Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Colombia: what to see, what to do, how to get there… For more information, contact our team of specialists now ([email protected])

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Meeting with the indigenous Koguis who live in the Pueblito village, an archaeological site located in the tropical jungles of Tayrona Park, near the Colombian Caribbean coast. Sabiduria shares with us her ancestral vision from this sacred place for the indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada, to raise awareness of the importance of respect for nature and love for “Tierra Madre”, Mother Earth.

Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta overview

Located in the north of Colombia, in the departments of Magdalena, La Guajira and Cesar, lies the majestic mountain range with snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest coastal mountain in the world. Only 22 km separate its peaks from the Caribbean Sea. Its highest peak is Peak Colon, which rises to 5,775 metres.

The Sierra is home to the Teyuna Archaeological Park (the Lost City), the cradle of the Tayrona Indians, the most important indigenous civilisation in the country. About thirty thousand indigenous descendants of the Tayronas, belonging to the four ethnic groups Kogi, Arhuaco, Kankuamo and Wiwa as well as the “elder brothers”, still live there. UNESCO declared the Sierra Nevada a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site in 1979. Numerous recovery, research and conservation works are taking place in the Park.

The main tourist activity is hiking, along various historical and cultural trails. The fauna present in the park is extremely rich, including the jaguar, tapir, paramo deer, condor, paujil, mountain parrot and many others.

The landscapes of this region are enchanting: tropical forest, mountains, snow-capped peaks, coffee and exotic flower crops, natural pools, waterfalls… The richness of this region is also its population, the indigenous people who have inhabited it for centuries, possessing an ancestral, mystical culture. The cultivation of coffee and cocoa is also very present in the region.

History of the Sierra Nevada Santa Marta

The Sierra is currently inhabited by groups of indigenous Koguis and Ljka people, better known as the Arhuacos, who maintain their ancient mythology and traditions. The Koguis indigenous community is an ethnic Amerindian group that lives in the northern Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the valleys of the Don Diego, Palomino, San Miguel and Ancho rivers.

These people are organised in small villages, under the authority of a “mamo”, a central figure in Koguis culture who embodies and enforces the sacred laws. Their way of life has remained the same for decades. The Koguis derive most of their resources from agriculture. Indeed, their lifestyle is inspired by their belief in the “Gran Madre”, or force of nature. They believe that the earth is a living thing that must be respected. Their mission is to maintain the balance and harmony between man and nature. Among the ancestral traditions, the activity of the “mamos” and the coca rite are noteworthy.

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