Project Description


Ciudad Perdida is one of the most mysterious archaeological sites in the world. Hidden deep in the Colombian tropical forest, this site is only accessible by foot and requires a two-day trek. Ciudad Perdida is one of the largest in a network of Tayrona sites, polities that inhabited the Sierra Nevada for more than a millennium and up until European contact (CE 200-1,600). Relationships between Ciudad Perdida and other sites are still unclear and this project is focused on clarifying temporal, cultural, political, and economic connections within this network. The 2016 season focused on excavations at three sites located less than half a mile away from Teyuna – Ciudad Perdida’s core area. These sites form an intricate web connected via flagstone pathways (Sites G-1, G-2, and B-201). It is highly probable that for 2017 students will conduct survey work at a site located 2 miles upriver from Ciudad Perdida known as “Tigres”.  There is still much to be discovered among these sites and this season’s targeted excavation aims to aid us in understanding the construction sequence and functional relationships between them. During this field season, students will also have the opportunity to contribute to essential conservation work at a number of structures that have collapsed and need rebuilding. Local site expert Eduardo Mazuera will lead these efforts working alongside the park’s archaeological conservation team.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: Jun 11-Jul 12, 2017
  • Enrollment Status: CLOSED
  • Total Cost: $4,200
  • Course Type: Field Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline: April 21, 2017
  • Instructors: Dr. Santiago Giraldo, Eduardo Mazuera
  • Orientation:  April 17, 2:00pm Los Angeles Time
Program Closed
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The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Dr. Santiago Giraldo
Dr. Santiago Giraldo
Dr. Giraldo is the Latin American director of the Global Heritage Fund and General Director of Fundación de Investigaciones Arqueológicas y Ambientales Tayrona-FIAAT
Eduardo Mazuera
Eduardo Mazuera
Mr. Mazeura is a professor of history of architecture and related architectural heritage in Universidad de los Andes and a team member in the conservation initiative for Ciudad Perdida Archaeological Park – Teyuna.


The Cuidad Perdida field school was a fantastic field school. The thing I liked best about this field school was that it was very multifaceted. It was more than just archeology. It was a really memorable and inspirational experience both academically and socially. Since being on this field school I have altered my degree to go into a field similar to what I was doing on this filed school. The students who will have the best success on this filed school will have a desire for more than just the archeology or academic education but those who want a life experience that will challenge them socially, linguistically, physically, mentally and emotionally. The challenges I faced on this field school were ones well outside of the academia.
Brittany Lynas, University of Victoria (2013)

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credits
  • Room & board
  • All local transportation
  • Health Insurance

Student Fees

A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required to secure a seat in this program.  This program requires an application (no application fee is requested). Only accepted students should pay the deposit fee. Deposit fee is part of the program Tuition. The remaining tuition, minus the $500 deposit, must be paid prior to the tuition deadline (see above under “Course Details”).

Important Note: If you were accepted to this program but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition regardless of attendance in this program. Please read the IFR Cancellation Policy for further clarification.

  • A 2.5% Processing Fee is automatically assessed for all credit/debit card payments
  • A $100 Late Fee will be assessed if full tuition payment is not completed by the deadline.
  • Look at the field school syllabus above for room & board details.


During the hike to Ciudad Perdida, we will be staying in the same lodges used by tourists. The first night you will sleep in a hammock or bunk bed. Lodges on the second night have bunk beds. Students will live in field housing located within the park itself. Conditions are basic, there is no hot water, and you will be sleeping on bunk beds, field cots, or mattresses placed on the floor. All meals will be communal events at the park kitchen and will provide plenty of food prepared by a local cook. The daily diet is based on rice, corn cakes, manioc, potatoes, plantains, lentils, beans, meat (salt beef, pork, and fish) and when available, vegetables and fruit juice. Vegetarians may attend but will find that vegetable and fruit availability will diminish as the season progresses and we use up our store of fresh produce. Vegan and kosher restrictions are impossible to accommodate in a remote location such as this one.

Ciudad Perdida
Ciudad Perdida, Columbia

Travel Info

Students arriving by air will be met at the Santa Marta airport (SMR) by staff members. Those arriving by bus from Bogotá will be given instructions on how to get to Hotel Solymar ( or The Dreamer Hostel ( in Santa Marta. You will have to fly into Bogotá and take a connecting flight to the city of Santa Marta or fly in to Cartagena or Barranquilla and travel overland to Santa Marta. You should make travel arrangements such that you arrive in Santa Marta by midday of Sunday June 12 at the latest. If you miss your connection or your flight was delayed/canceled, call, text or email the project director. Local contact information will be provided to enrolled students.

Student Safety

Student safety is paramount for the IFR. Unlike many universities who are self-insured, the IFR purchases a range of high end insurance policies from some of the largest insurers in the world. Students in all our international programs have a comprehensive health insurance policy. It covers sickness, and chronic and mental health conditions at 100% of the cost. We have a strong evacuation and extraction policy. We can remove students from any location anywhere in the world with one phone call – whether medical evacuation, political or natural disaster extraction and anything in between. We purchase intelligence services from a global private provider and monitor the world 24/7. We automatically enroll our students to the US State Department STEP program. All of our students receive safety orientations both before and on the first day of each program. Our faculty have all been working in the areas where we operate field schools for years. They are intimately familiar with local customs and traditions, know the landscape well and have deep relationships with local communities.

All our domestic programs are coordinated with local authorities which are informed of our operations. Students in domestic programs are covered by their own health insurance and evacuations are managed by local emergency services, as appropriate.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field (click here for a shortcut). If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with the field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students can contact IFR personnel directly.

Travel does involve risk, but we try to minimize this risk as much as possible. Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of particular programs.