Pacific Region of Colombia
The Pacific region of Colombia is one of the five major natural regions of Colombia. Ecologically, this region belongs entirely to the Chocó Biogeographic Region and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. It also has areas with the highest rainfall in the world, with areas near Quibdo, Chocó reaching up to 510 inches annually.
The Pacific region of Colombia is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the West Andes to the east. To the north is the Darién Gap and the Serranía del Darién at the border with Panamá. The area mostly flat and covered by dense rainforest, rivers, swamps, and mangroves. The Baudó Mountains are a small, isolated range in this area along the coast. Gorgona Island is located off the southwest coast.
Politically, the region is within the following Colombian departments: Chocó, Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño.
Places to Go – Things to Do – The Pacific Region of Colombia
The richness of Chocó’s landscape, undisturbed by humans, can be overwhelming. This is the only department of Colombia that is lapped by the waves of two oceans: the Pacific and the Caribbean. Rivers abound here, as do National Parks: Utría, Los Katíos, and Tatamá are all located here. Chocó, founded in 1947, is known for its dark sand beaches.
The jungle is the unique backdrop of many experiences in Chocó; it entirely surrounds the beach and seems to want to extend into the ocean. Visitors should make time for bird watching, seeing humpback whales from Antarctica frolic in the water, walking on the beach, and swimming in waterfalls near the waves.
In Chocó, take the opportunity to distance yourself from the stress of civilization and get closer to nature. Dive and swim alongside colorful fish in Capurganá in the Caribbean, surf Nuquí’s big waves, or listen to the incredible sound of 40-ton whales jumping in and out of the water.
Cali’s cheerful nature is manifested in salsa, a Caribbean rhythm that is danced here among the sugarcane in its own unique way. In this city, nicknamed “Branch of Heaven,” the peaks of Cristo Rey, the hill of the Three Crosses, and the hills of San Antonio just upwards from the plains that make up most of Valle del Cauca.
Cali, founded in 1536, can be explored on foot: walk under the shade of trees along the riverbank, admire the architecture of churches and other national monuments, and visit the city’s many museums. In Cali, travelers can enjoy music festivals, learn about sugarcane farming, and take in the mountainous landscapes.
Salsa dancing may seem difficult, especially when it’s performed by master pairs and dance groups that have spent years perfecting their movement, coordination, and speed. There are numerous opportunities in Cali for tourists to try their hand at this energetic dance, as there are a number of dance academies and schools offering lessons tailor-made for beginners. The city has also earned a reputation as a major destination for shopping.
Look out upon the city of Buga from the terrace of the Basilica of the Lord of Miracles and you will see that the architectural style of the historic center, namely its meticulously tiled roofs, has been respected as the city has expanded. This city, a municipality of the department of Valle del Cauca, is surrounded by sugarcane crops and is part of the Network of Heritage Villages. The locals are proud of the town’s basilica, which houses an image of the Lord of Miracles.
The essence of Buga lies in is its historic center, where many 17th and 18th century buildings still stand. After walking through the heart of the town, visited twice by Simon Bolivar, you can add a few more nearby destinations to your itinerary: Lake Calima, where you can enjoy a wide variety of water sports, and Ginebra, a town famous for sancocho (chicken soup) cooked over a wood fire.
Buga is a site of pilgrimage thanks to an inexplicable phenomenon attributed for centuries to divine intervention: a crucifix that grew daily before the astonished eyes of a laundress. The town’s basilica was completed in 1907 to honor this crucifix. Today it is filled with faithful devotees, especially on the 14th of September, the Day of the Lord of Miracles.