Capurgana Colombia, is a gorgeous destination in the Darien Gap of Colombia and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Colombia.
The boat is the typical way to reach Capurgana which is surrounded by dense vegetation of the Darien Gap.
In Necocli, a coastal town of Colombia, the passengers roll up their backpack in plastic bags and handle them to the captain. It’s an essential precaution as the sea can be rough during the windy season and waves would splash everything.
How to get to Capurgana Colombia
- Departure at 8am from Necocli : 60 000 COP / 1h30
- Departure from Turbo: 60 000 COP / 2 h
- Flights once a week from Medellin with the company De Colombia Para El mundo: 100$ / 1h
- From Panama with San Blas adventures: 450$ / 4 days
After 1h30, the mysterious town begins to appear to the new visitors. A few houses scattered among a jungle of palm trees and creepers and a long dock made of cement. The port is the beating heart of Capurgana. Boats from the closest cities bring commodities, mountains of beers and building materials.
The captain waits patiently his turn, and with a steady hand, he moored his boat to the quay.
The beats of Vallenato music welcome the travellers, and already the locals start engaging the conversation for a potential lodging.
Where to stay in Capurgana
Capurgana is a hotspot for Colombians. They come per hundreds during Christmas and Easter holidays. Thus, there are many different accommodations.
- The Hostel La Bohemia is 5 min away from the center. It’s a friendly place where backpackers cook together at night. The house is made of wood and surrounded by dense vegetation | Dorms: 20 000 COP | Private room: 60 000 COP
- Hostel Capurgana is near the dock and one of the only hostels where you can pay by credit card. Breakfast and wifi | Dorms: 35 000 COP | Private room: 60 000 COP
- Luz Oriente offers rooms in front of the ocean. Some have a private balcony! There’s also a restaurant with a large choice of ice creams | Private rooms: 72 000 COP
- La Posada Del Gecko is a lovely hotel made of wood. Inside there is a courtyard where clients can relax and eat delicious meals | Private rooms: 80 000 COP
- Acuali is 15 min away from the center. This quiet hotel is in the middle of the jungle. It’s easy to spot monkeys and birds who try to eat the fruits of the garden. | Private rooms: 120 000 COP
- Kachikine is a cute hostel on Aguacate beach, 1 hour away from Capurgana | Dorms: 30 000 COP | Private room: 70 000 COP
From the dock, the principal street leads to the main square (which is also a football field). Some inhabitants have transformed their house into restaurants with a few tables, and plastic chairs to serve the Menu del dia for 10 000 COP. A little further, the Juice Lady sets up 4 blenders to offer delicious and cold beverages to passerby. The list of fruits is gigantic: Lulo, passion fruit, blackberry, strawberry, pineapple, mango, etc.
At the corner, the bakery sells, around 4 pm., warm donuts full of chocolate. They are amazing, but I think you develop diabetes if you eat two in a row.
In the direction of the beach, speedboats are aground the sand. An upscale hotel, hidden among palm trees, has built a swimming pool to attract wealthy Colombians. A few meters before the entrance, the restaurant Josephine is still closed. Each evening, they serve the best seafood in town.
At the end of the beach, three cabañas compete to create the best cocktails. They use coconuts as glasses, and the client can eat the flesh flavoured with the rum. People sit to drink and listen to music while they apply coconut oil on their legs and ankles to avoid being eaten by the sandflies. In the sea, a wood house stands up above the water. Kids jump from the balustrade, the bravest performing kickass tricks. On weekends, the place becomes a nightclub where locals dance Bachata, Reggaeton, and Salsa.
Where to eat in Capurgana
- The Arepa restaurant is situated on the main square (Football field). They serve delicious arepa | 15 000 COP
- Hernand Patacones is on the main street and they mainly cook seafood with coconut rice It’s my favorite restaurant | 18 000 COP
- The dock is in front of the dock. The clients of San Blas Adventure celebrate their first night in Colombia here. They serve delicious european breakfast | 12 000 COP
- Posada El Gecko is also a restaurant selling Italian Pizza | 30 000 COP
- Josephine is in the direction of the beach. They only serve seafood and it’s better to book in advance | 30 000 COP
In Capurgana, the afternoons are hot and humid. It’s more enjoyable to discover the surrounding with the freshness of the mornings. Trails begin from the village and fishermen use their boat to drive the travelers who don’t want to walk. The different excursions are without any danger and do not require local guides. Natural pools refresh the skins burnt by the sun and reefs offer many dive opportunities for the sea lovers.
There is a medium hike (1h30) to Sapzurro, the last village of Colombia before the border with Panama. On the way, travelers can appreciate the beautiful views of both towns. From there, there is an access to La Miel, a white sandy beach in Panama.
Things to do in Capurgana Colombia
- There are nice reefs around Capurgana and Sapzurro. The clarity of the water is excellent from April to September | 2 dives with Dive and Green: 210 000 COP
- Walk to the beach El Aguacate. There is a nice reef and the hike along the coast is fantastic | 1 hour
- Walk to Sapzurro (1h30) and enjoy the Tiburon beach. In town, there is a lady selling delicious homemade ice creams. You need to ask for Chila | Day trip
- The beach La Miel in Panama. There is also a duty-free shop where you can buy alcohol for cheaper | 20 min walk from Sapzurro
- Walk (30 min) to the natural pools La Cocarita. You have to pay for the entrance but it’s worth it | 2000 COP
- The finca El Trebol is on the way to the waterfall El Cielo. The owner is an old Colombian who built everything himself. It’s a lovely place where you can chill in hammocks and cool down in the river. They also serve delicious patacones and beers | 2 000 COP
- Hike 1h30 into the jungle to discover the waterfall El Cielo. The waterfall has nothing extraordinary, but it’s pleasant to swim in fresh water after the hike | 3 000 COP
In Capurgana, the daily life is simple. The travellers alternate between naps, fruit juices, cold beers, beach, snorkeling and waterfalls. As any Caribbean town, time doesn’t matter. There is no specific schedule (even for the immigration office), except for the siesta. Let yourself be carried away by the chill atmosphere, and enjoy a stay of 4-5 days in a fantastic place surrounded by the jungle of the Darien Gap.
It’s definitely off the beaten track, and you may not find it on lists of top places to visit in Central America, but it’s so worth the effort to visit!
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During his globetrotting trip, Thomas fell head over heels for Colombia and quickly realized that lots of the information about the country is either missing or not quite accurate for us travellers. Thomas then started his epic blog, Tomplanmytrip to help all travellers to discover the secrets of Colombia.