Bocas del Atrato

Eco-tours

Ecotourism in Bocas del Atrato really does make a difference.  Your visit will enrich you as our guest with a wealth of natural and cultural experiences.  It will also directly contribute to our community as we work together to bring peace and stability and improve our living conditions.  It will also directly help us in our vital work to ensure the conservation of the mangrove forest for us and future generations.   

OurActivities

You can choose from a range of activities during your stay with us.  Here are some of our favourites:

  • Together with your local guide gently paddle through a network of narrow creeks surrounded by spectacular mangrove forests and discover the five different kinds of mangrove; Red, Black, White, Tea and Bottom Mangroves.
  • Observe some of the rare and beautiful birdlife of our mangroves including the Sooty-capped Puffbird (Bucco noanamae), found nowhere else on earth and the critically endangered Saphire-bellied Hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae)
  • Visit sites with your community guide identified as offering good chances to see endangered species like the Manati (Trichechus manatus) at certain times of year.
  • Search the canopy of the forests with your guide to try and spot Red Howler Monkeys (Alouatta seniculus), Cotton-top Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus), Three-toed Sloths (Bradypus) and giant Iguanas
  • Try your hand at artisanal fishing in the company of local fishermen who will share with you traditional techniques used for generations in the Gulf of Uraba.
  • Swim in the crystalline waters of one of the lagoons within the forests or one of the tranquil bays nearby.
  • Learn about our community’s culture of storytelling, traditional dance and drums and enjoy the experience of cooking some delicious local cuisine (if you have been out fishing, with your own catch of the day!)
  • Learn some traditional crafts with Carmen from our community.
  • Visit our beehives and take home some mangrove honey
  • Simply relax in our hammocks whilst soaking in life on the river and watching one of our amazing sunsets.

Our Day Tours

Bahía Marirrío, a natural destination

mangrove water and sky2

A beautiful salt water bay surrounded by mangroves with a large population of oysters and a large diversity of seabirds.  This day tour offers a wonderful chance to experience the mangroves and beautiful coastal habitats and in some times of the year you can be lucky enough to see dolphins here.

To take advantage of this excursion we recommend an early start as we set off accompanied by one of the community guides travelling by motorised canoe through areas of mangrove forest to the south of the community.  Enjoying the wonderful scenery of the mangroves as we travel through.  The journey takes around one hour each way.

Once we get to the bay it offers a chance to explore in the motorised canoe the edges of the mangrove forests, enjoy some swimming and snorkelling to see some of the underwater life, and the amazingly intricate system of mangrove roots below the waterline.    For those who would like to we can organise for you to have an artisanal fishing lesson with one of our local community fishermen.   

La Sabalera a majestic tour

Mangrove walkway

Get to know and enjoy the culture and gastronomy of one of the most biodiverse regions of Colombia; Navigate the Atrato River and participate in activities such as endemic bird watching, and a visit to the Afro-descendant community of Bocas del Atrato.

Leaving the Caño Coquito farmhouse, we will navigate the impotent Atrato River towards the Maratrato area, where we can observe its great natural wealth including its large areas of arracachales. In this tour we will observe different birds that rest in the sedimentation areas in the delta of the River. We will stop to observe endemic birds of the area such as the bobito (Bucco noanamae) and many colorful birds.

Following the route on the left side, we can skirt the mangrove ecosystem until we reach the Bay of Desires where we will stop to enjoy the sea breezes. On this tour we can see various species of fish and other birds that frequent the shores of the sea.

After a break, we will continue the route, bordering the mangrove ecosystem where we can see the sedimentation of the mouth and areas of aquatic grasslands that are predominant at the mouth of the streams. We will enter through a pipe that will take us to La Sabalera, where we will be able to observe birds that are more frequent in the inner part of the forest.

If we are lucky we could see the howler monkey or simply hear its extreme voice from the inside of the woods.

La sabalera is a place to have contact with nature and be able to admire its fauna and flora, enjoying its calm, clear and mysterious waters. There, there will be the opportunity for a pleasant bath, amid the noises, aromas and colors of nature.

Maderatrato mysterious and diverse

Bocas del Atrato

Discover the former location of the facilities of the timber company, where there are several abandoned and dilapidated houses, an area adjacent to the hamlet that contains a relic of land immersed in the mangrove swamp.

This scenario, with a mysterious and exciting atmosphere, is perfect for bird watching, reptiles and, if you are lucky, some mammals in the area.

