7 Undiscovered Destinations in Colombia

Local guy standing in Cerro Guacamaya

Last updated on May 11th, 2021 at 02:42 pm

Dear Reader
My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!

Why are there such remote places in Colombia?

Colombia has experienced various internal conflicts of a social and political character over the years. This meant that a large part of the country could not be developed for tourism. For almost 50 years, the focus was on the war in Colombia, in which the military, paramilitaries and guerrillas constantly faced each other. The areas most affected by the violence included Antioquia, Cauca and Valle del Cauca, Santander, Caquetá, Nariño and Putumayo. There the war was lived almost every day, executions, expulsions and kidnappings were the daily bread.

In the early 2000s, however, the state pushed many of these armed groups back to the periphery, and the peace treaty of 2016 allowed the peace process to move forward. Of course, everything is not perfect today, but over the past decade more and more areas have opened up and are now safe tourist destinations.

What is an unusual place in Colombia?

Colombia has many places that are extraordinary because of their immaterial landscapes and their alternative offer to adventure tourism. Many of these travel destinations are, so to speak, unexplored in terms of tourism. This means that you can discover landscapes, communities, traditional costumes and gastronomy as well as the local people in their authenticity.

Recommendations:

  • Take enough cash with you, card payments are usually not possible and there are no ATMs.
  • Travel light.
  • Wellies are usually the best shoes.
  • Get a yellow fever vaccination before you travel.

7 destinations off the beaten track in Colombia

In the following we list some travel destinations, some of which we have already traveled too.

Nuquí, Chocó

Beach at Nuquí Colombia

Nuquí is located on the Pacific and is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. As part of the Chocó department, the village is 184 kilometers from Quibdó, the capital. Its economy is based on ecotourism, fishing and agriculture. Exotic fruits such as chontaduro and borojó are produced. Some of the most famous traditions are the ancestral herbal medicine and the traditional practice of midwives.

How to get to Nuquí

There are two ways to get to Nuquí:

By Air: You can arrive from the cities of Bogota, Medellin, Pereira and Quibdo. Tickets cost approximately $ 230,000 COP (approx. USD 65) in the low season and approx. $ 850,000 COP (approx. USD 237) in the high season. The flight takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes from major cities and around 15 minutes from Quibdó. All flights land at Reyes Murillo Nuqui Airport. You fly there in small planes and can see the dense jungle of the region from the air.

By sea: There is an offer from the city of Buenaventura. A small passenger boat takes you between 18 and 24 hours. There are also speedboats that take around 8 hours. The cost of these boats is approximately $ 120,000 COP per person (approximately $ 34 USD) and the speedboats are $ 200,000 COP per person (approximately $ 56 USD).

It takes around 2 hours from Bahia Solano. The price for the speedboat is $ 350,000 COP (about 98 USD).

Things to do and see in Nuquí

Whale watching
From July to November, whales from the cold Antarctic visit the Pacific coast in search of the warmth of the Pacific. You can get tours from various providers on site.

Hike to the Three Falls Waterfall in Nuquí
This hike leads into the beautiful primary and secondary jungles, where exotic flora and fauna can be seen. Best to book a tour locally.

Guachalito beach
This is the nicest beach Nuquí has ​​to offer.

Diving
This area of ​​the Pacific Ocean is perfect for diving as the water is clear. You can spot corals, turtles, starfish and other species. You need a PADI certificate as the currents in the Pacific are a bit strong and not ideal for amateurs.

Surfing
It is said that Chocó has the best waves in Colombia. The best beaches are Pico de Loro and Juan Tornillo. You will hardly have to fight for the wave there either.

Kayaking
Nuquí has ​​not only sea but also rivers. These are perfect for kayaking.

Sport fishing
The variety of marine diversity in this area of ​​the country is impressive. So if you like fishing, we recommend the season between May and June. At this time, more species come to the coast in search of warmer waters.

