From Salento I took a flight straight to Santa Marta on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. It’s not a particular pretty city but ok for a day I would say. And the fresh Cevice made up for the rest. I got the tip that the area is good for scuba diving so I booked two dives for the next day and was curious to see what’s done there…

Well, what can I say. For all who are considering getting a diving licence: please go to a proper school and get a good education. For one you can be seriously playing with your life if you don’t know what you are doing and maybe have to rely on someone who doesn’t take care properly (briefing, dive profiles, safety and decompression stops, emergency procedures, diving when sick and much more…). And on the other hand it’s also the environmental aspect of diving. Even though it should be common sense that you want to preserve the underwater world as good as you can and that touching anything in this sensitive environment should be an absolute tabu it really doesn’t help if the instructors touch everything and by that being a horrible role model. I also had to watch a student who was in my dive flight on his last check out dive for his licence how he crashed about 20 or 30 times right into the corals breaking big pieces of them off because he was just not trained enough yet to balance himself in the water – no action from the instructor which should be his task to help him and prevent this to happen. Sorry, but this just had to be said since I ha quite a few of these experiences in the last years. Please get a proper education and do your part to preserve this very pristine environment!

The dives themselves were probably the cheapest I have done in my life though – 25€ each. But the area is heavily fished and therefore not one of the best spots I have been to. Nevertheless a few and nice encounters.

Watch out little one…!


Lunch 😊

And then – guess what – it was time for another hike. In the Sierra Nevada which used to be on of the big coca plantains in Colombia and inaccessible for anyone who didn’t want to get in serious trouble or killed they found an ancient city in the 1970s – the “Lost City” or “Ciudad Perdida”. It’s also home of indigenous tribes (Arhuaco, the Koguis and the Wiwas) who partly still live very traditionally in that area. I opted for a tour with the indigenous guides. Our group was only four people strong plus Luis, the guide from the Wiwa tribe and a translator. Actually a very good and cosy size.


The tour was scheduled for four days. We strolled through the old coca plantains which were destroyed by the Colombian Government 14 years ago and are now transformed into pasture for cows.


The overnight places were crowded little farms with beds (which do not get washed often) and mosquito nets. For me way to many people. Luckily there was a natural pool in one of the rivers were we could dip in. It was extremely warm and humid the entire day…


Next day was dedicated to getting close to the lost city. The trail stayed in the jungle the entire time and the short and easy walk of 14km was broken up by many breaks for swimming, eating, snacking and resting – exactly my program 😂


What was really interesting was our guide Luis. He shared many insights from the culture of the Wiwa. Traditions of how boys with 15 years all do get an “instrument” where they out of snail-powder and coca-leave chew/spit form a round little tube which grows with every treatment. They do it the entire day when they are thinking. Some of the other rituals were partly a bit disturbing for us. For example how young boys and girls lose their virginity with an assigned (older) counterpart in the community before the guys chose their future wifes. Or how the partners receive help when they have lost their husband or wife. Then one member of the community get’s appointed to help the left one with intensive sexual rituals so the trapped soul of the partner can leave. All of it is steered and orchestrated by the so called “Mamo” – the spiritual, juridical and leader of all matters. It’s a very interesting system in itself.


Luis sharing some stories of his comunity

The day in the Ciudad Perdia felt a bit ambiguous to me. We left early to get up. A bit similar to Machu Picchu 1200 steep and narrow steps (not made for shoe size 46).


In the city Luis gave us more explanation about the history of the city and the usage. He also made a very interesting point when we asked him when the city was built – it’s the city of gods so it has always been there. That’s the story that has been handed over from the Mamos. As easy as this. The city itself is still used by the tribes for some of their rituals. The city itself is build into the slope and has some nice views but is not as well maintained as the Inca ruins in Peru.



For me the bit disturbing part was to watch all of the other tourists. Most of them were busy taking selfies for all of their social media profiles doing handstands, shirt off, posing with the military guys with erected machine guns and what else standing on some of the very sacred spots of this city. I am trying not to be judgemental but to be honest – it annoyed the shit out if me! Lacking respect, arrogance and missing fingertip feeling in my opinion. I also had the feeling that Luis was not to happy to watch the scene. He told us that they had desecrated this part of the city so the tourists could come and do all that. But he did not really seem happy about it.


So I tried to concentrate on nature instead.



We left the lost city and went back the same way. One of the guides found a two day old parrot chick which must have fallen out of the nest. I hope they will hand raise it and then give it back to the jungle…



A few more swimming stops later we arrived at our camp for the night. A little excursion to a very nice waterfall. The approaching darkness allowed some slow shutter speed pictures even without a filter.


Well, as you can read between the lines I am a bit torn. Yes, it was nice to go. The lost city itself is an interesting place and stories about the Wiwa were extremely interesting. But somehow it felt a bit tight, it was way to full for me and some of the behaviour really annoyed me. Would I recommend it to anyone –  I don’t know…

But maybe it’s also because I can sense that I actually get a bit tired of this kind of traveling and it’s good that I will (hopefully) be on the trail soon! You try to experience the local cuisines, rituals, habits and all around it but with limited time you somehow often end up in places where many people go – don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming anyone for wanting to see and go – I do it as well so I am part of the problem myself. And with this you are partly secluded from the “real” world and you end up meeting a lot of nice people for a short period of time. It’s nice and fun but you end up telling the same (your) story over and over again to the point where it actually becomes a bit boring and also the stories of the others are often the same. What did someone on Te Araroa tell me once – the more people you meet the lonelier you become. And the constant hassle of deciding on the next bus, next hostel and next activity gets tiring. I don’t want to complain but I can sense that I need a change from this life now. Can’t wait to get some solitude in nature with the one or other fellow hiker…

Now I only have to sort out my visa issue for the US. My visa apparently is approved but they refused to put it into my current passport and required a new passport. I have no clue why but I already had to rebook my flight tomorrow for 350USD so I can go to the embassy again and find out. Keep fingers crossed that this will not delay my start on the trail 😳