Tours


Choco: Journey into Colombia´s Afro-Colombian Heart

10



Tour Info

Embark on an amazing roundtrip that will truly let you experience the magical region of Choco. Let the cultural and ecological variety of this forgotten Pacific region take your breath away. Cross Antioquia´s Southwest with its coffee culture and experience the change from the Andin highlands to the tropical lowlands. Hike in dense mountain forests and navigate the biggest rivers of the most watery region in Latin America. Get to know the afro-Colombian culture by visiting the religious place of pilgrimage of Raspaduras, the elusive Quibdo and the idyllic Tutunendo with its crystal clear rivers. Learn more about the curse of the gold and the devastating natural destruction and also about sustainable gold extraction and initiatives in favor of environment protection.

Fly to Bahia Solano to the gorgeous beaches of the Pacific Ocean and discover the national park Ensenada de Utría with its unique mangrove forests and indigenous inhabitants. Experience a breath-taking ride on dirt roads through Choco´s jungle and the Andin Mountains of the Colombian coffee zone. Hike in the national park Tatamá through untouched Andin cloud forests and relax in the most famous hot springs in Colombia in Santa Rosa de Cabal. This roundtrip provides a perfect mix of ecologically and culturally touristic elements and furthermore sensitizes one on critical topics like the exploitation of natural resources and its social and ecological consequences.

Itinerary*

Day 1: Antioquia´s hidden Coffee Zone and the mountains of Choco

This journey takes you through Antioquia´s Southwest – Colombia´s hidden coffee zone – to the foothills of the Western Andes mountain range. Our destination is the protected area of Las Tángaras and its cloud forests where the beautiful Atrato river begins which is the biggest river in Choco. In Antioquia´s Southwest you will hike through coffee plantations to an amazingly located waterfall in the protected area of Farallones de Citara. After visiting the coffee village called Cuidad Bolivar, you will arrive at the Las Tángaras nature reserve. You will spend the night in the charming visitors´ center on the riverside of the Rio Atrato.

Day 2: Nature reserve Las Tangaras: Hiking in the cloud forest of Choco

A guide of the Las Tangaras nature reserve will accompany you on a hike through the cloud forests of the Andin Choco. Consequently you’ll get to observe the immense biodiversity of Colombia´s Pacific region. Las Tangaras’ nature reserve protects one of the lesser known eco systems in the country. The untouched mountain forests are a refuge for numerous endemic species of animals and plants. In the late afternoon you will reach the visitors´ center where you will spend another night.

Day 3: From the Andes to the Pacific lowlands

On this day a dirt road will take you deep into the jungle where you’ll see countless falls and an overwhelming amount of dense tropical vegetation. Crystal clear rivers will coax you to take a swim. You will pass by indigenous settlements and view points with breath-taking views over the seemingly endless wilderness of the Pacific rain forest. In the late afternoon you will arrive at the sleepy afro-Colombian settlement of Tutunendo. On the front porch of a simple, family-run hotel you can enjoy the shores’ activities. You will spend the night in the hotel in Tutunendo.

Day 4: Rain forest, crystal clear rivers and the curse of the gold

The Choco region is one of the world’s highest in gold density. Gold extraction has always been a central part of the people´s daily lives. In the morning you will visit a typical gold mine. After an introduction into the extraction process, you can dig for gold yourself. At the same time the social and ecological consequences of mining in Choco will be discussed and the different methods of extraction will be explained. In the afternoon you will navigate the Rio Tutunendo in a traditional canoe and visit the Sal de Frutas and Paloquemao waterfalls. You will spend the night at your accommodation in Tutunendo.

Day 5: Jungle hike and relaxing by the river

On this day you will hike through the rain forest of Tutunendo. The little village possesses a unique variety of species thanks to its geographical position. An employee of the biological station of Tutunendo will inform you about the particularities of this natural and cultural area of Choco. The afternoon will be free for you to do whatever you like. Enjoy the idyllic beaches of the Rio Tutunendo and spend the last night in Tutunendo.

