La Sierra takes its name from its unique location on the Caribbean Sea in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia, South America. Here you will find the highest coastal mountain range in the world, with peaks of 5,700 mts (18,700 ft) above sea level only 42km away from the sea. This drastic change in elevation cultivates a variety of ecosystems in direct proximity of each other, harboring an incredible amount of diversity in flora, fauna and culture. In fact, every single ecosystem that exists on earth thrives in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Hence why the native people refer to this area as “The Heart of the World.”
Surrounded by jungle, mountains and virgin beaches, artists are welcomed to create, study and explore. We provide accommodation for one month, allowing the artist in residence to leave behind routine stress and focus on their immersion and connection to the land. The intention for this time is to slow down, reconnect with the rhythms of the earth and awaken the depths within.
La Sierra offers a deep cultural exchange for artists who want to connect to the Indigenous cultures of our area. The four existing indigenous tribes (Kogi, Wiwa, Arhuaco and Kankuamo people) are ancestors of the pre-Hispanic Civilization, known as the Tayrona. They still practice and follow the Tayrona belief of “Aluna,” that all reality is created by thought. Every object or being has both a spiritual aspect and a physical reality, both of which originate in thought. These people have been calling the Sierra Nevada Mountains their home for hundreds of years.
They refer to this area as “The Heart of the World” because they believe that what happens in the Sierra Nevada also happens everywhere in the world. They are committed to restoring the equilibrium to Earth by daily ritual practices, mental discipline and meditations.
All of their efforts are to help protect the Sierra Nevada and the world from destruction. They have plenty to protect including multiple ecosystems, ranging from low lying wetlands, mangroves, and tropical rainforests to desert, alpine tundra and snow capped mountains. Throughout these varied ecosystems thousands of species of plants and animals have been identified, dozens of which can only be found here. Almost 630 different species of birds have been identified in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta alone, a total greater than the US and Canada combined. The glacial summits produce many rivers flowing down the mountains to the sea. Three of which empty some of the freshest water in the world right onto our beaches. These stunning rivers are all within a 15-minute drive from our property and provide fun adventures, calming fresh water and breathtaking vistas.
With advanced notice we can facilitate visits to a Kogi village, or arrange a workshop or ceremony with a Mamo Kogi.
NATURE & SURROUNDINGS
Besides your studio practice, there are many incredible things to do during your stay at La Sierra Artist Residency. The surrounding areas, Parque Nacional Tayrona and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, offer unique experiences for those looking for adventure and for those just looking to take in the natural surroundings.
Some activities and places to enjoy include:
• SUP Paddle, Surfing & Kayaking
• Waterfalls & Natural Swimming pools
• River Tubing
• Horseback Riding
La Cuidad Perdida (Lost City) Trek
Parque Nacional Tayrona
Located just 10 minutes away, this park is one of the jewels of Colombia covering 58 square miles of land and 6 different beachfront bays. Kogis and Arhuaco people still live within the park and visitors can visit the ancient village of Pueblito while hiking around. There are over 180 species of mammals and over 300 species of birds living in the park, some of which can only be found in this area.
A two hour drive to the small town of Minca nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, makes for a lovely day trip. Lost among the lush vegetation this area is known for its coffee farms and its beautiful Pozo Azul (Blue Lagoon). Minca is rich in history and is an ecological paradise. The crystalline waters of the River Minca and its immense green vegetation keep the archaeological history of its ancestors. This wonderful scene served in the past as the habitat of the Tayrona culture and today is found in the highland indigenous peoples belonging to Kogi, Arhuaco, Wiwa and Kankuamo.
Visit to Indigenous Village
This informative and cultural tour includes a 2-hour hike to a local indigenous pueblo in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You will learn about their style of architecture, how they preserve and care for their land, crops and families. Moreover, you will gain insight into the daily lives and farming practices of these wise and spiritual people.
This five-day trek will take you through the Sierra Nevada mountains to what has been referred to as “Colombia’s Machu Picchu.” The ruins and terraces of the city were discovered in 1975 by an archeologist who dates the site back to around 700 A.D. The city is believed to be one of the biggest of the Tayrona indigenous culture. The tour consists of 3 days hiking up to the site and 2 days hiking down. The trip includes about 4-8 hours of light hiking per day. All three meals are provided daily along with lodging on the trail. During the trek you will encounter numerous different micro-climates, as well as experiencing breathtaking views in every direction, including impressive snow capped peaks at the summit. This Trek is organized by local, certified agencies and guides.
Artists are invited to Hatha / Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga and Meditation during their residency program. Gitana del Mar offers two yoga classes per day in our beachfront Yoga Shala, which are available at a nominal fee to our visiting artists.
Artists can take advantage of massages and exfoliating scrubs that the spa at our wellness center has to offer.
Health and Safety
Artists may consider purchasing travel insurance, but it is not mandatory for participation. Likewise, precursory tropical vaccinations can be taken into consideration, but are not required. For medical issues that may arise during your stay, there is a clinic just five minutes away by car in the town of Buritaca.