Explore 360

Colombia

Lost City Trek

  • Where?

    Colombia

  • Altitude

    3,100m

  • Duration

    12 days

  • Weather

  • Physical

    P3

  • Technical

    T2

  • P3 - This trip is physically tough. Frequent exercise is necessary to prepare properly for this expedition. Regular walking mixed with training at the gym to build up endurance and cardiovascular fitness is key. Expect to be able to do 8 hour days in hilly and often steep train, carrying a pack of 6-10kg in weight with the occasional extra long day.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • T2 - Consider this a trek, although there may be occasion to use hands for short sections of easy scrambling. No previous climbing or trekking experience is necessary.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • Overview

  • Date & Prices

  • Pics & Vids

  • Itinerary

  • Kit List

  • FAQs

Overview

You will need to don both Indiana Jones’ battered archaeological hat and David Attenborough’s naturalist hat for this fascinating expedition to Ciudad Perdida, Colombia’s ‘Lost City’, hidden deep in the Caribbean jungle. This trek offers a unique experience in the heart of Colombia, drawing you into one of its oldest indigenous communities and offering a glimpse of one of the world’s secret wonders. Journey into the rainforest and become, for a short moment, the explorer you always wanted to be.

Our time in Colombia begins with the two-day Cerro Kennedy Hike, trekking upwards to 3,100m, through farmlands, coffee plantations and cloud forests teaming with jungle wildlife, with views that stretch out to the Caribbean coastline.

Then, our Lost City trek takes us into the dark equatorial jungle for five days and delivers an adventure like no other. Crossing waist-deep rivers, showering under thundering waterfalls, sleeping in hammocks or jungle beds and following rough and ready forest trails leads us to one of the last wonders of the world, the lost city of Colombia, a truly unforgettable South American adventure.

Incredible biodiversity, coupled with the only recently discovered archaeological wonders of this remote isolated city, along with the city’s utterly unique custodians (the native Kogui Wiwa and Kankuamo communities) combine to form an experience like no other.

Colombia’s lost city, and much more, awaits.

Find out more
Colombia, Lost City Trek Colombia, Lost City Trek

Date & Prices

For private trips or bespoke itineraries inc. different dates, please contact the 360 office on 0207 1834 360.
A monthly payment plan is possible, please contact the office to chat through the options.

For private trips or bespoke itineraries inc. different dates, please contact the 360 office on 0207 1834 360.
A monthly payment plan is possible, please contact the office to chat through the options.

Departure & Return

Duration

Price (excl. flight)

Price (incl. flight UK-UK)

Start: 16 November 2022
End: 27 November 2022

Price without flights:  TBC

Exploratory reece trip with 360 - please contact the office for more information!

16 November 2022

27 November 2022

12 days

TBC

N/A

Exploratory reece trip with 360 - please contact the office for more information!

Start: 15 November 2023
End: 26 November 2023

Price without flights:  £2,195
Price with flights: £2,945

15 November 2023

26 November 2023

12 days

£2,195

£2,945

Please note that if 360 is booking your international flights, a supplement may be applicable to allow for changes

in transportation costs such as fuel.

Please note that if 360 is booking your international flights, a supplement may be applicable to allow for changes

in transportation costs such as fuel.

Included

  • International airfares departing from London
  • Local Wiwa and Kogi guides and a 360 guide (depending on group size)
  • Internal flights
  • Airport transfers and all expedition transfers
  • Park/conservation fees
  • Coffee tour / Arhuacao bag weaving workshop
  • Cultural rituals throughout the trek.
  • All accommodation (based on twin occupancy)
  • Late check out on day of departure to allow for maximum RnR
  • All jungle camping and group equipment
  • All meals on the trek and those detailed in itinerary
  • Fresh fruit juice during the trek
  • 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor
  • Monthly payment plan, on request

Not Included

  • Colombian visa (not required for UK nationals)
  • Personal equipment and excess baggage
  • Tips for local and western guides
  • Antigen test for entrance to the Lost City NP and any additional covid tests required
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature: phone calls, laundry, room service, etc.
  • Alcoholic drinks, and snacks
  • Any unforeseen increase in park/safari fees
  • Single supplement  (applicable for the hotels at the start and end of the expedition only)
  • Airport transfers when not booking on with flights
  • Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early including any airline surcharges as a result of changing return airline tickets

 

Please note that if international flights are booked, a supplement may be payable if costs exceed the flight budget.

Pics & Vids

Itinerary

DAY 1 : Depart UK

We will depart the UK, likely on an evening flight from London to Colombia.

