Colombia is the only country in South America that has coasts of two oceans – the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Atlantic coast is extremely popular among tourists since there are the most famous Colombian destinations: Cartagena de Indias, San Andres Island and The Tayrona National Park. The Pacific coast is still a wonder for most of the travelers.
Impressions about the Atlantic coast of Rio de Janeiro you can pick up here.
The main – and only – big city on the Pacific seaboard of Colombia is a port city Buenaventura with population of less than 300.000 people. It has a notorious history of a huge drug trafficking, armed conflicts and violence. Last several years the situation became better, but the stories of those times still frighten tourists to go there. But if you are brave enough to experience the other side of this wonderful country, you will discover a pure virgin nature, lone islands, hidden waterfalls and rare fauna.
Reach Buenaventura you can by flight from Bogota D.C. or by bus through the capital of salsa Cali. It will take you 3 hours to go from Cali to Buenaventura. Buenaventura is just an industrial port city and, if you don’t have a lot of time in Colombia, it is enough to see the city through the window of your taxi.
From there take a motor board to Bahia Malaga (Valle del Cauca) in the National Natural Park Uramba. The way is around 1.5 hours. Sailing in the boat you can admire wild green rock islands, natural tunnels, rare birds and trees.
You will also see some hotels like this that desperately try to promote its service 😀
Bahia Malaga, as it may seem, is even more tourist, than the biggest Pacific city Buenaventura. But still you will never find as many travelers there as on the Atlantic coast of Colombia. Sometimes you even might feel lonely.
From the very first moment being on the pier of this village you will be sure you arrived to a paradise. Paradise, where people have happiness to live. Gorgeous sunset, children playing football on the black sand 5 meters away from the ocean waves, local residents selling fish and fruits on the Pacific beach.
Instead of traditional buses or taxis, here you will find the most usual… tractors with a trailer.
It is better to book an accomodation in advance, but if it was your spontaneous decision to arrive to Bahia Malaga, don’t panic – there are a lot of hotels to stay. This small village has its own little airport, but doesn’t have habitual supermarkets. Though small shops and cafes are all around. The prices are the same, plus you can have breakfast for around 5.000 COP of lunch for 10.000 COP approximately. You should definitely try a little pie with shrimps (empanada de camaron) for only 2.000 COP! If you don’t know yet, street food in Colombia is extremely delicious, don’t delay and have a look here!
From the same pier you can take a motor boat to an island you want to visit or to waterfalls situated not so far from the village where you can spend the whole day enjoying pure water of the bays and the ocean and virgin nature of Pacific.
This are the photos of Juan de Dios beach and La Sierpe waterfall.
Try to plan your trip to Pacific in a period from July to November so you will have a chance to see Pacific humpback whale and its youngs! During this time mothers with its babies come to the Pacific coast of Colombia, where the water is warm and there is a lot of food, to raise young generation. If you are lucky, for one sailing you can see about 3 Pacific ocean whale families! It is extremely difficult to to take a good picture of them, so just enjoy the moment and watch it.
Very important advice: don’t neglect and buy special sea-sickness pills! As far as the trip will take at least 1 hour and you will be just “staying” on the water face in a rocking boat.
For those who like to practice some sports, it is possible to practice kayaking in the ocean that will cost you 25.000 COP. Another option can be canoeing in the river of Bahia Malaga that is around 10.000 COP (depends on the amount of people), when you can reach a natural pool with two small pretty waterfalls and a natural slide.
To finish your day in the village you should definitely go to the ocean shore for a bonfire or just to splash in the night waves.