We spent a few days in Medellin which turned out to be a pretty nice city. It definitely had one of the biggest night life scenes I’d ever been to. On the 1st of July we headed to the airport to fly to Bahia Solano. We decided to fly because it was either a forty minute flight or 30hrs in a boat, as there are no roads to this area. The first town that we stayed in was called El Valle which is in the Choco region on Colombia’s pacific coast.
The flight left at 8.30am and was in a small plane that held about 30 passengers. As we were coming over the coast I started to get excited again. Although the cities we’d been to over the last week were nice, my heart is always in the water and on the coast. The scenery was incredible with waves breaking almost into the jungle. The entire west coast of Colombia is relatively undeveloped due to inaccessibility, the drug trades and the civil conflict that unfortunately is still a real issue in certain areas of Colombia
The Choco region that we visited is much safer, mainly thanks to a large military presence. Given the remoteness of this area there is little tourism and not much information out there on it. I prefer this type of travelling though as it gets us away from the typical backpacker that is just following the trail that so many people do.
Once we landed at the tiny airport, which looked more like a house, we got a ride for about 40mins to El Valle and to the Humpback Turtle hostel which was right on the beach. El Valle is a tiny fishing village with some of the best fishing in the world, amazing surf and dense jungle that reaches right to the sea. As soon as we arrived there was an awesome beach break straight out in front. I was starving so we had lunch and then I went out for a surf. The surf changes quickly here as the tides are massive. While we were having lunch we saw about 5 whales breaching just off the coast. Already this was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever been.
There were three guys from the US, and one from Germany and everyone else were the locals. The first night we just had some beers and chilled out with everyone. In the morning the surf wasn’t great but as the tide came in it turned on and it was so good. I was out for about 5hrs and only came in because I could feel myself getting really sunburnt.
The backdrop when I was sitting out in the surf was incredible. There was just the beautiful blue water, sand and jungle. The food in the area was really good too. Given its location, the main ingredient is almost always fish but I don’t mind because its fresh and real tasty.
The following day we got up early to go walking to a waterfall. It reminds a bit of Sumatra with the jungle, tropical rain and intense humidity. The walk to the waterfall was a lot like the one in Sumatra too, as the walk was pretty hard going! Once we got there it was really nice and good to cool off. We went to two waterfalls and then went fishing with our local guide. Unfortunately we only caught one fish so it was a good thing we had more food. After lunch our Colombian guide scaled a coconut tree and knocked a heap down for us to drink and eat. Later that day when we got back to the hostel we saw some more whales straight out front.
The next day was a chill out day as there wasn’t much surf and it was raining. We were pretty lucky with the weather really, as the Choco region is one of the wettest areas on earth. Some parts get more than 10m of rainfall a year! Even with all that rain though, it usually just rains in the morning and night with the sun out during the day
We did see some more whales out front which was cool, they were there every day!
The following day we were up early to head back into Bahia Solano to meet our boat. The wheel on the jeep almost came off so it took us a long time to get into town but we made it eventually. We met up with Carlos and Geoff who were taking us south to a reef break called Pico De Loro and somewhere to stay for a few days. There were also two Colombians that were helping with the trip and a guy from the US. Once we were loaded up we headed off. It took about 2.5hrs to get to the surf break. We saw heaps off whales on the way and got within about 10m of a couple. It was incredible how many whales there are in this area at this time of year.
We had all been watching a big swell moving up the coast from Chile for about a week so we knew there was going to be waves, but we were still blown away by what we saw when we arrived. The break looked perfect, with massive barrels breaking over a rocky reef. We were in the water so quickly, but took our time actually catching some. It was the gnarliest surf I’d ever been in but it was all time and there was cheering coming from everywhere, even when no one was on a wave. It was even more incredible to have the wave all to ourselves
The guy from the US was in a surf kayak which we thought was even more crazy and he got some huge waves. We all wiped out at different stages but we also got the waves off our lives. Although most waves rolling through were about 6-8 ft. there was some monsters that would have been well over 10ft and when it was barrelling like it was, that’s pretty scary!
We surfed until dark and then headed to a little village near Nuqui where we stayed. The house we stayed in was beautiful and right on the beach. After a few beers and a huge day we all crashed out. The following day we were up early and keen to get back to the break. It’s about a 30min boat trip from the house to the break. On the way we saw some huge waves breaking and new straight away that it was even bigger!! When we got there, we were right! It wasn’t a lot bigger but definitely bigger. Once again we got some of the best waves of our lives.
After a few hours there was a massive freak set that caught us all off guard and mowed us down so we were all ready for a break after that.
The guys in the boat had been fishing while we were surfing so we made some delicious ceviche (which is fish cooked only in lemon juice) for lunch on the rocky shoreline
We had a coconut each and after a quick rest it was back into the surf. The surf was a bit bumpy in the arvo but I still managed to get the best wave I’d caught so far. The whole time we were in the boat or the water we saw more whales which just kept topping off this paradise on earth. That night I was exhausted so after a tasty dinner I crashed out.
In the morning we went back to the break for one last surf. It was much windier but still big so it took longer to get there in the boat. After just a few waves we decided to head back, as the surf wasn’t holding up very well. On the way back we cleaned up fishing with 3 tuna and 4 trevally.
After a big feedback at the house we headed back to Bahia Solano. On the way we had some more whales only meters from the boat. We found some more surf breaks on the way back that were really good but we were all exhausted and didn’t surf again.
Thanks to my amazing girlfriend we got some perfect photos, and thanks to Geoff I had some of the best surfing in my life. We were questioned by so many as to why we were going out to Colombia’s pacific coast, but as it turned out it was one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to. It really is paradise!
Now we’re off to Cartagena and back on the gringo trail.
From Scotty Bucko’s blog: http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/scotty.bucko/1/1380253984/tpod.html