DAY 2 : Arrive in Colombia

We fly directly to Santa Marta, usually arriving around 9am, in order to allow us to maximise our time in the most remarkable area of Colombia. On arrival in Santa Marta, a city bordering the Caribbean Sea, we will head to our hotel where we can freshen up, then it will be time to explore this wonderful city, with time to dip our feet in the sea! Later in the afternoon we will have the opportunity to meet with the Arhuaco community for a unique bag weaving workshop in the Gold Museum, before a welcome dinner and bed.

(BD)

DAY 3 : Start the Cerro Kennedy Hike

After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we will set off to the mountain town of Minca, a small village in the sierra Nevada above Santa Marta. At an elevation of around 600m, it is a small mountainous paradise, teeming with a variety of colourful birdlife.  We will begin our two-day challenging trek, known as the Cerro Kennedy Hike.  This remote trek gives us amazing views, of the highest mountains in the country on one side and the stunning Caribbean coast on the other.

We will pass coffee plantations, waterfalls (in which you are welcome to take a refreshing dip!) and towering palm trees, before reaching one of the most iconic peaks in La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Cerro Kennedy, with its summit at 3,100m.  The views at the top stretch for miles and showcase Colombia’s two highest peaks: Pico Cristóbal Colón and Pico Simón Bolívar. If lucky we will encounter toucans, orioles, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other exotic birds and animals. We spend the night camping, either below Cerro Kennedy at Donde Moncho or a nearby farm site.

Approx. trekking time: 5-6 hours

(BLD)

DAY 4 : Cerro Kennedy Hike

We rise early for the magnificent sunrise over the panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, before we start to make our way through the cloud forests, past thick vegetation with plenty of endemic bird species to spot.

We rise early for the magnificent sunrise over the panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, before we start to make our way through the cloud forests, past thick vegetation with plenty of endemic bird species to spot. Is this the same way down as it was up ??

The hike back to Minca provides consistently stunning views of Colombia’s Caribbean coast and mountains. If time permits on the way back, we plan to stop at a local organic coffee / chocolate farm to learn how the famous Colombian coffee is made, before (of course!) enjoying a few cups ourselves before we arrive back to Minca. After a good dinner, we will get an early to ready ourselves for the next day’s adventure.

Approx. trekking time: 6-7 hours

(BLD)

DAY 5 : Lost City Trek - Day 1

From Minca, we have a 1 hour 30 minute transfer to Machete, the gateway to the start of our five day trek in the heart of the Colombian jungle. We begin trekking on a dirt track, leaving farmlands behind and entering the terrain of indigenous villages where around 80 families, mainly Kogi and Wiwa, reside. We follow a trail that weaves pasts large banana trees, towering palms and dangling vines, with the surrounding jungle full of wildlife. If we are lucky, we will see howler monkeys (certainly we will hear them!), lizards, toucans, and perhaps even snakes – though they are usually found under the rocks and found by the guide, if we choose to search for them. With plenty of breaks for photos, snacks and refreshing fresh fruit juices, the final hours see us on a long downhill stretch followed by a sharp ascent to 620m before we head downhill to rest at the Wiwa campsite at 470m. Tonight, we are camping, in either jungle beds and hammocks, to fall asleep to the sound of the jungle.

Approx. trekking time: 8 hours.

(BLD)

DAY 6 : Lost City Trek - Day 2

Today we lucky enough to branch off the main track and head onto a recently created pathway that is only just opening up to trekkers. We will walk through pristine jungle, down mountainsides and wade through shallow rivers to arrive at a stunning waterfall where we can rest our legs and cool down while bathing in clear waters, among vibrant jungle vegetation.

It’s a very special and unique route, and we are excited to be one of the first to explore this section of the jungle in its raw beauty.

(BLD)

DAY 7 : Lost City Trek - Day 3

This morning we will learn about the local Kogi cultures and their ancestral traditions. We walk through Kogi land, though allow the community their space, as the community is of semi-nomadic people and farmers and they only come back to these villages sporadically. The houses in the village are fascinating, and symbolically built, with two stumps on the top of each house representing the two sacred peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains which are the highest points in the local area and thus and closest spiritually.

Today we not only experience the Kogi way of life, but also the culture of the Wiwa people, descendants of the Tairona, who have been left undisturbed for centuries. They have a deep spiritual connection with the land that continues today.

Dressed in all white, a colour the Wiwa respect as holy, tribe members will allow us a peek into their lives. They will show us how they strip the wax from palm leaves and use the fibre to make cross-body satchels called mochilas, and we haave the opportunity to taste the coca leaf, which the Wiwas consider a sacred plant and chew throughout the day.

