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Know before you go - Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) trek, Colombia

Lost City © Craig FastSteep climbs, slippery mud, river crossings and venomous creepy crawlies – the trek to Colombia’s Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) is challenging, even without knowing exactly what to expect.

Here’s a guide to everything you need to know before you trek to the Lost City, from someone who has done it (and loved it).

Route and difficulty
This trek is considered medium to difficult. You need some past experience of trekking and a reliable pair of hiking shoes. You should also be prepared to rough it.

The route follows a simple there-and-back itinerary: days one to three take you to the Lost City and days four to six bring you back along the same path. Days one, two, five and six are shorter (expect three to five hours, depending on your fitness and how much time you spend absorbing the jungle’s sights and sounds) but the climbs are steep. During the wet season the path can get very slippery.

Swimming hole © Craig FastThe longest, most challenging and, for many, the most enjoyable day is day three. It takes five to seven hours and involves a brief scramble along a cliff, clambering over large boulders next to a river, 1,800 steep steps up to the city and eight river crossings. In the dry season these crossings are knee deep; in the wet season wading through chest-deep, fast-flowing water is not uncommon. Day four is day three in reverse but begins with a tour of the Lost City.

Food and water
We were told water was provided. It was not. Apparently the water from streams along the way is fine to drink, but if you don’t want to risk it, bring water purification tablets or iodine drops. You can buy fizzy drinks and alcohol along the way but bottled water is very hard to find.

I was pleasantly surprised by the food - good and plentiful although on some days there were long gaps between breakfast and lunch so bringing your own snacks is advisable. Expect chunky soups and sandwiches for lunch, proper cooked dinners and a variety of breakfasts from empanadas to scrambled eggs.

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