The highlight of our trip was certainly the hike through the rainforest to the “Ciudad Perdida” in the Parche National Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The national park is almost twice the size of Switzerland and consists of many grandiose mountain ranges with almost endless and impenetrable rainforest in the north of Colombia.
With a small group of 10 travellers from all nations (USA, Ireland, France, Germany, Colombia), we drove about 3.5 hours from Santa Martha in a 4×4 jeep to the small village of “Maccete Pelao” on a natural road.
Our destination: the indigenous town “Ciudad Perdida – Lost City”, which was only discovered in 1972 (almost 50 years ago).
The trek is planned for 4 days and 3 nights, with sleeping possibilities in camps (very simple). Food will be transported, prepared and served each time by the cooking duo assigned to our group.
2 tour guides
3 mules (called Mulas), which transport the food for the group from camp to camp for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
57 km hike in the rainforest on partly good, partly quite muddy paths.
33 degrees Celsius
We leave around afternoon and reach the first camp around 5 pm. At 18.30 it is already getting dark. We have dinner in the group, there are many participants who take time out in Europe and enjoy the simple life and nature.
We go to bed early. We sleep in bunk beds with mosquito nets. Everything is very simple, very clean. At 04.30 we wake up for the day. Bruno, our guide, wants to start hiking early in the morning at 05.30, because the first stretch until lunch leads over cleared land of the former coca farmers, there are hardly any trees and thus no shade.
The second day is similar, except that we now hike in the rainforest. We meet many indigenous people of the Kogi and Wawi tribes. They are hardly interested in us. This time we spend the night in a very small camp, just our group, in a small clearing. It has only 2 beds, so most of us sleep in hammocks with mosquito nets. As we are the oldest, one of the beds falls to us here and we spend a reasonably restful night.
Bruno, our tour guide, has insisted on changing the tour slightly for our benefit, and we are happy to avoid the general hustle and bustle.
Again we wake up at 5 a.m., this time only with a coca tea or a black coffee. The coffee is very good, by the way. We start hiking at just before 6 am in the morning. The atmosphere is unbelievably mystical, the first birds make their presence felt, the humid sun is slowly displacing the damp side.
We cross a plain in the morning mist and then reach the foot of the mountain on which Ciudad Perdida was built.
After climbing over 1200 stone steps on the ancient path, we reach the “Ciudad Perdida”, built around 900 AD.
A large tribe of indigenous people lived here until the 1630s.
The pre-Columbian city covers an area of about 2 km² and consists of about 200 oval and round terraces, which are partly connected by steep and partly by flat stone paths, whereby the difference in height of the individual terraces is up to twelve metres.
After 3 hours we end the impressive visit and start the demanding descent over the steep and partly slippery stone steps.
Besides the Ciudad Perdida, the wonderful rainforest with its flora and fauna, the indigenous population of the Wiwa and the Kogi also leave a lasting impression.
Colombia is one of the countries with the greatest indigenous diversity in the world, which is expressed in a great variation of cultures, languages, social structures and ways of life. Almost 1.4 million indigenous people live in Colombia.
The Kogis (about 300 in this small part of the huge national park) still live traditionally in families in small mud houses with thatched roofs, without a written language they pass on their knowledge exclusively orally and through their traditional rents.
A wonderful experience, here are a few photographic impressions