Journey to the Heart of the Jungle: Yoga Hiking Expedition in Colombia

The Lost City & Palomino, Colombia

S
SoulJour
  • Email address verified
Apr 19 - 27, 2024
Group size: 8 - 10
Journey to the Heart of the Jungle: Yoga Hiking Expedition in Colombia
The Lost City & Palomino, Colombia

SoulJour
  • Email address verified

Apr 19 - 27, 2024
Group size: 8 - 10

About this trip

Calling all pioneer yogi adventurers! 


Join SoulJour & Pax Encounters as we embark on an unforgettable, unprecedented and unparalleled 8-night yoga, hiking and beach adventure of a lifetime.  


We begin our yoga adventure trip with a challenging, yet awe inspiring, 5-day hike through lush, rugged terrain of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains that will connect you to nature in a deeply profound way. Our experienced local guides will lead us to the ancient Lost City of the Tyrona people, where you'll see how indigenous tribes still live and immerse yourself in their rich traditions. On this trip you will be the first group to ever stay overnight at the Lost City – an experience typically reserved for the Tyrona people and professional archaeologists!!! Your leaders will guide a once in a lifetime morning yoga practice on the sacred terraces with the most stunning landscape ever as our backdrop. As you explore the sacred grounds where humans have devoted their lives to the jungle gods for over a millennium, you'll feel as though you've been transported to another land and another time entirely. After soaking in as much richly oxygenated air and potent energy as possible, we'll hike back the way we came, returning the next day to our original lunch spot happy, healthy and noticeably transformed.


The journey concludes with 3 nights in Palomino – a picturesque Caribbean seaside village –  located an hour's journey from the end of the hike. Underneath open air palapas, with the gentle Caribbean Sea breezes as your backdrop, we'll spend these days focused on rest, rejuvenation and reflection. Enjoy twice daily yoga sessions, reading by the pool, swimming in warm Caribbean waters, a river float and/or horseback ride, incredible food, and a massage next to the beach. 


SoulJour and Pax Encounters guarantee a life-changing soul journey and surely this will be one for the record books!

About the Lost City Hike

The Lost City is located in the north face of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, in the North region of Colombia. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is one of world’s highest mountain ranges, with the peaks Cristóbal Colón and Simón Bolívar, over 18,700 ft (5700 masl). This mountain range is isolated from the Andes chain, and it has about 6,600 sq mi (16.500 square Km). The real name of the Lost City, is Teyuna Archeological Park. It is a sacred place for the descendants of Tayrona culture. Currently there are four ethnic groups in the region, Kogui, Arhuaco, Kankuamo and Wiwa. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range is considered one of the most biodiverse areas in South America. There are approximately 628 species of birds, some of them endemic. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta was declared a Biosphere reserve by the UNESCO in 1979. The Lost City was discovered officially in 1976, by a group of archeologists from the Colombian Anthropology Institute, under the direction of Alvaro Soto Holguin. For 7 years, more than 50 professionals, 100 workers (most of them former tomb robbers) and military detachment worked in the site’s restoration. The last archeologic investigations have found that the first Tayorna towns, including The Lost City were built between the years 200 a.c and 1100 a.c.

Physical Requirements

The Lost City 5-day hike is challenging but totally worth it! Expect to be hiking at least 6 hours / day. We will have stops along the way but you must be in good physical shape to go on this trip. Nothing is extreme but there are a number of 45 minute to hour long climbs. Known as "The Colombian Flats" - there really isn't much flat terrain on the Lost City hike. It is a rugged and a dense jungle mountain range with big hills the entire time. The reward is epic and you'll return home in great shape just in time for summer!


The approximate distance for the whole hike back and forth is 29 miles.


We recommend that you exercise at least 4 days / week for at least an hour a day prior to this adventure – Hiking, biking, running, swimming, and/or weight lifting. You will be hiking with your medium-sized backpack filled with your clothing and toiletries. 

Weather

December through March is considered the dry season and May through September is considered the rainy season for the region. We chose April so be prepared for mostly sun but it could also rain at any time. The temperature will be hot (in the mid-high 80s) and humid. Nights are cooler but still warm. You will be drenched in sweat most of the time while hiking.

