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Parque Nacional Natural Ensenada de Utría - National Park Nuquí - Colombia

Located in the state of Chocó, Parque Nacional Natural Ensenada de Utría covers an area of almost 545 square kilometers (210 sq mi), with topographical features such as the Utría Fjord and the Baudó Hills that border onto the town of El Valle. The year-round temperature hovers around 28°C (82°F), and due to the mists off the hills and the fact that the area has one of the highest rainfalls in the world, it is humid.

The park consists of areas of rainforest—home to the increasingly rare Chocó Tinamou bird—as well as tangles of mangrove swamps, coral reefs and 17,401 hectares (43,000 ac) of Pacific coastline. Marine fauna in the area is very diverse, including 105 species of crustaceans and several species of whales, among them the famous humpback whales. Utría has two diving sites: Punta Diego and Punta Esperanza, as well as two beaches: Playa Cocalito and Playa Blanca. In addition, there are two Indian reserves in the area. Overall, the entire park displays the diversity of what the Chocó has to offer.

Mano Cambiada (Tel: 316-822-6157/311-872-7887/313-400-5094, URL:, a community organization, handles the park’s lodging and food services. You can spend a night in one of its cabañas, which can collectively sleep 31 people, or grab a bite to eat at its restaurant called Yubarta. Mano Cambiada also organizes tours to Utría, which include accommodation, three meals a day, activities, and transport from Nuquí or Bahía Solano to the park, and vice versa.

If you are going to the park without booking a tour, you can reach Utría by boat or through a combination of 4x4 and hiking. Boats leave from Buenaventura (8 hr), Bahía Solano (1.5 hr), Nuquí (1 hr) or El Valle (30 min). Alternatively, you can take a jeep from Bahía Solano to El Valle (40 min) and walk the trail (9.46 km/5.88 mi; 3 hr) to the park.

The other land trail in Utría, called Cocalito, is about 990 meters (3,248 ft) long, and takes approximately 50 minutes to hike. On the way, you can see frogs, insects, snakes, birds and other wildlife, while passing mangroves, beaches and estuaries. Utría also has an underwater path (1.1 km/0.68 mi; 50 min), where you can appreciate coral reefs, turtles, eels and lots of different species of fish.


Nuquí, Colombia

National Park

Getting There

Either fly into Bahía Solano and arrange transport south on the one road in this region of Colombia that leads to El Valle and from there, cross the bridge south. Otherwise, contract a boat from Nuquí and enjoy the two-hour ride to the peninsula.

Travel Tips:

Bring water, if in any doubt at all contract a local guide and be sure that the park authorities know you are in the area.

Price Description:

Admission: $19.50 foreigners, $7.50 nationals, $4 children

Travel Skills: intermediate/somewhat difficult.

You Need to Bring:

Bring water, insect repellent and walking shoes.

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

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