Why consider booking our Colombia National Parks Tour? Because for the same price, our tour gets you to ALL places for which Colombia is famous, and on top of that, you get to see 7 National Parks/Reserves accompanied by a naturalist guide. There is nothing similar on the market. As Colombia can be combined with other countries, we organize tours in modules: Bogota and surrounding Andes, Caribbean Coast and the Amazon of Ecuador; the latter for the Colombian Amazon still not being recommended for foreign visitors. Colombia is a very large country, so you need to fly. To do so at hardly any additional costs, you need to book both Bogota and Cartagena - and Quito if you want to include the Amazon module - in your international ticket.

Destinations Overview:  Bogota old town, Cartagena, Villa de Leyva Zipaguira Salt Mine Church, Chingaza Reserve, Iguaque National Park, Flamencos Reserve, Cienega Mangroves Reserve, Lake Fuquene, Tayrona National Park, Manaure Salt Flats.


The principal reason to visit to the Chocó may be to watch the humpback whales that come to the area for a few months every year to breed and give birth


There are regular flights to the major settlements



A visit to the Chocó is a visit to a Colombian region that is relatively cut-off from the rest of the country. There is no road transportation in the region, and most people arrive by small planes flown over the jungle or long boat journeys from Buenaventura. This is part of the reason why the region is the poorest in Colombia, but for travelers this isolation represents a truly off-the-beaten-path spot. Colombia is not exactly overwhelmed by visitors yet, but the Chocó hardly sees any


Chocó Department (Spanish pronunciation: [tʃoˈko], Spanish: Departamento del Chocó) is a department of Colombia known for its large Afro-Colombian population. It is in the west of the country, and is the only Colombian department to have coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. It contains all of Colombia's border with Panama. Its capital is Quibdó.

Chocó has a diverse geography, unique ecosystems and unexploited natural resources. However, its population has one of the lowest standards of living of all departments in Colombia. In March 2007, Colombian media reported that some 50 children starved in less than three months, creating awareness of the grave condition Chocó inhabitants are facing. Infrastructure problems were also revealed. For example, despite its status as the world's rainiest lowland, with close to 400 inches (10,000 mm) of annual precipitation,[5] Quibdó was left without drinking water.[6]


The department was created in 1944 being speaker at House of Representatives Pedro Yances Salcedo, but it was never legally established.[6] Its low population, inhospitable topography, and distance from Bogotá has caused Chocó to receive little attention from the Colombian government


The Chocó Department makes up most of the ecoregion known as El Chocó that extends from Panama to Ecuador.

The municipality of Lloró holds the Highest Average Annual Precipitation record measured at 13,300 mm which makes it the wettest place in the world. Three large rivers drain the Chocó Department, the Atrato, the San Juan and the Baudó, and each has many tributaries. The Baudó Mountains on the coast and the Cordillera Occidental are cut by low valleys with an altitude less than 1,000 meters that form most of the territory. Most of the Chocó is thick rainforest. Much of Colombia's internal consumption of wood come from the Chocó, with a small percentage harvested for export. Choco Department produces the majority of Colombia significant platinum output (28,359 ounces of platinum in 2011). Choco is also Colombia top gold-producing region (653,625 ounces in 2011).


Chocó is inhabited predominantly by Afro-Colombians, descendants of African enslaves brought by the Spanish colonizers after conquering the Americas. The second race/ethnic group are the Emberá, the remaining Native American people, with more than half of their total population in Colombia living in Chocó, some 35,500. They practice hunting and artisan fishing and live near rivers.[9]

The total population as of 2005 was less than half a million, with more than half living in the Quibdó valley. According to a 2005 census[10] the ethnic composition of the department is:

Afro-Colombians (82.1%)

Amerindians or Indigenous (12.7)

Whites and Mestizos (5.2%)


Quibdó is the largest city, with a population of almost 100,000. Other important cities and towns include Istmina, Condoto, Nóvita and El Carmen in the interior, Acandí on the Caribbean Coast, and Solano on the Pacific Coast. Resorts include Capurganá on the Caribbean Coast, and Jurado, Nuquí, and Bahía Solano on the West Coast.







