Ciudad Perdida trek in Colombia

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Discover the second part of our logbook here during the Ciudad Perdida trek in Colombia. This is a 4-day trek through the lush jungle of the Sierra Nevada, which we tell you about here from day to day. If this trek interests you and you too want to embark on the adventure, take a quick tour of our article to properly prepare the Ciudad Perdida trek. This article describes the last two days of the hike. To discover our story of the first two days of the trek, click here.

Day 3 La Ciudad Perdida

It’s finally the day we’ll discover the Lost City. We leave in the early morning, when it’s still cool. The first kilometers are easy, then it starts to climb again, before arriving at the entrance to the City. No less than 1,200 uneven stone steps, covered with moss still damp with morning dew and sometimes a few centimeters wide, await us. A slow ascent begins. Some hikers swallow several walks with each stride, but Sharone and her 1m58 climbs step by step.

Finally, a few hours after leaving the camp, we arrive at Ciudad Perdida. We are divided between extreme pride in having succeeded in this challenge, the privilege of discovering this site almost alone but also the simplicity of the place. Let it be said, one should not expect a grandiose architecture like that of the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, even if the place is still very beautiful.

Ciudad Perdida is made up of some 170 terraces carved into the mountains interconnected by small winding roads and circular squares.

We slowly climb the terraces of Cuidad Perdida to discover the impressive wax palm trees that grow in the distance, the largest species of palm in the world, up to 60 m tall. All in the atmosphere of a place still untouched by mass tourism, as if it had been recently discovered. Some pictures: Even if in fact it has been over 30 years that the government has managed the site, its restricted accessibility still makes it a privileged place. Apparently not for very long, because our guide tells us that the government wants to build a cable car in the heart of the rainforest to facilitate access. The project has not yet started and is subject to many controversies, it is hoped that this will not materialize so as not to distort this place.

To learn more about the history of this place, download the official guide to Ciudad Perdida (in English).

It is time to start again, and the descent of the steep steps takes on another dimension. Of course, the climb was difficult, but the descent is even more difficult: the steps are extremely slippery and the slightest misstep can cause a fall of several meters. However, it was just after these steps, on the way back to the camp, that Sharone twisted her ankle on a stone. In the evening, the ankle swells a little and it is doubtful that Sharone arrives to perform the walk of the last day. The guide then decides to rent a mule for the last day of trek which must bring us back to our starting point.

In the evening at the camp much more rudimentary than the others since it does not have electricity and the sleeping arrangements are much less comfortable than those of the previous ones, we spend the evening with a nice couple of travelers and we experiment for the first times the herbal tea with coca leaf. The taste is not very pleasant but we are told that the drink has virtues against altitude sickness.

Day 4 – Return to civilization

Last day of trek, we will be separated since Sharone leaves on mule with a few other injured or too tired people, and Maxime leaves on foot with the rest of the group.

Sharone side

I’ve never been on a horse, so I’m not really comfortable on the mule that her master simply calls mula. No little name for my faithful steed of the day which allows me to go after this trek despite my injured ankle. I notice besides that my mule is quite thin and injured in places, it makes me a lot of trouble to ride such an animal but I really have no choice. I am given a harness attached on one side only, so I cannot direct it but for the moment this is not a problem because all the mules follow quietly in single file. It is true that with this mode of transport, I have the opportunity to look around and enjoy the landscape around me.

From the plains and plantations we pass quickly in front of a Tayrona village. And there, my dear mule decides that it would be nice to take a little detour through the village, and we left between the houses. Horror, because our guide told us not to enter the village, unless we are allowed to, but the mule does not want to know anything and I have no way of braking it with my half harness. The children of the village chase after her laughing and the adults try to stop her. We finally get there and we can hit the road again. The rest of the day is done by small winding and muddy paths, barely wider than the mule’s hoof and on the side of the mountain. I am frightened that the mule takes a bad step and falls into the ravine, as the guide tells us that this has already happened to a tourist lately. So what ? I ask him. We had to repatriate by helicopter to bring him back to town. With these reassuring words, I speak to my mule to implore her to walk straight.

Throughout the day, I had the pleasure of measuring the full meaning of the expression “mule head”, and I think that ultimately the trip would have been less dangerous with a sprained ankle than on the poor man’s back animal that does as it pleases. My worst fears were realized at the edge of a narrow path, when the mule took one step too far to the side and collapsed. Fortunately, I restrained myself to a branch and our guide managed to raise my mount. The day goes by, between moments of wonder on the landscape and frank fright.

Finally, after several hours on the way, we return to the starting village of the trek. The walking team has been here for a while and is already seated at a meal and well-deserved beers. It’s the end of 4 very intense days that I will certainly remember all my life!

Maxime side

The last day of the trek was much quieter for me. Even though it is the day when we walk the most, it seems much easier for various reasons: I did not have the Sharone backpack to wear, I walked at my own pace (of a good step) with the other members of our group while chatting (which is lively), the weather was good and, above all, we feel the end of the mini ordeal coming so we are not on the reserve. It was quite strange to go through the same places as on the first day without the rain falling on us and, it must be said, the passage of the small river (the one after which it had started to rain) was somewhat enjoyable because we knew that there was less than an hour of walking. Then comes the coolest moment of the day: the return to civilization and, more particularly, to the restaurant where we had lunch a few days earlier. Well, the ritual is different this time because we enjoy a good shower (oh the feeling of clean lasting) and a good beer to accompany the meal served.

As said in the introduction to article 1, this feedback from the Cuidad Perdida trek is very personal. Today, more than a year later, we have the necessary hindsight to say that indeed, we were absolutely not physically prepared for such an adventure, but that we are still very happy to have been able to lead it until the end. We strongly advise you to do a physical preparation to be able to enjoy the experience. Now that sport is once again part of our lives, we would even be tempted by a similar adventure … this is proof that we are not too traumatized 🙂 We will understand it later, but in fact the Cuidad Perdida trek is not for the final destination, but for the experience of these 4 days in the jungle. Surpassing oneself, the lush jungle, sleeping with the sound of the river or even the friendships made on the spot … all of this will remain in our memories for a very long time.

We are curious to know other people who have done this trek to get their feedback. What did you think of the Ciudad Perdida trek? Do not hesitate to give us your feedback in comment!

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