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Top Colombia

The Pacific Coast

The Colombian Pacific region, made up of four departments (Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño), remains a largely unvisited and unknown part of Colombia. That shouldn’t dissuade you from visiting, however. This part of Colombia offers travelers a variety of things to do, from adventure and ecotourism to cultural experiences and attractions.

The region itself is dominated by two rivers, the Atrato in the north and the San Juan in the south. It is cordoned off from the rest of the country by the spine of the Andes to the east. In the extreme north, the border with Panama is defined by the famous Darien Gap.

While inroads are being made into the more unknown areas, many journeys to this part of Colombia (including trips to eco-lodges on the ChocĂł coast) require taking internal flights and then being transferred by boat. In order to get to the Pacific Coast by bus, visitors must come from either MedellĂ­n or Cali in the north or Pasto or Ipiales in the south. Most of the roads here wind their way toward important ports, while the tangle and mesh of rivers serve as highways for chalupas (boats)and canoes. Due to the density of the jungle and the extreme climatic conditions present here, it seems highly unlikely for roads to be constructed anytime soon.

Security remains an issue throughout parts of the region, especially the mass of land extending from the ports of Tumaco and Buenaventura near the border with Ecuador to Bahía Solano and the border with Panama in the north. The inhabitants of this region—mostly descendants of African slaves and Embera Indians—increasingly find themselves in the crossfire between the government troops and leftist FARC guerrillas. For this reason, it is advisable to use common sense and to plan ahead.

By Richard McColl
With over five years travelling and working in Latin America, Richard feels most at home here in the big Continent. From the former Scottish...
30 Aug 2011

VIVA Colombia

Top Places on the Pacific Coast


Quibdó’s skyline is dominated by the immense San Francisco de Asís Cathedral, which towers over the banks of the Atrato River. The river is the city’s most important means of communication, ...
QuibdĂł, Colombia


NuquĂ­ has some services that cater to tourism, but it is better known as the base for excursions into the surrounding area. Its expansive beachfront looks out into the vast Gulf of Tribuga and is ...
NuquĂ­, Colombia

El Valle

Take the only road south from Bahía Solano for about 20 kilometers (12.4 mi) and you’ll reach El Valle. Contrary to what its name would suggest, the town is distinctly un-valley like. El Valle is ...
El Valle, Colombia

BahĂ­a Solano

Bahía Solano is poised to take advantage of its location to become the Pacific Coast’s major tourist destination. The town, protected by a vast bay, is descended upon by hundreds of tourists ...
BahĂ­a Solano, Colombia


Situated 128 kilometers (79.5 mi) from Cali, Buenaventura is a sweltering port on the Colombian Pacific coast. Make no mistake: Buenaventura is a dangerous place with the guerrilla, paramilitaries ...
Buenaventura, Colombia


San Andrés de Tumaco, Colombia’s second more important Pacific port, is 304 kilometers (189 mi) from Pasto. It is situated on three islands, all connected by bridge: Tumaco, Viciosa and El Morro. ...
Tumaco, Colombia

Things to See and Do

Sports Fishing

115029descend onto the murky Pacific waters in Bahía Solano, Cupica and Tribuga for catch-and-release tournaments. The reward isn’t really the money as much as the bragging rights that come with ...
Other Activity
BahĂ­a Solano, Colombia

Island tours

Tours to Isla Guacán and Isla Verde cost $15 and last about five hours, departing at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. You must have a group of at least five or pay for the empty spaces. Tours can be arranged by ...
Other Activity

Sand, Sea and Sunshine

El Almejal Beach

120184One of Colombia’s most spectacular beaches is El Almejal. The beach stretches two kilometers (1.2 mi) and ends dramatically as the ocean’s fury makes a meal of the surrounding rocks. Here, you ...
El Valle, Colombia


Bocagrande is a small island, tucked into the mangrove estuaries near Tumaco. A magical place to spend a few days, the crystalline sea washes upon fine silvery sand and soft breezes moderate the warm ...
Near Tumaco, Tumaco, Colombia

Playa El Morro

The Isla Tumaco-Isla El Morro road ends in a loop at a glistening, black-sand beach and warm-watered sea. Just offshore is the haystack-shaped El Morro rock formation.The main strand is the most ...
Playa El Morro, Tumaco, Colombia
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