Ciudad Perdida | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Ciudad Perdida

Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia

About Ciudad Perdida

Ciudad Perdida, meaning “lost city”, is a remote and spectacular ancient city in Colombia which now operates as archaeological park.

Thought to date to at least the 8th century AD, Ciudad Perdida was one of a number of settlements built by the Tayrona Indians, who inhabited the area now known as Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Located high in the mountains, it is unclear exactly how long the site was inhabited for, though it’s believed Ciudad Perdida was abandoned after the Spanish conquest.

In 1975 the site was discovered by looters who began collecting artefacts from the area. This in turn led to archaeologists exploring the region and Ciudad Perdida was uncovered. While work has been done to restore this ancient city, it is still dangerously threatened by erosion and tourism.

Today, the site has been excavated and cleared to reveal a number of raised stone and earth platforms built atop high mountain peaks. The structures include the ruins of houses, paths, staircases, storehouses, canals and communal areas as well as remains thought to have a ceremonial purpose.

While it is true that Ciudad Perdida ranks among the more difficult historic sites to visit – involving an organised multi-day trek through difficult terrain – the location and views to be found here are astonishing.

In the past the area has seen difficulties and it is important to check for official advice from your government before visiting.