Colombia Lost City Indigenous Tourism Project

Location: Santa Marta, Colombia | All South America Projects ›
Critical Need

The long oppressed indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada -- the Wiwa and Kogui are descendants of the ancient Tayrona people and for the most part have remained in isolation throughout history. They have had more recent contact and struggle to do their location in the high mountainous region of the Nevada where the illegal armed groups such as the infamous FARC often put them in danger. Their desire for a tourism that upholds their cultural values and celebrates their customs is strong. We are working with the Wiwa people directly to idenitify opportunities to support the women and children affected by a recent electrical storm that killed 11 community leaders, leaving more than 40 women and children without husbands and fathers, adding to their struggle to survive.

Your Impact

Contributions to this project will go toward the establishment of a training program for indigenous guides and cooks, as well as development of community micro-enterprises to be linked to G Adventures' trekking tours. By working with the Wiwa people directly we will enable them to access customers from all tour groups that visit the area.   

Changing people's lives through travel

Aduanemaku - Eduardo Gil GilAduanemaku is more known as Eduardo Gil Gil, 25 years old and is the third of nine siblings. His father is from the tribe Wiwa and his mother is from the tribe Kogui, both are tribes located in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in Colombia. In the tribes settled in Sierra Nevada, mixing races among the different tribes living in this area has been always considered as a sin. Today, Aduanemaku is considered as a leader in both indigenous tribes for being descended from both indigenous group lineages. He speaks the languages Kogui and Wiwa, as well as Spanish. He learnt this last one in the school. In his opinion, he was lucky to study the first and second year of primary in a school near home. There was no secondary school in his small town and so he had to walk every day for about four hours to get there. In 2008, he and some fellow Wiwa friends had the idea of an initiative in tourism, in order to bring tourists to Teyuna, today known as Ciudad Perdida (Lost City). Aduanemaku has been leading this Wiwa initiative for three years (all of it under the approval of the Mamos, who are spiritual representatives of his tribe). He believes that tourism generates a lot of benefit, if and when it is well-managed. After a few years of things going fairly well, in 2012, Eduardo was with several community leaders at a meeting when a freak accident happened, killing 11 of his colleagues and friends. Lightening struck them and left over 40 women and children without husbands and fathers. Our goal is to work with Eduardo and the women left behind after this tragedy, to create opportunities for these women and families and to assist the Wiwas in their tourism development goals through training and infrastructure improvements. He is very proud of being Wiwa and believes that his two year-old-daughter and all the Wiwas should not lose their traditions and customs inherited for generations but should share it…"because our culture is more important for us than anything."

Help us make the world a little more perfect.

Click here to support the Colombia Losty City Project and the 50 in 5 Campaign.