To get to this area it can be done through a rowing canoe navigated by one of the local experts of the community, making the journey through the mangroves to be able to closely observe the seabirds and go in search of the enigmatic bobito ( Bucco noanamae) on the mangrove trail on the way to Maderatrato.

Our favourite placesto visit

  • La Sabalera
  • Marirrio
  • Caño Chilapo
  • Bahia de los Deseos
  • Madera Atrato

A small lagoon of crystalline waters surrounded by lush vegetation that makes for a perfect spot for swimming and snorkelling to see the intricate root systems of the mangroves.  You can reach this lagoon on foot from the village at the end of the mangrove trail. 

  • Good place to see the endemic Sooty-capped Puffbird as well as seabirds including the Magnificent frigate and Rosette Spoonbill
  • Swimming

A beautiful salt water bay with a large population of oysters and a large diversity of seabirds and in some times of the year you can be lucky enough to see dolphins here.

  • Bird watching
  • Artisanal fishing with local fishermen
  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling

Pipe created by hand for extraction of wood (coal). Used as a tourist trail to transport people in rowing boats to the Bay of Desires. Route used to observe birds.

  • Bird watching
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling

An area classified as special by the community, pleasant, quiet and good to enjoy the north-south breezes and observe the mangrove ecosystem and its birds.

  • Beautiful sunset
  • Swimming in crystalline waters

Relict of the mainland immersed in the mangrove swamp (where the logging companies' camps were formerly). Here you can find endemic species such as Bucco and some snakes.

  • Practical Information :

Use comfortable cotton clothing, sun glasses, water shoes or tennis shoes that you can use in water and a sun hat or cap.

Bring your swimming costume, sun cream, insect repellent, torch, towel and extra money in small denominations.

Please don’t leave rubbish with us and take back with you any plastic bottles and any other items that cannot be recycled within the community

Ouraccommodation

Ecolodge

Accommodation is simple but comfortable in our community owned and run Eco-Hotel which has a capacity for 24 guests.  The rooms are dorm style rooms with a capacity ranging from 4-8 beds.  All beds have mosquito nets and sheets and towels are provided.  Separate male and female bathrooms with indoor showers.

Family Home Stay

Five families within the community are able to take guests to stay with them as a home stay, offering a truly authentic experience.  With a total home stay capacity of 22 guests our five host families are able to accommodate between 3 and 7 guests depending on which family you stay with.

  • Tour package 1
  • Tour Package 2

ExperienceCommunity Life

  • 3 days– 2 nights

A complete cultural emersion experience that will allow you to disconnect from daily life and experience the world at a different pace in one of the most beautiful and complex ecosystems on earth. 

Enjoy, learn and discover in the heart of the mangrove forest.

Disconnect from daily routine and enjoy a complete cultural emersion experience in the heart of the mangrove forest. Staying as our guest within the community this program is designed to take you beyond the bounds of ordinary tourism.  It will allow you to experience sharing our simple but joyful way of life and gain a deeper understanding about living in harmony with the natural world that surrounds us.        

We are proud of our culture and want to share it with our guests.   Your stay with us will allow us to share our story.  It will also give you the chance to learn new skills, like artisanal fishing techniques passed on through generations of fishermen, cook local dishes (with your own catch if you wish!), learn to create handicrafts from seeds and pods, we will even pass on our secrets of how we manage to get our pots so incredibly shiny and our white clothes so immaculately clean! 

Our trained local community guides will show you how our mangrove forests are vital ecosystems, not only for the exceptional biodiversity they support, but also for the host of services and goods, critical to the well-being of our community that they provide.  Sharing their knowledge and passion to ensure you have a memorable experience during your time as our guest.

You will take the public speedboat from Turbo, to arrive to Bocas around noon.   Upon arrival your guide will be waiting for you and take you to your accommodation*, which will be your home for the next two nights. Some time to relax and freshen up before meeting up at the dining area where you will enjoy your first taste of some of our delicious local cuisine.

After lunch we take our first excursion to a small lagoon with crystal clear waters surrounded by lush vegetation that makes it a wonderful place to swim and snorkel to see the intricate root systems of the mangroves and the perfect introduction to visiting Bocas del Atrato.

One of the highlights of this area is the chance to see the Bobito (Bucco noanamae), found nowhere else on earth, and the critically endangered Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae). Upon reaching the lagoon you have the opportunity to swim and snorkel. The crystal clear waters here give the opportunity to see the incredible and intricate root systems of the mangroves underwater.

