The Lost City and Cocaine Factory of Columbia
Imagine a six-day trek through the Colombian jungle, crossing eight rivers and 40 km of treacherous terrain and climbing 1,200 ancient steps to reach the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida in Spanish), an archaeological site in Sierra Nevada, Columbia. Sounds like fun?
The trek also involves a stop at cocaine factory where the indigenous coca farmers show how the drug is produced in their small labs. This has become a major draw for many backpackers, but only recently. The trek to the Lost City was closed in 2003 after eight tourists were kidnapped by guerilla groups and were freed after several months.
It was reopened to the public two years later, and there have been no kidnapping since. However, few countries like US, UK and Australia have warned tourists of the risk of kidnapping while traveling to Ciudad Perdida.
Apart from being ecologically diverse, South America has a rich history and cultural heritage. Peru,Bolivia, Columbia, etc. and the only hindrance being the safety factor and crime rate in these countries, but am discovering few mystical and absorbing facts of each of them.Coming back to the Lost City, it was founded in around 800 AD, some 650 years earlier than Machu Picchu. It stretches across 169 stone terraces carved into the mountainside, and the entrance can only be accessed by climbing those 1200 steps.There are organised tours to the Lost city which cost approximately US$230. The tour takes three days to reach the city, one to explore the ruins, and two to return to civilisation. On climbing the wobbly 1200 steps, you reach the city, which is believed to house some 2000 people. Most of the artifacts like gold figurines were stolen in 1972 by treasure hunters.
Deep within the jungle among the coca plants lies the cocaine lab, where the indigenous coca farmers show tourists how the drug is made. You can watch the video below to see the whole process.