Colombia's Caribbean Coast & Lost City
Colombia has a certain kind of magic that you won’t find anywhere else in the Caribbean. On this trip, you’ll experience it first-hand via visits to rural villages, treks through Tayrona National Park’s picturesque trails and (of course), downtime on the beach. Later, head to deep into the jungle to Teyuna – the fabled Ciudad Perdida (“Lost City”) older than Machu Picchu – a place crowded with history and free of crowds. Colombia is mysterious. Come figure out the riddle.
City tour in Cartagena. Hike to Poza Azul (2hrs). Coffee farm tour and chocolate preparation. Tayrona National Park (excluding November departures). Hike with local guide (5hrs). 5-day trek to the Lost City with indigenous guide. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Wander the old walled city of Cartagena, Soak in the Caribbean Sea in Santa Marta, Hike through the lush jungle to the Lost City, Spend a night in a remote area of Tayrona NP.
The trekking on this trip is not all that challenging by itself. The hiking days themselves are between 4-6 hours a day, and the highest altitude reached is 1,200 m (3,937 ft) at the Lost City itself. However, what can make this a challenge is the humidity and the heat. Throughout the year the temperature is generally between 35-45 degrees, and there can be heavy rain and muddy conditions.
Along the trek, you will be required to carry your own gear. We recommend not carrying more than is necessary for the route. One or two changes of clothes is enough to give you a change for each day on the trek. Remember, while on trek, it’s not a beauty contest, comfort is more important. You will need space for clothes, water bottles and anything specific that you think you should take with you – mosquito repellent, towel, waterproofs. So, please bring a bag that is sufficient in size to carry what you might need. If you are struggling with the amount of gear that you are carrying, it is possible to hire a mule to carry equipment for the trek, at a cost of 25USD per day.
As with any activity, the best clothing to wear while trekking is quick drying, lightweight gear. Ideally, this should be synthetic or wool. In hotter climates, synthetic clothing or merino wool are the best options. While trekking, the best suggestion is to layer clothing, so that it is easier to regulate temperatures and manage with the changeable climate.
A good level of fitness is required to enjoy this trek, and preparation for the humid conditions is essential. For the most part, the trail is well-maintained and an easy route to follow, although the terrain can vary throughout the year. In the dry season (December – March), the trail can be dry and dusty. When the rains arrive (April – November), the trail can be muddy and slippery underfoot. This also affects the numerous river crossings, as the rainy season brings higher rivers. This can mean that river crossings can be as high as waist height, so we recommend that you bring a dry bag or a plastic bag to cover your daypack as you might need to carry this above your head to keep it out of the river. The Buritaca River criss-crosses the route along the Lost City Trek. At times there will be the need to cross this. This can be over bridges, across rocks, or even on foot. The river also serves as an opportunity for swimming along the way.
As the majority of this trek is through the jungle, please be aware of the presence of mosquitos and other bugs. We highly recommend bringing some form of insect repellent. While the campsites have mosquito nets over the beds and hammocks, mosquitos can be unavoidable at times. A sleep sheet can help to prevent bug bites at night as well.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private van, public bus, 4×4, walking
Hotels/guesthouses (9 nts), hammocks/camping in the national park (4 nts).
To take a taxi to your destination, pick up a taxi voucher from the official stand in the baggage area before getting into a cab which will have the price printed on it depending on where you’re headed. The price to get to the old city or anywhere in the “Centro” area Zone 1 including hotels in Getsemani should not cost more than COP $18,000.
The supply of yellow taxis in Cartagena is abundant and cheap so if needed they are the preferred choice. This said, one does not need them within the boundaries of the old town so what is left are the so called Boca Grande development and Convento de la Popa /Castillo San Felipe direction. The first makes sense but the Convento is a bit awkward and the taxi drivers know it so tough negotiations are a prerequisite for not being gauged on the way. Airport rides are regulated and cost no more than 5USD.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Quito, Ecuador
During office hours (Weekdays 9am-6pm Local Time)
From outside Ecuador: +593 2250 6610
After hours Emergency number
From outside Ecuador: +593 999 506 000
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night.
Remember that although near the Equator, the higher altitude on some parts of the trip make for cool evenings and you will need a warm sweater or pullover. It’s best to layer clothes rather than bring a heavy parka so that you can take layers off.
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers and dossier
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film,
- Reading/writing material
- Cover for backpacks
- Pocket knife
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Long sleeved shirt
- Sun hat
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Money belt
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Sun block
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- First-aid kit(should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking.)
- Insect repellent
- Toilet paper
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
PLEASE NOTE – Canadian citizens must pay a reciprocity fee of 160,000 Colombian Pesos (about 70USD) per person when entering a Colombia by air. This fee is valid for a single entry into the country.
