46 Kilometres in 4 days – that seems very doable exclaimed a few hikers in our group as Abraham slowly translated after Melkis had explained the hike briefly. Tall and lanky, Melkis had a very calm demeanor. Abraham, an ex-army man, was our young and suave sous-guide and translator for those without the gift of Spanish jab.
We had made a rocky 2 and half hour journey from the city of Santa Marta, located at the north-western tip of Colombia, to the base-village, where Melkis and Abraham greeted us. A few other hiking groups had made it back from the trek – the look of accomplishment quite telling on their tired faces. We lunched at the village, and made a late and lazy start for the first base camp. Motorcycles wheezed passed us through for most part of the uphill climb for a couple of hours. I cringed and cursed – not because of the adversity of the uphill task, but at the absurdity of the situation. Moreover, a bike ride through that trail looked exciting. Nonetheless, the descent from that point onward offered superlative views of the valley below. First sounds of the gushing water left some of us imagining a refreshing swim.
The trek was as much about the journey as about the destination. The next 4 days were full of beautiful forests, multiple river crossings, river swims, cliff jumps and waterfalls, encounters with the local people and lot of tired muscles. The trail was abuzz with people, but the fact that only 100 people are allowed to hike per day, keeps it well balanced. On the 3rd day, we hiked to the lost city: climbing close to 1200 stairs to arrive at the ancient city of the Tayrona people, one that is believed to have been built around 800 AD. The grandeur of the place was incredible: seeing the remains of the city, the terraces and the plazas. It is hard to believe that this city was lost for so long, and only discovered in the 70s. Perhaps the mountains hold more undiscovered ancient cities.
Here is a visual journey of the amazing 4 days in the jungles of Colombia. If you are looking for your next adventure, this is one I can highly, highly recommend: from amazing history and people to great trails – this hike has everything in its favor!