A beautiful saltwater bay surrounded by mangroves with many coastal seabirds. At some times of the year you may be lucky enough to see dolphins in this place.

This trip lasts about an hour one way one hour back, through the beautiful landscape of the mangroves. The bay itself has a large population of oysters and a great diversity of seabirds, in this visit you can learn about the traditions of the fishermen of the local community about some of the artisanal fishing techniques used in the Gulf of Urabá for generations . You can choose to catch and release if you wish (or skip the activity entirely and just enjoy swimming and snorkeling in this beautiful setting).

Some time to swim, snorkel, and soak up the scenery in this beautiful coastal habitat.

On this last morning, after the visitor has already known the wonderful organic and relaxed way of life within the community, they can take advantage of this unstructured space and carry out some of the additional activities.

Wildlife Highlights ofBocas del Atrato

  • 3 days – 2 nights

Experience the stunning array of biological riches found within the vast swathes of mangrove forests of Bocas del Atrato, one of the most beautiful and complex ecosystems on earth.

Enjoy, learn and discover in the heart of the mangrove forest.

The vast complex of mangroves, rivers, creeks and bays that comprises Bocas del Atrato are located between the Darien Gap and the Choco region, two of the most biodiverse places on earth.  This makes for a stunning array of plant, bird, mammal and fish life in one of the most beautiful and complex ecosystems on earth.  

During your time with us you will have the chance to paddle through a network of narrow creeks and see the five different kinds of mangrove found here.  You will have chance to observe some of the rare and beautiful birdlife of our mangroves including the Sooty-capped Puffbird (Bucco noanamae), found nowhere else on earth and the critically endangered Saphire-bellied Hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae). 

Together with your local community guide you will spend time searching the canopy of the forests to try and spot Red Howler Monkeys (Alouatta seniculus), Cotton-top Tamarin (Saguinus oedipus), Three-toed Sloths (Bradypus) and giant Iguanas, and if luck is on your side, you may even see the endangered Manati (Trichechus manatus)

We also want your time with us to include some time getting to know us as a community.  We are the proud guardians of the mangrove, and we want your time with us to include the chance to get to know us too, to share our way of life and some of the challenges we face in conserving this amazing ecosystem for future generations.     

You will take the public speedboat from Turbo, to arrive to Bocas around noon.   Upon arrival your guide will be waiting for you and take you to your accommodation*, which will be your home for the next two nights. Some time to relax and freshen up before meeting up at the dining area where you will enjoy your first taste of some of our delicious local cuisine.

After lunch we take our first excursion to a small lagoon with crystal clear waters surrounded by lush vegetation that makes it a wonderful place to swim and snorkel to see the intricate root systems of the mangroves and the perfect introduction to visiting Bocas del Atrato.

One of the highlights of this area is the chance to see the Bobito (Bucco noanamae), found nowhere else on earth, and the critically endangered Sapphire-bellied Hummingbird (Lepidopyga lilliae). Upon reaching the lagoon you have the opportunity to swim and snorkel. The crystal clear waters here give the opportunity to see the incredible and intricate root systems of the mangroves underwater.

System of 3 swamps surrounded by native species: arracachal, pangalal and hyacinth.

You can see large reptiles such as alligators, as well as birds, also mammals such as otters and with luck and much stealth manatees and jaguars.

Islets as a center of rest for fishermen. The islet of the tip of Matuntugo: An area that was formed by sediments and today can present up to two hectares of mainland floodable by sectors at high tide. There many seabirds and some reptiles frequent as a resting area.

The beach area between Punta de Pavas and the Matuntugo military base can have between 3 and 4 kilometers of beach that is constantly washed by the highest tide. In it it is common to observe different footprints of some nocturnal mammals such as the guagua.

A beautiful saltwater bay surrounded by mangroves with many coastal seabirds. At some times of the year you may be lucky enough to see dolphins in this place.

This trip lasts about an hour one way one hour back, through the beautiful landscape of the mangroves. The bay itself has a large population of oysters and a great diversity of seabirds, in this visit you can learn about the traditions of the fishermen of the local community about some of the artisanal fishing techniques used in the Gulf of Urabá for generations . You can choose to catch and release if you wish (or skip the activity entirely and just enjoy swimming and snorkeling in this beautiful setting).

Some time to swim, snorkel, and soak up the scenery in this beautiful coastal habitat.