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Ciudad Perdida, Santa Marta, Colombia

The Teyuna Archaeological Park, known as the Lost City, or Teyuna («Origin of the Earth’s Peoples») or Buritaca-200, was a commercial and spiritual center.

The heart of a network of Tayronan villages and stretches between 900 and 1200 meters above the north slope of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Santa marta, Ciudad perdida
Santa marta, Ciudad perdida

Currently it is a highly visited archaeological site that is threatened by irresponsible tourism.

Although not included in the World Heritage List, Unesco has recognized the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta as a Biosphere Reserve for Humanity since 1979.

Lost City, built around the year 700 to 800 AD, by indigenous Tayronas communities, was discovered in 1976 by a team of archaeologists from the Colombian Institute of Anthropology headed by Gilberto Cadavid and Luisa Fernanda Herrera.

And archaeologist Lucía de Perdomo also participated (not finally arrived at the site due to health problems).

The archaeologist Bernardo Valderrama and the guides Francisco Rey and Jesús Rodríguez.

Since the discovery, investigations in the area have not been interrupted, which have revealed engineering works carried out by the Tayronas in a system of terraces, stairs.

Avenues and channels that speaks of their unique organizational and urban conception.

Ciudad perdida
Ciudad perdida

Currently it is almost completely restored

it is considered one of the main archaeological sites in Colombia and is part of one of the more than 250 ancient towns of the four indigenous groups found in the north and southwest faces of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. , in the Magdalena department.

  • The indigenous settlement covers approx. 14 hectares, over the blade of the Corea hill to the Buritaca River in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Only site of importance recognized as characteristic of the Tayronas settlements, a culture that disappeared with the Spanish conquest.

Buritaca 200, is made up of a set of terraces for housing, interconnected by stone paths that detach transversely from a main one and which.

In turn, forms part of a complex communication system with the surrounding towns.

These are paths 4 or 5 meters wide, covered in stone and with a central staircase. Each of them has an efficient drainage and protection system incorporated.

In addition to the foundations of the houses, those of two temples (cancurubas) and some examples of petroglyphs are preserved, which have not yet been interpreted.

This is an archaeological site of great testimonial value that also includes ceramic and goldsmith findings.

Ciudad perdida. Colombia
Ciudad perdida. Colombia

The Teyuna or Lost City Sector is managed by the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History

The Archaeological Park is located within the Kogui-Malayo-Arhuaco indigenous reserve and within the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Park.

The authorized access route is through the Mamey path, Guachaca township, which is approximately an hour by car from Santa Marta.

This interests you:

Cerro Monserrate-Colombia

Within the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Park, we can develop ecotourism activities such as:

Hiking: there are around five days of walking, three of ascent and two of descent.

During this tour the trail has various types of infrastructure for the transit and permanence of visitors.

San Lorenzo sector: medium difficulty trail to the San Lorenzo gorge at 1½ hours, with a 15 meter high waterfall, wildlife and sub-Andean forest.

High difficulty trail to the waterfall of the Gaira river, 5-hour tour where you can see a 30-meter waterfall.

Ciudad perdida, Santa marta
Ciudad perdida, Santa marta

Environmental Research and Education:

The exuberant nature of the protected area and its state of conservation make it a suitable place for scientific research.

As it is an overlapping area with indigenous reservations, the procedures established by the Ministry of the Interior to carry out investigations in indigenous communities are mandatory.

In the protected area, environmental education activities are carried out by educational institutions or by officials who introduce visitors to the Park.

With conservation objectives, services and ecotourism activities.

Bird Watching:

Colombia is the country with the highest number of bird species in the world.

  • Making it a destination frequented by amateur and professional observers. Additionally, the Sierra has Important Bird Conservation Areas (AICAS)

Located in the Río Frío, San Lorenzo and San Salvador areas. Among the species that can be observed, the pollack hawk, the condor, the mountain lora, the paujil stand out.

Ciudad perdida, Santa marta, Colombia
Ciudad perdida, Santa marta, Colombia

Observation of Wild Fauna and Flora:

The Sierra Nevada is a perfect place for those who are interested in fauna and flora.

Here are land mammals such as the jaguar, the moor deer and the tapir. In the Sierra there are 44 of the 340 endemic species registered for Colombia.

Likewise, the Park has 49 threatened species of the 3,057 registered and in plants a total of 126 endemic species have been registered.


The Park has several sites of archaeological interest, among them is Teyuna (Lost City), the most important historical and architectural find in Colombia.

This archaeological heritage is located at an approximate height of 1700 masl in the Buritaca river basin.

Special recommendations for the Teyuna sector

■ Carry identity documents and current medical insurance.

■ For safety, it is important that officials, environmental interpreters or guides are authorized to carry out the activity. They can be asked for the identification card.

■ The consumption of alcoholic beverages and the carrying of firearms are prohibited.

■ Bonfires are prohibited.

■ Have good physical conditions to access the site.

■ Please abide by the observations and suggestions of the Park officials and the personnel in charge of the operation of ecotourism services.

■ Have the tetanus and yellow fever vaccine ten days before the trip.

To visit the lost city, it is necessary to contact the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH).

The San Lorenzo Experimental Station is outside the Park and in its influence zone and is administered by the National Natural Park.

Its main purpose is to be a space to promote environmental education and knowledge of biodiversity in alliance with universities in the region; although also, it is enabled to receive visitors.

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