South America's undiscovered region of El Chocó on the Pacific Ocean takes center stage in this unique 10-day itinerary. You'll begin (and end) the trip in Colombia's dazzling up-and-coming city of Medellín before flying to Bahía Solano where you'll explore the massive Utría National Park. Then fly to Nuquí for three days of canoe rides, hiking, cooking with locals, and soaking in hot springs, all the while looking for humpback whales, dolphins, and sea turtles close to shore.

Highlights

    • Fill up on big city culture with a local tour of Medellín's highlights
    • Check out up-and-coming neighborhoods by gondola and city bike
    • Fly to the Pacific coast over remote jungles (and bring cash!)
    • Look for sea life with a variety of water activities
    • Meet friendly residents, chefs, and artisans in tiny villages 

Overview

Perhaps you've been to Colombia before and now want to see a part of the country rarely visited by tourists. With six nights on this rugged part of the Pacific coast, outdoor lovers will get their fix of empty beaches, trails, rivers, rainforest-covered cliffs, thermal hot springs, and watersports. This lush green environment has some of the highest rainfall in the world so expect some amazing flora and fauna, as well. The park protects the coastal marine environment and is known for humpback whales and nesting sea turtles (these empty beaches are also great for surfing).

You'll also get a chance to see a local way of life. There is little electricity and no ATMs here, and the main industries are agriculture and fishing. On one particular day-trip, you'll have a chance to visit Coqui and take a cooking lesson with the local women, known for being wonderful chefs. 

To add to this adventure, you'll get a chance to spend three nights in Medellín, one of the world's most innovative and striking cities surrounded by Andean mountains with year-round spring weather. This is also the place to ride Colombia's first metro cable system (gondola), which transports residents to further neighborhoods high on the mountainside. Ride the city bike system to explore new art galleries, eateries, and public spaces. 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Medellín Medellín
Day 2 Medellín City Tour Medellín
Day 3 Flight to Bahía Solano Bahía Solano
Day 4 Hot Springs & Utría National Park Bahía Solano
Day 5 Explore Bahía Solano (free day) Bahía Solano
Day 6 Flight to Nuquí Nuquí
Day 7 Hot Springs, Hiking & Whale Watching Nuquí
Day 8 Joví River: Canoe & Village Day-Trip Nuquí
Day 8 Flight to Medellín Medellín
Day 8 Depart Medellín  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Medellín

Take a ride on the gondola for an intro to the city.

Welcome to Medellín! You will be picked up at the airport and then transferred to a hotel nearby.

Despite its turbulent past, Medellín today is quite charming with its beautiful mountain setting, friendly locals, and vibrant culture. Most of the city's tourism is centered around Parque Lleras in the heart of the trendy El Poblado district, where the best dining, nightlife, and hotel options are within easy reach. You can take a ride on the city's gondola (metro cable) to see the views or walk around the various parks, plazas, and museums. Either way, enjoy the weather — due to a high elevation near the equator, the city has year-round spring temperatures.

Day 2: Medellín City Tour

After your tour, explore the city on your own with a city bike.

After breakfast at your hotel, spend a fun day exploring Medellín on a private tour with a local guide.

Walking Tour: This excursion includes a mix of sightseeing by foot and taking the Metro (fares included) through one of Colombia's most successful urban projects as if you were a citizen of Medellín yourself. The guide will pick you up at your hotel and you'll take a ride downtown visiting the Administrative Center (La Alpujarra) and Botero Square. From here, enjoy the views from the city's iconic gondola car system (pay directly) — and head for the Botanical Garden with more than 4,500 flowers. The tour ends by taking the Metro to Central Mayorista, Plaza Mayor, and a zen-inspired public park in Medellín before you return to your hotel using public transportation. (Hint: there's also an option that includes graffiti street art and riding the metro cable towards remote neighborhoods on the valley side.)

The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to enjoy at leisure.

Tour Duration: 6 Hours (with an English-speaking guide)

Day 3: Flight to Bahía Solano

Take a walk on these uncrowded beaches.

This morning you'll fly to Bahía Solano — a small, peaceful fishing village on the Pacific coast that is rarely visited by tourists. A driver will pick you up from the airport for your transfer to a hotel where you can settle in your room. After lunch, enjoy a walk around the surroundings. Bahía Solano is located next to a sheltered bay with small waves, or head for more unspoiled beaches (and bigger waves) along the Pacific, as well as trails throughout the lush rainforest.