Day 6: Turbulent Quibdo and magical Rio Atrato

You will visit Quibdo, the vibrant capital of Choco. Quibdo is located on the shores of the Rio Atrato surrounded by tropical rain forest and is the economical and cultural center of the region. On a guided tour through the city´s historical center you will learn more about its rich history and the colonization of Choco. Passing by the monumental cathedral San Francisco, you will walk down to the harbor with its colorful market. The variety of goods and exotic fruits seems endless. On a boat trip across Rio Atrato you will have a glance at the typical huts and stilt houses along the riverside. In the afternoon you will visit the Pando biological research station. You will spend the night in a comfortable hotel in the historic center of Quibdo.

Day 7: Flight over the jungle to the Pacific beaches of Choco

In the morning you will fly on a small propeller-driven aircraft to the Pacific Coast. The flight crosses the highlands of the Serrania de Baudo and promises you unforgettable views over the untouched rainforest and the unique nature of Choco. After arriving at Bahia Solano, you will go on by bus to the Southern located town of El Valle. There you will spend the next three nights at a charming hotel directly on the beach. In the afternoon you can explore the rain forest, which begins directly behind the hotel, or just relax on the beach.

Day 8: Trip to the national park Ensenada de Utria

You will go on a daytrip to the unique Utría National Park. It is one of the places with the highest biodiversity in the world. Mangrove abundance and natural opulence of the Pacific melt into each other. With its infinite nature and rich culture this spot is one of the most beautiful ones on the coast. You will spend the day in the national park and arrive in the late afternoon at your accommodation in El Valle.

Day 9: Beach day on the Pacific

Here you will enjoy the relaxing silence of the Pacific. You’ll have the whole day to observe the rich flora and fauna as well as the traditional life of the local fishing families. Here you also have the chance to surf, snorkel or to go on a kayak tour.

Day 10: Flight to Quibdo and ride to Tado

During the morning you will continue your journey to Quibdo and again marvel at the unique landscape of Choco from a bird´s eye view. From Quibdo you will continue south to the lively village Tado. Tado is an important trading center and indigenous and afro-Colombian peasants sell their goods in the local market. You can go on a boat trip on the Rio San Juan or go on a guided village tour and see a chapel with a cemetery which is almost completely covered by tropical vegetation. You will spend the night in a friendly hotel in the center of Tado.

Day 11: About sustainable gold mining and religious pilgrimage

In the morning you will visit the gold project Oro Verde in the forests of Tado. Some families carry out sustainable gold extraction the way that has been passed down for centuries. In doing so, they abstain from chemicals and machines and extract the gold in an environmentally friendly manner. The project has already attracted international attention and has been officially awarded the Fairtrade seal. Here you will learn more about alternative environmentally friendly processes for gold extraction. In the afternoon you will arrive at the small village of Raspadura. The religious center of the Choco is located here. In the local church, the catholic saint Santo Ecce Homo is worshiped and thousands of believers of the Pacific region make a pilgrimage every Sunday to Raspadura. You will spend another night in Tadó.

Day 12: Through the jungle and the mountains into the Coffee Zone

Now you will say goodbye to the tropical Choco and drive on a mainly unpaved road to Risaralda. Passing by small indigenous settlements, picturesque waterfalls and tropical vegetation, we will go up into the mountains of the Western Andes. The destination is the idyllic town of Santuario which is perched on top of a mountain range above the Cauca valley. This region is part of the famous coffee triangle of Colombia. In the afternoon you will arrive at the visitors´ center in the Tatamá national park at about 2,000 meters of altitude. On this solitarily located finca with the traditional Antioquia style and architecture you will rest and spend the last two nights of the roundtrip.

