Stefa Rutland

Stefa Rutland

Published: 14 Sep 2023


Ciudad Perdida, also known as the Lost City, is an ancient archaeological site nestled deep in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia. This enigmatic and awe-inspiring landmark is often referred to as the “Machu Picchu of Colombia,” and it attracts adventurers, history enthusiasts, and nature lovers from all around the world.

The Lost City was rediscovered in 1972 by a group of local treasure hunters and has since become a significant cultural and historical site. Dating back to around 800 AD, Ciudad Perdida predates its more famous counterpart in Peru by over 600 years.

This article will delve into 17 extraordinary facts about Ciudad Perdida, shedding light on its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and the unique experiences it offers to those fortunate enough to explore its ancient ruins. Get ready to embark on a virtual journey through time and discover the secrets of this hidden gem!

Table of Contents

Lost in the Colombian Jungle

Ciudad Perdida, also known as the “Lost City,” is an ancient archaeological site hidden deep within the lush jungles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.

Rich Indigenous History

Believed to have been founded around 800 AD by the indigenous Tayrona people, Ciudad Perdida pre-dates the more famous Incan city of Machu Picchu by several centuries.

Rediscovered in 1972

After centuries of being hidden, Ciudad Perdida was rediscovered in 1972 by a group of local treasure looters.

Estimated Population

It is estimated that Ciudad Perdida was once inhabited by around 4,000 to 8,000 people during its peak.

Spanning Over 160 Buildings

The site spreads across roughly 1,400 stone terraces and consists of more than 160 structures, including houses, ceremonial areas, and plazas.

Challenging Trek to Reach

Visiting Ciudad Perdida requires embarking on a challenging and adventurous trek through the dense jungles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, often lasting around 4-6 days.

Intensive Preservation Efforts

Due to its remote location, Ciudad Perdida remains relatively untouched by modern development, preserving its authentic historical atmosphere.

Sacred Indigenous Site

For the indigenous communities in the region, Ciudad Perdida is considered a sacred site of great spiritual significance.

Connection to Tayrona Cosmology

The layout and architecture of Ciudad Perdida are believed to reflect the Tayrona people’s understanding of the cosmos and their spiritual beliefs.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

In recognition of its cultural and historical importance, Ciudad Perdida was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in

Abandoned and Overgrown

Ciudad Perdida was abandoned by the Tayrona people for unknown reasons, and over time, it became swallowed by the jungle and forgotten by the outside world.

The Trekking Route

The trek to Ciudad Perdida takes adventurers through breathtaking landscapes, crossing rivers, navigating through dense foliage, and immersing in the rich biodiversity of the area.

Rediscovery and Restoration Process

After its rediscovery, an extensive process of archaeological research and restoration was conducted to uncover and preserve the ancient structures of Ciudad Perdida.

Spiritual Cleansing Rituals

Local indigenous communities still perform spiritual cleansing rituals in Ciudad Perdida, reinforcing its sacredness and cultural significance.

Intricate Network of Stone Paths

The city features an intricate network of stone paths that connect the various structures, demonstrating the advanced engineering skills of the Tayrona people.

Panoramic Views from the Summit

Upon reaching the summit of Ciudad Perdida, trekkers are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

A Journey Through Time

Exploring Ciudad Perdida is like stepping back in time, allowing visitors to connect with the ancient civilizations that once thrived in this mystical place.


Ciudad Perdida, also known as the Lost City, is a remarkable archaeological site located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in Colombia. This ancient city holds a wealth of history and cultural significance, making it a must-visit destination for adventurers and history enthusiasts alike. From its mysterious origins to its impressive architecture, there are numerous extraordinary facts about Ciudad Perdida that will leave you in awe.

Exploring Ciudad Perdida allows you to step back in time and witness the remnants of an ancient civilization. The challenging trek through dense rainforests and steep slopes only adds to the allure of this hidden gem. As you navigate through its terraces, staircases, and plazas, you can’t help but marvel at the ingenuity of its architects and the sheer beauty of its surroundings.

Whether you’re intrigued by ancient history, love trekking in breathtaking landscapes, or simply enjoy immersing yourself in fascinating cultures, a visit to Ciudad Perdida will be an unforgettable experience. So, embark on an adventure and discover the wonders of this extraordinary archaeological site.


Q: How old is Ciudad Perdida?

A: Ciudad Perdida is believed to have been built around the 9th century AD, making it over a thousand years old.

Q: Who discovered Ciudad Perdida?

A: Ciudad Perdida was discovered by a group of looters in the 1970s. The Colombian government soon took control of the site and initiated archaeological studies.

Q: How long does it take to trek to Ciudad Perdida?

A: The trek to Ciudad Perdida usually takes around 4 to 6 days, depending on your pace and fitness level. It covers approximately 44 kilometers and involves challenging uphill and downhill sections.

Q: Is the trek to Ciudad Perdida difficult?

A: Yes, the trek to Ciudad Perdida is considered moderately difficult. It requires a good level of fitness and stamina as you hike through dense forests, cross rivers, and navigate uneven terrain. Hiring a local guide is advisable.

Q: Are there any restrictions when visiting Ciudad Perdida?

A: Yes, there are some restrictions when visiting Ciudad Perdida. The number of visitors is limited per day to preserve the site, and it is mandatory to have a licensed guide accompany you during the trek.

Q: What should I bring for the trek to Ciudad Perdida?

A: Some essential items to bring include comfortable hiking shoes, lightweight clothing, insect repellent, sunscreen, a refillable water bottle, a hat, a rain jacket, and a small backpack. It’s also important to pack a good camera to capture the stunning views along the way.