It is payable by international credit card or CASH. If made in cash, the payment must be in Colombian pesos. A dedicated counter will be available to Canadian citizens who must pay the reciprocity fee before proceeding to immigration control.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash, travellers cheques and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Chief Experience Officer (CEO) did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
Castillo de San Felipe – Opening hours 8am-6pm, entrance fee COP$ 14.000
La Popa hill – COP$ 7,000 per person
Guided boat tour to El Rosario Islands – PS 55.000(low season) – 65000 (high season) per person,lunch included
Totumo mud volcano bus tour – PS40000 – 50000 (high season) per person with lunch or PS 35000 without lunch (include the entrance fee)
Chiva rumba ride – nightly 6:30pm to approx. 10:00pm – PS 45000(low season) 50000 (high season) per person
Palace of the Inquisition – Palacio de la Inquisicion PS 11000 – COP$20.000 for english guide
Sport Baru (Isla Baru)- boat tour from Cartagena – C$90.000
Modern Art Museum PS 5000
Naval Museum PS 7000
Gold Museum free entrance
Museo del Oro, Calle 14 No.2-67 (on plaza Bolívar) – Free entrance (currently close for restoration).
Quinta San Pedro Alejandrino in Mamatoco.
All prices are per person(unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Trip Specific Safety
Please take care when wandering about the main cities on your own, as pickpockets and purse-snatchers are common. Be safe and leave your passport, credit cards, traveller’s cheques and cash you don’t need in the hotel’s safety deposit box. Most Colombianos are honest and genuinely helpful and friendly, but be safe and enjoy the city!
A Couple of Rules
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
Allow USD235-305 for meals not included.
12 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners
PRODUCT_LINE: SMCS, ID: 23221
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Cartagena
Arrive at any time.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Cartagena (1B)
Enjoy a city tour, visiting the colonial walled city and fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy free time to take in the Caribbean vibe of the city and beach.
Cartagena City Tour
Day 3 Cartagena/Santa Marta (1B)
Travel by bus to Santa Marta with free time to explore this beautiful coastal city.
Please note hot water is uncommon in the Caribbean region of Colombia. Showers are likely to only have cold water while visiting this area.
Local bus (5.00 hour(s))
Day 4 Santa Marta/Taganga (1B, 1L)
Journey into the hills around Minca and hike to a beautiful waterfall. Take a tour of a coffee farm, learn about chocolate preparation and indulge in a local lunch. Continue to Taganga, a perfect base for exploring nearby Tayrona National Park.
Private Vehicle (0.50-1.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
Day 5 Taganga (1B)
Spend the day exploring Taganga. Opt for more active options like snorkelling or hiking or hit one of the beaches and relax in a hammock.
Day 6 Taganga/Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (1B, 1L, 1D)
Head into Tayrona National Park for a moderate hike with a local guide. This is a perfect opportunity to experience nature and learn a little more about the rich, natural diversity of northern Colombia. Stay in a lodge close to the park.
Tayrona National Park Excursion
Hiking (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 7 Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona/Santa Marta (1B)
Hike out of the park and return to Santa Marta for an optional evening out on the town.
Hiking (3.00-4.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s))
Day 8 Santa Marta (1B)
Use the day to soak up some sun or make any last minute purchases before starting the big trek.
Day 9 Santa Marta/Adán Camp (1L, 1D)
Transfer to Machete Pelao, where the trek to the Lost City of Teyuna begins. Trek for 4-5 hrs each day through farmland, steamy jungle, and rural Kogi communities. Get a glimpse into the local way of life in the remote river valleys of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Lost City Trek Day 1
Day 10 Adán Camp/ Wiwa Camp (1B, 1L, 1D)
The route starts along the Buritaca River, taking you further into the vivid green jungle past small villages en route to the camp for the evening. After a long day of trekking, enjoy a refreshing dip in one of the natural swimming pools.
Lost City Trek Day 2
Day 11 Wiwa Camp /Teyuna Paraiso Camp (1B, 1L, 1D)
Continue trekking along the route to Ciudad Perdida. Today is a tough portion of the trek with a lot of steep inclines, make sure to rest and take in the beautiful views.
Lost City Trek Day 3
Day 12 Teyuna Paraiso Camp/ Wiwa Camp (1B, 1L, 1D)
Get started early to climb the 1,200 steps up to the Lost City. The view of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains makes it well worth the hike. Explore the Lost City and learn what is known of its origins from your guide, before making the descent back to Wiwa Camp for the night.
Lost City Trek Day 4
Day 13 Wiwa Camp /Santa Marta (1B, 1L)
In the morning, take in your last views of the jungle as you trek back to Machete Pelao. Transfer to Santa Marta where the rest of the day is yours to relax.
Lost City Trek Day 5
Day 14 Santa Marta (1B)
Depart at any time.