This is another day of challenging humid jungle trekking, with uphill climbs on rocky pathways and over protruding tree roots, through small parts of dense jungle and thick forest. We will spend part of the day walking along and through the Buritaca river, before navigating a patch of jungle reminiscent of Indiana Jones, with steep rocky steps taking us back to the trail that will lead us to the camp. The trek today is exciting, through raw, untouched jungle, giving a feeling of trekking through a secret…

Approx. trekking/walking time: 10 hours

(BLD)

DAY 8 : Lost City Trek - Day 4

Today we will reach Ciudad Perdida, an ancient site shrouded with mist, glory and magic at an altitude of 1,200 metres.

After breakfast we start the hike up the 1,200 steps that ascend to the Tayrona village. Once in the Lost City, our local Wiwa guide will lead us on a fascinating tour, explaining the history and secrets of this magical place, showing us the circles where the former market and meeting places ruins were and giving us a fascinating insight into the drainage systems and agricultural structures before. We then follow another stone trail that will take us to the ‘Central Axis’.

This spot is where the main houses and temples once stood, now a site of large, stacked stone terraces that we have the chance to climb before turning around for the once-in-a-lifetime magnificent view over the Lost City. You will have time to bask in your trekking achievement above the clouds, looking into the thick jungle from atop one of the high platforms in this ancient masterpiece where the overgrown nature shrouds the site.

When we have had our fill of the views, we descend back down to our camp.

(BLD)

DAY 9 : Lost City Trek - Day 5

An early morning allows us to fully enjoy the last day of our epic jungle adventure, walking through the base of La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, with views opening up ahead of the ocean.

On arrival back to Machete we will undoubtably feel a great sense of accomplishment and it will be time for a welcome cold drink, before we hop into our transfer (approx. 1 hour 20 mins) and head to our base for the night, an amazing eco lodge on the fringes of the Parque Tayrona which flanks the stunning Colombian Caribbean coast.

Approx. trekking time: 3-4 hours.

(BLD)

DAY 10 : Parque Tayrona

It may feel a jam-packed adventure, but we are here to have a once in a lifetime experience! With that, an early start allows us to enter this stunning national park before others arrive. Boasting coastal jungle, soft, sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, we have an easy and relaxed rambling 6-hour hike through sandy jungle-type vegetation skirting the coast, along beaches, alongside lagoons and to beautiful bays where we can swim in the warm seas if the conditions allow, and there will be time to swim from the iconic Cabo San Juan beach also.

The Parque Tayrona is home to varied wildlife, including monkeys, toucans, iguanas, woodpeckers and caiman and it really is one of the most beautiful places we have visited. We stay overnight at a wonderful eco lodge just outside the park.

(BLD)

DAY 11 : Depart Colombia

We plan for a late breakfast and a relaxing day! Your flight is not until in the evening, so we will store our luggage and make the most of the facilities here for a chilled day and lunch, before we transfer to the airport for our flight home.

(B)

DAY 12 : Arrive UK

Today marks the end of our incredible experience in Colombia. It is always hard to return to reality after such an adventure, but the memories and friends made will last a lifetime.

These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the trek and what you will experience.

Kit List

Bags & Packs

Rucksack

Approx. 55-65L capacity. Your day to day pack that you carry with your daily essentials (see FAQ’s), fitted with shoulder straps and importantly a waist belt

Rucksack

Approx. 40L-50L capacity fitted with shoulder straps and importantly a waist belt. Your rucksack should weigh no more than 10kg when fully packed

Waterproof rucksack cover

To protect rucksack from rain

Padlocks

For use on your kit bag for travel and on the expedition plus your hotel bag

Dry stuffsacks

Nylon rolltop bags that keep fresh clothing and other important items like passports and iPods dry in the event of a total downpour that seeps into your kitbag. Good for quarantining old socks.

Please note that many countries are now banning plastic bags. We would always advise buying re-usable nylon rolltop bags for keeping your kit dry (and sustainability).

Sleeping Gear

Light summer silk liner

For nights spent in the refuge.  The refuge will also provide blankets.

1-2 Season sleeping bag

You should get a sleeping bag with a rating of around 5C-10C. Choose a sleeping bag that functions within the comfort rating of this temperature.

