Posted by: standing_baba | July 8, 2009

The Lost City Remains Lost

El Pueblito Hut

Hut, El Pueblito

Though I mentioned I would in a previous post, I didn’t visit the La Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City. Now I write to explain my reasons for missing what is without a doubt an unforgettable experience, because I don’t like to say one thing and do another, but also to share photos of the lesser known, free indigenous village El Pueblito that I hiked through when leaving Tyrona National Park.

Money: A six day trek through the jungle to the Lost City’s cloud-covered ruins costs US $230—the equivalent of more than a month’s travel expenses in Bolivia. This price includes the monthly fee tour agencies must pay the Paramilitaries, a sort of mafia quota to enter their territory. In turn, the Paramilitaries use this money—along with their kidnapping ransom and cocaine earnings—to wage war against the guerrillas. The backstory is quite complicated. About a month ago the Paramilitaries killed a guide who worked for a tour company that out of principal refused to pay. (The tourists were unharmed). Besides the fact I was ultimately unwilling to splurge the equivalent of one month’s worth of later travel, something clicked inside of me, making me recognize the horrible situation I’d be fueling. I didn’t want to pay into this corrupt system of bribes and brutality where innocent guides are murdered to make a point.

Time: I must be in Quito, Ecuador by September 3rd to meet up with a friend. As of today, I have an estimated two weeks on bike until the Ecuador border. These are pure, sweaty pedal days and do not include stops. If I’m to take a photography class and learn some basic yoga while in Colombia, I needed to ride to a city (still deciding between Bogota or Medellin) that offers courses instead of trek through forests.

Below are photos of El Pueblito, within Tayrona National Park just outside Santa Marta. It’s a place that stirs the imagination and, much like I heard about the Lost City, the hike is as spectacular as the arriving.

Me atop ruins, El Pueblito

Me atop ruins, El Pueblito

Huts in El Pueblito

Huts in El Pueblito

Sculpture in rock, El Pueblito

Sculpture in rock, El Pueblito

Steps, El Pueblito

Steps, El Pueblito



  1. I second your decision not to go to the lost city. I had to make that decision as well. It’s amazing to think you’re walking the same trails and visiting some of the same people I did just a couple short months ago. It makes following you all the more interesting!

    Do not underestimate the Andes. They are serious mountains. Personally, I’d recommend Medellin over Bogota for your training, unless you take the Bucaramanga/San Gil route. Either way you go, I’ll be reading you.

    Live the dream,


    Terry’s World Tour

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