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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. Isla Tumaco is the principle population center. Seen from the air, it seems a coast-to-coast blanket of human civilization. Isla El Morro hosts the city’s air and maritime ports, as well as a major military base.

Tumaco is called La Perla del Pacífico—The Pearl of the Pacific. But its luster is a bit dulled in spots. Upon arriving, what strikes you is the chaotic bustle, streets under repair and the smell of polluted sea. The growth it has sustained in the past decade—primarily due to internal refugees from Colombia’s civil war—has stretched this city beyond its already limited infrastructure. Street signs on Isla Tumaco are scarce and use the numbered calle-carrera system; locals use different names. Barrio Puentes and others in tsunami-risk areas are soon to be a thing of the past. They are being relocated to safer grounds.

Tumaco has been declared a Special Port, Ecotourism and Biodiversity District, thus allowing infrastructure improvement and tourism promotion. Tumaco’s most distinctive feature is its mangroves: Parque Nacional Sanquianga is along the north coast. The clean beaches of Isla El Morro and Bocagrande provide welcomed escapes from the bedlam of Isla Tumaco. Tuma indigenous and Afro-Colombian cultures live along the coast. The marimba music and traditional chants of the Afro-Colombian communities in Tumaco and the southern Pacific coast are recognized by UNESCO as part of Intangible Cultural heritage of Humanity. Besides its beach resorts, mangrove reserves and unique cultures, Tumaco has yet another attraction: an alternative crossing to Ecuador—by sea.

(Alt: 2 m; Pop: 185,000; City Code: 2)

Neighborhoods in Tumaco: Playa El Morro, Near Tumaco,

Other places nearby Tumaco: Buenaventura, Bahía Solano, Nuquí, El Valle and Quibdó.

30 Aug 2011

VIVA Colombia

Top Places in Tumaco

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. At the far end of the road is ...
City Zone
Playa El Morro, Tumaco, Colombia

Things to do in Tumaco


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

Parque Nacional Sanquianga

Located on the Pacific coast in the northwestern Nariño Department, Parque Nacional Sanquianga contains 30 percent of Colombia’s Pacific mangrove forests. This 80,000-hectare (197,684-ac) park ...
National Park
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
View Tumaco Map

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