Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Epic Treks

Trek Colombia’s Mountains and Lost City

Journey through moonscape mountains, climb ancient volcanoes and discover the secrets of the Lost City

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Trip Ref #9949

Adventures / Epic Treks

Trek Colombia’s Mountains and Lost City

Journey through moonscape mountains, climb ancient volcanoes and discover the secrets of the Lost City

DURATION
10 nights
LOCATION
Colombia
ANNUAL LEAVE
1.5 weeks off work
SEASON
Feb-Mar, Jul-Aug, Oct-Nov
GROUP SIZE
Up to 16 people
MEETING POINT
Jose Maria Córdova International Airport, Colombia
ACCOMMODATION
Hotel · Guesthouse · Homestay · Campsite
DIFFICULTY
Challenging

Whilst the trekking is not technically difficult, it takes place over a week and across varying terrain, conditions and altitude.

Travel deep into the jungle on one of the most culturally mysterious hikes on the continent and discover a pre-Hispanic Lost City built 650 years before Machu Picchu

Hike through coffee zones, dense jungle and wade across wild, waist-deep rivers

Trek high altitude paramos, climb an extinct volcano and spend your last night watching the sun go down on a secluded beach on the Caribbean coast

Included

Internal flights

1 flight to Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast

Guides

Professional, English speaking guides

Accommodation

3 nights jungle camping, 3 nights in an eco-hotel, 2 nights in a mountain lodge and 2 nights on a ranch

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in-between

Equipment

All your camping equipment and bedding

Permits

All National Park entrance fees and permits

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Some meals as described

Tips for your guides

Travel insurance

The Area

Logistics

Starts

Medellin Airport

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

Santa Marta Airport

Anytime on Day 11

Transfers

Transfers are included if you arrive or depart on the start and end days of the trip only. If you would like your host to arrange transfers outside of these days, they can do for an extra charge. Please see Optional Extras.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Medellin from major airports across the UK and Europe.

What about all the carbon?

We mitigate 4x the carbon generated by all our customer flights annually through our partnership with Cool Earth.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Guesthouse · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Homestay · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Hotel · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Homestay · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Hotel · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7 – Day 9

Campsite · Hammock

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Hotel · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 11

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

You will get a true taste of Colombian cuisine through home-cooked meals, traditional mountain lunches and hearty breakfasts.

Some Examples: Breakfast: Soups, arepa (cornbread), rice and beans, fresh coffee and fruits. Lunch: Potatoes, rice, plantain, chicken and vegetables wrapped in a banana leaf. Dinner: Wholesome vegetable soups, rice, salad, grilled meat

Vegan, vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for, just let your host know when booking.

What is the accommodation like?

Medellin

You'll stay in a twin-room at the one-of-a-kind Terra Biohotel in a safe and vibrant part of town.

Salento

You’ll stay at the Finca El Rancho Salento, located in a beautiful valley just outside of town in either a twin or triple room, dependent on availability.

Los Nevados

You'll experience the life of a traditional Colombian farmer, staying in their lodge, sharing home-cooked meals and getting to know the family while hearing stories about the magical Andean mountains.

Nature Reserve Santa Marta

You’ll stay in the Taironaka Eco-Hotel, a beautiful collection of traditional bungalows and rooms set amidst the trees. Rooms will be either twin or triple share, depending on availability.

The Lost City

You’ll spend 3 nights in basic campsites. There will usually be a choice of hammocks or beds and all come with mosquito nets. There are basic toilet-facilities but any washing can be done in waterfalls and streams en-route.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. This is available for 1 x night in Medellin, 2 x nights in Salento and 2 x nights in Santa Marta only. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability)

Day 1

Welcome to Colombia

Check into your hotel in Medellin and choose between relaxing or joining your guide on a walk to a lookout point with views over the surrounding, mountainous valley. Join the rest of your group for dinner at a local restaurant and sample some local Colombian cuisine as you get to know your fellow adventurers.

Day 2

Coffee Country

Get ready for a dramatic change of landscape as you travel to the colonial Andean town of Salento in the UNESCO-listed coffee zone, west of Bogotá. This road trip will take approx 7 hours by a very comnfortable public coach. As you pass through rolling hills and agricultural settlements, you’ll get a real insight into rural Colombia, before arriving at a beautiful country ranch where you’ll spend the night.

Day 3

Valle De Cocora

Hiking

6hrs

Begin the day ascending into one of Colombia’s crown jewels - Los Nevados National Natural Park. Discover snow-dipped peaks, wax palms (the tallest palm trees in the world), elevated lagoons and towering volcanoes as you emerge from the wispy cloud forest below.

Keep your eyes open for the alien-like frailejones that sprout from the paramo, as well as parrots and marmots. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a spectacled bear! Arrive at your overnight mountain lodge, grab a quick ‘tinto’ or ‘aromatica’ then settle in for the evening and take in the stunning views of La Tolima volcano.

Day 4

Paramillo Del Quindio (4750m)

Hiking

10hrs

Stop at a high-altitude lagoon (3980m). For those feeling the altitude, there is the option for a shorter loop hike, or you can carry on through the different ecosystems and tackle the summit of Paramillo del Quindio (4750m), one of the highest mountains in the national park. Be sure to look up during the day to see condors circling above the trail and at night for the blanket of stars above.