2. Beaches! Choco Colombia beaches I mean, just look at them!

Sure, the Caribbean has the glamour…the white sand, cocktails and bikini-clad beauties…but the Chocó has some of Colombia’s most spectacular beaches and, as per the previous point, you’ll be sharing them with virtually no-one! From the dramatic, black-sand Playa Guachalito near Nuqui, to the tiny, untouched strips along the coast of the Utria National Park, there are few places better on earth for that Robinson Crusoe, lost-on-a-desert-island vibe than the Chocó. I mean, just look at those beach photos…seriously, look at them!

3. Surfin’ C.H.O.C.O. Surfing Choco Colombia Off to find the waves on Playa Guachalito…

Colombia doesn’t quite have the reputation for great surfing that other Latin American countries have, but it seems that the Chocó didn’t get the memo! It might not be world-class waves, but for those with an interest in surfing, or a desire to learn, it’s a great activity to combine with others on your visit. The Humpback Turtle hostel near El Valle rents boards, and the staff are always happy to help beginners catch their first wave. However, the best spot is seemingly further south, near Playa Guachalito and Cabo Corrientes. Ecolodges like El Cantil in Guachalito (near Nuqui) organize board rental and classes (a full surf course cost $243.000 – check their website for full surfing price listings). Apparently the best months are between April and December, so you should be able to combine some whale-watching with some surfing too. So hit up the Chocó and ‘hang 10’ (is that right?!)…

4. Turtle power! Green_Sea_Turtle_(chelonia_mydas)_basking_on_Punalu'u_Beach See a turtle like this nesting in the Choco

It’s not just about the whales in the Chocó; another popular wildlife activity is to head down to the local beaches in the dead of night (this makes it sound spookier than necessary…just go to the beach when it’s dark!) to watch sea turtles come up from the ocean to lay their eggs in the sand. Roughly between late August and January are supposedly the best times to witness this incredible natural spectacle. But please, respect the animals when you are watching them – they come halfway round the world to lay eggs in peace, not have torches shone int heir face and camera flashes going off constantly! Specialized local guides are available, with proper experience and scientific knowledge, so make sure to arrange a visit with them to get the most from the experience.

5. Colombia’s best festival?! San Pacho Festival, Quibdo The Festival of San Pacho is just one of the many attractions in Choco

Entirely subjective obviously, but that’s what our very own Azzam called the San Pacho Festival in the department’s capital of Quibdo, when he paid it a visit a few years back…you can read all about Azzam’s experience on the Colombia Travel Blog. Quibdo isn’t the postcard-perfect image of the Chocó associated with beaches and whales: it lies inland, accessible by bus from Medellin in 8 hours, on the banks of the Atrato River. Mostly people don’t bother visiting, but every year, between late September and early October (September 20-October 5 this year) the town comes alive with 2 weeks of raucous parades, music and plenty of viche (an alcoholic drink local to the Pacific region). Other Colombian festivals are certainly worth experiencing, and any visit to Colombia isn’t complete without at least one festival experience, but San Pacho might just be the most under-appreciated and under-visited of the lot…

6. Birds, birds, birds! Choco Toucan in...El Choco Choco Toucan in…El Choco

I know, I talk a lot about birds (see here, here, and here for more evidence of this!), but Colombia does have more species of bird than any country on earth after all! Colombia’s feathered friends are one of the country’s true jewels, and the Chocó has more of them than almost anywhere else! The coastal areas, with national parks like Utria, are home to wide beaches, open ocean and deep jungle, and this makes for a wonderful combination of bird species, whilst, inland, bird reserves like Las Tangaras and Cerro Montezuma host a wealth of endemic bird species that will have any birder salivating and then booking a ticket!

7. Things that walk and hop too… Golden_Poison_dart_frog_Phyllobates_terribilis A Golden Poison Dart Frog (photo: Wikipedia)

The Chocó’s wildlife doesn’t just swim and fly…the region is home to a remarkable diversity of insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals as well. Hike into the jungle to swim in lovely rivers and discover tiny poison dart frogs, their bright colours standing in stark contrast to the green surroundings; take a boat up the river to see turtles and river otters, and just hang out anywhere to enjoy the sight of thousands of butterflies lighting up the dim jungle…the Chocó is truly a natural jewel in Colombia’s already fairly formidable crown!

