The Caribbean Coast and Lost City
Panoramic view from The Caribbean Coast and Lost City

The Caribbean Coast and Lost City

10 nights

The desert in North Colombia is a must see and can be visited on guided Exploring the Caribbean TourWalking along the beach on Exploring the Caribbean Tour in ColombiaBeautiful sunset over the Atlantic Ocean on Exploring the Caribbean Tour in ColombiaExploring the Caribbean Tour in Colombia includes visiting several pristine beaches in Northern ColombiaLa Guajira Peninsula in Colombia is home for numerous beautiful beaches and can be seen on Exploring the Caribbean TourBeautiful Tairona Beach seen on Exploring the Caribbean TourFriendly local people met on Exploring the Caribbean Tour in Northern Coast of ColombiaTairona beach is one of the biggest attractions in Colombia and can be seen on Exploring the Caribbean TourBeautiful square in the centre of the village seen on Exploring the Caribbean Tour in ColombiaSwimming in the river on Exploring the Caribbean Tour in ColombiaThe Lost City visited on Guided Exploring the Caribbean Tour in ColombiaBeautiful palm trees seen along the trail to the Lost City on Exploring the Caribbean Tour

Explore the natural beauty found on the Caribbean coast of Colombia

The Caribbean coast of Colombia is full of beauty and wonder. From remote, pristine beaches to rich indigenous culture and colonial history, to the highest coastal mountain range in the world, this area is an adventure traveler’s dream. The Exploring the Caribbean tour is the best way to experience it all.

You’ll explore the remote Guajira peninsula, crossing the open desert of the Colombian Outback in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Trek through the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains to discover the ancient Lost City of the Tayronas.

Visit the Tayrona National Park, which is one of Colombia’s best and most popular parks. Bookend your adventures with some of Colombia’s most incredible beaches and the warm, refreshing waters of the Caribbean Sea. Book your Exploring the Caribbean tour today, then pack your swimsuit and your hiking boots because adventure awaits!

Highlights of The Caribbean Coast and Lost City Tour

Discover the beautiful beaches and indigenous cultures of Punta Gallinas and the Guajira peninsula.
Trek through the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, the highest coastal mountain range in the world.
Tour the incredible Lost City of the Tayronas archaeological site.
Walk along the beautiful coastline of the Tayrona National Park and relax on Colombia’s best beaches.

Prices

From $1,615USD
11 days / 10 nights
Difficulty
Guided
Hotels / Camping
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The Caribbean Coast and Lost City

The Caribbean Coast and Lost City Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Riohacha

Arrive at the Riohacha Airport and meet your transfer to your hotel. After checking in, spend the afternoon exploring Riohacha. Walk along the delightful seaside promenade where you can see local Wayuu Indians as they create their beautiful handicrafts. Watch the sunset over the Caribbean, then head back to the hotel for a tour briefing and to prepare for your trip to the Upper Guajira Peninsula (Alta Guajira).
Overnight Location: Hotel Taroa, Riohacha
Distance: N/A
Meals: N/A

Day 2 Drive to Punta Gallinas

Drive from Riohacha to Punta Gallinas. This unique place is the northernmost point of South America and you’ll find some of the Caribbean coast’s most spectacular beaches here. The trip to Punta Gallinas is an experience in itself. Your drive begins with a good-quality road until you reach the 4-way intersection Cuatro Caminos. From here, follow the main road north. In the distance, you’ll see Uribia, the native Wayuu capital, also known as the Indigenous Capital of Colombia.

