Tag Archives: Ciudad Perdida

How to survive Ciudad Perdida, The Lost City, Colombia

18 Oct

My new motto…never listen to what other travellers tell you about a place to visit.

Reason for new motto…my recent visit to the Ciudad Perdida, situated near Santa Marta, on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia.

So what did travellers tell me about the Ciudad Perdida?

Here’s just a few of the phrases which spring to mind when I asked folk what they thought of the Ciudad Perdida..

“We had a good group…”

“You can buy beer and coca cola at every stop en route”.

“You will find it the hardest thing you have ever done in your life”.

“The indigenous people hate tourists”.

And finally…and this was from some tourists who just came down from the ruins that morning…

Question: “How was it?”

Answer: “There were a lot of mosquitos”.

Question: “And?”

Answer: “Yes, there were a lot of mosquitos”.

I’ve just finished the trek and none of these phrases would enter my mind when describing it to others.  Instead I would say “awesome”, “not difficult”, “take the right stuff and you’ll be fine”.

I did the trek in 5 days with a company called Magic Tours who have offices in Santa Marta and Taganga.  They were good though if you can try to find others in the hostel who want to do the tour as well as they give a cheaper price if you go into the office with more than one person (even two brings about a substantialdecrease in price).  I paid 430,000 pesos.  In a group you pay about 400,000 pesos though the agency told that the price is soon to rise to 500,000.

What to take with you…

1. Trekking shoes

Those in the office will try to persuade you to do it in sandals.  I wouldn’t recommend this.  It’s much better to do it in trekking shoes as if it rains the paths become like fast flowing rivers.   It’s also much easier and quicker to cross the rivers with your trekking shoes on.

2. Long trousers and long sleeved shirt

It’s hot but if you have cool trousers and shirt it’s much better than being attacked by mossies and sandflies!

3. Dry clothes

Take at least one entire change of clothes with you.  You will get wet.  Youcan’t avoid it crossing rivers and it’s more fun if you just wade in and don’t worry about it knowing you have a change.  Put your dry clothes in 2 bin liners to keep them dry.

4. Extra pair of shoes and socks

It’s so humid that when your trekking shoes get wet they take an age to dry.  It’s great to have another pair of shoes that you can wear in the evening with socks (again to keep the insects out!!)

5.  Mosquito repellent

If you have a good one, your response when asked about how the trek was will be “yeah the ruins were awesome” and not “there were a lot of mosquitos”!!!!

My new approach to repellents is to use the one they sell in the area I go to using the philosophy that this will work in that area.  For once, this approach worked in the Ciudad Perdida. I used “Nopikex” which is a mosquito soap.  Basically you have a shower and cover and fill everywhere with it and it creates a waxy layer on your skin and keeps the mosquitoes out.  This stuff works….I came away with a handful of bites from the trek and probably only in the areas I had missed when applying it.

6. 96% alcohol

I don’t leave home without this stuff these days. It’s great to keep cuts and grazes clean but also works as a disinfectant for bites and also curbs the itch of bites…I’ve spent over 20 years looking for something to curb itch and have tried antihistamines, vinegar, lemon, antiinflammotories, a hot bath, standing on my head…the only thing that works is this alcohol so if you do get bitten, it’s a godsend.

7. A good book or two good books and some cards

You have a lot of down time on the trek since you rise early to beat the sun meaning you sometimes arrive at camp in the early afternoon.  There are nice hammocks at camp and these are perfect for chilling out and catching up on reading. Cards are great if you have a fun group (I had a great group) to pass the evenings.

8. Water purification pills

The office told me we didn’t need these.  At the higher camps the guides said the water was fine to drink and when we asked for water they just gave us it out of the taps. I was fine with it but to be safe it’s probably better to have these with you so you can pop a few in.

9. Something warm for the evening

Our trip gave us blankets but if you do get really cold leggings and a fleece are a good idea as well.

I did have a great group to do the trek with.  There was beer and coca cola at each stop.  It certainly was not the hardest thing I have done in my life. Try trekking in Scotland where the wind is fierce and the rain horizontal.  And the indigenous people did not hate tourists.  They still wear their traditional dress of cream coloured sack clothing and lead a simple life pretty much away from civilisation and while quiet they did not show any signs of not liking tourists.

And lastly just use the mosquito soap and you certainly won’t be describing the trek as “there were a lot of mosquitos”..though one thing that someone said did ring true…”take care of your camera”..unfortunately during one of the river crossing I kinda fell in and got my mobile wet which is why there are no photos of the Lost City to accompany this blog..well I guess not everything others tell you is bad advice…

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