Day 5

The Cloud Forest

Hiking

5hrs

Set off early through the humid Cocora Valley and into the misty and mysterious cloud forest. Descend into the vibrant green valley ahead, making a quick stop at a hummingbird sanctuary, before returning to the ranch by jeep along a bumpy dirt track.

Day 6

Heart of the World

After a traditional Colombian breakfast of arepas (cornbread) with cheese and fruit, you’ll head to Periera for a short flight to Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast. Spend the night in an eco-friendly jungle lodge within a protected nature reserve and receive a warm welcome from the local Arhuaco indigenous community and perhaps even get involved in their ceremonies and customs.

Day 7

Into the Jungle

Hiking

6hrs

Follow the small and winding path that connects the farming region to the jungle and take a refreshing dip in the river to recharge your batteries. Arrive at your camp in the mid-afternoon and relax before a dinner served to the sound of a jungle chorus - your soundtrack for the next few nights.

Day 8

Ancient Civilisations

Hiking

10hrs

Trek through a humid jungle alive with native birds and wildlife, wading at times through waist-deep rivers. Wash under a waterfall and get a panoramic view over the coastal mountain range. Continue your journey towards the Lost City and learn about the sacred traditions, myths and legends of the local indigenous people and hear stories about the tomb raiders and grave robbers that once combed the land looking for gold and ancient artefacts.

Day 9

The Lost City

Hiking

6hrs

Enter a sacred land shrouded in mystery and ancient traditions. Led by your guides, you’ll ascend the gruelling 1200 steps to the lost city of Ciudad Perdida built 650 years before Machu Picchu. As well as having time to explore, the group will also take part in a ceremony to pay tribute to the natural environment. Keep your eyes peeled for snakes hanging from the vines that have taken over this once-thriving city.

Day 10

The Caribbean Coast

Hiking

6hrs

Hike to Machete, stopping to bathe under waterfalls and swim in rivers - a welcome relief after days of humidity. Head back to an eco-hotel located near the Don Diego River and choose between dinner there or in the small beachside village of Palomino. There’s nowhere on earth with higher mountains as close to the sea, and on a clear day you can swim in the Caribbean and see snow-capped mountains at the same time.

Day 11

Goodbye Colombia

Wake one last time in Colombia and then head back to the airport in time for your flight home.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock, Runner's Need, and Cycle Surgery.

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Small backpack (25-30 litres)

Clothes

  • A light poncho-type of waterproof
  • Walking boots
  • Thermal under-clothing
  • Long-sleeved t-shirts or shirts
  • Warm fleece or similar
  • Waterproof jacket with Gore Tex or similar
  • Quick-dry trekking trousers
  • T-shirts
  • Thick walking socks
  • Comfortable quick-dry shorts
  • Thin walking socks
  • Swimwear
  • T-shirts or vests
  • Shorts
  • Sturdy waterproof sandals for river swimming
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Buff

Other

  • Sunglasses
  • Sun-protection hat
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Head torch
  • Suncream
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Quick-drying towel
  • Personal wash kit including toothpaste, toothbrush and toilet paper
  • Personal medical kit including painkillers, blister treatment etc
  • Biodegradable bags for toilet paper waste
  • Biodegradable soap for washing in the jungle
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Camera (optional)
  • Walking poles (optional)

The trekking, while not technically difficult, requires that you be in good physical shape as the days are long and the conditions are challenging.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

In Los Nevados you will have a team of mules who will carry your overnight kit so you will just need a small day pack with essentials (extra layer, water, snacks etc). While trekking to the Lost City you will need to carry everything you need for the trek - as it is very hot this will generally just mean a spare set of clothes. Water will be topped up as you go.

Modern-day Colombia is not 1980's Narcos. For decades the country was in the international press for all the wrong reasons – drugs, kidnappings and civil war. Now with a peace agreement in place between the FARC and the Colombian government, Colombia is much safer and tourism has bloomed.

Medellín is known as “La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera”, the city of eternal spring. The city has a comfortable climate that is consistent all-year-round thanks to its location at high elevation and near the equator.

Los Nevados (Dry season - December to March and July and August)

Daytime: The Andes enjoys sunny days during the dry season with temperatures reaching up to 20°C. Nighttime: Temperatures drop drastically (as low as 0°C) during the night and early morning. Rain: While there is a lower chance of rain during the dry season, there will be days (evenings especially) with potentially heavy rain. Santa Marta

Santa Marta is usually warm during the day, with temperatures of around 40°C and cool at night (around 20°C) with a fresh breeze. During the wet season from June to November short sharp rains are not uncommon.

Water in most major cities is safe to drink, however, in towns and villages in the Andes water shouldn’t be drunk from the tap. We advise bringing purification tablets. While trekking you will be provided with clean drinking water to top your bottles up with.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however, we suggest the following as a guideline per person:

$3-$5USD per person per day, however, if you would like to bring a gift from the UK as a thank you, this will also go a long way!

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

For current advice about travelling in Colombia, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

All of our group adventures are especially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded.

"I cannot recommend this highly enough! The people on the trip were amazing. Easily the best trip I've ever been on!" Charlotte, 2019, Trustpilot.

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

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Cancel up to 31 days before departure and we'll transfer your deposit into credit for a future booking.

Free Date Changes

Free date changes up to 31 days before departure.

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