8. Like a good swim? Choco Colombia Enjoy a swim in one of these stunning places…

Obviously the presence of water for swimming isn’t in itself a reason for visiting one place over another: the Caribbean has it’s fair share after all! However, the diversity of swimming spots in the Chocó’s Pacific region is truly amazing – slip off the boat and watch whales pass before your eyes through your mask, take a dip in the warm waters off any one of the aforementioned beaches, hike into the jungle and refresh yourself in the cool river waters flowing down from the Western Cordillera, or head to Jurubida or Nuqui for some hot springs in the forest…the options are diverse and equally wonderful…just remember the snorkel and the bathing suit and you’re set!

9. And a good meal?! Cazuela de Mariscos Cazuela del Pacifico…yum!

Obviously you’re going to work up an appetite doing all that whale-watching, hiking, swimming and festival-ing, right?! Well, never fear, ’cause the Pacific coast has you covered! Delicious fresh fish is the order of the day, usually served with the ubiquitous coconut rice and patacones. However, there’s more to Pacific coast food than this: a delicious cazuela del Pacifico is not to be missed, and the fish soups I had on day trips to Jurubida and Playa del Tigre were out-of-this-world delicious – the latter featured cockles that the chef had picked up whilst wandering around the wave-crashed rocks earlier than morning: freshness guaranteed!

10. And I can’t forget about the whales… Humpback Whales Bahia Solano A stunning Humpback Whales breaching with the Utria National Park in the background

You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?! Most tourists pay a visit to the Chocó for this one simple reason: to spend some time observing the magical spectacle of humpback whales in the warm Pacific waters of Colombia. And there’s a good reason why they do – the experience is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing…as the whales leap from the water with the mist-shrouded (or sun baked) jungle hills disappearing into the distance behind them, it’s easy to feel very small indeed, and incredibly humbled by the natural world and our place in it. It’s doubly amazing simply because of the lack of an infrastructure dedicated to whale-watching: you are usually sitting on a boat alone in the ocean with just a few companions and the whales for company. Sure, some boatmen can skirt a little close to the animals at times, and this will improve as tourism does, but to be sat in a tiny little boat, down at the level of the water, as these giants of the sea surface is a truly one-off experience. I’d urge everyone who can go to go!


Everyone has a little adventure inside of them, whatever they may say. A desire to do something completely different to their normal life, to venture somewhere they’ve never been before, a personal Eldorado if you wish, and to fully experience whatever they may find. As most of our world has now laid bare its secrets to us, finally discovered, explored, and repeatedly charted and mapped, they are still some places that retain a certain mystery, a touch of magic about them, and a hidden secret or two.

In the far northwest of Colombia, one of the most stunningly biodiverse countries on the planet, you will find the department of Choco sharing coastlines with both the Pacific and Caribbean oceans, its inviting sandy beaches surrounded by vibrant, lush jungles, bursting with unique ecosystems fed by the highest rainfall for a lowland anywhere in the world.

For the more adventurous, Eldorado-seeking traveller, there simply aren’t many places like Choco Colombia to be found in this world anymore.

The Choco Department forms the majority of the eco-region known as el Choco which extends from Ecuador north to Panama. It’s biodiversity and unique ecosystems are given life by the tremendous volume of rain that falls each year – the municipality of Lloró there holds the record for the highest average annual precipitation, which was measured at a colossal 523.6 inches (13,300 mm), and making it officially the wettest place in the world. Because of this, the vast majority of the Choco is dense rainforest, teeming with exotic flora and fauna – a beautiful paradise of biodiversity.

So what can the adventurous traveller see and do in a place such as this? Put simply, plenty… and much more. Sit back and peruse the following 20 reasons why you must visit Choco Colombia in 2018 – the places to go and the adventures to seek. From swimming under waterfalls, to whale-watching from the beach, to exploring the mighty rainforests, it is all here for you, waiting.

#1. Humpback Whale-Watching in Choco Colombia

All along Choco Colombia’s Pacific coastline, between the months of July and November, there is one natural spectacle you should not miss – the ocean waters become home to huge numbers of migrating humpback whales, who have travelled some 8,000 kilometers north to these warmer depths to mate and then give birth. Weighing around 40 tonnes and 30 meters in length, these huge, majestic mammals cut through the ocean with their enormous back fins, occasionally jumping through the surface in graceful, slow-motion leaps, ocean spray arcing beneath them.