A silk sleeping bag liner will enhance this rating on the coldest nights

Headwear

Wide brimmed hat

Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck

Sunglasses

Category 4 minimum. Worth spending money on good UV filters.  Julbo is our preferred supplier

Neck gaiter

Worn around the neck for warmth. Buff or scarf ideal – fleece can be a good option

Upper Body

T-shirts

A couple of  T-shirts are advisable for this expedition as some of the days can be hot

Long sleeved T- shirt

Waterproof jacket

In case it rains

Fleece top/jacket or Softshell

Rain poncho

For rainforest downpours.

Lower Body

Trekking trousers

These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly after a shower and weigh little in your pack. Consider perhaps a pair with detachable lower legs as an alternative to shorts

Shorts (optional)

Light weight shorts are advisable for this expedition as some of the days can be hot.  Zip off trekking trousers are the most versatile.  Consider buying this

Underwear

How many pairs you take is entirely up to you

Swimsuit

For showers in camp or the odd swim

Feet

3-4 season walking boots

Well worn in 3-4 season waterproof boots with mid to high ankle support

Trekking socks

Single layer or wearing 2 pairs is a personal choice and lighter weight merino wool is a good option

Gaiters (Optional)

To protect the tops of your footwear from harsh conditions and to provide some added insulation

Sandals

Walking sandals with a good grip are a good choice

Technical Equipment

Trekking poles

These tend to be a personal preference but help with your stability and can dampen the pressure on the knees coming down hill

Head torch

We recommend Petzl head torches. Bring spare batteries.

Toiletries

Sunblock

Buy the highest SPF you can find as UV intensifies with altitude

Lip salve

Sun cream will not work on your lips and they are very susceptible to burn without proper protection

Wash kit

Keep it simple on the mountain. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!

Nappy sacks

For waste and rubbish including toilet paper.

Wet wipes

Preferably biodegradable, these are great for washing when modern shower facilities become a thing of the past

Expedition towel

Towels from the likes of Lifesystems are perfect

Alcohol gel

A must have for good camp hygiene

Insect repellent

For early stages and once back down

Personal first aid kit

The 360 med kits are designed to be used in emergencies and akin to an A&E rather than a pharmacy on Expeditions so please come prepared with useful meds for yourself such as painkillers (Ibuprofen if you can take it and a Paracetamol) plus blister plasters, plasters, antiseptic, rehydration sachets and any muscle rubs you wish to use.

Personal medication

Keep this in your daysack

Hydration

Water bottles/bladder

3L equivalent – Camelbaks are useful at lower altitudes but have a tendency to freeze up at higher altitudes without insulation tubes, Nalgene bottles are better at altitude. We suggest a combination of a 2L bladder and 1L bottle or 2 x ½L bottles to put in your jacket for summit night

Water purification

Although generally all water is boiled some prefer to double up and add purification tabs as well. Always good to have in your bag

Miscellaneous

Camera

Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards

Ear plugs

For protection against the inevitable snorers!

Penknife (optional)

Snacks

For when your energy levels flag and you need a pick me up

Entertainment

A book or other entertainment for evenings

Documentation

Passport

Don’t forget this! Your passport should have at least 6 months validity.  With your passport expiry date at least six months after the final day of travel.

Copy of passport

Just in case

Money

Tips local guides (tipping your UK guide is optional!) plus extra for meals not included, extra drinks on the mountain such as coke and souvenirs.

Travel insurance

Copy of own travel insurance details.  And relevant contact numbers.

We have a partnership with True Traveller and would recommend that you contact them when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. However, it is vital that you ensure that the insurance cover they offer is suitable for you, taking your personal circumstances (items to be insured, cancellation cover, medical history) into account. Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip.  To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

FAQs

The Trek

Where is the Lost City, and what is it?

Ciudad Perdida, know as the ‘Lost City’ is buried deep in Colombia’s jungle and is impossible to access by road due to several river crossings and steep climbs, finishing up with 1,200 stone steps that lead to the Lost City. Here, there are around 170 stone terraces carved into a mountain, with numerous small “plazas” and connecting “streets”. These are the remains of a city built in around 800AD, some 650 years before Peru’s Machu Picchu. The mountain in question is part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range, just 42km from Colombia’s Caribbean coast. With peaks reaching 5,700m, it is the world’s highest coastal mountain range.

Why was it “lost”?

Ciudad Perdida was re-discovered in 1972, when treasure hunters found steps in the jungle leading to the city, naming it the “green hell”. Treasures from the site, including gold figures and ceramics, soon began to appear on the black market which alerted archaeologists to its presence and, on reaching the city in 1976, began a careful excavation and restoration that was completed six years later. However, local indigenous people, including the Koguis, Wiwas and Arhuaco, all descendants of the Tairona, say they had always known the city’s location and had visited it, but preferred to keep it secret.

