Adventure Associates of Washington - vacations and travel

The Lost City, A Journey To The 10th Century In Colombia


from $736* per person 6 Days Year-round
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Adventure Associates of Washington 9 people max
  • Santa marta,colombia
  • Active & Adventure trips
National Geographic Traveler's Tours of a Lifetime 2011
Tairona is a group of chiefdoms in the region of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in present-day Cesar, Magdalena and La Guajira Departments of Colombia, South America, which goes back at least to the 1st century AD and had significant demographic growth around the 11th century.


The Tairona people formed one of the two principal linguistic groups of the Chibcha family, the other being the Muisca, who migrated from present-day Central America in around 1200 C.E. and were initially forced to move higher up and closer into the interior by the Caribs somewhere around 1000 A.D. This earlier movement allowed them to evade the worst of the Spanish colonial system during the 16th and 17th centuries. The indigenous Kogui, Wiwa, Arhuacos (Ijka, Ifca) and Cancuamo people who live in the area today are believed to be direct descendants of the Tairona.

One of the best-known Tairona nucleated villages and archaeological sites is known as Ciudad Perdida (Spanish for "Lost City"). It was a major city, about 13 hectares (32 acres) in the "core". It was discovered by looters in 1975 but is now under the care of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History. Recent demographic studies suggest that it was inhabited by approximately 1,500 to 2,400 people that lived in at least 11,700 square meters (124,000 square feet) of roofed space in 184 round houses built on top of stone paved terraces.

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  • Reviewer:
    "Many people today, loyal to their own high ideals, walk toward the light of justice, honor, truth, and, the shadow of a good influence fall behind them. They too, attract rather than compel others toward goodness. They lure by the appeal of their own integrity and love."
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    "...the experience was fun and the fresh air and islands were exhilarating. Everything (including the food) was wonderful!! It was refreshing, invigorating and I felt very comfortable with the ladies, all of whom I'd never met previously. But it was the shared laughter that struck a chord for me, the memories still bring a smile to my lips. "
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    "A wonderful introduction to the people and culture of Cuzco as well as a physically challenging trek to one of the world's great wonders, all in the company of supportive and fascinating women. My travels with Adventure Associates continue to be highlights of my life."

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.




Arrival in Santa Marta reception at the airport and trip by truck with the whole equipment and the porters during 2 hours on the Panamerican Highway towards the north. Then for approx. 1 hour on an unpaved road to the settlement of Machete Pelao. There the mules will be loaded and the trekking will begin. The first 2 ½ hours will be walking up through a zone that has been deforested by colonists to plant bananas, mandioc, etc. On the way, opportunity to take a bath in the river El Machete. Arriving at an altitude of 600 mts, participants will continue walking through places shaded by secondary forest during 2 hours to the colonist Adam’s house; there hammocks will be hung up with its mosquito nets for the night. Opportunity to take a bath in a nearby river. Dinner and overnight.




After breakfast, start of trekking through deep forest during 6 hours. Half the way the Indian reservation of the Koguis, descendants of the Tayronas, begins. Trekkers will pass through an Indian village and will have the opportunity to see some of the Indians and perhaps speak to them. This village are only used for special meetings and therefore usually they are almost empty. Inside the Indian reservation the overnight will be in the house of the only colonist of the area, whose name is Gabriel. Before dinner a magnificent bath can be enjoyed in Rio Buritaca. Overnight.


DAY 03:  CIUDAD PERDIDA         


Breakfast and walking during 6 hours crossing many times the Rio Buritaca; sometimes swimming, sometimes just walking in the river. On the way, spots removed by treasure hunters can be recognized. The last part of the trekking will be climbing more than 2000 stone stairs, built by the Tayronas as far as the legendary CIUDAD PERDIDA.


The afternoon will be dedicated to visit the ruins of this spectacular city discovered in 1976 and built by the Tayrona between 500 and 700 A.C. Ciudad Perdida is until our days the most important settlement of the Tayrona Culture, possibly the capital of the region. It is located at the shore or Rio Buritaca and spreads from 800 to 1300 mts. above sea level. Its axis is a wide stairway that begins at the river shore and continues on the crest of the mountain branching to left and right into secondary paths that go towards the many dwelling terraces. The majority of the terraces served as foundations for 2 to 4 huts.


Close to the ruins, at the visitor´s centre, the camp will be made. Dinner and overnight.





Breakfast and return during 5 hours till Gabriel’s house, crossing several times the Rio Buritaca and meeting Indians on the way.




Breakfast and trekking for 4 hours as far as Adam’s house.




Breakfast and trekking for 3 hours to the settlement of Machete Pelao, where a truck will be waiting for a trip of 3 hours to Santa Marta.

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