Day 4: Hot Springs & Utría National Park

Get out in a kayas and keep an eye out for whales.

Today, you'll visit Jurubirá, a warm and colorful fishing village in Colombia's Choco region. For a sense of how remote and undeveloped this area is, residents operate on a cash-only basis (there are no banks or ATMs).

Right away you will have an opportunity to enjoy the area's thermal hot springs, followed by a visit to the rugged Utria National Park, which spreads out over a mind-boggling 130,000 acres. The park has a very rich ecosystem covering mangroves, rainforests, coral reefs, and beaches on the Pacific coast with an infinite number of animal, bird and fish species. If you're visiting between July and October, be on the lookout for the yubarta (humpback) whales that mate close to shore and give birth to their offspring — quite a spectacle!

Day 5: Explore Bahía Solano (free day)

Spend a free day relaxing on the sand, hiking, or canoeing. 

There are several activity options in and around Bahía Solano! Here are a few ideas on how to spend your free day: 

  • Visit the remote beach of "Huina", a popular spot with locals.
  • Hike to the waterfall "El Tigre" or trek through the Boro Boro jungle (quite the adventure).
  • Ride a traditional canoe along the Rio Tundo.
  • Experience local art and visit the unique houses of El Valle.

Day 6: Flight to Nuquí

Sunset views from Nuquí.

This morning you'll fly to the village of Nuquí. You will be picked up at the airport and transferred by boat to the pristine beaches of Guachalio (the main draw of Nuquí). From here, you will have a chance to get settled in your room.

After lunch, there will be free time to enjoy the surroundings. You can relax on the sand, take a dip in the area's thermal hot springs, or head out on one of the ecological trails through the lush rainforest.

Day 7: Whale Watching, Hiking & Hot Springs

This is a popular spot for humpback whales. 

Start the morning with a boat trip in search of humpback whales accompanied by a local guide. This is a great way to see these gentle giants up close. The impressive mammal is a regular in the Chocó region, found in the warm water and low currents, as they make their way to their breeding ground in the Tribugá Gulf.

After that, enjoy lunch on El Cantil beach. In the afternoon, your guide will take you on a nature walk that's known for thermal hot springs. Bring your suit!

Day 8: Joví River: Canoe & Village Day-Trip

Visit local villages on this day-trip.

After breakfast, head to the friendly village of Joví and sail along the river via dugout canoes reaching the destination of La Chontadura Waterfall, where you can take a dip in the clear water.

Afterwards, continue canoeing to reach another village called Coqui and take a cooking lesson with the local women, many whom are most wonderful chefs and true experts on the region’s traditional flavors. Following lunch, you will have free time explore the village surroundings by foot. At the end of the afternoon, a boat will pick you up and take you to our hotel.

Day 9: Flight to Medellín (optional city tour)

Spend one more evening enjoying Medellín's eternal spring-like weather.

After breakfast, depart for Medellín! Upon landing, you will be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you can enjoy the afternoon/evening on your own, or explore the neighborhoods with an English-speaking guide who will cover some of the following sites:

Panoramic City Tour (4 Hours): Hop in a car and get an insider's perspective of Medellín from your private transfer. You'll make several key stops including the Pueblito Paisa, San Antonio Park, La Plazuela de San Ignacio, La Playa Avenue, Metropolitan Church, and the iconic bronze sculptures at Botero Square. You will visit the Music House, Antioquia University, and the city's expansive botanical garden with more than 4,500 blooms. The last leg of the tour includes a stop at the Convention Center in Plaza Mayor, the Metropolitan Theater, and Los Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Park). On your way back to the hotel, check out Poblado Parque, a popular city park surrounded by bars and restaurants. (Optional add-on.)

Day 10: Depart Medellín

Medellín is known for street art and outdoor sculptures.

It's time to say farewell to Colombia! Enjoy your last moments in the beautiful city of Medellín with a leisurely breakfast, city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping.  A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home.

Map

Map of Colombia's Wild Pacific Coast - 10 Days
Map of Colombia's Wild Pacific Coast - 10 Days