A journey to a lost city

Ciudad Perdida (translation=Lost City) is an older and lesser known version of Machu Picchu, an ancient city tucked way up in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Colombia. It is only accessible by foot or mule if you happen to have one. An intense 4 day, 30 mile hike through mountains, rivers and valleys with rainforest to desert like conditions, it is not for the faint of heart. You are rewarded for your struggles at the end of each day with a natural swimming hole and simple homemade food at camps run by mountain residents.

The whole point of the hike is of course getting to the lost city itself, high up in the clouds. Passing through farmland and indigenous communities is also a wonderful part of the journey. People who you’ve only ever encountered through the pages of Natgeo are suddenly next to you on the trail (usually running by in bare feet) or in their straw and mud huts with their handmade clothing, baskets, tools and never heard before language, living a life in accordance with their own spiritual beliefs. Though the civilized world is not lost on them as I spotted an occasional adolescent boy in a pair of New Balances or with a (what we consider ancient) flip phone for listening to modern music which they are apparently really into. I can relate.

After rising before dawn on the 3rd day, you proceed to climb over 1200 stone steps to reach the base of Ciudad Perdida where you tour it and spend some quality quiet time hanging out on the terraces watching the clouds lift. Once home to as many as 8000 people it is now only occupied by a small tribe and an anthropologist. It is believed that foreign conquest and subsequent disease wiped out the city.

Afterwards you of course have to climb all the way back down again.

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”
-Edward Abbey


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One thought on “A journey to a lost city

  1. As usual Megan your photos are beautiful and tell an amazing story. I am in awe of the places you have traveled to the things you have seen and the friends you have made and I look forward to seeing more of your awesome work and journeys. Trek on young lady

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