Searching for theLost City....
Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
87Trip End May 19, 2010
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Santa Marta was just as hot, but not nearly as pretty as Cartagena. However, it did have a nice sea front, with tonnes of lit up Christmas decorations... the first time we had really noticed it was almost December! Santa Marta is the base for many excursions, one being a trek into the jungle to Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City which we had signed ourselves up for. We were a little nervous about this trek as our ‘bibles’ had described it as a "gruelling 6 day trek"... terror, and this terror was only worsened when we met our group; first to turn up were 3 Aussies, all over 6 ft 4in - turns out all in the same basketball team
Day 1: A long and bumpy drive to the start of the trek, squashed into a very colourful truck and then a stop for the paramilitary to search our bags before we could enter the area. After lunch, we started our trek by walking for about 20 minutes before we stopped for a swimming break in a natural pool, where we had to jump off a rock to get in, and the water was pretty shallow (to make it more interesting!)… We then had 1 hour of all uphill, but with 2 or 3 stops on the way it was not that hard going. Then pretty much flat, or downhill until we reached Casa 1... all in all about 3 hours walking, with beautiful scenery on the way, hence all nerves has disappeared about this trek being difficult (silly me!). The first camp was in a beautiful setting with colourful surrounding flowers, a couple of houses opposite providing music and beer and another natural pool to swim in, this time with a higher rock to jump off (luckily deeper water when you landed though) and a powerful waterfall to sit under for a massage... a great way to end the day. As with all our tours so far, the food was superb and then it was bedtime, or should I say hammock time!
Day 2: The day started with a mini tour from a local, before breakfast and then off we went again, this time for 4 hours walking
Day 3: The first 20 minutes were nasty, balancing on slippery rocks with high drop offs on one side (complete and utter terror), followed by a crossing of the river where we had to take off our hiking boots. I nearly fell in the river, as the current was so strong and was balancing in bare feet on slippery rocks - luckily Wilson the head guide came (repeatedly, it would turn out) to the rescue. After the crossing, we had 3 more hours walking through the jungle until we came across the river once more, and within the next hour we would cross this river 8 more times…oh boy. Wilson took one look at the sorry state of my flipflops and gave me his sturdy sandals to wear for the crossings while he walked in his shoes, bless him, no amount of protesting would change his mind (there had to be some advantages to being the only girl with 14 guys on this trip)
Day 4: The night before, Wilson had mentioned that a military helicopter would be delivering food around 6am and if any of us wanted we could get a free lift back to Santa Marta. It turned out that 11 out of 12 of us wanted to do this as we were all so short of time in Colombia (plus it’s the same route back). So we all got up at 5.30am and hung around the landing spot, excitedly waiting for the arrival of the copter….it arrived around 8am, dumped the months rations for the military and then left……nooooooooo!!! Apparantly it was not going back to Santa Marta, so it was back to the original plan and walking back, including the 1200 steps and 9 river crossings…ho hum! There were a few falls around our group on the steps down as they were so slippery, but luckily there was always someone there to catch or break the falls! Ben took a tumble in a river crossing soaking his shoes and bag, although to me it looked like he had just wanted to sit down in the river rather than a fall, hehe! We finally made it back to Casa 2 around 3pm, an hour after the faster guys in the group who were led by our mad assistant guide Freddie, also singer, entertainer and cook
Day 5: We all opted to do day 5 and day 6 in one hit to get back a day earlier, and also because otherwise we would have had from about 10am onwards in casa 1 with nothing much to do. We left at 6.30am in the aim to be at casa 1 by 9.30am. I found this walk the toughest; there was more uphill than I remembered coming down on day 2, and I was just exhausted from the other 4 days, plus my tummy was not playing ball at all (although at least that kept my mind of the hills)!!! We had breakfast and another swim at casa 1, before continuing our walk back to the beginning, crossing more rivers than I remember but knowing Wilson’s hand was right behind me the whole time. Back in civilization by 1pm…what a relief! We had lunch waiting for us, and a celebratory beer while examining just how many mossie bites we all had, as well as getting the first aid kit for Freddie who had managed to cut his arm on his own knife while walking/sprinting back!! Then we had the bumpy and uncomfortable ride back to Santa Marta, all just longing to be back and able to have a shower!
All in all it was an amazing trip with beautiful scenery throughout the trek, not just at the Lost City and we are very happy we did it (but also to have finished it)!