Who lived there?

It is believed the Lost City was once at the heart of several small villages inhabited by the Tayrona people, a pre-Colombian population whose habitation of the city dates back to 1AD. The city was likely their political centre, and may also have played an important role in trade and manufacturing, given its position on the Buritaca River. It is thought up to 8,000 people once lived in the Lost City but it was abandoned during the Spanish Conquest, its inhabitants probably fleeing further into the mountains.

Can you tell me more about the Tayrona people?

The Tayrona / Tairona were advanced in construction, engineering and military operation, with a complex hierarchy of society, a religious and political elite, and organised as a federation of towns. It’s thought the Lost City was their capital and most sacred town, connecting and trading with other groups in people in Colombia.

By the time the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, the Tayrona (at an estimated one million people) was suspected to be at the edge of becoming a major civilisation in the Americas. Sadly, at least 60% of them died from diseases brought over by the colonisers or died defending their land.

What little was found of the Lost City in the 20th century was stolen and often sold on the black market and what was recovered is now in the gold museums in Santa Marta and Bogota.

Today, it remains a permanent archaeological area with archaeologists using the knowledge from the Kogui and Wiwa people, said to be direct descendants or at least related to the Tayrona, to fill the gaps in the story. Outsiders trek to Cuidad Perdida in search of them.

What is the Lost City trek like - is there climbing involved?

The Lost City sits at 1,200 metres (3,937 ft.) above sea level, and the city itself is the highest point of our trek. Technical equipment (eg. ropes and harnesses) are not required, but this is raw, uneven jungle territory with narrow pathways, uneven surfaces, loose rocks and dense foliage in parts.

How long is the trek to and from the Lost City?

The expedition plan is to trek over 5 days – many companies choose a 4 day route, but we have travelled far to be here and we simply wish to make the most of our adventure!

The total distance of the trek to and from the Lost City site (on the 5 day route) is about 55km, using the same jungle path. It is estimated that if you factor in the steep uphill and downhill climbs along this route, in both directions, the total distance is around one and a half times this, meaning you will rack up closer to 75-80km trekking here.

Do they ever close the National Park where the Lost City is found?

The National Park is closed every September for preservation and maintenance. At this time the indigenous communities perform ceremonies and offer payment so to restore the balance of energy in the park. They say this mountain is the ‘heart of the world’ for them and that if the balance of this place should break, the whole world will break along with.

Who will our guide be in Colombia?

360 works an amazing team and you will be accompanied by local, licensed, indigenous Wiwa trekking guides. We feel this is vital for your experience and a significant portion of your money for the trek is a contribution to these indigenous communities. This is their sacred land (alongside the Kogui community)

Not only is your expedition cost helping support these two communities, but it is also spread amongst the farmer communities, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park and the Colombian Institute of Archaeology.

What is the history of this region?

The region has seen three economic booms.

The first two were tied to illegal substances: firstly marijuana farming, and then coca, the plant used to produce cocaine. (Coca leaf tea is legal in both Bolivia and Peru, although not in Colombia. Currently, there are some movements to legalise coca in the country.)

Through farming, these crops provided a means for communities to make money, though this type of industry also brought with it warring cartels and guerrilla groups. A solution to the violence and problems with the government arrived when Ciudad Perdida was uncovered, setting the stage for the third wave: tourism.

How out of my comfort zone will I be?

The trek itself is not too hard but the humidity can be tough at times. The highest altitude we will reach is 1,200 metres, and though it is not a technical trek (ropes and harnesses are not required), we will be trekking through raw, uneven jungle territory with narrow pathways, uneven surfaces, loose rocks and dense foliage in parts. A good level of fitness will help with your enjoyment of the trek itself, and a positive spirit for trekking in jungle climes!

Accommodation

I see we are sleeping in hammocks during the trek. I have a bad back - is there another option?

Camps are open, with bunk beds and hammocks, but with a roof over each section. You should have a choice of a bed or a hammocks when we reach camp, but at times the availability may be limited and so we may not always have the choice –  you should advise your guide ahead of time (or let the 360 office know in advance) if a hammock is absolutely not an option for you.

Are there showers on the trek?

Yes, there are showers at all of the camps. They are cold water only, but incredibly refreshing, and much welcomed at the end of the trekking day!

Food & Water

What is the food like on the trek?

The food is typical Colombia fare – you should expect a buffet breakfast including eggs, tomatoes, onion, arepa (cornbread) and fruit, along with coffee.