About the Yoga

We will do out best attempt to include twice daily yoga sessions. During the Lost City Trek, our yoga sessions will be shorter since we need to stay on a tight hiking schedule. Mornings are designed to start the day off positively and will consist of 15-minutes of breathwork, a guided meditation and prayer. After the day's hike we will enjoy @ 30 minutes of light stretching. 


Once we get to the eco-resort, our yoga practices will be 90 minutes in the morning before breakfast and again before dinner. Our morning sessions will consist of asana (movement), a guided meditation and pranayama (breathwork). Evening sessions will be more restful and reflective – a restorative "stretchy stretch," journaling, and/or a group share.


These yoga sessions will be led either by our local guide or Ashley. These sessions are all levels and there will be something for any ability level.

Safety in Colombia

Colombia is a country that suffered periods of significant political violence, especially in the 1980s and early 1990s. Peace began to take hold culminating in the historic 2016 Peace Deal. Today, the vast majority of Colombia is safe for visitors and tourists. The region where this trip will take place is considered safe for travel. Philippe visited the region in 2016 with his little kids and both Philippe and Ashley were last there in April 2023 with no safety issues. Travelers who take reasonable precautions are likely to have no safety issues in this part of Colombia. The hike to the Lost City is in the mountain wilderness so any injuries that result in inability to walk would require extraction via mule or helicopter. All participants on the trip are required to purchase traveller’s insurance.  We are happy to help you find a policy that works for you. 

Accommodations

Outside of the Lost City hike, our accommodations are boutique, TripAdvisor award-winning, luxurious yet relaxed hotels. The hotels are unique and charming, with excellent food, service, and attention to detail.


During the Lost City hike, the group will enjoy clean but basic accommodations. We'll each sleep on the bottom bunk in a twin bed with bedding and a mosquito net provided. Each "camp" has shared bathrooms and showers with charging station for your phone (to take more photos!). 

Food

The food in Colombia is soooo delicious! Some of the best tropical fruit in the world. It's where Pineapple and Colombian coffee are a treasured commodity. During our trek, you will enjoy 3 cooked meals / day plus fruit. There are stalls along the journey if you would like to purchase water and snacks. The tropical fruit is so yummy and ripe and we encourage you to eat as much as possible. We will be on the Caribbean ocean and the fish is amazing. During our beach resort days, you will be on your own for lunch. We invite you to explore local restaurants in Palomino. As with any foreign country, do not drink the water and be mindful of raw food. 

How to Get to Santa Marta

Santa Marta (SMR) is an international airport located @ 30 mins drive to our hotel in Santa Marta. Another way to get to Santa Marta is to fly into Bogota (BOG) and stay overnight near the airport (we have great hotel recommendations). Then take a domestic flight from Bogota to Santa Marta. Bogota is a major airport and may be easier to fly in/out of the city. 


You may also consider flying into relatively nearby airports in Cartagena (4.5 hour drive) and Barranquilla (2 hour drive) and make your way to Santa Marta by plane or car.


Our journey starts in Santa Marta so make sure to come in a day early if you are flying into a different airport.

Packing List

For the Trek 

(Avoid cotton if possible. Quick dry materials are best)


Medium-Sized Backpack

Camera

2 pair shorts

3 pair hiking socks

1 pair camp socks

3 pair Underwear/Bras

1 pair light pants for camp

1 Pajamas

3-4 T-shirts / Tank Tops

1 Long Sleeve Shirt

1 Rain Jacket

1 pair Flip Flops/Tevas/Chacos

1 Quick Dry/Microfiber Towel 

Hiking shoes (we prefer low top hiking boots. At minimum, trail running shoes)

Sun Hat 

Sunglasses

Mosquito Repellent

Sunscreen

Biodegradable Soap

Headlamp

Swimsuit

Plastic bags for humidity

Personal medicines/toiletries

Trekking poles may be rented prior to departure for an additional fee


For Pre/Post Trek Days:

2 Outfits for Dinner

2 pairs yoga pants / shorts

1 pair shoes for dinner

Yoga Mat

Journal & 2 Pens

Book

About Your Guides

Ashley Melin

Ashley is the founder of SoulJour, a holistic yoga lifestyle brand dedicated to the seeker, sage, and warrior in us all. Her yoga career began in 1992 at the age of 18 and has been a daily staple every since having studied many of the world's most renowned yoga teachers. Ashley is an avid outdoorswoman – big mountain climber, mountain biker, hiker, and skier. Her travel bug started after college when she completed a 3-month NOLS trip in Africa – and she has since traveled extensively throughout Asia, South & Central America and Europe. Her favorite country is India and since 2007 she has guided hundreds of fearless yogis through its magical chaos.

