Bahía de Solano vs. Nuquí: A Traveller’s Dilemma in Colombia’s Chocó

The Pacific coast of Colombia is a relatively uncharted territory for many tourists, a mystical stretch where the Pacific Ocean kisses dense tropical forests. Among the many gems hidden here, Bahía de Solano with its town El Valle and Nuquí are two destinations that stand out. Yet, deciding between the two can be a challenge for any traveler. Let’s dive deep and compare them on various grounds to find the perfect spot for your next escapade.

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Bahia de Solano or Nuquí - Which of the two places has more to offer?

Bahia Solano vs Nuqui

1. Getting There:

  • Bahía de Solano/El Valle: The José Celestino Mutis Airport in Bahía de Solano caters to daily flights from Medellín. There’s no direct road connecting the town to the interior of Colombia, making flights the most convenient way. Boats can also be a way, but it’s a longer, albeit more adventurous route.

  • Nuquí: Nuquí’s Reyes Murillo Airport welcomes travelers with frequent flights from Medellín. Like Bahía, there’s no direct roadway, so flights remain the predominant choice.

Verdict: Both destinations have similar accessibility, primarily via air from Medellín. The choice here boils down to personal convenience.

2. Activities in Bahia dre Solano and Nuqui

Nuqui and Bahia de Solano
  • Bahía de Solano/El Valle:

    • Whale Watching: Between July and October, humpback whales visit the bay, offering a mesmerizing spectacle.
    • Fishing: The town has a strong fishing tradition; thus, fishing trips are a must-try.
    • Playa El Almejal: A black-sand beach, ideal for relaxation and surfing.
    • Waterfall excursions: The region has numerous waterfalls, with “El Tigre” being the most renowned.
  • Nuquí:

    • Thermal Springs: The hot springs near the village of Termales are a unique attraction.
    • Surfing: Cabo Corrientes has strong waves, perfect for surfing.
    • Trekking: The Utría National Natural Park is a biodiverse region for trekkers and nature lovers.

Verdict: Both places offer a diverse range of activities. While Bahía leans more towards marine experiences, Nuquí has a mix of sea, thermal activity, and trekking.

Where is it better to go whale watching?

Whale watching

Whale watching is a popular activity on the Pacific coast of Colombia, particularly in Bahía de Solano and Nuquí, as both destinations are frequented by humpback whales between July and October. These majestic creatures migrate to the warmer waters of the Colombian Pacific to mate and give birth. Given the proximity of the two locations, the whale-watching experiences can be quite similar, but there are still some nuances worth noting.

Bahía de Solano/El Valle:

  • Pros:
    • Bahía de Solano is less frequented by tourists, making for a more intimate and less crowded whale-watching experience.
    • There are specific points like Playa El Almejal where whales often come close to the shore, providing an unforgettable spectacle.


  • Pros:
    • Nuquí, especially around the area of Cabo Corrientes, has established itself as a top whale-watching destination. Several eco-lodges and tour operators specialize in whale-watching excursions.
    • Given its slight edge in tourism infrastructure for this activity, there might be a broader range of options for guided tours, complete with expert commentary on the whales and their behaviors.

Verdict: The choice largely depends on your preferences. If you’re seeking a quieter, perhaps more raw and personal experience, Bahía de Solano might be the choice for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a place with more established whale-watching tours, Nuquí may be more suitable.

Remember that while both places provide ample opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring humpback whales, sightings are nature-dependent and can never be guaranteed. It’s also important to choose responsible tour operators that adhere to guidelines to ensure the whales are not disturbed, ensuring sustainable and respectful tourism.

3. Accommodation in Nuqui and Bahia de Solano:

  • Bahía de Solano/El Valle: The accommodation here ranges from basic hostels to mid-range hotels. While you won’t find ultra-luxurious resorts, the places offer a genuine, unspoiled experience.

  • Nuquí: Nuquí, being slightly more popular among tourists, has a broader range of accommodation. You can find ecolodges, boutique hotels, and hostels, giving travelers more choices depending on their budget.

Verdict: Nuquí takes a slight edge due to its variety of accommodations, suitable for both budget travelers and those seeking more comfort.

4. Beauty and Surroundings:

  • Bahía de Solano/El Valle: The region is characterized by its black and golden sand beaches. The juxtaposition of the ocean, dense rainforest, and dramatic cliffs make it an excellent destination for nature lovers. Moreover, El Valle is relatively lesser-known, so it promises an off-the-beaten-path experience.

  • Nuquí: The region is home to pristine beaches, mangroves, and rainforests. The Utría National Natural Park is a gem that showcases the biodiversity of the region.

Verdict: It’s a tie. Both regions have unparalleled natural beauty, offering authentic experiences. Your preference might be influenced by whether you seek more isolation or a slightly more explored, yet equally beautiful setting.


Both Bahía de Solano/El Valle and Nuquí present the allure of Colombia’s untouched Pacific coast. Your decision depends on what you’re looking for:

  • Choose Bahía de Solano/El Valle if you desire a raw, off-the-beaten-path experience with an emphasis on marine activities and beautiful, less frequented beaches.

  • Opt for Nuquí if you’re looking for a mix of terrestrial and marine activities, with slightly more accommodation options and the added bonus of thermal springs.

In the end, no matter where you decide to plant your feet, the Chocó region promises an unforgettable journey filled with nature’s wonders, warm locals, and memories to last a lifetime. Safe travels!

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