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Wednesday 10 Feb 2010
Ciudad Perdida, Colombia

Lost city trek Day 2

I woke up really refreshed after a pretty good night's sleep (as the rainforest gets pitch black at 7pm you go to bed early and then wake up early at the 5am sunrise). I can't say the same for my compatriats though, who all seemed to have sore backs from the loosely-slung hammocks. Yowch!

I was also pleasantly surprised that, apart from a few mozzies at night, I never encountered the swarms of insects that were supposed to pester tourists on this trek. The mozzies at dusk were easily dealt with by wearing a long sleeve shirt and tracksuit bottoms. Perhaps it was the time of year, but even on the rest of the trek I rarely got bitten once, unless I did stupid things like stopping for a drink in a dark, humid, shady part of the route. And only once did we see a large spider. Odd... but I guess that's all good! Laughing

This morning, though, we did discover one of the most annoying things about life in a rainforest: nothing dries. We all slung up our sweaty shorts and tshirts from the day before, only to find that they were even wetter this morning. Oh well, mouldy tshirts are what I signed up for so I didn't get too bothered.

We had a particularly important "celebrity" guide for a mini-trek this morning. I mean of course the infamous "Cokane"-manufacturing (sic) tour (cost CP$ 30,000 each)! I can't go into the details here for obvious reasons, nor can I publish the photos, but to say the least it was very educational and if anyone knew what crap was put into the end product, they would never touch the stuff! Fancy a mouthful of petroleum, sulphuric acid and pot-ash? Nah didn't think so! The guy was a legit manufacturer and was clearly wary of anyone taking his photo (plus he had the machete ready to chop off the hand of any camera-wielding tourist that didn't comply). Needless to say if the military or police saw any of the photos I took I could be imprisoned for "partaking of the process" so I made sure to use my spare memory card just to be safe. The guy said that the police move so slowly anyway that if he got wind they were heading in his direction, he would pack up his gear and get out of there within minutes.

Day 2   Setting off
Day 2 Setting off

Today's trek was probably the "easiest" of all the days as it was only about 3 hours on not particularly tricky terrain. Still fairly hard though.

Day 2   First Kogui...
Day 2 First Kogui...

At this point, we also started to see the first glimpses of the indigenous tribes that populate much of the interior of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The majority that you meet on this trek are the Kogui people who are directly descended from the Tairona people who founded the Ciudad Perdida (which they called "Teyuna") around 800 A.D., some 650 years earlier than Machu Picchu. The Kogui are one of the few remaining pre-Colombian tribes that have kept their customs and way of life intact. At many points on the trail you come across groups of the people riding donkeys (they must think we're crazy wanting to walk the whole thing!) and living in thatch huts that resemble those that would have been built in Teyuna.

Day 2   Paradise
Day 2 Paradise

Day 2   Kogui man on...
Day 2 Kogui man

More lovely waterholes today and especially at the 2nd day's camp. I went down to swim in the river and I think I stayed down there for about 3 hours (almost forgetting to have dinner!). Sitting on a rock with my hot feet getting massaged by a fast-flowing cooling stream, listening to the subtle sounds of the rainforest, while staring up river at the distant mountain tops. I had the whole place to myself as the others only went in for a quick dip. It was ZEN in the truest sense of the word.

I can't imagine how this place could EVER have been the stage for a war between leftist guerrillas such as the FARC and the Colombian military. It must have been chaotic here only a few years ago.

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South America Twenty Ten

Travel blog by peterforan



After previously dipping my toes in Latin America via trips to Cuba and Central America, it's time to go for the big splash! 3 1/2 months to take in as much as I can, armed with little more than my camera, laptop and a few dodgy Spanish phrases.

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Dublin, Ireland

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Photo Album

  • Day 1 Early...

    Ciudad Perdida


    Day 1   Early river crossing
  • Day 1 Our...

    Ciudad Perdida


    Day 1   Our first water hole!
  • Day 1 Kuss...

    Ciudad Perdida


    Day 1   Kuss and I
  • Day 1 What...

    Ciudad Perdida


    Day 1   What a view