Elizabeth, Dave and I booked our tour through Magic Tours. I have to admit, I could get used this way of hiking… a hammock to sleep in every night, 3 delicious meals prepared for you every day, fresh fruit along the trail…. Not too shabby! Our guides were incredibly sweet, and did everything possible to make sure that we all had a wonderful experience. Our guides also only spoke Spanish, so Elizabeth and I were the unofficial translators of the group. It was nice to be the ones with good Spanish for a change! There were 10 of us in our group- all English speakers, but from all over: England, Ireland, the US, Canada, and Australia. I can see how the people that end up in your group really make a big difference in the whole experience. Fortunately, we had a really great group!
Home sweet hammock
We did the hike in 5 days. There was definitely more ups and downs than I was expecting. I was glad for the ridiculous hill I have to walk up to go anywhere in Barranquilla, and also for the fact that I didn’t have to carry a full pack. Elizabeth and I tended to go at a slower pace, at first just to enjoy it a little more and take lots of pictures, and later because Elizabeth developed gigantic blisters that took over her feet! Aside from all that, the thing that really got me was the humidity. I mean, I’ve been here for awhile now. I’m pretty used to it. I go for walks; I walk up hills. I even work out! But none of that prepared me for the amount of sweat I experienced. It was soooo disgusting. I love hiking. I don’t mind the dirt, and I’m fine with not showering, but this was something else. Early in the morning, I would look down at my arm and see beads of sweat coming out of every pore, and it was only the beginning! Everyone’s clothes were wet. We’d hang them up to dry overnight, but they never really dried out. A couple of the guys actually rang the sweat out of their shirts. Yuck! Thankfully our camps all either had showers or a nearby swimming hole.
A Kodak moment.
Thanks for carrying our food.
A Kogi village along the way. (Kogi are similar to the Tayrona people)
Day 4 was our scheduled arrival to Ciudad Perdida, and the only morning we woke up to rain. I guess it’s just one more thing to add to my list of places I’ve visited in the rain. The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, the White House… Ciudad Perdida. Oh, well, at least the rain made it look more mysterious even if it did hinder the view. After several river crossings and 1260 stone stairs, we were there. The wooden houses that were once there are long gone, but you can still see the layout of the city. The houses were built in the center of circular stone terraces.
Stairs up to Ciudad Perdida.
Our guide told us about the Tayrona people, and the discovery of Ciudad Perdida. (It was discovered by grave robbers.) Very interesting to hear about the Tayrona culture, which is also lost. It was sad to learn that after hearing stories about the Spanish, the Tayronas fled up into the mountains, but did not survive due to the colder climate and a lack of food. Also, it was unnerving to learn that a tour group had been kidnapped from Ciudad Perdida in the 90's and that FARC had a presence in the area even more recently. Definately a reminder that although I feel safe here, and I am safe; it hasn't always been that way.
A toad: symbol of cleanliness and fertility.
Elizabeth and Olga exercising to keep warm. It was cold up there!
What's up with this army dude?
View. Well, sort of.