“So… where is a good place to go in Colombia? Have any suggestions? I am looking for a place that does not have a lot of tourists.” My friend Angelica took her time to think about an answer. When it came to her, she showed me an amazing photo of a gorgeous beach and said one word, Capurgana. As I did a google search, I stared at the blueish green water amongst the white sands and said, “Oh yes! This is the next place to go” My good friend Angelica, was going to be an excellent guide. Not only was she pretty, but resourceful and very great and making things happen. At the same time, she loves relaxing, which means I trust her judgement.
Capurgana wasn’t actually our final destination. You see my friend was key to make sure we were not around tourists. Capurgana used to be the place that only Colombian tourists would go and stay. It was best known secret to Colombians. But the small town eventually built itself around tourism and now it is filled with backpackers galore and cheesy restaurants geared towards tourists. With a bit more research my guide and my friend found a small town named Sapzurro.
“Why Sapzurro?” I asked Angelica. “It is quiet and has beautiful beaches,” was her response with a big grin on her face, and she was not lying. Just a 15 minute boat ride from Capurgana, Sapzurro is a smaller and quieter town. Capurgana is great for backpackers, as you know my philosophy is to try to stay with the locals.
“So how do we get there?” was the next logical question for her. She responded, “We can fly into Medellin. To save some money we can take a bus ride for 9 hours to Turbo.” That is what we did, kind of. Two days after landing in Bogota, we took a flight to Medellin and took the bus ride to Turbo. This is how an amazing trip to a relaxing beach town began. The other option is to take an expensive flight ($250 USD per a person 1 way).
Getting to Sapzurro, the place we later dubbed as “Paradise” was not quiet easy. The first part of it was rough. Especially for my poor friend. You see Angelica and I were lucky. We were very lucky not to have eaten breakfast the morning we arrive in Turbo. If we had eaten breakfast, it probably would have ended up on the bottom of the boat to Sapzurro. We were definitely looking green after the first boat ride. It was a good thing our stomachs were empty.
Even worse is the amazing Angelica has a fear of vast bodies water. It did not help that the whole boat ride we sat in the front of the boat was extremely bumpy. The even more horrible part is that my friend sat on the outer side of the boat, which meant that she didnt quite enjoy being soaked by waves of water hitting her nearly every bump. It just made her fear more enhanced. When finally arriving to Capurgana, the rainfall make it cold and we were wet to our bones. Angelica was shaking, looking at me with her big brown eyes for some sort of warmth.
When we finally landed in the small village of Sapzurro, Angelica raced out of the boat and out of the rain into a small place to eat. We relaxed, and ate fish soup to start. The main dish was picuda, a fish from the region, with rice and plantain. A dog found a friend in me as he kept trying to sit in my lap. The very pet friendly Angelica found two friends in cats who she felt compelled to want to call cuties.
The next step, a place to stay. You see Capurgana and Sapzurro do not quite have web presence for looking up places to stay before hand. You see Sapzurro is on the border of the Darien Gap. The Darien Gap is a vast jungle area where the Pan American freeway ends on both the South and North American side. The jungle has claimed many lives here. This is the reason that the only way to get to Capurgana and Sapzurro is by bus. There are no roads to get there. You can’t book rooms easily before getting there. You kind of have to know the phone numbers before hand to pre book a room. Most people just arrive and find a place.
My friend decided to ask where the best place to stay is. She found a wonderful spot, a place with two different cabanas name Tacarcuna. The place had a beautiful garden and a nice open single room with 3 beds. We only needed one, and the place was on the path to La Miel. La La Miel is a small village on the Panama side with a beach known as Playa Blanca, a white beach with gorgeous waters. It is smart to bring your passport as they request it when walking over the border. The walk takes 20-30 minutes.
Martha, the host of Tacarcuna, is very nice and talkative. So talkative that Angelica and Martha became very good friends during the trip. Martha is very helpful and always brought us tea in the morning. The room had a fan and was very clean. And it had running water. The shower is cold water only. The place is one of the more expensive places in Sapzurro, but still cheap for most people outside of Colombia. (20 per a person per a night.)
Martha recommend a Pizzeria owns by a Swedish expat where we enjoyed some drinks and some pizza. The next morning it was a trek to find a great place to catch the sunrise. At this point I found the real reason I love Sapzurro. We came upon a great swimming spot and amazingly abandoned yet gorgeous beaches just to sit and watch the ocean. On our last few days we ate at a frenchman’s place where he served the three of us, Martha, Angelica and I of us beers. He is also made us custom meals for the two of us who are very health food conscious.
One of the drawbacks about Sapzurro, is that there is are not ATMs. The only ATM is in Capurgana, the cobble stoned small village. You can get to Capurgana by walking the path near the waterfall or you can take a 15 minute boat ride. The trek is a great exercise, but beware if it has rained recently. The only drawback is that the ATM is only for Bancolombia. If you do not have a card from there, then you can not withdraw. I would recommend pulling out money in Turbo, enough for the trip before leaving.
Over he next few days it was just pure relaxation. This place had become heaven. A great trip away from the rest of the world, and I had my friend to thank for it all. My friend and my guide, Angelica. If it was not for her we would have never come across this place. I thank her.
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