Continue for another 1.5 hours to come to Colombia’s Outback. Here in this wild desert landscape, your route follows 4-wheel drive tracks. Pass the Hondita Bay and the Honda Bay, where you’ll see lovely views and colorful sandy beaches. Drive for about 2 hours through this remote landscape and you’ll reach the sand dunes of Taroa. Don’t miss the incredible sunset in this beautiful place where the yellow dunes meet the deep blue sea. The original Punta Gallinas (or “Chicken Point”) lighthouse now lies in ruin. Near the ruins enjoy a lovely but remote beach where you are unlikely to encounter many other people. Stay overnight in a Wayuu lodge, experiencing their hospitality, cuisine, and culture.
Overnight Location: Hospedaje Luzmila Lodge, Punta Gallinas
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Drive to Cabo la Vela

In the morning, enjoy the lovely Punta Aguja beach. From here, there is an optional boat tour to Hondita Bay where you can usually see pink flamingos. (The boat tour is at your own expense and can be requested a day in advance.) Leave Punta Gallina after lunch, again crossing the deserts of the Upper Guajira Peninsula. When you reach the railroad tracks for the Cerrejon coal mine, you’ll find the road to Cabo la Vela. This area is less deserted than the northern area you have just left.

The drive from Punta Gallinas to Cabo la Vela takes approximately 2-3 hours. Cabo la Vela is on the western coast of the peninsula and has amazing beaches that are rarely crowded. This is a great location for exploring the numerous bays or desert trails, for sampling local cuisine and for experiencing cultural traditions. Watch the Wayuu fisherman at work or try kite surfing in the ideal permanent wind currents (course and gear rental available for an additional fee). End the day with a memorable sunset from the El Cabo lighthouse, then spend the night in a rustic lodge.
Overnight Location: La Posada Wayuu, Cabo de la Vela
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Explore the Beaches near Cabo la Vela

Begin the day with a visit to the distinctive and beautiful beaches of Pilon de Azucar or the Ojo del Agua. Take your time enjoying the stunning landscapes and the refreshing water then eat a nice lunch locally. After lunch, begin the drive back to Riohacha. If conditions are dry, you’ll drive through the desert and across a salt flat, then follow the railroad trackback to the Cuatro Caminos intersection. Continue on to Riohacha, then take the Troncal del Caribe highway, crossing the southern Guajira peninsula, and entering the state of Magdalena. You’ll reach the city of Santa Marta about 2 hours after crossing the Magdalena border. The rest of the day is free to explore this delightful city.
Overnight Location: Hotel Boutique La Casa del Farol, Santa Marta
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 Santa Marta City Tour

After breakfast, take a 3-hour tour of the city of Santa Marta. This was the first town established by Spanish settlers in Colombia in 1534. Walk through the crowded downtown streets of the colonial areas. Visit the Santa Marta Cathedral, the oldest church in Colombia, where Simon Bolivar was initially buried (His body was eventually moved to his birthplace in Caracas). You’ll also learn more about the native culture of the surrounding areas at the gold museum. End your tour with the Plaza Bolivar, the pier, and the seaside promenade. Enjoy free time in the afternoon to explore at your leisure or relax in the hotel.
Overnight Location: Hotel Boutique La Casa del Farol, Santa Marta
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 Begin Lost City Trek

You’ll be picked up at your hotel in the morning and travel in 4-wheel drive vehicles, following the coast to the northeast. After about an hour, the paved road ends and the off-road adventure begins. Another hour after you leave the paved road, you’ll come to El Mamey, or Machete Pelado, village (150 m/492‘). Stop here for lunch and then begin your hike to the Lost City (La Ciudad Perdida).

Today’s hike is exposed to the elements, so be sure to pack plenty of water and dress appropriately for the weather. You will be offered tropical fruit along your hike to help give you energy. Take the trail along the Quebrada del Alto Mamey River, which is a gentle one-hour walk before the path climbs steeply up to the El Mirador Pass (640 m/2,100’). Pause here to appreciate the fantastic view overlooking the Buritaca River and the town of Mamey. Descend from the pass for 1.5 hours to the Donde Adan Lodge, which awaits you in a beautiful location beside the Quebrada Honduras River. A dip in the natural pool by the lodge is very refreshing after a day of hiking. Spend the night in a hammock at the lodge.
Overnight Location: Donde Adan Lodge (480 m/1,574’)
Distance: 4 hours, 8.9 km, (490 m of ascent, 160 m of descent)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Trek to El Paraiso Lodge

Begin by hiking to the Mumake Pass (680 m/2,231’) via a gentle and well-marked trail. Along the way, you’ll cross into protected land that’s controlled by the Kogi indigenous tribe. There are also Wiwa Indians settled in these valleys that run some of the hikers’ lodges. Notice how the landscape changes from farmland to a more natural and well-preserved wilderness as you enter the protected areas.

