Capurgana is perfect for travel, it is a small town in Colombia close to the border with Panama, surrounded by a jungle of the Darien Gap. It’s off the gringo trail, accessible only by plane or boat. Yes, there are no cars in this paradise it’s a hidden gem on the Colombian coast.
When we read about this place in the guide books and the internet we knew, we have to go there. Laid back, away from tourists, great for snorkeling. The most beautiful beaches I have seen in Colombia (plus Tayrona national park is one of them).
Who would say no to this place? It was exactly what we were searching for! If you want to find out what to do in Capurgana Colombia you should continue reading.
The most important thing to know is, that there are NO ATMs! Bring enough money with you! We brought enough but we planned on staying only 3 nights and we ended up staying 5, we almost ran out of it. Just bring enough and you won’t have to worry if you want to stay longer as well.
Electricity and wifi shortages are often, Capurgana and Sapzurro are very isolated from any other towns in Colombia.
How to reach there – Capurgana Colombia
This is a bit of a tricky part, you have only two options to reach this place: by boat or by plane.
You can go there with a tiny plane from Medellin or by a long and painful speed boat ride from Turbo or Necocli.
If you come by boat, you need to be in the Turbo port before 7 am, ask also in your hotel, they will help you. You leave the big backpacks in your hotel and take only small bags with you, otherwise, you will need to pay extra (you can have only 10 kg of luggage). We left them in our hotel in Turbo and we picked them up when we returned.
Bring or buy plastic bags (we saw a lady selling them outside the port in Turbo), you will need this to put your backpack in. Also, put all of your documents into water-resistant plastic covers, we didn’t, everything got soaked.
Don’t sit in the back (like we did) cause you will be soaking wet, by soaking wet I mean that water will be splashing on you all the time, it was in my nose, in my mouth, in my eyes. Also, don’t sit totally in the front, cause there you will be jumping up and down and you won’t be able to walk normally for the next two days because of the pain (the ride takes around 3 hours).
Bring sunscreen and something to cover, otherwise, the mix of salt and sun will burn you alive.
Where to stay in Capurgana Colombia
Places in Capurgana are a bit pricier than the prices you are used in other parts of Colombia. We were staying in a very nice place called La Posada del Gecko, located in the center of Capurgana. The place has lovely wooden cabins and a restaurant that works only in the evenings, they make delicious pizzas. We had a private room, with a shared bathroom and we paid COP 40.000 (11€;12,3$) each. You can also use the shared kitchen and make your meals.
What to do in Capurgana Colombia
We came there for 3 nights and we ended up staying 5. I think we would stay even longer, but we already had plans to meet our friends in Medellin plus we also ran out of money. Here is what to do in Capurgana Colombia:
Enjoy the beach and the town
This is what we did on our first day when we got there. Yo have a couple of wonderful beaches just a couple of minutes from the town.
If you get bored on the beach (which I doubt it), check out the town, observe the kids jumping to the water next to the port or locals playing dominos behind a plastic table, or try some delicious homemade food from the ladies with the food stalls.
Go diving or snorkeling
Capurgana and Supzurro have one of the best snorkeling and diving spots in Colombia, so if you have a chance, you should go for it! Unfortunately, we didn’t do snorkeling, cause the sea was a bit rough when we were there.
Take a walk by the coast – visit La Cocarita – Capurgana natural pools
The walk is breathtaking, it takes you just by the ocean all the way, we walked around 30 minutes one way. In the end, you have two natural swimming pools, with the view of the ocean, you can also relax in their hammock and order a drink. The entrance fee is COP 2000 (0,55€;0,6$) and you can stay there as long as you want, a nice guy is taking care of the property. If you don’t decide to enter, just the walk is also worth it!
Take a walk in the jungle – visit el Cielo waterfall
Another wonderful walk that you can do is to walk from Capurgana to El Cielo waterfall. We walked from Capurgana and it took us around one and a half hours to get there. You will cross some rivers (bring appropriate footwear), walk in the jungle, if you are lucky you can even see some monkeys or exotic birds. The waterfall itself isn’t very impressive but the walk there is, we loved it! You need to pay entrance, we paid COP 8000 (2,2€;2,5$) each.
Visit even more laid back Sapzurro
You also have an option to hike there, it is a great one day trip, the hike takes you thought the jungle and you have outstanding views of the beautiful ocean as well, you will walk around two hours one way, maybe a bit more. It can be hot and humid, so bring a lot of water and sunscreen that you don’t get burned.
You can also catch a boat to Sapzurro from the Capurgana fort, the drive will take around 25 min.
Sapzurro has some nice seafood restaurants, good ice cream, we also loved the beach there, it is even more chilled than Capurgana.
Go to Panama
The main transportation here is by boat, so it’s not a surprise that we went to Panama by boat as well. It’s quite easy, you can arrange the ride at the small port of Capurgana. I only recommend that you do the reservation one day in advance and maybe ask some people if they want to join as well, the more the cheaper. Don’t forget to bring your passport, there is a simple border checkpoint, they will check your passport, they won’t stamp it.
Would we come back?
Oh yes! Capurgana was one of the highlights of our Colombia trip. If you are strict on the budget traveler, this might be slightly more expensive for you, the boat ride is not cheap, we paid COP 90.000 (24,7€;27,7$) each – one way, also rooms are a bit pricier.
But you can still manage to save on other stuff, we found a place to stay, where we could prepare our own meals, it saved us some money. You have local stores with fresh vegetables, fruits, 3-liter bags of water (here we also saved plus it’s good for the environment) for cheap.