Lunches are usually a chicken, fish, or vegetable dish, with salad and fruit juices, while dinner is often a pasta or rice dish, with vegetables, and local fruit juices.

The underlying aim is to provide balanced and nutritional meals with a good amount of carbohydrates to refuel hungry bodies and to replenish stores for the next day of activity!

We would also encourage you to bring along any of your favourite snacks from home if you want a little extra.

 

I have food allergies; can these be catered for?

Absolutely, please inform the 360 office team of any allergies, intolerances or dietary requirements and we will ensure that these are taken into account on the trek.

Where does the drinking water come from?

We will have access to purified drinking water throughout the trek.

How often is fresh water available for replenishing during the day?

You are able to refill your bottles at breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will be plenty, so do refill when you need – it is important to stay well hydrated!

Should I bring a few snacks with me? What is best for the jungle?

Snacks are always a great idea, especially on any of the longer trekking days to give you that additional boost. Nuts, trail mix or sweets are always good, or dried fruit or energy bars. We’d avoid chocolate, it is likely to melt!

Health & Safety

We are going to many waterfalls – are we permitted to swim?

The waterfalls are stunning and there are often large pools below. These provide a really excellent spot to swim, and it is also a great way to cool down and refresh, though do be aware there are no lifeguard services and any swimming is at your own risk.

Is there a dress code ?

No, but respectful clothing is preferable – shorts and t-shirt or a similar style of gym clothing be fine.

We are in the jungle - is there anything specific i need to be aware of?

You always need to be aware of your surroundings, respect nature and what lies within. There could be snakes and spiders, but they won’t hurt you unless they feel at risk. Your guide will give the team a full safety briefing at the start of the trek.

Am I likely to suffer from altitude sickness on this expedition?

No, there is no risk of altitude sickness on this trek.

What happens if there is a problem in the mountain?

All of our guides are trained in wilderness first aid, and carry emergency communication equipment in case of an incident. If an accident occurs, the guides are there to give first aid treatment, evacuate the trekker and liaise with insurance companies accordingly – and all of out trekkers are required to have travel insurance covering them for such incidences.

You advocate taking a small first aid kit, what should it contain?

We advocate a little bit of self-help on the trek. For example, if you have a blister developing, then please stop, take off your boot and treat it, before it becomes a problem.

We would recommend your own first aid kit should contain: a basic blister kit, plasters, antiseptic, sun-protection, your own personal medication, basic pain relief, rehydration salts, antibiotic cream in case of infected bites, antihistamines, and, if you are prone to infections, a personal course of antibiotics. Foot powder in your socks every morning is great for preventing blisters, especially in such humid environments.

Generally, the best approach to packing your first aid kit is to include such basic medications as if you would on a family or personal holiday.

Your guide will also carry a comprehensive first aid kit which contains a wide range of supplies. They are fully trained to use whatever is needed for any emergency that may arise.

Do I need to take anti-malarial drugs?

Malaria is present in Colombia, but there have been no recent cases of malaria in the areas we visit on the trek. We would advise you consult your doctor or a local travel clinic for the most up to date advice.

What vaccinations do I need?

It is important you check with your GP or local travel clinic for the latest recommendations and to ensure you are up to date on necessary vaccinations.

Do I need a Covid test to enter the Lost City?

Yes, you do currently need to present proof of a negative Covid-19 antigen test before you enter the Lost City. Our team will assist with the logistics of this, as the test needs to be taken at least 72 hours before the start of the trek, and we will provide up to date information on covid and entry requirements in the run-up to your departure date.

Kit & Clothing

On the Lost City trekking days I must carry all my own kit – does this include a sleeping bag?

Blankets and mosquito nets are provided, and sleeping bags are not necessary unless you really desire one. If you do, we would recommend a very light one, otherwise a sleeping bag liner, either cotton or silk, would work well.

Can I leave a bag somewhere for the end of the trek?

Yes, you can leave your main bag / suitcase at the beginning of the trek and it will be securely stored, ready for the end of the trek. Please do note the bags are left at your own risk and so we would advise not leaving any valuables.

Will I have access to my main bag after the Cerro Kennedy hike, when we stay in Minca?

Yes, you will be able to leave your main bag in Minca.

What clothing should I wear on this trek?

We suggest breathable, quick-dry / wicking clothes. Gym-style / sports clothing, or lighter safari-style trekking clothes work best, and we would suggest lighter colours You will sweat a lot and don’t count on drying your clothes along the way. Chjeck out the kit list, and do ask us in the office if you have any questions, but essentially, pack light and pack smart, as you will carry your own bag throughout the trek. It can feel chilly in the evenings as the temperature drops so a light jumper or hoodie is a good idea too.

