Traffic in the city of Medellín is not as bad as I feared when we came back to civilization from the Cauca region. I just have to be careful not to accidentally tie up one of the countless motorcyclists around me.
I found a commercial, secured parking lot not far from Olya Herrera National Airport. We park the car there and pack our things. We only stay in Medellín for one day, then we fly to Bahía Solano. The place is located on the Pacific coast of Colombia and no road leads there, because the vast jungle of Utria lies in between.
We spend two nights in an accommodation near the national airport of Medellín. There we get to know Larry and Kiara, with whom Uwe and I drink a few beers and engage in Colombian-Teutonic cultural exchange.
With a small propeller plane we fly from the local airport Medellín to the Pacific coast of Bahía Solano. We cross the area of Utria, a huge jungle without roads, but with many rivers and isolated villages of indigenous people.
The beach and the jungle are waiting for us!
We land on a runway near the small town of Mutis, where the luggage is handed to us directly from the plane. Then it’s a tuk tuk ride for an hour along a very broken path full of mud and potholes.
On a wheel halfway to the abyss, the tuk tuk fights its way past waters where caimans are watching us curiously (or hungry?).
The caimans are watching us
Drive through the forest to the coastal village of El Valle and then a little further to El Almejal beach. Our hostel is waiting for us there.
Hostal Utria is a beautiful bamboo construction near the beach. Spread over three floors, there are beautifully appointed rooms with enough privacy to feel comfortable and enough open space to feel part of the jungle. We can see straight across the pool to the bush.
On the roof terrace there is a kitchen for everyone and hammocks to relax in, while a few hundred meters you can see the waves breaking on the beach.
Jon and Katharina are lovely hosts. The pretty young woman takes care of everything and arranges tours for us. She also serves Leon on his first night at a bar. Her Austrian panache is a fun surprise in this remote part of the world.
Her husband Jon owns the facility and he’s happy to buy us a cane schnapps once in a while.
We drop off our stuff and jump into the Pacific. Leon is thrilled to have sand and sea under his feet again. The water is incredibly warm, although dark in color, the ocean stretches to infinity, and there are high waves and breaks.
We smell the mixture of the salty air of the sea and the floral aroma of a sea of tropical plants. Coconut palms grow on the beach, over which small crabs dart and tiny hermit crabs crawl in dark snail shells. Pelicans soar low over the waves.
There is a beach bar with food next to our hostel and we befriend directly Santiago, a former lawyer from Bogotá who runs everything here.
We use this bar extensively, eating fish and rice with patacones and drinking Club Columbiana while the sun goes down.
Beach, beer & Sunset – live is good
One evening when we were sitting in the restaurant near Santiago, the Belgian Pierre, whom we met in our tuk tuk, approached us. He says that baby turtles are being released into the wild on the beach. We jump up immediately, leaving Santiago in charge of our valuables, to run headlong for the water with Leon under our arms.
Baby turtles! And unforgettably experience.
Even for Leon
It is a touching sight to see the small reptiles on their arduous journey across the sand into the waves. There are people here who can locate turtle nests by hearing the sounds of hatching babies in the sand.
The sand is shoveled away and the little turtles can crawl into the water protected from predators on land. You can see the exertion of the little ones and those who reach the water are first rinsed properly. With a bit of bad luck, they have to cover most of the way all over again, while others use the power of the water to let themselves be carried into the sea. We wish the little ones all the best.
From the beach bar we go to the bar of our hostel, where there is music and a wide range of drinks. After Leon sleeps, Uwe, Sara and I finally have the opportunity to lead some social life again.
We can exchange stories and drink cocktails with the other guests until late at night.
We spent many days on the beach and walk it to the jungle end. A few hostels and cabins line this beach, but it’s not very busy. The sea is not very inviting for swimming as the water is shallow and the waves are very high. But it is perfect for surfers. If I had had time for myself, I would also take a surfboard.
Beach foto shooting
There is a lot to do for my camera. Be it the sunsets, the waves or the fauna and flora: there are always unique motifs. As we sit at Santiago’s again and drink beer, a group of young women appears who have just returned from swimming. I rush to them as they offer wonderful subjects against the setting sun. I am not disappointed, the women have a lot of fun and we take great photos together.
A paradise on the pacific ocean
We don’t just hang around on the beach. From El Almejal beach we can walk to El Valle for shopping. The village is small but has a few things to offer.
I also go on expeditions with Uwe. With a guide we explore the jungle and its dark denizens at night. Here we see numerous spiders, snakes and frogs.
In addition, we all go up the river together in a boat into the jungle. There we get to know the Embara people and spend a day in one of their villages.
On our last day, one of the “neighbors” happened to be celebrating his birthday. Even before that there was a lot going on in the bar and at midnight I go to the beach with the others. There is a bonfire burning, music is played and there is also dancing. It’s a nice way to end our stay in paradise on the Pacific Ocean before heading back to Medellín.