Trek Colombia’s Mountains and Lost City
5.0
| 20 reviews

Trek Colombia’s Mountains and Lost City

10 nights
Challenging

Journey through spectacularly diverse terrain, hiking amongst sacred jungles, ancient volcanoes and misty cloud forest

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with professional, English-speaking guides

All accommodation

3 nights camping, 3 nights in an eco-hotel, 2 nights in a mountain lodg, 2 nights at rural farms

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Internal flights

1 flight to Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast

Transfers & Permits

Airport transfers and everything in between; camping equipment; National Park fees and permits

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

5.0
| 20 reviews
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
March 2024
Nadege W.
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
March 2024
Nadege W.
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
March 2024
Nadege W.
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
March 2024
Nadege W.
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
March 2024
Nadege W.
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
March 2024
Nadege W.
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
March 2024
Nadege W.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
A unique and unforgettable experience
February 2024
Kirsty M.
Absolutely brilliant
February 2024
Alexandra N.
Absolutely brilliant
February 2024
Alexandra N.
Absolutely brilliant
February 2024
Alexandra N.
Excellent
February 2024
Nikki B.
Excellent
February 2024
Nikki B.
Excellent
February 2024
Nikki B.
Excellent
February 2024
Nikki B.
Excellent
February 2024
Nikki B.
Excellent
February 2024
Nikki B.
Excellent
February 2024
Nikki B.
Excellent
February 2024
Nikki B.
Excellent trip that introduces 2 very different parts of Columbia!
January 2024
Kelley I.
Excellent trip that introduces 2 very different parts of Columbia!
January 2024
Kelley I.

Trek one of South America’s most mysterious routes to discover La Ciudad Perdida, a pre-Hispanic lost city hidden deep in the jungle

Hike through verdant coffee zones, past the otherworldly Valle de Cocora, along high-altitude páramos and to secluded Caribbean beaches

Explore the unique ecosystem of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a hushed cloud forest which harbours rare species and is home to the Tayrona people

Key Information

Day 1

Welcome to Colombia

Check into your hotel in Medellin and choose between relaxing or joining your guide on an optional short walk around the neighbourhood. 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 approximately seven hours by a comfortable 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

Trekking Los Nevados Colombia Kagumu

Hiking

5-6hrs · 10.6km · 1415m up · 300m down

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 destination at La Argentina Farm, grab a quick tinto or aromatica then settle in for the evening, taking in the stunning views of La Tolima volcano.

Day 4

Los Nevados

Trekking Los Nevados Colombia Kagumu

Hiking

3-4hrs · 6.7km · 530m up · 300m down

Continue trekking through the beautiful mountains of Los Nevados from La Argentina Farm to La Playa Farm. Be sure to look up during the day to see condors circling above the trail and at night for the blanket of stars above. Should conditions permit, then it may be possible to trek an alternative route today and tackle the summit of Paramillo Del Quindio (4750m summit, approx. 10 hrs, 18km, +1350m -1000m). Note that this summit was closed to trekkers in 2023 and remains closed until further notice in 2024.

Day 5

The Cloud Forest

Trek Colombia’s Mountains and Lost City

Hiking

6-8hrs · 22.6km · 600m up · 1900m down

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

Day 6

Heart of the World

Lost City Trek

After a traditional Colombian breakfast of arepas (cornbread) with cheese and fruit, you’ll head to Pereira Airport to fly up to Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a richly biodiverse and unique ecosystem, home to several indigenous communities. Spend the night in Santa Marta.

Day 7

Into the Jungle

Trekking Lost City Colombia Kagumu

Hiking

6hrs · 7.6km · 500m up · 150m down

Begin your trek to the Lost City, once the heart of the ancient Tayrona civilisation. 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

Trekking Lost City Colombia Kagumu

Hiking

10hrs · 14.7km · 550m up · 220m down

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

Trekking Lost City Colombia Kagumu

Hiking

6hrs · 9.6km · 400m up · 740m down

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

Palomino, Colombia

Hiking

6hrs · 12.7km · 20m up · 340m down

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 Parque Tayrona and enjoy your final evening together. 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

Trekking Lost City Colombia Kagumu

Wake one last time in Colombia and then head back to the airport in time for your flight home. Remember if you are flying home from Medellin rather than directly from Santa Marta, you will need to book your own internal flight back to Medellin - see our getting there section for details.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 4

Homestay · Mixed dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Hotel · Twin or triple share

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

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.

For example for breakfast, you may be served soups, arepa (cornbread), rice and beans, fresh coffee and a variety of fruit. For lunch, there may be potatoes, rice, plantain, chicken and vegetables wrapped in a banana leaf. At dinner, typical dishes include wholesome vegetable soups, rice, salad and 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 SITES Hotel in Poblado, a safe and vibrant part of town.

Salento

In the small town of Salento you'll stay in traditional small hotel accommodation. Each departure can vary as to which specific accommodation is chosen by your host, however the typical locations used are Terrazas de Salento, Tia Emiss or Salento Real. This will be in either a twin or triple room, depending on availability.