Where to stay in Nuquí

El Cantil Ecolodge
This hotel offers a unique experience surrounded by natural beauty. You are between the tropical jungle and have a view of the sea. It is an environmentally friendly and sustainable hotel. There are 7 bungalows.

Recommendations

  • Take enough cash with you, there are no ATMs.
  • Nuquí is a wet paradise, so bring comfortable clothes and some waterproof items.
  • Protect yourself from insect bites.
  • The planes have a weight limit for baggage.
  • It is mandatory to get vaccinated against yellow fever, tetanus and flu 15 to 20 days in advance.
  • Avoid waste.

 Bahía Solano, Chocó

Drone shot of Bahía Solano

Bahía Solano is a municipality in Colombia in the Chocó department on the northern Pacific coast, 5 meters above sea level. The main economic sources are based on ecotourism, sport and fishing, small animal husbandry and agriculture. Bahia Solano is a natural treasure with a tropical, humid climate. It has a unique turtle pool where the animals are protected during the mating season so that they can be released into the sea unhindered. Bahia Solano is known for the celebrations of San Antonio de Padua on February 14th, a devout cultural festival. Offerings are made and tamunangue, a traditional dance of culture, is performed.

How to get to Bahia Solano

Airplane and sea route

By plane: You can catch a flight from the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, Pereira and Quibdó. The tickets cost approximately $ 200,000 COP (approximately USD 56). Flights to Bahia Solano do not depart daily.

By sea: To reach this tropical paradise by sea, one must use the port of Buenaventura. From there you have two options: A normal boat takes about 24 hours and costs $ 150,000 COP (about USD 52). A speedboat takes about 6 to 8 hours, depending on the sea, and costs $ 200,000 COP (about US $ 56).

Once a week there is a connection from Nuquí to Bahía Solano.

Things to do and see in Bahia Solano

Ecotourism on the Loma de la Virgen (virgin hill) path
It’s a short, 20-minute, uphill hike. On the way you will find wooden chairs on which you can rest. A visual spectacle over the beautiful bay awaits you at the top.

Chocolatal waterfall
With an approximate height of 7 meters, a depth of 3 meters and its fresh water in the middle of the jungle, you will feel like you are in a movie. It is best to organize a local guide.

Whale watching
The months of July – November are the mating months for the mammals that want to breed in the warm waters of the Pacific. Visit Sula’s website for more information.

Turtle sightings
One of the most popular times for tourists is September to January, when you can watch the turtles hatch and crawl out into the sea.

Huína beach
This is one of the most beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters and an abundance of colorful fish. Playa Huína is 25 minutes away by boat and costs $ 20,000 COP (about USD 6) one way.

Mecana beach
Mecana is a beautiful beach and is covered by large palm trees. It is also home to a freshwater river.

Utria National Natural Park
It is a park full of magic where the whales give birth to their calves, the sea in this part is very calm and the waves are gentle. The park opens its doors in a few months of the year. Visit the official website for more information.

Where to stay in Bahia Solano

El Almejal
This hotel consists of 10 wooden huts, a natural pool and a waterfall. The hotel is perfect for a quiet and relaxing stay.

Recommendations

  • Hire a local guide at a time.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • You should be vaccinated against yellow fever, tetanus, and flu.
  • Protect yourself from insect bites.
  • The planes have a weight limit for baggage.
  • Avoid waste.

Timbiquí, Cauca

Timbiquí is a municipality in Colombia, located in the department of Cauca on the Pacific coast. The main economic sources are fishing, agriculture, hunting, mining and the timber industry. Timbiquí is surrounded by many rivers, among which the Timbiquí, Saija and Bubuey stand out.

It is a community that has been affected by violence and is currently recovering from this situation, which also makes it one of the poorest communities in Colombia. Most of the population is Afro-Colombian. As for infrastructure, there aren’t many access roads and most of the houses are built of wood over the water. Timbiquí is the answer if you are looking for tradition, culture and lots of music because that is its legacy through time and history.

