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Ben and Ange - On the Road

The Lost City (found it!)

COLOMBIA | Wednesday, 8 October 2008 | Views [1685]

As was Bear and Eric

As was Bear and Eric

Settling in on the Carribean coast has been quite hard on us so we decided to relax by taking a little stroll through the forest. Bring on a six day trek into the jungles of Colombia to the Lost City.

Situated in the foothills of the Santa Marta ranges, the Lost City was the capital of the Tayrona people (around 500 to 1500 ad). Forced to flee the advancing Spanish, they evacuated the city and then, well, plum forgot about it! Kinda like losing your car keys really. The Tayrona people went by the way side and formed new groups which live around the area but everyone seemed to forget it was there, until, it was found again in 1973.

Ok that's the history lesson for today. On with the story.

Leaving from Taganga we boarded our jeep and took a 2 hour journey as far as the roads (read goat tracks) would take us. There we had lunch, met our guide and set off. After about 30 minutes of relatively easy trekking we reached a lovely little deep part of one of the rivers that we were following. This we were informed was our first break and time for a swim! This trekking business is so hard. So after our great little swim we were then smacked in the face by our first hill. Steep, slippery and gullied out by the rains. Did i mention that it was also quite hot and steamy by this stage. So a good hour later we finally reach the top of the hill and trek along the ridge enjoying the views and, even better, the slight breeze. At this stage the country side is still a mix of jungle but mostly farm land. After about 5 hours in all we reach our first camp site. The home of our guide! Up go our hammocks, down comes our dinner and the rain and flake out we do. It seems 7 o'clock was going to be our new bed time.

The next day we're up early and gratefully informed that we'll be trekking for only about 4 hours, and oh, did we want to see a cocaine lab on the way! Hmm not everyday you get asked that. We declined beacuse of moral reasons, well that's a bit of a lie of course. They wanted $25000 pesos to see it and we just didn't have the money. So on with the trekking. At this stage we're starting to get into the nice lush jungle and leaving the farm land behind. A few nice little streams with mini waterfalls cross our path and coming to the bigger rivers that we have to cross we just accidently have to swim in those too. Phew it's tough. Our lodgings for that night was basically a big veranda next to the river. So laze away we do and watch the rain come in again. It seems around three each day the weather closes in and it rains! Not just little bits, it buckets! and buckets some more! The rivers swell and the thunder and lightning keep you entertained for hours.

The third day trecking has us trecking right into the heart of the jungle. The hills are steep and filled with every type of plant life imaginable, crystal clear streams and rivers cross our path and it, well, feels as if Indiana Jones is going to come around the very next corner! We also pass a couple of Cogi (One of the new group of people that the Tayronas became) villages. Straw huts with a very ancient feel about their way of life. We even caught a glimpse of their sharman. About 7 hours into our days tekking we start to reach some really rugged terrain that has us scrambling over boulders and criss crossing rivers and by passing waterfalls. It also starts to rain, very hard! With all this going on and feeling as if we are very deep in the jungle, we spot an old stone staircase that rises up a hill into the jungle. The start of the Lost City. Of course we have 2000 of these bloody stairs to go up before we reach our final destination, tough! But climb them we did and rewarded we were.

Sitting on the side of the mountain, all the staircases and paths and foundations of the city remain. A few parts have been cleared of the jungle to give you a great view of the surrounding area but most is still covered in jungle. The whole area is pretty large and it took us about 4 hours to explore most of it, stopping for a swim in the sacred cleansing pools, A pool of water at the bottom of yet another waterfall that the Tayronas used to use.

We spent a day at the site exploring - safe in the knowledge that the soldiers all around were protecting us. Apparently the area is not fully cleared of guerilla activity so the soldiers are there to protect the tourists. Makes for a good photo.

So two days trekking out, stopping at yet more hidden waterfalls on the way, and our trek was done. To say that we enjoyed it would be an understatement. One of the highlights of our trip, with all the trekking over mountains, jungles, rivers, waterfalls, ruins and a great guide to boot. Phew,what next.......

 

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