Lost City in Colombia: adventure in the mythical El Dorado

ciudad perdida colombia

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Do you know about Lost City in Colombia? Of course, you can get an idea from its name, but there is a lot to tell, it is not simple at all. Before going into detail you have to know that visiting Lost City is a plan that you can’t miss in Colombia because visiting an abandoned city under the treetops, is amazing!

Lost City nature view

If you have already in mind everything you need to know about Colombia, all you have to do now is to learn the lesson about Lost City. Don’t worry because we are here to inform you about what it is, its origin, history and characteristics, let’s start with one of the five best hiking routes in South America!

What is Lost City

Lost City literally hides in the middle of one of the best-preserved rainforests in the South American country, in the mountains of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It is often compared to Machu Picchu in Peru, but the truth is that it is much bigger and wilder. It may surprise you then that we tell you that it is less known and less visited, but while Machu Picchu records 2.500 daily, visiting Lost City in Colombia is a privilege for small tourist groups.

Hiker in Lost City Colombia

What is the best thing about Lost City? Perhaps it is its terraces, which overcome the enormous unevenness of its slopes. Maybe it’s its stone paths, followed by palm trees. Maybe it is the foundations of its huts, its amazing stairs, or its system of fortifications. It is difficult to choose between that much wonder, you will agree that it is not easy.

Origin and history of Lost City

Teyuna, the indigenous name of the place, was founded in the 7th century A.D. by the Tairona Indians and became the capital of the Tairon Indians until the 16th century. It was then that the Tairona disappeared, just like that. The truth is that it was because of a war with the Spanish conquerors… of great magnitude, as you can imagine.

Teyuna was left empty and the jungle began to take over the whole territory. If you imagine a candy on the ground and how the ants end up covering it completely, you will understand exactly what happened. But of course, the ants finish with the candy, and the vegetation only hid the city for a while.

hidden Lost City Colombia

The younger brothers, the name by which the Indians refer to the man of the city, discovered Lost City in 1972. In reality, the younger brothers were no more than a few tourists who, on their way, came across some barely visible stairs covered with moss.

Shortly after the discovery of Lost City in Colombia, antique gold figures and other valuable objects began to appear on the local black market. When the authorities found out about the situation, they created a national park under surveillance, and today, Lost City is one of the most popular monuments in South America since pre-Columbian times.

Why El Dorado

You will remember that in the first paragraphs we mentioned that the Spaniards took over the territory, well, they plundered it. Why? The land was full of important gold mines, but that’s not all. More than 500 years ago the legend of El Dorado, a supposed gold-plated city, was born. At the mere possibility of finding the city of gold the conquistadors went mad, you can imagine the mutiny.

Lost City, after suffering from (supposed) gold, switched to marijuana, because the conditions for its cultivation were ideal. Then to coca and today, to tourism.

The present of Lost City

The ruins of Lost City in Colombia are inhabited by the Kogi Indians, who consider themselves descendants of the Taironi people. The Kogi Indians preserve old traditions, habits and rituals. They live a life far from civilization in huts built with stones, palm leaves and clay. Their living conditions are far from those of the rest of Colombians: they do not use their benefits, they wear simple clothes and often walk barefoot.

The space visited by tourists is 3 hectares out of the 12 of its total extension. Moreover, Lost City, according to local legends, is only one of eight lost cities, you didn’t expect this! They are sacred places for the locals and only they know the location of these supposed spaces wrapped invaluable monuments.

Stairs in Lost City Colombia

After this you will surely want to discover the rest of the lost cities, but now they are more like hidden cities, can you imagine what would happen to them? Considering the background, you’d better stay where you are! It’s like the chocolate in the fridge, there are occasions when it’s better not to find it, don’t you think?


Lily is happy with a backpack on her back. Every year she travels through one country in Latin America and has repeated several times, especially Peru where she says she feels at home (although she says the same about Argentina, Chile and Bolivia).

She loves ceviche, hiking and Sunday picnics with her friends, although whenever you ask her, she's always planning her next destination.

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