How to get to Timbiquí

The only way to get to Timbiquí is by plane. The only connection is from Cali and takes around 45 minutes. The cost is $ 200,000 COP (approximately $ 56).

Things to do and see in Timbiquí

  • Timbiquí is a municipal tourism destination.
  • Its typical food and exotic drinks make it a wonderful place.
  • There is live music most of the time, most people tell their daily experiences or what they went through in the war through songs, it is a joy to hear so many stories to the rhythm of the marimba. Some of their native rhythms are the currulao and the bunde. Its greatest national exponent is the Herencia de Timbiquí group.
  • Visit the Santa Barbara Church.

Recommendations

  • The planes have a weight limit for baggage.
  • Rubber boots
  • Definitely try “hace hijos”, a typical drink.

Guapi, Cauca

Guapi is a municipality that belongs to the department of Cauca, is located on the Pacific coast of Colombia and has wonderful beaches. It is known as the place where the sky meets the sea. The region is characterized by lush vegetation and is located on a bay that lies between Buenaventura and Tumaco. One of the most exotic fruits is the Naidí, which grows on a palm, you should definitely try it!

The city has been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. One of its cultural representations is the Naidí festivities, which are celebrated between December 26th and 29th. The economic activities are fishing, agriculture, mining and, more recently, tourism. The main tourist attraction is Gorgona Island, which is 35 km away by boat.

Thanks to the island of Gorgona, Guapi is one of the most popular places in Cauca for tourists. This resulted in the community benefiting economically. Guapi residents are struggling to keep tourism alive by taking courses and training to provide better tourist service.

How to get to Guapi

Guapi can only be reached by plane or boat.

Airplane: There are flights from Bogotá, Cali and Popayán. Tickets cost approximately $ 200,000 COP (about USD 56) from Cali.

Boat: From Buenaventura, the trip takes about 12 hours and costs $ 150,000 COP (about USD 42).

Things to do and see in Guapi

  • Listen to the “cantadoras” who recite to the rhythm of the music of the Pacific and are the main transmitters of African heritage.
  • Visit Gorgona Island, the main attraction as it is an ecotourism center and where you can watch birds, reptiles and whales. You can also visit the old prison of Gorgona, of which only ruins remain today. You can find out more about Gorgona on our Colombian Islands blog.
  • Visit the Islote de Gorgillo, where there are many species of birds.
  • Whale watching.

Where to stay in Guapi

Hotel Los Delfines
This hotel in the center of Guapi has 22 rooms, all with air conditioning.

Recommendations

  • Hire a local guide at a time.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • You should be vaccinated against yellow fever, tetanus, and flu.
  • Protect yourself from insect bites.
  • The planes have a weight limit for baggage.
  • Avoid waste.

Mitú, Vaupés

Amazon Jungle

Mitu is the capital of the Vaupés department and is located in the southeastern part of Colombia on the border with Brazil. The majority of the locals are indigenous people of local ethnic groups. The main industry is fishing as well as unusual species and the cultivation of wild fruits. Most of the area has been declared an Amazon Forest Reserve.

The stone streets in Mitú are very well preserved and come from colonists. Every time you walk through the streets of Mitú you will see how modernity, indigenous and colonial architecture coexist in one place.

How to get to Mitú

There are two ways to get to Mitú: by ship and by plane. We definitely recommend the plane.

From Villavicencio a ticket costs around 290,000 COP (about 84 USD). The flight takes around 90 minutes.

Things to do and see in Mitú

The Malecon
It is a walk of a thousand meters along the banks of the Vaupés river. On this tour you will pass the small squares and ethnic kiosks of the indigenous people living in Mitú.

Bird watching
Mitú has more than 500 classified species, most of which have striking colors.

Exotic fruit gastronomy
You have to try the wonderful food of Mitú.

