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Capurgana Colombia – where the pace is slow, the water is warm, the livin is easy, the jungle is thick, the locals are kind, and the streets are colorful. This sleepy little Caribbean gem on Colombia’s coast is only accessible via air or sea, which makes it that much more charming to visit. There are no vehicles in town but horse-drawn carts, and hardly any English is spoken. It’s truly an authentic experience in this little village, and there’s quite a lot to do around the area, too.
I came into contact with Capurgana Colombia because of my San Blas islands tour from Panama to Colombia with San Blas adventures, and although at first skeptical of ending in such a random small village, I quickly understood that the charm of this place is even more reason to book a speedboat tour between the two countries.
Pin this guide to Capurgana Colombia!
Capurgana was a warm welcome to Colombia and a nice introduction to the simple way of life that they live in this coastal Caribbean village. It was a great to unwind from a few days on the islands and plan onward travel here with my new friends from the tour.
I was there in low season so it was quite empty, but from what I have heard the sleepy little town of Capurgana Colombia comes quite alive during the holidays – over New Year’s in particular. Capurgana is a holiday destination for Colombians themselves, who flock here whenever they get the chance. As I observed the quiet bars and beach venues, I imagined what they would look like over a holiday weekend when all the accommodations get booked out and the town comes alive. Whether you decide to visit in high season or low season, is totally up to you!
How to Get to Capurgana Colombia
Again, you can only get here via sea or air. I sailed here via a speedboat tour with San Blas Adventures – which I highly recommend as your way in or out of Capurgana!
There are a few flights a week from the teeny tiny little airstrip in town, to bigger Colombian cities Medellin and Cartegena. Other than that, you can take a bus from Medellin or Cartegena to Necocli, where you can catch a speedboat across the big bay to reach Capurgana.
La Cocarita Pools – in between holding onto the rope for dear life!
Things to Do in Capurgana Colombia
La Coquerita Pools
If you hike north from Capurgana’s beaches, you will find a lovely coastal track that follows the breaking waves along the hilly jungle. In about 30 minutes of scenic hiking, you’ll come to La Coquerita – a little hangout spot with some rock pools that harness fresh water from a stream, along with an ocean pool where you can hold onto ropes and play in the breaking waves below.
La Coquerita is a lovely place to spend a chilled out day relaxing in hammocks, sunbathing, and frolicking through the different pools of the area. The view is great and there’s local food there as well.
Hike to Sapzurro
Sapzurro is an even more quaint and colorful little beach town just over the hill from Capurgana; it could be a destination in itself! There’s a short hike – maybe an hour and a bit – to Sapzurro from Capurgana. Sapzurro has lots of cozy hammock hostels, a lovely white sand beach, some little restaurants, and even more trails to continue through the jungle.
Hike to La Miel
La Miel is a must-do when in the area. It’s lovely and scenic and although technically in Panama, you won’t actually have to stamp in and out of this remote little beach! It’s just over the hill from Sapzurro, so you can make one big trek out of the two if you would like. This is where you can see signs that point to Panama in one direction, and Colombia in the other. You can actually stand right on the line that divides the two countries, and technically be in two countries at once! Pretty cool.
Also, for those of you who aren’t quite hikers, you can also get here by boat and take in the incredible views without sore legs. Take your pick!
Lunch space at El Cielo
Horse drawn carts bringing supplies to El Cielo down the 6km beautiful walking trail
Another awesome hike in Capurgana is to El Cielo. You can reach El Cielo if you take the path right next to the airstrip and continue into the jungle – you can’t miss the signs! All along the walk there are colorful little signs with inspirational Spanish quotes. When you arrive, there’s a lovely chill space with a bar/restaurant area, and the jungle park!
Inside El Cielo you can chill inside a natural jacuzzi/pool, hike up to the top of a tall hill to get a fantastic viewpoint of the jungle (and all the way to the ocean!), explore and float near a little waterfall, and try out any of a few different hiking trails. Oh, and in true South America fashion, there are hammocks throughout! Enjoy a cool limeade on your way in/out, and enjoy the open space decorated with dreamcatchers and shell chains.
Street art in Sapzurro
Capurgana is also a very popular place to go scuba diving out in the pristine Caribbean waters. You can just go out on a few dives, or you can get your open water/advanced certification here!
If you walk the opposite direction from the village – south – you can reach another popular rocky beach called Aguacate. You can take a road from town, or you can scramble your way along the beach for nicer ocean views! There are lovely hotels, rentals, and resorts all along this walk, which I can only assume are very popular during high season.
Massages on the Beach
If all this hiking business is not for you, you can walk just a few minutes from the town and find the massage ladies hanging out on the beach outside town – they’ll be hard to miss! They may be busier on a beautiful and crowded day, but you can definitely get a turn to have a massage on the beach.
