Although now uninhabited, Ciudad Perdida is in many respects a living monument. It’s surrounded by villages of Kogi Indians, who call the revered site Teyuna. You may be able to interact with the Kogis as they drift on and off the main trail you’ll traverse as part of the trek. As it comprises only a fraction of the wilderness they call home, they are increasingly less present on this popular tourist trail. The men are recognizable by their long, black hair, white (or off-white) smocks and trousers, a woven purse worn across one shoulder and trusty póporo, the saliva-coated gourd holding the lime that activates the coca leaves they constantly chew. Women also dress in white, and both women and girls wear necklaces; only the men own póporo. About nine thousand Kogis are believed to inhabit the Sierra Nevada.

When flower power was in full bloom in the US in the 1970s, the Sierra Nevada became a major marijuana factory, and an estimated seventy percent of its native forests were burned to clear the way for untold amounts of the lucrative Santa Marta Gold strand. As the forest’s prime inhabitants, the Kogis suffered dearly from the arrival of so many fast-buck farmers, one of the reasons why they’re sceptical of the outside world; while Kogi children may well approach you, asking for sweets, don’t take pictures of adults without their permission.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Colombia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

6 reasons to visit Bogotá: South America’s underrated capital

6 reasons to visit Bogotá: South America’s underrated capital

Polluted, rainy and business-orientated. Let’s face it, a trip to Bogotá hardly sounds appealing. And many travellers don’t bother to probe much further th…

18 Apr 2018 • Olivia Rawes insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
Providencia: an introduction to Colombia’s Caribbean island

Providencia: an introduction to Colombia’s Caribbean island

Colombia meets Jamaica? Not quite, but two competing images loom large over the Caribbean island of Providencia: Bob Marley, adopted saint of the local Raizal p…

11 Mar 2016 • Stephen Keeling insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right