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Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida)

The Lost City or La Ciudad Perdida belongs to the many magical mysteries that make South America such an amazing destination to travel to. It was discovered in 1972 in the remote jungle of Sierra Nevada, Colombia, when a group of local treasure looters found a series of stone steps rising up the mountainside and followed them to an abandoned city which they named "Green Hell.

Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida) consists of a series of 169 wonderful terraces carved into the mountainside, a net of tiled roads and several small circular plazas. The entrance can only be accessed by a climb up some 1,200! stone steps through dense jungle.

We're definitely on the right track to reach the Lost City Members of local tribes the Arhuaco, the Kogui and the Assario have stated that they visited the site regularly before it was widely discovered, but had kept quiet about it.

They call the city Teyuna and believe it was the heart of a network of villages inhabited by their forebears, the Tairona. Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida) was probably the region's political and manufacturing center on the Buritaca River and may have housed from 2000 up to 8000 people. It was apparently abandoned during the Spanish conquest.

How to get there: You can get a guide to go to the Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida) in the town of Santa Marta (4 hours by bus from Cartagena). If you feel comfortable negotiating you should do so before agreeing on a price. The groups usually exists of 4 up to 6 people. You'll leave very early in the morning. A 4x4 will drop you off after a 40 minute drive from Santa Marta. From here on you'll set out on one of the most beautiful hikes in South America.

Jungle camp on the hike to the Lost City The going is tough so pack light. You'll spend the nights in jungle camps and the tour cook (don't forget to give him a small tip ('propina' in Spanish) as he'll be carrying all the gear and food in an overloaded backpack) will get your energy level up in no time.

After three days you'll see the first stone steps of the 1200 steps from the stairway that will lead you into the Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida). This is really a breathtaking moment. There you are in the middle of dense jungle and on the other side of the stream (that you'll have to cross) you see those first steps. You'd never have known that they were there if the guide hadn't directed your attention to them!

After a long, long, long climb you enter the Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida) and although the city can't match some of the other treasures found in South America it will still make a strong impression on you.

Note: some people got kidnapped a few years ago on the hike to the Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida) so inform yourself before going.

1200 stone steps leading into the Lost City This is just to amuse the tourists - a real authentic pre-columbian house in the Lost City

Stairs, stairs and stairs leading into the Lost City Some of the many stone walls and paths of the Lost City

Other Must See Ruins in South America

Machu Picchu Chan Chan Kuelap
Machu Picchu Chan Chan Kuelap


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© All photos by Mark Van Overmeire

Part of this article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ciudad Perdida"