“ Address: El Mamey / Colombia „
I was so surprised that this trek was not on Dooyoo when I wanted to write the review a couple of weeks ago. I am sure Machu pichu is defiantly on here, although I have not looked for it yet. I did this trek a year ago but thought I would highlight to other Dooyoo people so they might be tempted to give it a go themselves.
Basically pick up any South America Lonely Planet or better still the Columbia LP guide and it will almost certainly be in the 'main attractions' sections with the colourful pictures at the front. IN the South America version each country has just one thing that is considered the best thing not to miss in that country, for Bolivia you have the Slat flats, in Peru, Machu Pichu obviously, for Columbia, the lost city trek is the thing, hence my surprise at there being no reviews on it.
The Ciudad Pedida 'Lost City' trek is fairly easy to organise compared to other like minded treks. Firstly you have to go to either Santa Marta or Taganga on the Northernly, Caribbean coast of Columbia...where it is HOOTT ! These places have a few other attractions to them too, so don't worry about being bored there.
In these two places there are several tour companies who operate the trek, the most prominent and organised of these being Magic Tours and Expotur. They all use the same facilities on the trek so there is no point in shopping around, they all charge the same amount, so there is definitely no point in shopping around.
The trek is either 4,5 or 6 days depending on your level of fitness, doing it in days is tough ! even for an experienced hiker like me I decided to do the 5 day tour and saw the state of the guys doing 4 days- tired is not the word....the advantage to 4 days is that you spend less nights in the jungle which , whilst fairly comfortable by some standards will not guarantee you a great nights sleep. 5 days is the most popular and the right amount for the trip I think as the last 2 days you can chill out and have only 3 hours tough hiking each day for those last 2 days. 6 days is really unheard of and you would not want to spend that long in the jungle anyway- plus the guides would only try to convince you to do it faster. The trek costs £200 per person no matter the length of time.
The trek involves 3-7 hour slogs through the jungle, this is foestral and mud bank trekking, there are no stone paths as with the Inca trail, its all ground work and walking up rocks and boulders in some parts for up to an hour at a time....it saps your energy- the sun in the afternoon and the almost guaranteed downpour in the early evening (it is the amazon after all) mean that you are wet all the tie through sweat or through rain...get used to it ! There are mossies at night time and moths attracted to the camp lights everywhere, but take some good DEET and with luck you walk out with fewer then 20 bites on you- some people get absolutely mulled, one German guy in our tour must have had a 100 bites on his legs, but then he had bare legs all the time, no trousers like us and didn't use DEET.
DEET and plastic bags for the sweaty, rain drenched clothes are essential ! Also take hiking boots, trainers will get ripped to shreds on the trail.
Why do all this, well the Lost city is pretty cool, its not half as well visited as Machu Pichu, chances are there will only be 2 tour groups there on any one morning, its well renovated. But the main advantage is the trek itself, think the 1986 film 'The Mission' and your close - lush rainforest, streams, fresh water pools that we swam in to cool off, huge rivers that we swam in the rapids, native peoples going about their day and we had a coca leaf demonstration and chat about religion to this one farmer who was in 35 countries of travel, for me, the most genuine 'indigenous person' I had ever seen/ met. You`ll see toucans, birds, insects of all sorts and its just a great experience. The food is great along the way and you are never hungry - the beds are for the most part fine - one or two are actual beds which smell a bit musty but you don't care as your so tired at the end of the day- and you`ll sleep in hammocks for a couple of nights, new for me, but I found it surprisingly easy to get off to sleep - everything has mossie nets, there are showers, pretty good ones actually, toilets in camp and beer, alcohol, coke and sweets to buy at every camp.
Its a tough slog but a great experience if you want to get out there and do it.