The Pacific Coast of Colombia is fast becoming a tourism favorite amongst Colombians and visiting foreigners. Around this time every year, Diego Gonzalez and his partner are busy catering to tourists who come to Guacholito in Nuquí to search for humpback whales that migrate north from the South Pole to the Colombia Pacific Coast. The tourist lodge here operates a program called “Posadas Turísticas de Colombia” which introduces visitors to this beautiful and amazing region of the country.
According to Angelica Valencia, manager of Corporación Mano Cambiada which is a sustainable community tourism initiative, the increased tourism to this part of the country has provided a boost to the local economy. In fact, during this time of the year, tourism figures for Nuquí, Bahía Solano and Utría Natural Park can increase as much as 50%. The Corporation offers package tours to any of these sites, which can cost from 1,375,000 pesos (approx. $700 USD) for three nights, four days per person.
While there are no consolidated figures of how many tourists can reach Nuquí, Bahía Solano and the Isle of Gorgona, artisans, tourism operators, restaurant owners and even the guys who help travelers with their luggage take advantage of the season. Diego González, for example, can receive up to eight people, each of whom paid between 100,000 and 160,000 pesos per night, depending on the services.
Working closely with the natives of the area who are now organized to receive income from this tourism initiative, the tour groups and organizations provide an important source of income for a region that has long been inaccessible due to security concerns.
Now that security has improved dramatically for the area, visitors from Colombia and international alike are beginning to discover the hidden gems of the Colombian Pacific coast.
La Isla Gorgona (Gorgona Island) is another excellent place to see the Colombia Pacific Coast and catch the migration of the whales during the early Fall months. This is a key point for whale watching because you can see the whales from the beach as they pass close by. The tourism agency Aviatur has the concession for Isla Gorgona and offers 62 rooms where visitors can swell to 500 people per month during this time period. A four day/three night plan can be purchased to travel to Isla Gorgona for approximately $1,200,000 pesos (approx. $650 USD).
How to Get There:
Travel to the Choco region will require travel by air. Both Satena & Antioquia Air fly to the region. Service to the region increases during the months of September & October due to the whale watching event (season). Round trip tickets during this time can range anywhere from approximately $530,000 to $630,000 ($250-350 USD) and may require a short leg to Bogota if you are departing from Medellin.
Where to Stay / What to Do:
There are many options on where to stay and what to do depending on where you decide to go and which tour group you decide to use. Here are a few tour operators in the area that you can investigate for your particular trip.
Lugares Magicos(Óscar Gómez is proprietor)
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