City Guides

Explore the Unexpected Beauty of Colombia’s Pacific Coast

Black sand beaches, rainforests, and waterfalls are the highlights of a trip to the beautiful Pacific coast of Colombia.

Often overlooked in favor of the country’s better-known Caribbean coastline, the somewhat wild, untamed Pacific coast of Colombia nevertheless sparkles with gems for travelers who venture to explore it. 

Along soaring ocean cliffs, hidden waterfalls, rainforests, and black sand beaches, Colombia’s Pacific coast offers up a diverse array of natural attractions.

Buenaventura. The largest city and busiest port on Colombia’s Pacific coast, Buenaventura is a convenient and popular launch point from which to explore the area. Regular water taxis depart from the pier in Buenaventura to Juanchaco and Ladrilleros. 

Playa de Ladrilleros. Glistening black sand beaches backed by towering cliffs offer expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. Even if you could somehow overlook Ladrilleros’ distinctive appearance, there’s no mistaking Playa de Ladrilleros for the tranquil Caribbean coast. Carved out by millions of years of waves crashing into their walls, these cliffs testify to the power of the Pacific Ocean.

From Ladrilleros, you’ll need to rent a boat to check out the most interesting spots along the coast. But far-flung, secret destinations like Juan de Dios and Bahia Malaga are well worth the journey. 

Juan de Dios. With no electricity, no crowds, and white sand beaches, Juan de Dios is a great place to unplug and relax. There are a few places to stay on the island. Accommodations are appropriately rustic for such an isolated, though beautiful, setting—most feature a basic shelter and hammock.

Bahia Malaga. This remote bay, protected from the Pacific Ocean, is a stunning tangle of rainforests, meandering estuaries, and waterfalls. Rent a kayak and paddle your way deep into the jungle, exploring a coastline of incredible natural diversity. Every year, starting in mid-summer and lasting through the fall, this bay is visited by thousands of migratory humpback whales who return to give birth, making for an unforgettable experience.

La Sierpe. Tucked away inside the untamed rainforests of Bahia Malaga are Cascadas La Sierpe, a beautiful series of hidden waterfalls and freshwater springs that are perfect for a refreshing swim.

With so much to explore along just this limited stretch of Colombia’s Pacific coast, you could easily spend a couple of weeks here. But even if you only have a few days, this area is worth the visit. Despite its seeming remoteness, it is only a four-hour bus or car ride from Cali. 

Adventure seekers looking for quality, local accommodations should checkout Lifeafar’s premium apartments in the most authentic Colombia city, Cali. Then follow us on Instagram for more travel inspiration and ideas.

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