After crossing the Mumake Pass, descend quickly to the Buritaca River (430 m/1,411’), where you’ll see the Kogi settlement called Montangi and get a glimpse of their way of life. Continue hiking for about an hour, then cross the river via a hanging bridge and begin the ascent to the Koskunguena Pass (824 m/2,703’). On the other side of the pass, you’ll descend once again to the Buritaca River (743 m/2,438’) and cross the river one last time. Follow the riverbank to El Paraiso lodge (870 m/2,854’), where you can swim in the river before spending the night sleeping in hammocks.
Overnight Location: El Paraiso Lodge (870 m/2,854’)
Distance: 7-8 hours, 13.6 km, 721 m of ascent, 327 m of descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Trek to the Lost City

Another early start for an exciting day! Initially, the trail follows the right bank of the Buritaca River, then after a short distance, crosses to the other side. Here you’ll see the ancient stairs that climb steeply up to the Lost City of the Tayrona (1,175 m/3,855’). Climbing these steps is like traveling back in time as you draw closer to this astounding archaeological site. The original name of the city was Teyuna, and it is all that remains of the lost Tayrona civilization. Spend 4 hours touring the area and learning about the culture and architecture of the city. It is believed that the Kogi people descended from the Tayrona people, and you may also be able to visit the home of a Kogi Mamo, or shaman, during your tour.

After the tour, return to El Paraiso lodge for lunch, then follow the same trail back toward the Mumake Pass. At the foot of the pass, spend the night at the Mumake Lodge (389 m/1,276’).
Overnight Location: Mumake Lodge (389 m/1,276’)
Distance: 6 hours, 9.4 km, 382 m of ascent, 786 m of descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 Trek to El Mamey Town

Complete your Lost City trek today. Immediately after leaving the Mumake Lodge, hike up to the Mumake Pass (680 m/2,231’). After crossing the pass, descend again to the Quebrada Honduras River then climb once again up to El Mirador Pass (640 m/2,100’). Continue walking to reach the end of the trail in the town of El Mamey (150 m/492’). Eat lunch here in town, then drive for about 2-2.5 hours to reach your next hotel.
Overnight Location: Eco Hotel Yachay, Tayrona National Park
Distance: 4-5 hours, 14.2 km, 451 m of ascent, 690 m of descent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10 Visit Tayrona Natural Park

Spend today touring Tayrona National Park, which is one of Colombia’s best-known natural parks. Here you’ll find some of the best beaches in Colombia nestled into the foothills of the world’s tallest coastal mountain range, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This park ranks second in Colombia for annual visits and it is easy to see why. The park area (150 square kilometers of land and 30 square kilometers of sea) protects tremendous biodiversity as well as archaeological ruins such as Pueblito.

Take a light hike from the main parking area, following the coastline to see iconic locations such as Arrecife’s area, La Piscina beach, and El Cabo San Juan, all within 2 hours of hiking. Spend a peaceful day enjoying the beaches and natural areas. Enjoy traditionally prepared fish for lunch. Return to the lodge in the afternoon for the last night of your tour.
Overnight Location: Eco Hotel Yachay, Tayrona National Park
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11 Transfer to Santa Marta Airport

Sadly, your Exploring the Caribbean Tour has reached its end. Transfer to the Santa Marta Airport takes approximately 1.5-2 hours. Have a pleasant journey!
Overnight Location: N/A
Distance: N/A
Meals: Breakfast

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The Caribbean Coast and Lost City Tour Price and Dates

Pricing for this guided Exploring the Caribbean Tour depends on whether you choose to join an existing group on a specific date or if you prefer a custom tour for your group only.