When not adventuring, Ashley is a highly sought after graphic designer and a mother of a 13-year old son, 2 black kitties and a rescue dog. They moved to Bend, OR in July 2023.


Her cousin is Philippe!


Philippe Melin


Philippe is the founder of PaxEncounters, a company that combines the building of peace with guided tours to Colombia and Northern Ireland. Philippe is an avid world traveler but fell in love in Colombia in 2014 and keeps coming back. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and perspective about Colombia’s story from decades long war to peace. Philippe is relatively new to Yoga beginning in 2019 but has since become addicted to his practice!! He and his family live in Lake Forest, Illinois where he works as a consultant for political campaigns and advocacy organizations.  

Cancellation Policy

SoulJour does not provide any cash refunds. If a refund is to be given, we will send you a check or refund your credit card. Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason including personal emergencies. Travelers may transfer their payment to another trip or another person at any time. 


The following cancellation charges apply:

1) 90+ days prior to departure date: $500 deposit forfeited

2) 61-90 days prior to departure date: 25% of trip cost

3) 31-60 days prior to departure date: 50% of trip cost

4) 30 days or less: No refund. 

5) There are no refunds for arriving late or leaving early. There are no partial refunds for any services not used while on your trip.

6) All cancellations must be received in writing by e-mail.


If SoulJour should cancel a trip within 30 days of departure due to low enrollment, you will receive a full refund. If a trip is canceled within 30 days of departure due to terrorism or civil unrest you will receive a full refund. 


SoulJour is not responsible for expenses incurred in preparation for any canceled trip, such as non-refundable airline tickets, or for costs incurred due to travel delays, flight cancellation or illness. Please make sure you purchase traveler's insurance. You are welcome to transfer full credit to another trip within 1 year if you are unable to attend.

What’s included

  • Guided 5-Day Hike
    Fully supported with mules, guides, porters, lodging, 3 meals/day
  • Daily Yoga & Meditation
    2 classes / day. All levels.
  • Airport Pickup
    From Santa Marta Airport
  • 2-3 meals / day
    3 meals/day during trek. Breakfast & Dinner on other days.
  • Local transport
  • All park entrance fees
  • 1 Beachfront Massage
  • River Float Day Trip
  • Local Guide Tips

What’s not included

  • International Airfare
  • Traveler's Insurance
    Required!
  • Shopping/Personal Items
  • Water & Snacks @ LC Hike
  • Extra Massages
  • Alcohol

Available Packages

Double Occupancy
8 left

Includes 1 night double lodging in Santa Marta, 4 nights single bed during the Lost City Trek (all participants receive the same basic bedding during the trek), 3 nights double occupancy at the eco-resort in Palomino. 

$2,555
Deposit: $500
Single Occupancy
Available until April 1, 20248 left

This package includes your own private single occupancy room with a king size bed in Santa Marta and Palomino (4 nights total). During the trek, there is only one type of bedding which is a single bottom bunk (nobody on top). All beds come with a blanket, mosquito net and pillow.

$2,999
Deposit: $500


Itinerary

Day 1: Santa Marta
Welcome to Colombia!

Welcome to Santa Marta, Colombia’s oldest City.  With perfect weather and nestled between the Santa Marta Mountains and the Caribbean Sea, Santa Marta is the perfect place to begin our journey.  


Our group will be arriving at different times of the day and we will arrange everyone’s rides from the airport to our hotel in the heart of Santa Marta. Our hotel is an oasis in the city with multiple pools, bars, food and massage options. 


Travelers must arrive in Santa Marta in time for dinner at 6:30pm. Our included Welcome Dinner will be at one of Santa Marta’s top restaurants where we will enjoy modern Colombian food.  Don’t stay up too late – we have a big next few days ahead of us!

Who’s Going

Your Organizer


S
SoulJour
Joined in April 2019
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