Journey to the Heart of the World

16- Day expedition in Northern Colombia

Expedition begins and ends in Santa Marta, Colombia


Embark on an expedition of a lifetime that begins in La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the tallest coastal mountain range in the world. Recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site, this pyramidal volcanic massif rises to 18,700 feet (5700m) above sea level. It is home to every biome found in South America and is celebrated for its biodiversity. These mountains are also the birthplace of the ancient pre-hispanic culture of the Tayrona.


Today, the descendants of the Tayrona still live in La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. They call their mountainous home “El Corazon del Mundo” - the Heart of the World. They separate themselves into four tribes: the Arhuaco, the Kogi, the Kankuamo and the Wiwa. They call themselves the Elder Brothers, a people committed to maintaining the equilibrium of the Earth by their daily rituals, mental discipline, and meditations. 


After exploring the Heart of the World, we travel along the northern coast to La Guajira, a remote and arid region at the northernmost tip of South America.  La Guajira is home to the Wayuu people, the largest indigenous group in Colombia. Never conquered by the Spanish or subsequent powers, the Wayuu consider themselves the people of the sun.  They consult their dreams for wisdom, which they attribute to their ability to find water sources and thrive for thousands of years in a place that otherwise appears uninhabitable.


The trip price includes transportation to and from the Simon Bolivar Airport in Santa Marta, food/transportation while on the expedition, lodging, immersive Spanish and basic first-aid classes, direct contributions to the reforestation of the places we visit, and in-depth education/safety from Guardian Trip Leaders and Colombian guides. 

We have four main components of this trip:

Santa Marta

The Kogi & Quebrada Del Sol

La Guajira & The Wayuu

Santa Marta

We begin our journey in the bustling port city of Santa Marta. This town was the first Spanish colonial establishment founded in the year 1526 by conquistador Rodrigo de Bastidas. Santa Marta marks the beginning of the bloody conquest set upon the indigenous of the continent.


The Kogi & Quebrada Del Sol

In La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, we stay with the Kogi to learn about the descendants of the Tayrona who consider themselves the guardians of mother nature. Within their land, we help to reforest the jungle and develop a sustainable system of tourism for future visitors.


La Guajira & the Wayuu

We travel to the northernmost point of Colombia to learn from the ancient culture of the Wayuu. As we stand on the top of South America, we learn about the water crisis and help to sustain water resources in this remote Caribbean desert.

Traditional Wayuu dance
The Dunes of Taroa
Highway in La Guajira
Wayuu familial paint
Chinchorros (traditional hammocks) of La Guajira
Sparse flora of La Guajira


Expedition Cost:


*The cost does not include airfare

Trip Dates:  Janurary 1st, 2021 - January 16th, 2021


Trip Includes:

  • Backpacking skill development while traveling through the jungle

  • Indigenous culture exchange with Kogi, Arhuaco and Wayuu indigenous tribes

  • Service projects in La Sierra Nevada and La Guajira - Reforestation of La Sierra Nevada and aid in water sustainability in La Guajira "Punta Gallinas"

  • Spanish language immersion

  • Basic first aid classes

  • Cultural/human history of our course area

  • Learn to live with the Jungle

  • Stand on the top of South America

  • Travel Insurance is REQUIRED

  • Ages 18+ must have a valid passport

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