Osprey Expeditions

The Lost City

“Lost City Trek Colombia” are simple words in the mind of every hiker who visit South America.

Built by the Tayrona Indians between the 11th and 14th Century in the northern foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, ¨La Ciudad Perdida,¨ or The Lost City is one of the largest pre-Columbian settlements in the Americas.  It was only discovered in 1972.          

Explore the scenic backcountry of Colombia on a 4- or 5-day trek to this legendary site, hidden deep in the dense jungle. You’ll hike 29 miles (47 kilometers) passing unspoiled waterfalls and rivers along the way, eventually reaching this amazing archaeological treasure.

Your trip culminates with a chance to explore Ciudad Perdida, admiring the site’s intricate plazas and stone terraces, carved into the hillside.


Day 1. Santa Marta – Camp Site #1

After collecting you at your hotel in Santa Marta, we will ride in a jeep for about 45 minutes on the highway. We will stop at a convenience store to buy snacks and drinks, and from there, we turn off the highway, up a dirt track into the mountains. After arriving in Machete, we will have lunch and then have a short swim to cool off. Then we hike a steep uphill grade for around 45 minutes before a long descent into the valley where Adán, the first campsite, is located.

(L& D/ ½ day hiking to Adán – 7.6 km (4.7 mi) 
1,900 ft ascent, 900 ft descent)

Colombia Venezuela Wildlife

Day 2. Adan- Camp site # 3

The 15 kms route starts along the Buritaca River, taking you further into the vivid green jungle past small villages en route to the evening campsite. We will walk uphill and across some beautiful terrain, including some local farms. After a jump in a swimming hole and lunch at Wiwa Camp (Camp Site #2) we will continue to Paraiso Camp (Camp Site #3), located only 1km downhill from the Lost City. Today’s journey takes you through a varied landscape, deeper into the tropical jungle, across rivers and past a couple of Kogi villages.

(B,L,D/14.7 km -9.1 mi  3500 ft ascent, 2000 ft descent)

Day 3. The Lost City

We will wake up at about 430A.M so we can can set off at dawn and enjoy the Lost City in the softest light and coolest air possible. After a short walk from the campsite, we will reach the 1,200 stone stairs that ascend to the terraces of the city above. Climbing the steps, we will reach the lower chambers of Teyuna, also known as The Lost City. It is believed that this was a capital city built by the Tayrona civilization in 800 A.D., approximately 600 years before the Incas built Machu Picchu in Peru. When conquistadores approached the structure in the 16th century, the Tayrona opted to abandon the city instead of allowing it to fall into Spanish hands.  After visiting the Lost City, we’ll return to El Paraiso for a quick lunch before heading to Campsite #2 for overnight.

(B,L,D/12 km -7.5 miles,  1800 ft ascent, 3500 ft descent)

Day 4. Camp Site # 2 – Santa Marta

We will start early again, since much of the trail is unshaded, and therefore becomes quite hot. After a stop for fruit at the first campsite and a jump in the swimming hole, we’ll find ourselves back where we began, in Machete, for lunch.      We will drive back to Santa Marta to end this exciting trek, feel free to check mark “Lost City Colombia” in your thoughts.

(B,L/½ day hiking to El Mamey,Return to Santa Marta
12.7 km (7.9 mi) 2200 ft ascent, 3000 ft descent

Includes/ Excludes

  • All meals except Breakfast on Day 1/ Dinner on Day 4
  • English speaking native tour guide or interpreter
  • All land transfers
  • Accommodation at basic camps/shelters with bunks beds and/or hammocks
  • – Entrance fee to Ciudad Perdida
  • Trip Insurance
  • – Hotel in Santa Marta or surroundings.
  • Souvenirs
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities (optional)

Basic Trek Info

hiking Ciudad perdida

Total Distance

About 44 Kms or 28 miles


Maximum elevation is at The Lost City itself at 1,150 meters, around 3,800 feet. No altitude issues.

Best time to go

Since Colombia is equatorial you can do this trek all year-round. Dry season goes from December to March and it gets a few degrees cooler. You can expect afternoon rain in the mountains.


Hot and humid.
From 15 to 25 Celsius


Moderate intensity hiking + up and down on sometimes muddy/slippery trails.
This is not a walk in the park!
No cocktails the night before, go to bed early. 

Book with only US$35

and pay the balance on the same day of departure.
Paypal accepted.

Photo Gallery

Video of the tour