Colombia’s ‘Lost City Trek’ is the most famous hike in the country and walking is the only way to access ‘La Ciudad Perdida’ – an ancient ruin older than Machu Picchu! Across 4 or 5 days, you’ll swim in rivers, cross streams, hike through cloud forests and ascend the 1,200 stairs up to the magical Lost City. Embark on this rustic adventure and make memories you’ll never forget!
Lost City Trek Itinerary
*Departs every day*
Day 1: Pick up from your accommodation in Santa Marta. You’ll be taken to the Expotur offices 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 when you’ll explore 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).
- 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
- Alcoholic beverages (available for purchase at camps)
- Additional snacks outside of inclusions
- Mule riding
Lost City Trek – FAQs
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.
This is a challenging trek with a lot of steep ascents and descents. Hikers should be fit and healthy.
What is the accommodation like?
The accommodation is very rustic. There are Western-style toilets and cold water showers at every camp. Beds will either be bunk beds or hammocks, with a mosquito net.
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.
Can the tour cater for dietary requirements?
Expotur can cater for dietary requirements, however, these must be communicated to the team in advance.
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.