The best places to witness this awesome natural spectacle are the towns of Nuqui, Bahia Solano and, to the south, Bahia Malaga, near Buenaventura, where you can either view from the gorgeous, windswept sandy beaches or aboard one of the many tourist boat trips. If you wish to get closer to the whales, around 200 meters for safety reasons, this is the ocean-going option for you. #2. Capurganá

El Choco Colombia is home to a high number of different natural reserves, all focusing on a particular aspect of biodiversity, as well as the natural splendor of the environment in general. Situated on the Caribbean coast, close to the Panama border, you’ll find the remote, traffic-free town of Capurganá, home to the nature reserve of El Aguacate bay (meaning avocado), with it’s bright green, crystal-clear waters.

Capurganá has a population of under 2,000, most of which are fisherman and farmers. It is completely disconnected by road from the rest of Colombia, a heaven-sent treat in our automobile-dominated lives, and offers an enchanting white sand beach of its own, a coral reef for those who snorkel, and an adjacent lush rainforest, complete with waterfalls and mountains, for a spot of hiking and exploring. #3. Leatherback Sea Turtles on Acandi Beach, near Capurganá

During the months of April and May, there is one natural phenomenon you don’t want to miss – the hatching and short journey across the sands to the ocean of newborn leatherback sea turtles (tortugas cana) on Acandi Beach, which you can reach from Capurganá with a short boat ride. These wonderful creatures are protected by law by the Colombian government, and their welfare is a welcome part of life for the local people. #4. Aguacate Natural Reserve, Capurganá

Just to the south of Capurganá, and mentioned above, you’ll find the Aguacate Nature Reserve, with its paradise bay, full of colorful coral formations teeming with marine life – a must if you like to snorkel. This small strip of beautiful coastline extends into the nearby rainforest (around 200 hectares of which is classified as nature reserve also). Here, you’ll find howler monkeys, capuchins, tamarins, and the earless aotus monkey, as well as poison dart frogs, common lancehead vipers, lowland pacas, agoutis, and armadillos.

Please remember, as with all Colombian nature reserves, don’t damage the vegetation, don’t contaminate the water sources, and make sure you take your trash with you. #5. La Piscina de los Dioses – “The Pool of the Gods”

A stunning vista awaits you at the nearby “Pool of the Gods,” also to the south of Capurganá. Its rocky coastline is repeatedly hit by large and fast ocean waves, creating vast natural wells in the geology. Because of the precarious nature of the area, it is best simply to sit and marvel at this natural wonder. And take the odd photo too, of course. #6. Nuquí

The wonderful town of Nuquí is located in the western part of el Choco Colombia, between the Pacific Ocean and the mountainous region of Baudó. Itself a municipality also, Nuquí is an amazing mix of cultural and ethnic diversity with Afro-Colombians and indigenous tribespeople, backdropped by a rich variety of flora and fauna. With less than 10,000 inhabitants living in the municipality, the departmental capital retains a pueblo feel.

As mentioned above, Nuquí is one of the best places along the Choco’s Pacific coastline for a spot of whale-watching. However, it has numerous other activities to engage in – from surfing, canoeing, hiking and river tours, to the rejuvenating and gentle relaxation of immersing yourself in a thermal spring. Many visitors to Choco Colombia choose Nuquí as their base simply because it really is smack in the middle of everything. #7. Playa Guachalito – Guachalito Beach

If you’re looking for the perfect paradise beach, look no further than the exotic, sandy utopia that is Guachalito Beach, a 30-minute boat ride from Nuquí. Here, situated on the Gulf of Tribugá in the Pacific, those idyllic visions of paradise can be fully realised. One of the most popular beaches for the Colombians themselves, the mocha-colored beach stretches for miles, backdropped by majestic waterfalls springing from the jungle-covered mountains behind you. Yes, you do have to see it to believe it. But there’s more to this beach than simply admiring the breath-taking views… #8. Surfing in Choco Colombia

Surfing in Choco Colombia Board on Beach

Surfing in Choco Colombia

Choco Colombia offers both the experienced and novice surfer (and everyone in between) a plethora of great locations to ride the waves, with both the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines creating perfect surfing conditions for all levels. In fact, Colombia is fast becoming one of the most popular countries to head to if you’re a serious surfing animal.

In Nuquí, the best surf zones are the paradise location of Guachalito Beach, where surf rental and classes are readily available, Cabo Corrientes – only accessible by boat and with world-class surfing – and, situated just south of Río Nuquí, Playa Olímpica, a rugged looking-beach that simply goes on and on, just like the ocean itself.