Fresh home made Tamales in Sapzurro
Capurgana Colombia Food and Nightlife
So here’s the situation. Capurgana has LOTS of food options all over town… but the food is really hit and miss. Some place turn out fantastic and some are, well, kindof what you would expect from a remote fishing village in the Caribbean only accessible by air and sea 😛 . In my time there I tried quite a few places, and here is what I found!
There are a few Italian restaurants in town – namely two next to each other – and these are good! Pizza is always a good bet, don’t ya think?!
If it’s open, the Dock has super reliable and yummy food! The Dock is the home base of San Blas Adventures, so if you’ve been on a tour you’ll end up here. They have a great menu.
No, this is not the name of a restaurant, but stay with me here. Remember that we are in a tiny dusty road village with horse drawn carts! On one of the main roads right past the Colombia immigration office (which you will need to go to if you have just arrived to Capurgana Colombia from Panama) there will be a little table outside a small stall near the road (with pictures of fruit and a colorful menu on the wall).
This table will have multiple tupperwares full of empanadas on it, which are being sold for 2000COP/about 75c USD each. These empanadas are GOOD. Many a morning/afternoon/evening when I didn’t feel like sourcing out another potential restaurant, I just went to the empanada lady. Two or three empanadas and you’ll be sweet – completely tided over until the next meal or even the next day! There are a few flavors depending on the day or her mood, and you can also get fresh fruit smoothies among other things.
Arepa at Restaurante Arca de Noe
Macondo Bar: Workspace in the afternoon, party place at night!
Restaurante El Arca de Noe
I stumbled upon this place and begged the lady for un desayuno (breakfast) when it was past 10:30 in the morning (societal norms for when we need to stop eating eggs… don’t get me started on this :P) Anyway, she happily made me a delicioso breakfast of an egg scramble with local cheese, bread, and arepa, and it was one of the best meals I had here!
Macondo Bar bridges the gap between daytime chill spot and night time venue! As a totally new spot, Macondo doubles as a hostel and rooftop bar. The rooftop is a lovely space with hammocks and chairs, with an open view of the sea. They have great happy hours with drink specials and snacks, and….*whispers* the best wifi in town. But it’s only the best if you arrive before happy hour and use it while no one else is there! I must say I was a happy little clam when I came here and realized I could actually upload photos to my website… the wifi in Capurgana is mediocre at best (but what else would you expect?).
Capurgana from up the beach where the Coco Locos are 😉
Coco Locos on the Beach
For a daytime thrill, head up the beach from the village and find the Coco Loco stands on the sand – you can’t miss them (they’ll be next to the massage ladies 😉 ) If you haven’t heard, coco locos are coconuts… filled with rum! They have different flavors and mixers and there’s no better way to enjoy a day in the Caribbean.
Bars and Discotecas on the Beach
In the exact same area as the coco loco stands, you’ll find a few beach bars and even a discoteca, which will be booming in the holiday season (but maybe quite the opposite during other times of year!). Depending on when you visit, you can join the party on the beach or simply enjoy a few drinks from these venues.
La Bohemia Hostel’s open air space.
Where to Stay in Capurgana Colombia
To truly unplug and enjoy a beautiful space with great company, check out La Bohemia hostel. It’s a bit removed from town and surrounded by jungle, and has a beautiful blue building surrounded by gardens and even a bonfire on some nights. There are quotes and art all over the place, and it’s a nice intimate setting to get away from it all. It’s very well priced and there is no wifi – but it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from Macondo bar!
La Luz de Oriente Hostal
You can’t miss this hostel when you arrive in Capurgana Colombia – it’s right along the water with red lanterns hanging along the balcony. This hotels is where a lot of my group stayed, and it had nice facilities with a nice location. The wifi and the food were a bit questionable but still functional!
This is right on the main strip and has good facilities and unbeatable location.
Capurgana’s little cobbled shops and streets
This was just along the water’s edge and had a great location and facilities for the price.
Acuali Eco Hostel
This hostel is about a 10 minute walk up the beach from the town, and is situated cozily in the jungl. It’s removed just enough to feel secluded but close enough to be in town within minutes. You’re also close to the coco locos!
Marked by lovely street art, Hector’s house is another village hostel with a nice common space and good facilities.
Some local children racing each other to the water along the seafront!
Resorts Along the Waterfront
When Capurgana Colombia comes alive with the holiday season, you best believe holiday makers from across the country will come looking for luxurious resort treatments along the waterfront! You can join them if you are there are the right time, or perhaps get a better deal in off-peak times. Check out these nicer hotels along the water:
Hotel Las Mananitas
This Hotel stands out along the water right outside of town. It has a massive and beautiful pool that is to-die-for!
Another centrally located hotel, Nautilos has a lovely pool and spacious rooms.
Cabaña Pura Vida
This small resort is also right on the waterfront, but a little bit more remove from the village bustle. There’s a big front yard and lots of space to chill.
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