Pack a long sleeve top of some sort and some pants both for insect protection and for extra warmth at night. (the campsites are at around 500-1,200m so the altitude makes for cooler nights) During the day you will want sunglasses, sunscreen and sandals or similar.
Your boots will probably stay wet the entire time if you wear them during river crossings so take some sports sandals if you have them. Many people just end up leaving their boots on because they will usually get wet anyway on the trail.
Be prepared for everything to become damp and stay damp.
Pack a spare set of clothes in plastic bags or dry bag so you have something dry to put on at night. Five nights in soggy hammocks can be uncomfortable.
You can download this full list for later use here (.pdf format)
- 2x T-Shirts
- 3x Pairs of Socks
- 3x Underwear (?)We recommend ExOfficio underwear. It's lightweight, quick dry and absorbs moisture.
- 1x Pair of Shoes (?)On a dry trail, tennis shoes or trainers will suffice however if the trail is wet, hiking boots are a great idea.
- 1x Warm Long Sleeve Top
- 1x Pair of Long Pants
- Toilet Paper
- Water Bottle
- Mosquito Repellent (Containing DEET) (?)DEET is the most effective ingredient to ward off mosquitoes. Some people use lemongrass and tea tree oil products as a non toxic alternative.
- Passport (?)It is rarely checked, but you are required to carry either a copy or your original passport.
- Alcohol-based Hand Gel (?)This handwash will help you to avoid becoming sick on the trail - try to buy one that doesn't require water.
- Plastic Bags/Dry Bags (?)To keep your camera, passport and a spare change of clothes dry.
- Nopiquex (?)Mosquito repellent soap sold in Colombia.
- Insect Bite Cream
- Flashlight/Head Lamp (?)A head lamp is preferable over a flashlight as it leaves your hands free.
- Sports Sandals (?)Sandals are recommended for river crossings to keep your main shoes dry. Flip flops are fine during low river crossings but may be washed away in faster currents.
- Towel (?)The humid environment in the Colombian jungle means everything takes a long time to dry. A quick dry towel will save you time and space.
- Personal Medication (?)Essential! The trail is very remote.
- Money for Snacks/Drinks on the Trail (?)Take more than you think you will need - there are small, basic stores run by the Kogi on some parts of the trail.
Nice to Have
- Mosquito Repellent Clothing (?)We recommend ExOfficio Bugaway clothing. The clothing is specially treated with Permethrin stop insects.
- Treated Inner Sheet (?)Most nights you will be camping in hammocks. A travel sheet makes an ideal extra layer to keep insects out.
- Water Purification Tablets / Iodine (?)Fresh water is available on the trail but chemists in Santa Marta sell the tablets.
- Talcum Powder (?)We recommend Gold Bond. It helps absorb moisture, stops chaffing and relieves itchiness.
- Hiking Poles (?)If you suffer from knee problems, hiking poles can be a great addition to help ease the strain. In addition to preventing knee injuries, they can add stability - a useful thing if you're trekking to La Ciudad Perdida in the rainy season.
- Pillow (?)The third day camp site has pillows but all other camp sites don't. A travel pillow is a compact solution for those who need a pillow to sleep.
- Basic First Aid Kit (?)Most companies will carry a first aid kit but having a small kit with essentials like band aids will help with things like cuts and blisters.
- Thin Sleeping Bag (?)All camp sites provide blankets. If you normally feel cold we recommend carrying a thin, light weight sleeping bag for some more warmth.
- Swim Wear
Taking a camera on the hike is a must to capture those priceless memories but you need to remember:
- Humidity and sweat can destroy your camera
- Mosquito Repellent that contains DEET can destroy your camera as well as clothing so be extra careful when applying it. DEET eats away some types of plastics and can leach the colour out of clothes.
We recommend using either a waterproof camera or packing a non-waterproof camera in a dry bag to protect it from the elements. A small investment in a dry bag will save you the heartache of a destroyed camera.
Electronics and Other Valuables:
We recommended not bringing other electronics (laptops, iPads etc.) apart from a music player (iPod etc.) as they risk being damaged and will add unnecessary weight to your bag. The tour companies can store your larger bags or you may be able to leave them at your hotel/hostel while you’re hiking.