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Duration: 4 or 5 days
💪 Difficulty Level: Challenging
🛏️ Accommodation: Basic accommodation included
🥗 Food: All meals included
🗣️ Languages Spoken: English and Spanish
✈️ Nearest Airport: Santa Marta or Cartagena
🛻 Pick-Up: Free pick up from accommodation in Santa Marta included

A traveller from COLLEGE POINT booked this activity recently.
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Take on one of the most incredible and rewarding treks South America has to offer. Delve deep into the heart of the Colombian jungle to discover an ancient lost city (La Ciudad Perdida). Witness the beauty of nature as you immerse yourself in the tropical rainforest, traverse jungle trails and rivers, and encounter Colombia’s endemic wildlife.

Across 4 or 5 days, you’ll swim in refreshing rivers, cross rushing streams, hike through atmospheric cloud forests and ascend the 1,200 stairs up to the magical Lost City. Along the way you’ll also learn more about the indigenous communities of the Sierra Nevada, such as the Kogi and Wiwa tribes.

The Lost City Trek is the most popular hike in the country (for good reason) and hiking through the Colombian rainforest is the only way to access the ancient ruins – a site that is 650 years older than Machu Picchu! 

Embark on this once in a lifetime adventure, put those trekking shoes to the test and make friends and memories you’ll never forget!


*Departs every day*

Day 1: Pick up from your accommodation in Santa Marta. You’ll be taken to the Expotur office to finalise your booking and prepare to depart. You may leave your big luggage here while you complete the trek. 

You’ll depart for El Mamey, around 2.5 hours from Santa Marta and the starting point of the trek. Once you arrive, you will have lunch at a local restaurant and begin the hike. There will be approximately 4 hours of trekking (approx. 6.8 km) to Camp 1 where you will sleep that evening. Dinner will also be provided here. 

Day 2: Wake up at 5 am to have breakfast at 5.30 am. The group will depart at around 6 am and you will begin the day’s walk to Camp 3. There will be several snack stops en route, as well as lunch in the middle of the day. On day 2, there is also the opportunity to meet with a local indigenous person to learn more about their culture. There will be approximately 7 hours of trekking (around 14.7km). Once you reach Camp 3 in the afternoon, you’ll have dinner. There will also be free time to swim in the nearby river, have a couple of drinks and get to know your fellow hikers. 

Day 3: Wake up at 5 am to have breakfast and be ready to leave at 6 am. Today is the day that you’ll finally encounter  the Lost City! There will be a short walk to the stairs which ascend to the Lost City. Once you arrive at La Ciudad Perdida, you will spend around 3 hours exploring the complex. Your guide will explain more about the history of this ancient ruin and there may be the opportunity to meet with the Mamo, a local spiritual leader. There will be a total of around 4 hours of trekking (not including the time you have spent in the Lost City itself). Dinner will be served at Camp 2 where you will sleep for the night. 

Day 4 (4-day trek): Wake up at 5 am to have breakfast, ready to leave at 6 am. Today is the longest day of walking on the 4-day trek and you’ll be hiking for around 7-8 hours (approx. 16km). There will be regular rest stops en route back to El Mamey where you began the trek. Once you arrive in El Mamey, you will enjoy a final lunch with your group before the transport arrives to take you to your next destination (Santa Marta, Palomino, Tayrona – you must notify Expotur of your onward travel plans in advance). 

Day 4 (5-day trek): Wake at 5 am, ready to leave at 6 am. You will depart Camp 2 and hike to Camp 1 where you will be spending the night. If you are doing the 5-day version of the trek, you will spend around 3.5-4 hours hiking (approximately 8km). You will have free time in the afternoon to swim in the river, read or relax. 

Day 5 (5-day trek): Awake early to depart Camp 1 for El Mamey. The trekking will last approx 3.5-4 hours and cover around 8km. Once you arrive in El Mamey, you will have lunch as a group before taking the transport provided by Expotur to your onward destination (Santa Marta, Palomino, Tayrona – you must notify Expotur of where you’re headed in advance).


Accommodation is included. Please note that it is very rustic (all part of the adventure!). There are Western-style toilets and cold water showers at every camp. Beds will either be bunk beds or hammocks with a mosquito net. 


All meals are included and are prepared fresh by cooks at the camps. Typical dishes may include rice, beans, eggs, chicken, soup or pasta. Fruit and snacks are also provided to keep you going along the trail.

