It’s rare these days to find a place that’s gorgeous and relatively untouched by tourism and development. With so much info on the internet, most places are discovered and unfortunately change quickly. The Pacific coast of Colombia, Chocó region, is one of those magical places that has kept its incredible natural beauty without being ruined by man nor kept hostage by large 5 star hotels. What keeps this place so special is the fact that it is pretty hard to get to. There are no roads that lead out here, and it is separated from the central part of Colombia by a thick and treacherous (narco-controlled) jungle and only tiny chartered planes fly here.
We are so thankful we were able to spend the week in this special place. What we found was truly stunning, and even more so because of some new friends we met here and the commitment to the love of this place from those who are lucky enough to call it home. It was the highlight of our two month stay in Colombia, in a country full of highlights.
Our friend Johnny had just flown back to New York the day before, and after spending a lot of nights out on the town in Medellin, we were looking forward to getting back to nature and tranquility away from the city. Luckily the only flights (chartered only from a eco-lodge called Nautilus- http://www.nuquinautilos.com/) leave from the small airport right in Medellin that was a 5 minute drive from our hostel. The airport had secure parking, so getting from Medellin to the coast via the 45 minute flight very straight forward. We booked the only hotel we could find online that also specialized in surf tours (El Cantil).
We landed in sort-of run down town called Nuqui, but we were soon met by our hotel staff and escorted on a boat to El Cantil with our other guests: a mom and her two awesome daughters from the Netherlands, and a German-Bolivian family from Germany, and a wonderful couple from Bogota.
We immediately felt like we were somewhere special. There are no big hotels in this area, just small eco lodges. Our bungalow was one of 7, none of which have electricity, and yet this is probably the most well known lodge in this region. You also pack out your garbage back to Medellin.
I quickly grabbed a surfboard from the gear room and Jenine and I went for a walk down the beach. This was when we found the little surf lodge Paraisurf and Yeyo, an amazing surf guide, and his wonderful family (https://www.facebook.com/ParaisurfColombia?fref=ts).
Traveling is about the special people you meet along the way and Yeyo has an enormous zeal for life. He’s living out here to be in nature, to surf and to share his world with others. He’s gotta a tattoo of him riding a tube at Cabo Corriente (his local world class wave) while the sharks and the whales swim around him. I immediately connected with him and we made plans to surf all week together and I would pay for the boat trips out to Cabo Corriente (also known as Pico de loro). He has a guest house, and had we known earlier, we probably would have stayed with him. I recommend all surfers to seek him out. The scene on his tattoo would play out too. While I didn’t see any sharks (although there are many there), whales would accompany us on all of our surf outings.
In addition to the surfing, our wonderful hotel (El Cantil) organized awesome daily hikes for us to explore the area. Jenine loves to hike and is always pushing us to explore more. The jungles surrounding the area were full of rivers and waterfalls and even hot springs. It was amazing to feel so connected to nature again, and really feel almost alone out here – totally away from it all.
Toward the end of our week on the coast, we discovered the Piedra Piedra hotel (http://www.piedrapiedra.com/es/hotel-nuqui-colombia) and their wonderful salt water pool built into the cliffs. Even though our hotel had really really wonderful food, we came here for their amazing fresh ceviche & stunning sunset view. They were so nice to us. I highly recommend them if considering a visit here. (as well as El Cantil – both are great).
The very last day, we took a 2 hour walk along the beach to this little village called Jovi where we did a serene canoe river tour. It was very peaceful to be gliding through the jungle inside a tree trunk canoe. Additionally, our guide brought us to a very special waterfall. It was the perfect excursion to cap off our week.
Our week out on the Pacific coast exceeded our expectations immensely. There are very few tourists, even though the surfing, hiking and beaches are the best we’ve encountered so far. It was so gorgeous that I imagined buying an apartment in Medellin, just so that we could jet out to this place as often as possible 🙂 Hasta la proxima!