At your arrival to Santa Marta you will be taken to a standard hotel for overnight. On the next day after breakfast you will get driven by truck to Mamai, an small indigenous village located 2 hours away from Santa Marta. From there we will start the trek to "Ciudad Perdida" an intact Pre Incan settlement discovered 30 years ago in the middle of the Colombian Sierra Nevada by the Atlantic Coast.
The Lost City is located on a steep mountain at an altitude of 1200 m. The ruins themselves are a mosaic of 49 green platforms which once belonged to the Tayrona Indigenous tribes. Built more than 1800 years ago according to anthropologists, it is thought to be a ceremony center that was home to the Tayrona elite, an estimated population of about 3 000 priests, artisans and militia. From the top of the mountain they ruled over the indigenous population of the Sierra Nevada.
The villages were thought to be abandoned when the Spanish arrived on the coast of Colombia. However, the conquistadors never found the hidden route to the Lost City. It was only in 1970 that gold seekers discovered the site and it's treasures. After numerous lootings, the location of the site was finally revealed to the Colombian government in 1973. Today, the site has become a part of Colombia's heritage, protected by the National Colombian Institute of Ethnology.
A few indigenous people from the Kogui and the Arzario tribes still live in villages spread out through the valleys surrounding the mountains. Once a year, they meet in the ancestral ruins they call Tayuna, meaning Mother Earth, to perform their religious ceremonies. These descendants of the Tayrona have kept the culture of their ancestors almost perfectly intact. The chance to walk through the indigenous villages adds to the incredible experience of the trek.
Yet another aspect of the trip is that the beautiful trail passes through numerous coca fields, the other famous product of Colombia. Most are used by the indigenous tribes. The coca leaf has always been culturally significant for indigenous tribes of the Sierre Nevadas. In the Kogui culture, the couples, who live in separate houses and remarry 2 or 3 times in their life, are only allowed to make love in the coca fields. If a woman gives birth without any complications, it means the plantation will be fertile. The coca leaves, mixed with shell powder in a wooden object called poporo, are used as a daily stimulant by the men of the tribes, giving them the energy they need to work and walk days through the jungle.
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