Visit to Gotsezhy Shelter

Indigenous Tourism

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta


Description of the experience

The Wiwa community is one of the native peoples living in the lower part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, this community has maintained its traditions, worldview and way of life for generations; some villages offer sustainable indigenous tourism to provide visitors the opportunity to learn about the Wiwa culture while contributing to the economic livelihood of the community without generating a significant cultural impact.

Wiwa Gotsezhy Village

Gotsezhy is a Wiwa community that has managed to handle indigenous tourism responsibly in Santa Marta, allowing travelers to partially enter the indigenous territory, respecting privacy, customs and sacred sites.

Among the activities highlighted in Gotsezhy, the experience with the Mamo is the most significant; a group talk with this spiritual leader will help to renew energies and acquire ancestral knowledge. You will also be able to live an immersive experience where you will learn how to extract the maguey fibers, dye them with plants, seeds or tree bark and then produce your own handicrafts and backpacks.

How to get there

Getting to Santa Marta: First, you must get to the city of Santa Marta, accessible by plane, bus or car from other parts of Colombia.

Transportation to Guachaca: From Santa Marta, head to the village of Guachaca, which is usually the starting point for excursions to the Gotsezhy Refuge. You can take a private vehicle or public transportation to this place.

Hike to Gotsezhy Refuge: From the starting point in Guachaca, the hike to Gotsezhy Refuge begins. This hike can take approximately 3 to 4 hours, depending on the pace and road conditions.

Itinerary of the experience

  • Transportation by van or 4×4 from Santa Marta to the village of Guachaca.
  • The duration of the tour by vehicle is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • From this point begins the trek to Gotsezhy.
  • Trekking from Guachaca to the Gotsezhy Refuge, this is a 3 to 4 hour hike to the Wiwa village.
  • This hike is somewhat demanding, so it is recommended to be hydrated at all times.
  • During the tour you will be able to observe the wildlife of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
  • You will be received by the Mamo of the Wiwa community, who will give you a warm welcome.
  • Accommodation and lunch at Gotsezhy Hut where the tourists will spend the night.
  • Ancestral talk with the Mamo (spiritual guide), who will give you a very important talk.
  • Dinner and lodging in the main lodge in hammocks with mosquito nets.

Tourists will be taken to the handicrafts activity created by the indigenous people of the Wiwa community:

  • Obtaining Fique: The sap extracted from the maguey is processed to obtain fique, which is a resistant natural fiber. This process is carried out by the indigenous guide and he explains to the visitors how to separate the fibers from the plant and then clean them.
  • Fiber Preparation: Once the fibers have been extracted and washed, they are given to the Wiwa women for preparation.
  • Weaving of handicrafts: Wiwa women use these fibers to weave various items such as backpacks, clothing, handles and other handicrafts. This weaving is not only an economic activity, but also an expression of their culture and traditions.
  • Talks and Exhibitions: Wiwa women also offer talks and exhibits of their handicrafts, providing visitors with an in-depth look at their culture and craft practices.
  • Commercialization of Handicrafts: The woven handicrafts are sold, which provides a source of income for the community and helps preserve its culture and craft traditions.
  • Around noon, you will enjoy a comforting lunch, a perfect break to recharge your batteries and prepare for the return trek.
  • The adventure continues with an exciting trek back to the village of Guachaca. This hike, steeped in the natural beauty of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, will give you the opportunity to reflect on your experiences and absorb one last time the magnificent atmosphere of the place.
  • Upon arrival in Guachaca, the vehicle will be ready to take you back to the city of Santa Marta. They are expected to arrive around 5:00 pm, culminating a day full of unforgettable experiences and memories.

What is included

  • Transportation by van or Jeep 4×4.
  • Indigenous guide.
  • Hike to Gotsezhy Hut.
  • Visit to the Matuna Waterfall.
  • Food.
  • Accommodation in hammocks.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Talk with Mamo.
  • Ceremony and payments.
  • Exhibition of Wiwa handicrafts.


It is recommended to go with an indigenous guide, as the trail can be complicated and to respect the customs and space of the Wiwa community.

Bring adequate clothing for hiking, sturdy shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent and enough water for the trek.

During the trekking and the stay at Gotsezhy Lodge, it is essential to respect the customs and rules of the Wiwa community, as well as to take care of the environment.

This hike is both a physical challenge and a unique opportunity to connect with nature and learn about Wiwa culture.

What to bring

  • Identification document.
  • A small backpack.
  • Camera.
  • Comfortable clothes for walking.
  • Walking shoes.
  • Resistant sandals.
  • Hat or cap.
  • Bio-Repellent.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Biodegradable toiletries.
  • A flashlight.
  • Swimwear.
  • Plastic bags for humidity.
  • Personal medicines.
  • Cash.

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