The best time to travel to Colombia for this tour is from November to March.

Prices of Private Guided The Caribbean Coast and Lost City Tour

Have your own private tour with just your group! Prices below are per person:

  • Guided Groups of 2: $2,075 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 3-8: $1,725 USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 8+: $1,615 USD per person
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Accommodation on the The Caribbean Coast and Lost City Tour

Accommodations on this tour are based in 3- and 4-star hotels in cities and towns where they are available. In rural areas and along treks, you will often be camping, sleeping in hammocks, or staying in rustic lodges.

In some cases, accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other, comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
You can pay a supplement of $260 USD to have a private room in a hotel. Contact us and we can try and match single travelers up, where possible.

Hotels on Standard Tour

Hotel Taroa, Riohacha ★★★★

Excellent service and amenities await you with stunning beach and Caribbean Sea views from the terrace and the rooftop restaurant and bar.

Night 2

Hospedaje Luzmila, Punta Gallinas (Lodge)

Basic, but very friendly lodge in beautiful Punta Gallinas right near the beach will embrace you with homey feeling and beautiful views.

Night 3

La Posada Wayuu, Cabo la Vela (Lodge)

Stay in lovely posada in Cabo la Vela. Beautiful beach, friendly staff and cozy rooms will make you feel like at paradise.

Hotel Boutique La Casa del Farol, Santa Marta ★★★

This charming old house has been adapted into a hotel with a rooftop pool in a convenient location just a short walk from Santa Marta’s main street.

Night 6-8

Hammocks at lodges along the trail

Trek in the beautiful rainforest of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and sleep in hammocks in lodges along the trail of the Lost City.

Eco Hotel Yachay, Tayrona National Park (Lodge)

Stay in the heart of Tayrona National Park, surrounded by the jungle and wildlife. This lodge offers a comfortable stay in an amazing location.

What’s included in the Caribbean Coast and Lost City Tour?

Meals

10 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 5 dinners are included on your tour.

Accommodations

Accommodations for 10 nights along the tour are included as described. You will usually stay in 3- or 4-star hotels, except along hikes and in areas where only rustic lodges or camping are available.

Transportation during the Tour

  • Airport transfers
  • Private transportation throughout the tour

Also Included

  • Local Spanish-speaking cultural guide for days 2-5
  • Local Spanish-speaking trekking guide for days 6-9
  • National Park entrance fee and park’s insurance
  • Santa Marta City Tour and entrance fees
  • Quality mountain tents for camping (2 people per tent)
  • Common camping equipment for the group
  • Pack animal for Lost City trek

Not included

  • Transportation to Riohacha to begin the tour and from Santa Marta after the tour. Expect pricing to be $280 to $350 USD
  • Separate airport transfers in case of multiple arrivals/departures
  • Guide in Tayrona National Park
  • Camping gear
  • Tips
  • Personal equipment and expenses
  • Insurance
  • Anything else not listed as included

Optional Extras

  • Boat tour to Hondita Bay from Punta Aguja beach (day 3)
  • Kite surfing course / gear rental in Cabo la Vela (day 3)

Frequently Asked Questions about The Caribbean Coast and Lost City

Andes World Travel is a boutique adventure tour operator, founded by mountaineers, grown out of a love for adventure and first-hand knowledge of the Andes region. They offer a wide range of tours throughout South America, including both adventure tours and cultural tours.

Andes World Travel offers climbing, trekking, and hiking tours with an emphasis on safety and professionalism. They also offer “light trekking” trips for less experienced adventurers.

The company runs tours in Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Peru. They focus on sustainable practices and are more than willing to customize their tours to client’s wishes.

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The Caribbean Coast and Lost City Map

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Is this tour for me?

We rate this tour as a 3 / 5. You should be able to hike for up to 8 hours but most of the trails are not strenuous and most of the hiking is under 1,000 m of elevation.

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