it throughout a six-week journey in Colombia and cherished it. The choice was much less agonizing as I had loads of time left for different actions.

I ought to point out that after 5 days of trekking I used to be fairly exhausted, so I spent the following two days both inside or beside the pool at my hostel in Santa Marta. Whereas the trek takes 4 of 5 days you may additionally want a little bit of restoration time afterwards.

Is it well worth the cash?

I first did this trek again in 2014 when it nonetheless value 600,000 pesos (about $140 USD). On the time it was a no brainer.

I travelled in Colombia once more in 2022 and by this time the worth had greater than doubled to COP 1.400.000 per individual (roughly $315USD or €316 at present alternate charges). So it’s now not that low-cost.

The worth continues to be comprehensible given the necessity to hold tourism at sustainable ranges. In a sure sense, you might be paying for different folks to not be there. There are limits to how many individuals can do the trek, so it is smart the worth has risen together with demand.

The tour can be all-inclusive. You may be transported to and from the trailhead and can obtain a certified information, three meals a day (with heaps of meals) and a spot to sleep each night time.

The lodging will likely be both hammocks or dormitory-style beds within the open air below a corrugated roof, so it’s nothing fancy, however that can be a part of the trekking expertise.

You received’t have some other bills on the times of the tour, which can assist to justify the general expense. Whereas backpacking in Colombia I normally spend about $40 a day on common, so on the Misplaced Metropolis trek I might spend $32 above my common quantity per day. Fascinated by what you’ll be spending above your common prices is likely to be a helpful manner to take a look at it.

If you happen to’re not on a good finances, then I believe it’s undoubtedly value it. The trek itself is an excellent expertise and regardless of the ruins not being that massive, it’s about extra than simply the ruins.

If you’re a finances backpacker and if the tour appears too expensive to you, then you may as well use the cash saved to produce other experiences in Colombia. The trek could be very cool, however there are plenty of very cool issues you are able to do in Colombia, so don’t should really feel pressured to incorporate it in any respect prices. It’s all as much as you whether or not you assume it’s value it.


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Posted AUG 08, 2022 (Up to date Sep 08, 2022)

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