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HomeTravel articles & guidesLost City in Colombia

Lost City in Colombia

09 January, 2020
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Lost City

Deep in the jungle in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in Colombia lies Ciudad Perdida – the ancient ruin city better known as Lost City.

Want to know more about the fascinating ruin city?

Read about Lost City below.

What is Lost City?


Lost City, or Ciudad Perdida, which is the local name for it, is a pre-Columbian ruin complex located deep in the Colombian jungle.

Lost City is Colombia’s answer to Machu Picchu, but Machu Picchu was built by the Incas, while Lost City was created by the Tayrona people some 600 years earlier, in around 800 AD.

When Lost City was abandoned and rediscovered

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The architecture of Lost City is iconic because it makes use of the surrounding landscape. The Tayrona people built the hundreds of terraces, squares and roads of Lost City into the mountainsides of the Sierra Nevada. Up to 3,000 people are said to have lived here during the city’s heyday.

The Tayrona people inhabited the area until the 16th century, when they were forced to flee by the Spanish when they were establishing the first colonies in South America. Lost City was abandoned and forgotten, and over time, the city was swallowed up by the jungle.

The city was rediscovered in the early 1970s when a group of treasure hunters discovered the city under all the roots – and with it, all the forgotten treasures. News of the rediscovered city spread fast, attracting more treasure hunters to the abandoned ruin town in the hope of having share of the forgotten treasures. Several years would pass before archaeologists arrived at the site and began reconstructing the city.

In 1981, the area was opened to the public for the first time. The city is very inaccessible, making it difficult to visit the forgotten city.

Want to experience Lost City?


There is only one way into Lost City.

Lost City lies deep in the jungle, and the only way you can visit it is by walking there. There are no alternative means of transport.

The Lost City trek is a demanding tour due to the high humidity and high temperatures found in the Colombian jungle. The scenic, 50 km or so walk takes you through lush nature and across roaring rivers. The trek takes 4 days and you spend the night in primitive jungle camps, really giving you the opportunity to get right up close to the Colombian nature.

The trek can feel long and hard, but it is definitely worth the effort when you arrive at the destination.

What do you see at Lost City?


On your arrival in Lost City, after the long, hard trek AND the climb up the 1,200+ steps, you will be greeted by an impressive sight. You have a view over the area, which consists of a complex system of interconnected paths and stairs.

The area is 35 hectares and you will see the old ruin city extending up and down the mountainsides, surrounded by the jungle.

Your guide will tell you stories about the ruin city, and you have the chance to walk around the area. The sight of Lost City, and not least the hike to it, will be an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

Experience Lost City on this tour:

Llamatours.co.uk – the Latin American Experience

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