Los Nevados
Los Nevados (Finca La Argentina & Finca La Playa)

You'll experience the life of a traditional Colombian farmer by staying in their rustic and humble farm lodges, 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 an eco-hotel, located in the jungle close to the Caribbean coast. Your host typically uses Villa Margarita or La Mar del Bien. Rooms are twin-share, with private bathrooms.

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 (this is subject to availability). Please request this at the time of booking.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Medellin Airport

Afternoon 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. Note that hotel check in times are typically early afternoon - if you require access in the morning then you'll have to request this in advance with the host.

Travel options

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

You may wish to arrive early and spend an extra day or two independently exploring the wonderful city of Medellin. Your host can assist with arranging additional nights and hotel stays - see Optional Extras.

Please note that the trip finishes at Santa Marta Airport, so if you are returning home from Medellin then you will need to book an internal flight from Santa Marta to Medellin. There are many flight options available and they usually cost around $75-$100. We recommend LATAM or Avianca: take a look at despegar.com for booking flights.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Small backpack (25-30 litres)

Clothes

  • A light poncho-type of waterproof
  • Good quality, worn-in waterproof hiking boots (you could be hiking in shallow water, mud, grassy and rocky terrain)
  • Gaiters
  • 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
  • Ear plugs
  • Head torch
  • Suncream
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • 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
  • Water purification tablets
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Camera (optional)
  • Walking poles (optional)
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Single/Double/Twin Room in Medellin from

Payable Before Departure

Single/Double/Twin Room in Medellin from

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Private Airport Transfer Medellin from

Payable Before Departure

Private Airport Transfer Medellin from

Private Airport Transfer Santa Marta from

Payable Before Departure

Private Airport Transfer Santa Marta from

Nadege W.(March 2024)
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!
Colombian adventure and lost city trek!

What an amazing adventure! I got to learn and experience so much! Both hikes were beautiful. All the guides had such great positive energy and had so much knowledge! Especially the lost city trek, and everything that came with it, has been so unique and special: learning about, and meeting, the native tribes while hiking in the beautiful Colombian jungle. Memories for life.

Martin L.(February 2024)
Fantastic hiking adventure in this

Fantastic hiking adventure in this biodiverse area. Laura and the guides looked after us all really well and I would very much recommend a trip to Colombia. I would suggest definitely arrive a day or two early to explore Medellín.

Kirsty M.(February 2024)
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience
A unique and unforgettable experience

We had a true once in a lifetime experience in Colombia. It enabled us to see so much in a short space of time but in a way that never felt rushed. The hiking is intense, but very well paced, allowing time to enjoy nature and learn about the unique indigenous communities (directly from one of their members). The guides on both treks and Laura (who accompanied us throughout) were just incredible. So knowledgeable, passionate, patient and good fun. They absolutely made the trip.

Los Nevados is the most beautiful and interesting ecosystem I’ve ever experienced and the Tejuna (lost city) is fascinating. Be prepared to be sweaty but exhilarated! We would recommend extending your trip at either side of you can to adjust to the time zone/climate/altitude beforehand, rest a little afterwards, and have time to explore some of Colombia’s amazing cities too.

One tip is that you need to bring everything you’ll need for the humid, hot Tejuna (lost city) trek, but you can rent walking poles there and some of our list (waterproofs, walking poles etc) is available to borrow for the Los Nevados trek.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to see these incredible landscapes and learn about Colombian culture from insiders.

Alexandra N.(February 2024)
Absolutely brilliant
Absolutely brilliant
Absolutely brilliant
Absolutely brilliant

This was an amazing trip all round. Definitely challenging, with the contrast between the Andes and the jungle, but oh so worth it. Some of the most beautiful scenery I've seen, amazing people and places. The altitude and accommodation in the mountains, not going to lie, are a challenge, as are the heat and humidity in the jungle. But the group leader Dani was absolutely fantastic as were all the local guides, and I wouldn't have changed a single thing! The Lost City is truly magical and getting to learn about the indigenous culture was so special. If you're looking at this trip, honestly, just do it, you won't regret it!

Norman O.(February 2024)
A very memorable trip. Well

A very memorable trip. Well orgainsed and great to visit some of the more unusual parts of Colombia. All the guides were excellent, so knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. Especially Dani, who looked after us from start to finish and encouraged me through some of the tougher parts.

Anthony C.(February 2024)
Trek Colombia's Mountains and Lost City

Fantastic trip. Superb Guides who were professional, friendly and their knowledge of the areas were excellent. Particular thanks to Dani who went out of his way to make the trip memorable and that nothing was too much trouble for him. The different regions visited were varied and very interesting. The trekking was challenging but well worth the effort and very rewarding with a sense of achievement. Colombia definitely worth visiting and will recommend to friends.

Nikki B.(February 2024)
Excellent
Excellent