About us

Bocas del Atrato

We are a community of over 500 Afro-descendants who live and work in the heart of the mangrove forests, on the banks of the Atrato River. Our resources depend almost entirely on the mangroves, where we have learned to live sustainably. 

Our community has grown and developed since the 1960s, when families moved into the area from Choco and Antioquia in search of work and a peaceful life.  Since then more families have joined the community having been forced from their homes by the armed conflict in Colombia. Now we have peace in Colombia and in our region, we are working together as a community to create a better future for us and our children.

Together as a community, we realized over a decade ago that ecotourism is an excellent alternative for local development and improving our quality of life, while at the same time preserving our traditional activities and conserving the mangrove forests and the wildlife within them.

In recent years we have received training from expert biologists and ornithologists as well as specialists in hospitality and tourism to complement our own cultural and social knowledge of the area to ensure we offer the best possible experience to each of our guests. 

Guiding, food, transport, and accommodation services are all provided by our community’s Eco-tourism committee and organized in a way that ensures every member of the community working within tourism receives a fair share in the benefits.

We live a very simple organic life, based on the rhythms of our fishing community.   Our eco-hotel and village houses are unassuming wooden buildings; we wash in the river and pride ourselves on the cleanness of our belongings (and that goes for our beautifully laundered sheets and towels at our eco-hotel!)  You will find our warm welcome overcomes any need for luxury comforts.

How to get toBocas del Atrato

Bocas del Atrato is just 30 minutes by boat from Turbo (Antioquia) in the Gulf of Uraba.  You can either organise private transport in advance with the community or take the public services heading towards Unguia or Santa Maria del Darien which leave from Turbo each morning and will stop in Bocas on request. 

For groups of guests who would like to organize a private speedboat service to and from Turbo, the community can organize transport using our own speedboats which range in capacity from 4 to 30 guests.  This needs to be organized in advance.

The best way to get to Turbo from Bogotá is to fly to the nearest airport of Apartado (which is 31 km from Turbo).  There are also daily flights to Apartado from Medellin.  

Another way to get to Turbo is from Panama heading to the charming village of Capurgana in Northern Colombia.   From here you can take a boat to Turbo and onto Bocas.

What makes the Mangrove Forests ofBocas del Atrato so special?

Bocas del Atrato is a vast and beautiful complex of mangroves, rivers, creeks and bays whose geographic location brings together various unique qualities that have paved the way for the development of a stunning array of plant, bird, mammal and fish life. 

  • Stretching over 34,366 hectares on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, they are the entry point to the Darien Gap and next to the Choco region, two of the most biodiverse places on Earth.
  • The forests are bathed in an extraordinary quantity of fresh water from the Atrato River, with its headlands in the forests of the Choco region it receives more rainfall than almost anywhere else in the world.
  • Geographic location means the forests are important for the establishment, transit and interchange of plant, bird, mammal and aquatic life between North and South America, creating exceptional biodiversity.

All these factors combine to make this area one of national, regional and global importance.  

Community-based MangroveConservation through Ecotourism

Bocas del Atrato offers a warm welcome to our Afro-descendant community nestled on the banks of the Atrato River in the North of Colombia, in the heart of one of the most important and complex ecosystems on Earth.  With spectacular scenery, vast swathes of mangrove forest, crystalline lagoons and huge diversity of wildlife, staying with us offers you the chance not only to immerse yourself in the exceptional nature surrounding us, but also to learn about our culture and our way of life. Take the chance to step out of your daily life and experience how we live in peace with one another and in harmony with the mangrove forests we are proud to be guardians of.