Expotur can cater for dietary requirements, including vegetarian and vegan options, however, these must be communicated to the team in advance. 


The trek begins in Santa Marta, a city on the north coast of Colombia. Free pick-up is included.

How to Get There:

Santa Marta has a small airport serving major cities in Colombia and Panama City. Cartagena (5 hours west of Santa Marta) is an international airport with some direct flights from Europe and the US.

Local buses operate from Tayrona and Palomino (1 or 2 hours east of Santa Marta respectively) and from Cartagena.

What’s Included:


  • Return transport from Santa Marta (onward transport after the trek to Palomino and Tayrona can also be arranged inclusive of price)
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner (starting from lunch on day 1 to lunch on the final day)
  • Snacks en route
  • English-speaking guide or Spanish-speaking guide with an English translator
  • Associated entrance fees
  • Basic accommodation (either bunk beds or hammocks, with mosquito nets, pillow and blanket)
  • Cold water showers
  • Insurance during hike
  • Filtered drinking water
  • Contribution to indigenous communities
  • Luggage storage at Expotur office
  • Lost City Trek T-shirt

Does not include:

  • Alcoholic beverages (available for purchase at camps)
  • Additional snacks outside of inclusions
  • Mule riding


  • What is the best month to do the Lost City Trek? 
    The best time to hike to the Lost City is during the dry season (mid-December to March) as well as the month of August. 
  • How difficult is the Lost City Trek?
    This is a challenging trek with a lot of steep ascents and descents. Hikers should be fit and healthy. 
  • What should I bring? 
    For a full packing list, please see this post. A few essentials include hand sanitiser, soap, insect repellent, suncream, a portable charger and a waterproof jacket. 
  • How long is the Lost City Trek?
    The La Ciudad Perdida trek is approx. 50km (31 miles) long.
  • Do I have to carry my own luggage?
    Yes. We recommend taking a small day pack with you on the trek. You can leave your main luggage at the Expotur office.
  • I’m vegetarian / vegan / have dietary requirements. Can I be catered for?
    Yes, dietary requirements, including vegetarian and vegan options, can be catered for. Please communicate your requirements in advance of beginning the trek.


To reserve your place on this trek you will need to pay a deposit online with South America Backpacker via credit or debit card. The remaining balance will be paid at the Expotur office in Santa Marta. 

Payment can be made on the day before the tour begins (preferred in order to speed up departure) or on the morning of the first day of the tour. Payment can be made in cash or via debit or credit card with a 2% surcharge. Please bring your passport or other original identity document.

Refund Policy

  • In order to book this experience, you will need to pay a deposit.
  • This depòsit is fully refundable up until 48 hours before the start of the activity.
  • If you are unable to agree on a date or the organiser cannot meet your requirements, your deposit is automatically returned to you in full.
  • There is no refund for cancellations made fewer than 48 hours before the start of the activity.
  • The rest of the payment for the experience is payable to the organiser, either upon arrival at the destination or before in some cases, if the organiser requires it. The organiser will arrange this with you.
  • The refund of the second payment, which goes directly to the trip organiser, is entirely based on the organiser’s own Terms and Conditions.
  • Please read our customer Terms and Conditions for more information.

1 review for Lost City Trek | SANTA MARTA, COLOMBIA

  1. Sheree

    Full disclaimer – I work at South America Backpacker website but I paid full price for this tour.

    The Lost City Trek was my ultimate bucket list activity that I wanted to do while in Colombia. I spoke to a lot of travellers and Expotur’s name was mentioned again and again. After doing my own research, this was further cemented by reading online reviews.

    My experience doing the Lost City Trek was incredible. I opted for the 4 day trek which allowed plenty of time to experience the landscapes and learn about the communities who live there. There was an English translator on the tour which meant that all the information was accessible. I cannot rate my local guide Gabriel highly enough. He is not only incredibly knowledgeable about the Lost City itself but was also friendly and incredibly patient, always willing to help hikers as needed.

    All the staff were fantastic and the group size was perfect – enough people to generate a community feel but not so many it was overwhelming. Unlike some of the other tour operators I saw, Expotur treated the mules and stray animals with kindness, which was really important to me. I absolutely recommend Expotur for the Lost City and this was the highlight of my trip to Colombia.

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  • Store Name: Expotur
  • Operator: Expotur
  • 5.00 rating from 1 review
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