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 popular place to swim and sunbathe. After spending the day in the warm sea, take in the sunset while having a fresh seafood dinner. Afterwards, hit one of the beach-disco-bar kiosks right on the beach, and chill beneath the palm trees to the tune of jazz-foreign oldies-salsa-vallenato. Spending the night at Playa El Morro is much more peaceful than in Tumaco town. The entire loop of the beach road is lined with hotels for every budget.
At the far end of the beach road loop is the famed Arco del Morro; as the tide lowers, its tranquil pool drains in a rushing creek to the sea. Beyond the arch, a several-kilometer-long beach is being exposed. The swimming here is not great, due to mangrove sediment, but the beachcombing and birdwatching are rewarding. This is also the time you can visit the cuevas, where legend says pirate Henry Morgan hid his treasure (admission: $1.60).
Playa El Morro, Tumaco, Colombia
Beach, Fauna observation, Bars, Sunbathing, Restaurants
Frequent busetas run between Isla Tumaco and Playa El Morro (5 a.m.-7:45 p.m. from Tumaco, until 8 p.m. from El Morro; $0.35, 30 min). A taxi costs $2.75 each way.
Travel Tips: Do not wild camp on the beaches, due to the high wash of the incoming tide and possible robbery. (The town itself is patrolled.) Also, avoid swimming at low tide when poisonous rays and pez de sapo (frogfish) are exposed.
Entry to the caves costs $1.60
Relative price: Budget
Travel Skills: None
You Need to Bring:
Bring along your towel and swim gear, sun block (or suntan lotion), pocket change for transport, and a meal.
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