While it was once quite lost Ciudad Perdida, is most defiantly now found, and is a very popular multi day trek. Discovered by treasure hunters/looters in 1972, the bulk of the gold and valuables were spirited away before the archeologists turned up 4 years late to the party. In 2003 ELN Guerillas kidnaped 8 tourists on the trek, I mention this not as a cautionary tale, or to highlight the harrowing experience of the 8, though I am sure it wasn’t a barrel of laughs, I mention it because kidnappers left 2 tourists behind. They opted to leave behind two flip-flop wearing, overweight Australians, they felt that they would be more trouble than they were worth, thus proving that being the least prepared person in the jungle is not necessarily a bad thing. However since 2005 there have been no further incidents, incidentally all the hostages eventually got home safely, though one poor German woman had to repay the German government the cost of her helicopter extraction.
After spending a morning shopping around for the tour, we established that the internet was indeed correct, and the cost of the tour was identical across all operators and there was zero chance of getting any discounts. We settled on ExpoTours, as the chap there was very friendly, and they had a nice air-conditioned office.
The following morning we met the other 5 people in our group, a quick glance around and I noted that I was the chubbiest of the group, which made me feel smugly safe for the upcoming trek. We had a great group of people to walk with and the first days hike was filled with chatter and admiring glances at our surroundings, at our first nights camp we were exceptionally well fed, then it was time for bed, only there were no beds we would be sleeping in hammocks. A prospect I didn’t really relish, while I have whiled away many afternoons lazing in a hammock sipping a cerveza, I have never tried to sleep in one. It sucks, I was too tall for the hammock and spent an uncomfortable evening bent like a particularly bent banana, add to his the incredibly close proximity of all the hammocks to one another which meant one person getting up for a pee in the middle of the night started a perpetual motion desk toy like chain reaction of swinging and colliding, all in all not overly restful.
The second day was the longest, and the toughest, while not too hard a certain level of fitness is required, again the day was spent admiring or surrounding and chatting to one another as we gained several hundred meters of elevation. That night at camp we were going to be sleeping in actual beds, but as I walked into the bunk house, I was greeted with something that looked like a POW camp, I was half expecting to be greeted by an overly chipper British officer circa WWII who would tell me what time the escape committee met each day. Still it was better than the hammock, well that is until 3am when I was overcome with to urge to projectile vomit, tripping over other trekkers gear I made it to the toilet just in time. I had had a dicky stomach since arriving in Columbia, but this was a new low, and presented a weight loss risk, which in turn presented a kidnap risk. After a few more technicolour yawns it was time to visit the Lost City, now there are 1200+ steps to the city which didn’t really fill my weakened body with glee. It was a slog, eventually I hauled my sorry behind up there, the site is excellent, there are commanding views of the surrounding hills and valleys, not to mention that wandering around the city itself was fascinating.
The next few days were spent leisurely wandering back to the start, the vomiting turned into the drizzling shits, and more nights were spent in hammocks, oh and someone decided to swipe both Heather’s and my towel from one of the camps, so was it all worth it? Absolutely it was the jungle and the city were spectacular, and as I mentioned our group was a blast.