Lost City Trek Colombia Packing List + What NOT to Bring (2018)

Packing light is key


The Ciudad Perdida Lost City Trek is an amazing experience, which I highly recommend doing to all of you who are planning to visit Colombia. You have to know it’s a demanding trail though. Expect steep muddy lands, river crossing, humid climate and fierce mosquitoes. Packing light is key, so here I leave you with a quick guide of what I packed for my 4 day trek to the Ciudad Perdida in north Colombia.

What to pack

  • Daypack: pack light, is my first and main advice. You’ll be carrying all your gear up and down a hill for days, so the lighter you pack, the more your legs will appreciate it. You can leave your big suitcase/backpack at the hostel or at the tour company offices and just bring the necessary stuff in a daypack. I took a Quechua Arpenaz 30 litres capacity daypack.

  • A set of comfy sports/hiking clothes for each day: if you do the 4 day trek, then pack:
    4 T-shirts
    2 shorts
    1 zip-off trousers
    1 long sleeves
    4 pairs of socks and underwear

    Try to pack thin/light sports or hiking clothes to avoid taking much space on your bag. It’s better to wear shorts, it makes it easier to cross rivers and not to stain yourself with mud. But there’s also a lot of mosquitos and it gets cold in the evening so, a zip-off pair of trousers might come in handy.

  • Plastic bags: I highly recommend packing every set of clothes in separate plastic bags. It’s going to be humid all the time and everything will get and stay damp. So if you can separate dry clothes from wet, you will be so grateful for a few hours.

  • Long pyjamas or warm clothes to sleep: don’t let the hot weather trick you. When the sun goes down in Colombia, it gets chilly. You better pack a pair of long trousers and a jumper.

  • Raincoat: the weather in Colombia is very changeable, it can rain at any time during your trek. Be prepared with a raincoat and a waterproof cover for your bag as well.

  • Hiking shoes: needles to say, but you never know! Don’t forget your hiking shoes on a 4 day hike! I took my North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GoreTex.

  • Sandals: During the climb to the Lost City, the Buritaca river has to be crossed at some points. If you cross with your hiking shoes, forget about them drying anytime soon. If you try to cross in flip flops, you might lose one. So the best option is to pack a pair of sandals. I wore a pair of Merrell’s.

  • Swimsuit: One of the best moments you’ll experience during the City Lost trek is the breaks to relax and refresh on the river. So don’t forget a swimsuit.

  • Microfiber towel: to try and dry after showering or swimming into the river.

  • Toiletries: the basics though: shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush, toilet roll, hairbrush.

  • Sunscreen: when it’s not raining it’s sunny. When it’s sunny you burn. So put on some sunscreen before the insect repellent.

  • Insect repellent: it’s impossible to go to the Lost City and not get bitten by mosquitoes. They are fierce up there! Bring an insect repellent with DEET higher than 20%. I bought Nopikex in Colombia, it’s a national brand of insect repellent which I was told works even better than the international ones like Relec.

  • Flashlight or headlight: I’m a headlamp person, I find it much more useful than a flashlight since you have both hands free whenever you need them.

  • Water bottle: I brought 1 litre of bottled water with myself. That was already 1 kg of weight, but when you have a sensitive stomach, I prefer to load 1 more litre than to unload every 5 seconds because of a gastroenteritis. When I ran out of water I drank energetic drinks like Gatorade that you can buy at some resting areas. As the water was from the river or not bottled.

  • Personal first aid kit: very basic: plasters and paracetamol, antibiotic and anti-diarrhoea. The tour guides also bring FAK.

  • Camera/mobile phone and batteries: You want to immortalize this adventure, so don’t forget your camera, GoPro or phone, and some batteries since there’s only electricity on the first camp.

  • Cash: bring some cash to buy snacks and drinks in the few places they sell it.

Nice to have

  • Sunglasses

  • Hat

  • Thin sleeping bag: You may find bedbugs in the bedunks.

  • Pillow

  • Earplugs

Not to bring

  • A big backpack: Packing light is key.

  • Important documents: Leave your documents back in your big bag at the hostel / tour company offices. However, have a paper copy with you if you wish in a plastic folder.

  • Valued objects / clothing: You are going to be either wet or muddy, so don’t bring any belongings that you really value like nice watches or jewelry, or nice clothing.

Post picture: McKay Savage / flickr

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About me


Hi! I’m Txell, a part time traveller and full time foodie who wants to share my experiences with you, through travel guides and restaurant reviews.