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5 Must-Visit Reasons for Capurgana & Sapzurro in Colombia

Exploring the Hidden Gems of Colombia: Sapzurro and Capurgana

Colombia, a country known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, is home to numerous hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Among these treasures are the enchanting coastal towns of Sapzurro and Capurgana, nestled along the country’s border with Panama. Hemmed in by jungle-covered mountains and washed by fabulously azure waters, these idyllic, laid-back villages offer a unique escape from the bustling urban life. In this blog post, we will delve into the captivating allure of Sapzurro and Capurgana, highlighting why these destinations should not be missed during your Colombian adventure.

Street art showing the locations of Capurgana and Sapzurro | © Jose Gomez / Flickr
Street art showing the locations of Capurgana and Sapzurro | © Jose Gomez / Flickr

As part of the highly popular speed boat trips across the Panama-Colombia border, Sapzurro and Capurgana hold a special place. While serving as essential transit stops for travelers journeying between the two countries on the highly popular speed boat trips through the San Blas Islands in Panama (Panama to Colombia and Colombia to Panama3-day border crossing – Boat from Colombia to Panama), these towns offer much more than just a gateway. With their laid-back ambiance, warm hospitality, and breathtaking natural beauty, Sapzurro and Capurgana provide an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Laid-back vibes, bright colors and lush nature expects visitors to Sapzurro, Colombia.

5 Reasons why you Should Visit Capurgana & Sapzurro

1. Laid-back Coastal Town Vibes:

Step into a world where time slows down, and the worries of the modern world seem to fade away. Capurgana and Sapzurro exude a relaxed and tranquil atmosphere that is hard to find elsewhere. These coastal towns are nestled in the forgotten region of the Chocó, which is gradually emerging from its troubled past, making it an ideal destination for those seeking an authentic experience. Explore the vibrant local art scene and interact with the friendly locals who will warmly welcome you into their culture. The absence of cars, intermittent electricity, limited ATM access and relatively low number of tourists (except for high season in late December and January) contribute to the laid-back atmosphere that defines these coastal towns.

2. Excellent Hiking Opportunities, even Taking you Across Continents!

Being right on the edge of the Darien Gap, the largest and wildest remaining stretch of rain forest north of the Amazonas, the region surrounding Sapzurro and Capurgana is a haven for hiking enthusiasts. It offers a variety of breathtaking trails to explore. Here are some of our favorite hikes in the area:

  1. Jungle Hike between Sapzurro and Capurgana: This exhilarating hike takes you through the dense jungle, providing a stunning backdrop of lush greenery and wildlife. It’s a challenging but rewarding trek that offers incredible views along the way.
  2. La Miel Beach: Embark on a scenic hike from Sapzurro to the nearby beachfront village of La Miel, just across the Panama border. This trail offers the opportunity to explore a charming coastal village and enjoy the pristine sandy beaches and turquoise waters while crossing by foot into Panama! When do you ever get the chance to cross a continent by foot? There is great lunch options on the beach and a duty free shop. Bring your passports with you!
  3. Sapzurro Waterfalls: Take a hike to discover the mesmerizing waterfalls near Sapzurro. These hidden gems offer a refreshing escape and a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region.
  4. El Cielo Viewpoint: Our favorite hike from Capurgana. It provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including the sparkling waters of the bay and the lush jungles. It’s a perfect spot to capture stunning photographs and appreciate the beauty of the region.
3. Pristine Beaches and Seafood Delights:

Indulge in the ultimate beach getaway as you bask in the sun-kissed shores of Capurgana and Sapzurro. Here you can find some of the best beaches in the region, such as Cabo Tiburón in Sapzurro, the previously mentioned La Miel beach, or Playa Aguacate. As you explore the local culinary scene, treat your taste buds to the freshest seafood delicacies, savoring the flavors of the sea in every bite.

