Hidden deep in the jungle of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in Colombia sits Ciudad Perdida, the “Lost City.” Built by the Tairona people more than 1,000 years ago, the archaeological site only became an attraction after it was uncovered in the 1970s.

Los Sepรบlveda was a small family of looters in Colombia; their story leads to the beginning of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in modern times. The family went hunting in the forests of Colombia when they shot down a wild turkey. Upon retrieving the turkey, they noticed it had fallen on a piece of an exposed staircase. This staircase would lead them to find La Ciudad Perdida. For years after its discovery by the looters, โ€œTreasures from the site, including gold figures and ceramics, soon began to appear on the black marketโ€.

Although La Ciudad Perdida is one of the most impressive sites, it’s not alone, only about 30-40% of the sites in the Sierra Nevada region have actually been explored. Thanks to recent widespread lidar access, more and more of these sites are being discovered, and the search for new lost cities has just begun


Ciudad Perdida consists of a series of 169 terraces carved

Ciudad Perdida consists of a series of 169 terraces carved into the mountainside, a net of tiled roads and several small circular plazas.

Ciudad Perdida was probably the region’s political and manufacturing center on the Buritaca River and may have housed 2,000โ€“8,000 people.

Named Teyuna by the Tairona but dubbed Ciudad Perdida upon rediscovery, the ancient wonder is perched on hillsides and tucked into a dense rainforest.

Named Teyuna by the Tairona but dubbed Ciudad Perdida

Dressed in all white, a color the Wiwa revere as holy.

The Wiwa people are descendants of the Tairona who have been left undisturbed for centuries. They have a deep spiritual connection with the land – have stated that they visited the site regularly before it was widely reported, but had kept quiet about it. They call the city Teyuna and believe it was the heart of a network of villages inhabited by their forebears, the Tairona

Named Teyuna by the Tairona but dubbed Ciudad Perdida

The importance of the Poporo (Danburro)

When the coca leaf is chewed by itself, however, not all of its ingredients are released. The adults, therefore, always carry another very important and sacred object: the Poporo (also called a Danburro)

oporo (also called a Danburro)

This device made from a gourd that holds powdered lime from seashells, which when mixed with the coca leaves creates a mild stimulant effect.

In the Wiwa community, a boy receives his poporo as a rite of passage into manhood.

1,200 stone steps built by the Tairona.

ย 1,200 stone steps built by the Tairona.ย 

Map of the multiday day trek to Ciudad Perdida

Map of the multiday day trek to Ciudad Perdida, Colombia

Juan from SY Ay Caramaba

ย Juan from SY Ay Caramaba ! PP2019-2020 ย in the โ€“ Lost City / Ciudad Perdida

IGY Marina Santa Marta

IGY Marina Santa Marta sponsors the Panama Posse – stay here for your Lost City trek