Visit the community of Mutuseño Urania
Mutuseño Urania is 5 km from the city. There you can climb the magnificent hill of Odocabeba. The lookout point is at a height of 200 meters and you have an excellent view of the entire Amazon.

Visit the Guacamayas Hill
You should urgently hire a local guide for a visit.

Caño sangre
The river shows terracotta color.

Where to stay in Mitú

Posada Turística Quenari Wii
This hotel is one of the best in Mitu. It has a very local and warm atmosphere, 24-hour service and serves a typical breakfast for the region.

Recommendations

  • Hire a local guide at a time.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • You should be vaccinated against yellow fever.
  • Protect yourself from insect bites.
  • The planes have a weight limit for baggage.
  • Avoid waste.
  • Take enough cash with you.

Capurganá, Chocó

Capurganá is a municipality that belongs to the Acandí municipality and is located near the border with Panama in the Urabá Gulf. It belongs to the Chocó department. The main economic source is community tourism and fishing, and some locals grow their own food. The sea in this part of the country is warm and turquoise.

The region is known for its quiet bays surrounded by very green rainforests. The Colombian Navy is also on site. However, the place is also the center of migrant flows.

How to get to Capurganá

To visit this small town, you can arrive by plane and boat.

By Air: Flights depart from the city of Medellin and are only available on Mondays and Fridays, the trip takes 2 hours and prices are around $ 200,000 COP (approx. 56 USD) each way.

Maritime: Boats depart from Obaldía port. The journey takes 45 minutes and costs approximately $ 150,000 COP (approx. 42 USD).

There are also boats that leave from Turbo and Necoclí, prices vary.

Activities and Sights in Capurganá

  • El Aguacate Bay. You can get there on a hike.
  • The pool of the gods. It is a natural formation of crystalline water in which one can swim.
  • Sightings of exotic species on the migrations.
  • Birth of sea turtles.
  • The water is crystal clear.
  • Capurganá – Sapzurro Ecotourism Trail.

Where to stay in Capurganá

Hotel Casa Costa
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, a typical breakfast and air-conditioned rooms. It has a bar terrace. It is the preferred hotel for travelers.

Recommendations

  • Hire a local guide at a time.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • You should be vaccinated against yellow fever.
  • Protect yourself from insect bites.
  • The planes have a weight limit for baggage.
  • Avoid waste.
  • Take enough cash with you.

Isla Fuerte, Cordoba

The small island is located in the Gulf of Morrosquillo in Colombia and belongs to the Cordoba department, at the end of the Cartagena island system. Most of its residents are Afro-Colombians. The island is home to Colombia’s most beautiful tree, the Bonga. Most of the houses are made of wood with palm roofs.

How to  get to Isla Fuerte

The only way to get to Isla Fuerte is by sea. You have to go to Paso Nuevo. Boats leave from there. These usually leave in the morning and we recommend contacting the accommodation in advance. The drive to the island takes 30 minutes.

Things to do and see in Isla Fuerte

  • Visit the Bonga, it is the most beautiful tree in Colombia.
  • The sea at Isla Fuerte is said to have some of the best waves in Colombia.
  • Kayaking in the crystal clear sea of ​​Isla Fuerte is an adventure not to be missed.
  • Watching birds. The island is home to 83 species, making it a haven for bird watchers and wildlife lovers. Highlights include the brown booby, the red heron, and the giant North American kingfisher.
  • Isla Fuerte has 17 strategic points.

Where to stay on Isla Fuerte

Hotel Ecohouse
The hotel is of a good standard. It offers a restaurant and a bar, a terrace and 12 rooms.

Recommendations

  • Protect yourself from the sun.
  • Protect yourself from insect bites.
  • Avoid waste.
  • Take enough cash with you.
  • Do not climb the lighthouse of death

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On our Blog you will find information about our past experiences as well as useful tips for planning your trip to Colombia.