Day 13: Through the mysterious cloud forest of the national park Tatama

You will hike to the Tatama cloud forests, accompanied by a park ranger. The geographical location on the Western Andes cordillera, untouched highlands (Paramo) and the dense mountain forests turn the Tatama into a refuge for many endemic species of animals and plants. Until now, 402 bird, 110 mammal and 108 reptile species as well as 564 different orchids have been reported. The hike will take you to wild mountain rivers and powerful falls. Thanks to its unbelievable water abundance, the Tatama is called the “grandfather of the rivers” by the indigenous. In the late afternoon you will reach the visitors´ center where you spend your last night of this tour.

Day 14: Hot springs Santa Rosa de Cabal & Return to Medellin

Early in the morning on the last day we will drive to the hot springs of the small town of Santa Rosa de Cabal, very close to the foothills of the Los Nevados national park. These are some of the most beautiful hot springs in Colombia. They are surrounded by impressive waterfalls and provide hot swimming pools with crystal clear water. Enjoy the day in the springs before starting the return trip home to Medellin in the afternoon. We will arrive at Medellin in the evening.

*In case of unforeseen circumstances and to assure the passenger’s comodity and safety the intinerary can be subject of changing.

Trip Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in the culture and spirit of Choco
  • Hike through coffee plantations
  • Visit the idyllic coffee village, Ciudad Bolivar
  • Hike in the protected area of Farallones de Citara
  • Hike in the protected area of Las Tangaras
  • Visit a gold mine in Tutunendo
  • Canoe tour on the Rio Tutunendo
  • Visit of ecological research stations in Quibdo and Tutunendo
  • City tour in Quibdo
  • Boat trip on the Rio Atrato
  • Flight over the jungle from Quibdo to Bahia Solano and back
  • 3 days at the dream beaches on the Pacific Coast
  • Visit of the national park Ensenada de Utria
  • Surfing, snorkeling or kayaking on the Pacific
  • Visit the fair-trade goldmine Oro Verde in Tado
  • Visit the religious center of Choco in Raspadura
  • Hike in the Tatamá national park with its cloud forests
  • Hot springs in Santa Rosa de Cabal
  • Travelling through the states of Antioquia, Choco, Risaralda and Caldas
  • Enjoy Colombia´s hospitality and stay in charming family-run hotels

Prices & Conditions

  • from 1.400 EUR pp

Included:

  • Private transportation incl. pick-up-service
  • Travel-Insurance
  • Accommodation: 2x nature reserve Las Tangaras / 3x Tutunendo / 1x Quibdo / 3x El Valle (Pacific) / 2x Tado / 2x Tatama (single or shared rooms)
  • Meals (14x breakfast / 14x lunch / 13x dinner)
  • Visit the protected area of Farallones de Citara (Antioquia)
  • Guided hike through Las Tangares nature reserve (Choco)
  • Guided hike through the rain forest of Tutunendo (Choco)
  • Canoe tour on the Rio Tutunendo
  • Guided tour through the historical center of Quibdo
  • Boat tour on the Rio Atrato
  • Flights Quibdo – Bahia Solano / Bahia Solano – Quibdo
  • Transportation: Airport Bahia Solano – El Valle / El Valle – Airport Bahia Solano
  • Day trip by boat to the national park Utria (Choco)
  • Entrance fee to the Santa Rosa de Cabal hot springs (Caldas)
  • Multilingual guide (English / Spanish / German)
  • Water, tea, coffee, fruit juices
  • Taxes

Not included:

  • Personal expenses
  • Tips
  • Activities not mentioned in the program

Next departures:

  • November 10

Booking options:

  • Individual group tour: All tours are made for individual booking. With 3, 4 or 5 individual bookings we will confirm the trip.
  • Private trip: You can book any tour as a private trip and can start at any date you want.

Contact us for reservation

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Pictures from this tour

This tour Compact

Roundtrip: 14 days

Next departure: November 10th 2013

Price: from 1.400 EUR pp

Starting point: pick up service at your place in Medellin

Traveled Region: Inner Choco and Pacific Coast

Tour reference: CVII