Lulo Colombia experiencing a traditional New Year´s Eve surrounded by the ruines of Ciudad Perdida!. At the end of December last year, I was offered an incredible opportunity I couldn’t refuse: spending New Year´s Eve at Colombia´s lost city itself and attend a ceremony organized by the indigenous community of the area, the Koguis. Read about my experience below!
For many tourists, Ciudad Perdida is the highlight of their trip to Colombia. Our customers are always blown away by the beauty of this archaeological place and by the challenging multi-day trek through the jungle to reach it. It´s a magical place everyone loves. This is why we listed it in our list of best places to visit in Colombia for first timers!
I know New Year´s Eve is usually spent with friends and family, with big parties and lots of fun. However, I obviously couldn´t miss out on this unique chance to get to know more about the indigenous people of my country. I didn’t doubt for a second on changing my initial party plans for a night at Ciudad Perdida.
Normally, every day around 100 tourists reach Colombia´s lost city on their 3rd hiking day. They wake up early from the closest camp and walk through the ancient rock stairs until they reach this amazing place. They spend around 2 hours enjoying it and taking pictures before they have to start their trek down towards Santa Marta.
For me, and for 11 other lucky tourists, it was going to be different. We did get to Ciudad Perdida around the same time than most other tourists on the 3rd day. However, we didn’t leave. We stayed and had the whole place just for us, for the entire day.
It was truly amazing. With all this time available, I really got to know the place. Saw every inch of it and enjoyed the views surrounding it.
For those who are not willing to undertake the 4 day hike but still enjoy being in nature and mountains, we recommend to check out the coffee zone. You can do shorter hikes there, but still be surrounded by nature.
On the other hand, if you are interested in archaeology but you don´t want to undertake the demanding hike, check out San Agustin. It is a great place to observe mysterious statues and tombs in the south of Colombia.
Taking into account that Colombia´s lost city can feel a bit touristy from time to time, we can recommend to check out Guaviare as an absolute off-the-beaten track nature destination.
Around 4 pm, a messenger from the Mamo, the leader of the indigenous Kogui tribe, came to tell us that the ceremony had to be cancelled because the daughter of the Mamo was sick.
This was disappointing to us, as we were really looking forward to it. However, the Mamo sent another leader of the community, who is studying to become a Mamo himself, to perform a smaller ceremony.
He gave us some spiritual gifts from the Mamo and performed traditional dances and songs. After the ceremony, we had some time to chat with him and ask him questions about his traditions and culture. Quite interesting! (Read more about the Kogui people here)
After the ceremony and before the sunset, I went to the highest point of this ancient city with my camera and silently waited until it was the right time. It got quite cloudy right before the sunset so I wasn’t able to take a good picture. However, while I was sitting there, I got to see a gorgeous pelican flying across Ciudad Perdida. I wasn’t quick enough to take a picture of it, but it´s a memory I won’t ever forget.
Right next to Ciudad Perdida, in the middle of the jungle, there is a little wooden hut. It is usually used by the army, but we organized ourselves there for the night. We had a nice and basic dinner with our guide, 4 army guys, and a few indigenous people who live in the surroundings.
Even though we were all exhausted from the trekking of the last 3 days, we stayed awake till 12:00 to celebrate the new year. We had some champagne that our guide brought (he carried 2 bottles in his backpack during the entire hike!), toasted with everyone and went to sleep.
The morning after, I woke up early to enjoy the place before the other tourists arrived. The weather was better than the previous day and I managed to take some better pictures.
The place is so impressive that I didn’t want to leave, even if I was one of the very few people who were allowed to spend a night up there. A trip I will never forget and an incredible way to start the year!
Interested in discovering Colombia´s lost city with Lulo Colombia Travel? Find out more here.
If you are wondering about other great spots to add to your Colombia trip, have a look at this list we created.