Will I need to bring waterproofs?

Yes – whether that is a waterproof jacket, or a light rain poncho. We will be in the jungle, and the weather can be unpredictable! Do bear in mind though that often everything will be wet at the end of the trekking day due to the humidity, and so a dry pair of clothes for the evening is always nice to change into.

What is the best type of footwear to use?

Boots should be sturdy, waterproof and offer adequate ankle support – whether you prefer boots or hiking shoes is up to you.

We would definitely recommend that your boots are well worn in to prevent the formation of blisters. Check out Cotswold Outdoor for handy advice on boot fitting – and we’ll give you a discount code to use with them too when you book.

What sort of rucksack should I take for the trek?

We would recommend a 40-45 litre backpack, large enough to carry enough light clothes for five days. Ideally, one that doesn’t rest directly on your spine is best, to reduce sweating.

Is there a maximum weight for my rucksack?

There is no maximum weight but remember you will be carrying it for the duration of the trek.

Are there porters to carry my main bag during the trek?

No, we do not have porters unless they are specifically requested.  If you did want to have a porter, perhaps look at sharing one between a few of you.

Please let 360 know in advance so we can organise this, and we can advise on the cost.

What clothing is suitable for when we come back from the trek?

You will have access to your main bag when you return from trekking so you can leave anything for after the trek in here. We suggest normal lightweight travel clothes and sandals for the city and evenings in the Tayrona national park.

Do I need to bring a bivvy or tarp in case of rainy nights?

No – we will be sleeping in hammocks or bunkbeds under a cover. Both come with mosquito nets and blankets.

What is better - a silk sleeping liner or a cotton one?

Both are fine, it is a personal choice – a silk liner is lighter, though usually a bit more costly.

The Weather

When is the best time to travel to Santa Marta?

  • The dry season in Colombia usually lasts from mid November to March
  • The rainy season normally occurs in April and May, and from September to November

While it is possible to do this trek year round, we suggest the best times are the end of January through to March, and then mid November to December. Later in December can become busy as holidays coincide with the optimal weather!

How hot or cold can it get?

In the dry season it can get up to 33°C and rarely gets below 23°C. However, it can get chilly at night, to around 10°C, in the evenings.

Dropping to 10 C at night is quite a dip – what do you suggest for sleeping?

The camps provide blankets and covers for sleeping, but if you wish you can bring a silk liner, or a light summer sleeping bag. We also suggest bringing a jumper or hoodie for the evening if it does get cooler.

We are in the jungle so I imagine it will be very humid – any advice?

The jungle is exciting but the humidity can be uncomfortable at times. If you come with the mindset that you will be sweaty a LOT of the time, appreciate that you will all be in the same (slightly stinky!) boat, and take advantage of the refreshing natural pools and waterfalls en route, we think you’ll have an amazing time!

Travel

What if I arrive early or depart late?

If you want to arrive in Colombia a little earlier this is not a problem, we can arrange an additional airport transfer – just chat to the 360 office team, and make sure you let us know if we are booking your flights for you.

If you wanted to extend your trip then it would be worth exploring our 5 days extension, which includes in surfing, diving, and time in Cartagena, which has wonderful Afro-Colombian music and dance. You will also have time to explore the fishing village of La Boquilla and go kayaking in the mangroves. There will be an opportunity to take part in a drumming workshop, and enjoy an evening of rum tasting with chocolate pairing at the sublime restaurant and rum bar El Arsenal!

Is there a single room option on this trip?

Yes, there is the opportunity for a single room for the nights top and tailing the trek, please do let the office know and they will advise on the costs.

When we are on the trek we are in communal dormitory-style camps, as one big family!

What happens if I need to leave the expedition early?

If a trekker needs to leave early, arrangements can of course be made, and your guide will assist throughout. Do note that any additional costs related to an early departure (transport, hotels flights etc.) will need to be covered by you, and we would advise travel insurance that also covers for such an eventuality.

Insurance

Do I need special travel insurance for the trek?

You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the expedition. We cannot take you on this trek without proof of insurance.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip to include, at a minimum, medical evacuation and coverage for relevant activities and up to the maximum altitude of this trip. Do remember that you may need an adventure add-on if you will be taking part in additional activities (ie. surfing or diving) after the trek

Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however this can be arranged at a later date, though we would advise getting insurance to cover you for cancellation at the time of booking. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your full insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.