4. Incredible Snorkeling Experiences:

There is world-class snorkeling to be found here with some of the most well-preserved reefs in Colombia. Whether you’re a seasoned scuba diver or a snorkeling enthusiast, the vibrant marine life with sharks, turtles, and colorful fish and breathtaking coral formations will leave you mesmerized. There are several providers of snorkeling classes and tours here and plenty of options to rent equipment.

5. Gateway to San Blas & Panama:

Capurgana and Sapzurro have increasingly become hotspots for travelers seeking to cross the Panama-Colombia border by boat with an unforgettable trip through the picturesque islands of San Blas. The San Blas Islands are an idyllic archipelago consisting of 365 tropical islands, known for their pristine white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and vibrant indigenous culture. This picturesque paradise offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, tranquility, and cultural immersion for unforgettable island adventures off the beaten path.
You can learn more about these trips here: 3-days Speedboat from Panama to Colombia through the San Blas Islands and 3-days Speedboat from Colombia to Panama

Crossing a continent by foot: Looking down onto La Miel beach during the hike from Sapzurro to La Miel, Panama.

How to get to Capurganá and Sapzurro

Getting to Capurgana from Colombia:

Fly to Capurgana:
The quickest and most convenient way to reach Capurgana is by air. Several domestic airlines (e.g. https://www.pacificatravel.com.co/) operate regular flights from major cities like Medellín or Bogotá to the Capurganá Airport. The scenic flight takes you over stunning coastal landscapes, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the region from above.

Boat Journey from Turbo:
If you prefer a more adventurous route, you can embark on a boat journey from the town of Turbo. Regular boats depart from Turbo’s dock and take approximately 2-3 hours to reach Capurgana. This option allows you to enjoy panoramic views of the coastline and immerse yourself in the natural wonders along the way.

Boat Journey from Necoclí:
Another option is to travel by boat from the town of Necoclí, which is located further south along the coast. Boats depart from Necoclí and offer a picturesque voyage that typically takes around 3-4 hours. Be prepared for some waves and sea breeze, but the breathtaking scenery makes it all worthwhile.

From Capurgana you can charter a boat that takes you in ca. 10min to Sapzurro.

Getting to Sapzurro & Capurgana from Panama:

For those already in Panama, you can also access Sapzurro and Capurgana by crossing the border. Take a short boat ride from La Miel, a Panamanian beach village located just behind the hills from Sapzurro. Or, hike up the mountain to the border control station and walk to Sapzurro by foot (caution: this possibility might not always be available). Remember to check visa requirements and have the necessary travel documents for both countries.

Speed Boat Journey through the San Blas Islands:
For an extraordinary and picturesque journey to these beautiful border towns, consider taking a speed boat trip through the captivating San Blas Islands, such as this 3-day border crossing trip. Departing from various islands in the San Blas archipelago (Panama), these thrilling boat rides offer a unique opportunity to explore the stunning Caribbean landscapes while making your way towards Sapzurro & Capurgana and further into Colombia. Indulge in crystal-clear turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and vibrant marine life along the way.
As you traverse the San Blas Islands, your speed boat journey will eventually lead you to the charming coastal town of Sapzurro. From Sapzurro, it’s a short and scenic walk or a quick boat ride to reach Capurgana.

So where to stay - Capurganá or Sapzurro?

Sapzurro and Capurgana are both charming coastal villages in the northwest corner of Colombia, each with its own unique allure.

Sapzurro is known for its tranquility, its beautiful beaches and excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. It offers a more laid-back atmosphere and great hiking opportunities, for example to La Miel.

Capurgana, on the other hand, is a more developed town with a wider range of amenities and accommodations. It’s known for a comparably vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from, a lifely beach culture and it’s also a great base for exploring the nearby beaches and waterfalls.
Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your personal preferences and travel style and most visitors in the area opt to visit the surrounding attractions in both towns.

Let us know – have you already been to this region or are planning to? What are your highlights and memories?