Just remember, between the months of July and November, you may well be practicing your duck-dives, cutbacks and helicopters In the Pacific Ocean under the amused gaze of the odd humpback whale or two! #9. Joví River Tour / Canoeing

Time to fully immerse yourself, not in the ocean waters this time, but in the magical, biodiverse beauty around you, by taking a tour along the Joví River, deep into the very heart of the rainforest. From your dugout canoe, known as a chingo, you will witness a whole host of natural wonder, from scurrying monkeys weaving through the tree canopy above, to the lush green floor of the jungle.

Eventually, your chingo can go no further, but you will, with a short hike to the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Chontadura waterfall. At the base of the waterfall, you’ll find a natural pool which you are encouraged to dive into. Either return to your chingo, or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, scramble up the side of the waterfall and continue your hike, on to the more impressive Antaral waterfall, offering a larger natural pool and wonderful views back downstream to the Pacific. #10. Termales – Hot Thermal Springs

Ever taken a bath in the middle of a jungle? No? Seriously? Then, el Choco Colombia just has to be your next getaway. Near to Nuquí, at La Cascada de Cuatro Encantos (The Waterfall of the Four Charms), you’ll find wonderfully invigorating natural hot springs, known as termales, to simply fall into – the springs even have a restaurant serving ice-cold drinks as you take it easy. The waterfall itself is so named because of the four levels it negotiates as it cascades down through the jungle. #11. Mangrove Swamps, Coquí

A mere 15 minutes by boat from Nuquí is the delightful coastal village of Coquí, with its miles and miles of the some of the most well-preserved mangrove swamps you can hope to find in Colombia. Locals offer various mangrove tours (again, in chingos) for visitors keen to gaze upon yet another defining aspect of Colombian biodiversity.

The Afro-Colombian community of Coquí also holds a food festival every January and July for visitors to sample their delicious cultural cuisine, and, as you can guess, the beach here is simply stunning. #12 and 13. Bahía Solano and El Valle

Situated closely together, you’ll find the small communities and popular tourist destinations of Bahía Solano and El Valle, with some of the best vantage points on the Pacific coastline for whale-watching.

Bahía Solano is a both a town and a municipality, and is known by the locals as simply Bahia. It has its own regional airport (with daily flights from Medellin, Quibdo, Cali, and Bogota) and seaport, which serves the main and larger port of Buenaventura. The area has some of the best snorkeling Choco Colombia has to offer along the entire Pacific coast, as well as marine sport or recreational fishing.

A single, half-paved jungle road connects the town of Bahia Solano with neighboring El Valle,

a small fishing community cut off from the rest of Colombia. The village sits on the estuary of Rio Valle, enjoying its abundant fish stocks, and providing excellent scuba diving activities. At the beach – Playa el Almejal, to be precise – you’ll find far gentler waves to practice your surfing, making it ideal for the novice surfer. #14. Utría National Nature Park

One of the jewels in Choco Colombia’s crown of biodiversity has to be the Utría National Natural Park (or Parque Nacional Natural Ensenada de Utría). Created in 1987 and benefiting from one of the largest volumes of annual rainfall in the world, the nature park is teeming all over with life – both on land and out into the Pacific (the park also protects the adjacent coastal marine environment).

The park, located to the north of the Gulf of Tribugá, is named after the Utría Cove (Ensenada de Utría), a massive coastal lagoon surrounded by lush mangroves and dark sand beaches, and often visited by migrating humpbacks and sea turtles. In fact, it is quite common for the humpbacks to use the lagoon as their maternity ward from August to October!

On land, there is even more to see and wonder at in the nature park – jaguars, peccaries (hog-like mammals), cougars, brocketts deer, howler and spider monkeys, giant anteaters and brown-throated sloths, along with numerous species of amphibians and reptiles. Many of these wonderful creatures can be witnessed from the nature trails that run throughout the park, and visitors are welcomed by the local community here, as long as they obey the strict rules protecting the environment that are in force. #15. Scuba-Diving in Choco

For the keen scuba-diving enthusiast, the coastal area of the Utría National Natural Park has to be the place for you. The Pacific region boasts 16 species of coral, and here you can marvel at 11 of those, including both the beautiful branched Pocillopora and Porites corals, and a variety of molluscs, including ark clams and the eastern pacific giant conch, as well as over 180 species of fish, from the imposing whale shark right down to the tiny goby.

