El Chocó is a wild and barren region of Colombia and a territory invaluable for its biodiversity. Because of its geographical location as the conduit between South and Central America, it is home to a vast array of animal and plant species from both subcontinents. Its geographic variety ranges from high Paramos (alpine moorlands) ecosystems in the Andean mountains to vast expanses of exuberant jungle. A large number of streams and rivers run from east to west, where they empty into the Pacific Ocean.
Beyond its rich fauna and flora, El Chocó is home to Colonos (descendants of white sugar planters), Afro-Colombians and indigenous people.
Travelers who visit El Chocó have the privilege of experiencing a place of magnificent natural beauty that has remained largely isolated through the years.
Bring fresh clothes preferably quick-drying or similar, long sleeves and long trousers for sun protection. Please note that the weather is extremely wet, nothing dries easily.
Bring a soft fleece or something to wear at night, as it can be slightly cool (19C° or 66,2 F°). Please bring a hat, sun cream, a poncho or something waterproof for the rain, and also an extra pair of shoes for the water because it often rains a lot in Choco.
City of origin – Bahía Solano – El Valle (Chocó).
Early in the morning we will meet at the cargo area of the Olaya Herrera Airport in Medellin, from where we will take a one-and-a half-hour flight to Bahía Solano (Chocó). Upon arrival we will take a short walk from the airstrip to the village of Bahía Solano and the surrounding bay where, If we are lucky, we will witness its spectacular tidal swells. After seeing the village and the bay we will travel by car for 18 km (11 miles) through the jungle to El Valle, a small seaside village close to the entrance to Utría National Park, where we will find our eco-hotel on nearby El Almejal beach. There we will have a delicious lunch of local fare and later take a walk along the beach. The rest of the afternoon will be dedicated to relaxing and enjoying the place at your leisure.
Note: Those not embarking from Medellin may arrange a different flight to Bahía Solano and meet the rest of the group there.
El Valle – Utría National Park – El Valle
On our second day we will visit Utría National Park, located half an hour to the south by boat. During the boat trip we will keep a lookout for whales. The wonderful humpback whale comes to El Chocó between July and October as part of its 8000 km (5000 mile) annual migration from Antarctica to Central America.
Before reaching the bay of Utría, we will get off the boat to take a beautiful walk along the Cocalito path, where we will be able to see a wide range of plant species and, if lucky, animals such as the renowned brilliantly-colored frogs. After around an hour, the path will take us directly to the bay, where the boat will pick us up again and take us to the National Park’s formal entrance-point. There we will register and listen to a brief talk by the park rangers before entering. Once formally inside the park, we will take a walk through a mangrove forest where we will see different mangrove species and learn about their importance for the broader ecosystem. Afterward we will board the boat again and continue looking out for humpback whales while heading to Playa Blanca Island, where we will have a well-deserved lunch. At the island you may snorkel along the reef. We will spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the island’s beach before taking the boat back to El Valle.
El Valle – Chado o El Tigre – El Valle
During the last day we will visit neighboring Chadó and Juná beaches, located north of El Valle by boat. We will have another opportunity to see whales during the boat trip.
At Chadó and Juná we enjoy a heady land- and waterscape of rivers, waterfalls, beaches and jungles. We will walk through a creek where we will find natural swimming pools in which to enjoy ourselves. Lunch will be served by the beach in traditional viao leaf wrapping.
El Valle – Bahía Solano – City of origin
On Day 4 we will leave El Valle early by car in order to take our flight from Bahía Solano back to Medellin