Satena (www.satena.com; tel. 1/605-2222) offers five weekly flights to Bahía Solano from Medellín, and less frequently from Bogotá. Fights are often canceled because of weather. Luggage is limited to 15 kilos.
There are speedboats twice a week between El Valle and Nuquí on Mondays and Fridays. The trip lasts about one hour and costs COP$65,000. Ask your hotel to arrange a pick up.
There are a few ATMs in Bahía Solano and El Valle, though they are frequently out of money, so make sure you bring whatever money you need with you. Several agencies in town offer a variety of tours, including deep-sea fishing, whale-watching, surfing, and hiking. I recommend Pacifico Tours (www.pacificotours.com; tel. 300/513-5916) in town, though most hotels in El Valle will also offer packages if fishing or whale-watching is what you are after.
During low tide you can walk to Playa Mecana ★ from town, though it’s quicker to take a boat there when the water is high (45 min., COP$60,000 per boat; ask at your hotel to set up). It’s a long, wild beach fringed with palm trees and is home to the 170-hectare nature reserve Jardín Botánico del Pacífico (www.jardinbotanicodelpacifico.org; tel. 321/759-9012), which includes patches of tropical rainforest, mangroves, and a native reforestation project. One-time Emberá hunters are now the guides and give tours (from COP$15,000) ranging from 2 to 9 hours on the four different trails. There are a few rustic cabins, plus packages with transportation from the airport.
Perhaps the most impressive national park—not to mention most accessible—on Colombia’s entire Pacific Coast, Parque Nacional Utría ★ is situated approximately halfway between Bahía Solano and Nuquí. The 54,000-hectare reserve is home to tropical forest, mangroves, and sheltered coves with untrammeled beaches where whales come to play. Several trails lead from the visitor center, the easiest being a wooden walkway over the mangroves. There are three nice wooden cabins (COP$200,000 per person, including meals and use of kayaks) on site, each with three rooms, which will allow you to stay in the park after closing to search for glow-in-the-dark fungi. From late July to October, Utría is one of the best places to see whales in the Pacific—you can occasionally see them right in the lagoon in front of the cabins.
Costs can add up coming here for a short trip, as transportation costs roughly COP$300,000 per person roundtrip, from either the Bahía Solano or Nuquí. Entrance is COP$37,500. The park is open daily 8am to 5pm. You can contact the visitor center (tel. 310/793-7664) for any additional information. They will even help you find a boat.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.