In fact, there are simply too many excellent scuba-diving spots along both Choco Colombia’s Pacific and Caribbean coastlines to choose from, so, our advice is to just go and discover yourself exactly what lies beneath these crystal clear ocean waters. #16. Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, Utría Cove

Nearby Cuevita beach is the perfect setting to witness the olive ridley sea turtle nesting in the sand. For the smallest of our turtle species, the olive ridley is the most common turtle nesting here, but other marine mammals, such as the leatherback sea turtle (mentioned previously), the green sea turtle, the hawksbill turtle, bottlenose dolphins, sperm whales, killer whales, and the humpbacks, are all known to frequent the Utría Cove, obviously finding it as idyllic as you will. #17. Los Katíos National Natural Park

Right up in the far north-east edge of Choco Colombia, on the border with Panama, a veritable feast of nature can be found for the more adventurous traveller in the form of Los Katíos National Natural Park. Now a World Heritage Site due to the amazing diversity of plant and animal species, the park is a part of the Darién Gap, a densely forested area shared by Colombia and Panama. An example of this can be found with the bird-life here – over 25% of Colombia’s reported species inhabit an area compromising only 1% of Colombian territory. A true birdwatcher’s paradise.

The park is named after the indigenous tribespeople of the region – the Embera Katíos, and notably features a rainforest that rises up from sea-level into the dominant Serranía del Darién mountains to the west, and floodplains around the Atrato River to the east. An absolute must for the hardened backpacker. #18. Quibdó, Choco’s Capital

Quibdó is both a large town (the capital of the Choco Colombia, in fact) and its own municipality. Located on the Atrato River in the east of the department, it receives probably the largest volume of rainfall for any equatorial region. Its inhabitants are mostly Afro-Caribbean, and the surrounding area is rich in gold and platinum deposits.

Although you certainly wouldn’t class Quibdó as a tourist destination, but, come late September, you’ll be treated to the San Pacho Festival – 2 weeks of lively parades, and even livelier traditional music, all washed down with a local Pacific drink called viche. #19. El Páramo Tatamá – Tatamá National Nature Park

El Páramo Tatamá, more formerly known as Tatamá Natural Park, is probably one of the most inaccessible nature reserves you’ll ever visit – if you’re up for the challenge. The park is known for its rugged geography and steep slopes, earning it the reputation as one of the only areas of virgin wilderness left in the world, and also for its excellent record in conservation. Now, who’s up for this challenge? Just another of Choco Colombia’s hidden gems. #20. Seafood, Seafood, Seafood!

Lastly, we couldn’t leave our best reasons for visiting the natural wonder of el Choco Colombia here without mentioning the vast array of delicious and delectable seafood on offer along its dual coastlines. Besides, 19 is an awkward number to end on. Tiger prawns, sumptuous shrimp, clams, lobster, squid, oysters, swordfish – you name it – it’s all here, waiting for you to try, and all of these dishes are infused with the particular region’s myriad of flavors. Make Choco Colombia in 2018 Your Next Getaway

Choco Colombia – unless you live there, it is one of the last truly unknown places left on the planet, where the natural biodiverse world is king and its human inhabitants put great effort into its well-being and its conservation. From the grand nature parks that extend out into the ocean waters, to the newly-hatched olive ridley sea turtles heading out to those very same waters, Choco Colombia is fast-becoming the vacation destination for eco-tourists and beach-worshippers alike – in fact, any seasoned traveller with a more adventurous attitude.

Miles and miles of glorious sandy beaches are the only separation between the Pacific and the Caribbean ocean surf, and the lush green rainforests and cascading waterfalls that bedeck the nearby mountain ranges. Yes, Choco Colombia really is some kind of heaven right here on earth.

What particular place or activity makes you want to visit awe-inspiring Choco? Its biodiversity? Its excellent surfing? Watching humpback whales arcing out of the Pacific waters before crashing back down in a huge torrent of ocean spray? You can still feel the spray 200 meters away, you know!

Whatever your reasons, let us know with a comment below, and don’t forget to share this article among your fellow travellers (maybe with a little comment saying, “Wow! Check it out. Who’s up for this?”). Choco Colombia and all its natural glory is waiting right here for you.