I see you need insurance for Tayrona national park - can I get this in situ?

Though your general travel insurance should cover you for the trek itself, Tayrona NP currently requires all visitors to purchase their own insurance, to cover the medical support staff on the trails. There is currently a small fee of 5,000 COP (approx. £1 per day) to be paid in situ – but we will advise on the up to date requirements prior to departure.

Visas / Entry Requirements

I am a UK citizen. Do I need a visa to get into Colombia?

No, currently there are no visas required for UK citizens, though we would advise you check the entry requirements for your nationality.

Though the 360 team are on hand to assist, it is your own responsibility to ensure your passport is valid and meets the entry requirements, and that you have the correct paperwork and vaccinations to enter Colombia.

Training

How can I best train / prepare for this trek?

It is a tough trek due to the conditions, some say tougher that our main treks such a Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu – therefore we suggest train hard, to enjoy all the more! We suggest if you are comfortable with the level of training at the end of month 4 on our training program (found at the end of the brochure – click ‘Discover More’ above) you should be in good shape for this expedition. We also recommend that, if you want to delve a little more into training, you head over to www.uphillathlete.com as they have some brilliant plans outlined.

It is also worth reading up on the area and the culture so you have a good understanding that you can build on with our knowledgeable guides.

Finance

When is the money due for this expedition?

360 asks for an initial deposit of £800, then the final balance is due 4 months before departure. There is also the option to set up a flexible payment plan, with the final balance then due 2 months prior to departure – chat to the 360 office team for more info!

What currency is used in Colombia – and can i travel with a visa card and dollars?

The local currency is Colombia pesos (COP) – and the exchange rate is currently around 0.00020 COP to £1.

Along the trek, cards are not accepted, so you will need cash if you want to buy anything. We suggest bringing around 300,000 – 500,000 COP (~£60 – £100) in cash with you. Unlike many other south American countries, US dollars are not accepted in Colombia, so we would suggest bring COP with you, or ensuring you exchange your pounds or dollars at the start of the expedition into the local currency.

What additional spending money will we need?

The amount of money you will need depends on how many presents you wish to buy or if you are buying additional drinks and snacks throughout. As a basic rule of thumb, 300,000 to 500,000 COP should be more than adequate for any post expedition spending, plus money for tips (see below).

Colombia is a relatively cheap place and, when indulging in the local custom of haggling, sounvenirs can be very good value for money. Your guide will be happy to point out the relative bargains and the suitable prices plus where to get the best value for money.

How much do we tip our local crew?

Our local crew work extremely hard to ensure that your expedition runs well. Tipping is completely optional and there is no pressure in Colombia to tip in general, but if you feel you would like to show gratitude then tipping the guides, cooks, helpers and the native guides would of course be appreciated.

Bear in mind that you will be with a guiding team of around five people. A tip of 20,000 – 30,0000 COP (approx £8) for each team member for the trek is a good option, so we would suggest bringing an additional 150,000 COP for tips.

Tipping the 360 guide is entirely at your discretion.

 

Electronics

Do we need a travel adaptor for the plug sockets in the hotel?

You will need an adaptor for UK plugs. In Colombia they use types A and B – plugs with either two flat parallel pins or  two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin.

Colombia operates on a 110V supply voltage and 60Hz.

Is there mobile phone reception on the trek?

There is no mobile phone reception, but you are able to access WiFi at some of the camps for a small fee.

Can you can get Wi-Fi at each camp?

You can buy a WiFi pass at the majority of camps, depending on availability, and it will cost a couple of dollars.

Will I be able to charge my phone or camera out in the trek?

Yes at each camp you will have the opportunity to charge your electrical items, but do bear in mind that the charging points at the camps are communal and so availability is not always guaranteed. We would recommend a power bank – though remember the weight, as you will have to carry it. We use PowerTraveller for our power packs and solar chargers and would highly recommend them!

General

Will my valuables be safe?

While we will do everything we can to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. Your passport and money should be kept on you at all times. As with travel in any foreign country, you need to look after yourself and your possessions, and this is no different.

Who will I be talking to before departure?

Before and after booking, the 360 office team is on hand to help. If you do have any queries, whether it’s about medical concerns, you’re unsure about certain things on the kit list, or you want to add a few days onto the expedition at the end to relax a bit, we encourage you to get in touch with us. This is a dream holiday, and we are there to make sure you are fully prepared and raring to go!

Excellent. Well organised, well led, spectacular sights and lots of variety. Fabulous challenge with spectacular sights and experiences.

David M
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