The Pacific/Chocó natural region is one of the five major natural regions of Colombia. Ecologically, this region belongs entirely to the Chocó Biogeographic Region and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. It also has areas with the highest rainfall in the world, with areas near Quibdo, Chocó reaching up to 13,000 mm (510 in) annually.[1]


The Pacific region is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the West Andes to the east. To the north is the Darién Gap and the Serranía del Darién at the border with Panamá. The area is mostly flat and covered by dense rainforest, rivers, swamps, and mangroves. The Baudó Mountains are a small, isolated range in this area along the coast. Gorgona Island is located off the southwest coast.

Politically, the region is within the following Colombian departments: Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño.


Protected areas Main article: List of national parks of Colombia

PNN Los Katíos: along the border with Panamá between the Atrato Swamp and the Serranía de Darién. PNN Ensenada de Utria PNN Uramba Bahía Málaga PNN Isla Gorgona PNN Sanquianga: area of mangroves south of Guapí SFF Malpelo


Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena is a biodiversity hotspot, which includes the tropical moist forests and tropical dry forests of the Pacific coast of South America and the Galapagos Islands. The region extends from easternmost Panama to the lower Magdalena Valley of Colombia, and along the Pacific coast of Colombia and Ecuador to the northwestern corner of Peru. Formerly called the Chocó-Darién-Western Ecuador Hotspot, it has been expanded to include several new areas, notably the Magdalena Valley in northern Colombia. It is bounded on the east by the Andes Mountains. The Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena Hotspot is 1,500 km long and encircles 274,597 km². Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena is near the Pacific Ocean. The factors that threaten Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena are farming encroachment, deforestation, illegal crops, and population growth. Whereas the Panamanian and Colombian portion of the hotspot are relatively intact, approximately 98% of native forest in coastal Ecuador has been cleared, rendering it the most threatened tropical forest in the world.[1] The hotspot includes a wide variety of habitats, ranging from mangroves, beaches, rocky shorelines, and coastal wilderness to some of the world's wettest rain forests in the Colombian Chocó. The hotspot includes a number of ecoregions:

Chocó-Darién moist forests (Colombia, Ecuador, Panama) Ecuadorian dry forests (Ecuador) Guayaquil flooded grasslands (Ecuador) Gulf of Guayaquil-Tumbes mangroves (Ecuador, Peru) Galápagos Islands xeric scrub (Ecuador) Magdalena Valley montane forests (Colombia) Magdalena-Urabá moist forests (Colombia) Manabí mangroves (Ecuador) Tumbes-Piura dry forests (Ecuador, Peru) Piura mangroves (Peru) Western Ecuador moist forests (Colombia, Ecuador)

Some of the endemic species of this hotspot are the following:

Endemic Plant Species: 2,750

Endemic Threatened Birds: 21

Endemic Threatened Mammals: 7

Endemic Threatened Amphibians: 8

Human Population Density (people/km²): 51


Pacific Coast: Serranía del Baudó (Baudó Range)

The 250-km-long coastline of the Serranía del Baudó, between Punta Ardita and Cabo Corrientes (Fig. 3), is dominated by steep cliffs, up to 70 m high, cut into diabases and chert (Figs. 4 and 5). Cliffs alternate with small sandy to shingle and cobble pocket beaches that are located within the minor coastal indentations. Wide sandy beaches (Figs. 6 and 7) and sandy-muddy tidal flats front the major coastal embayments and river mouths. Small mangrove swamps are located landward of the beach and along the low courses of the main rivers, where tidal waters penetrate 0.5 to 1 km upstream from the shoreline.

The strong structural control on the coastal morphology of the Serranía del Baudó is exhibited well in the Bahía Solano-Bahía Utría zone, where the 8-km-long Utría Bay depression closely coincides with the Bahía Solano fault zone (Figs. 8, 9, 10). The fault is interpreted as a reverse fault with a slip rate of 0.2 to 1 mm/yr (París et al. 2000). The Bahía Solano village (Fig. 11) was partly destroyed and suffered local subsidence of 20-30 cm as a result of the September 26, 1970 earthquake (M 6.5), associated with the Bahía Solano fault (Ramirez 1970). Page and James (1981) reported at least three coastal subsidence events in the area during the last 800 years, probably associated with earthquakes of similar magnitude.

Recession of the Baudó cliff coast is negligible in most areas, but saprolite landslides and rock falls (Fig. 12) are common during heavy rain, and/or strong onshore winds and seismic events.





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