Are you thinking of traveling to Capurgana from Medellin?
In this guide, I’m going to show you exactly how to go from Medellin to Capurgana via public transport in Colombia.
In reality, there are only two ways to get to Capurgana from Medellin. Although one way is much more efficient than the other, it’s likely that you’ll take the scenic route and go by land and sea.
Capurgana is a location in Colombia that is becoming popular as an ecotourism destination.
However, because of the lack of infrastructure, many travelers don’t make it here.
Not just because of that thought, but, I believe there is not much information about it and how to get here.
If you are looking for more off-the-beaten-track locations in Colombia, Capurgana is a superb choice.
Getting to Capurgana From Medellin
Geographically, Capurgana is located in the Choco department, which if you know anything about travel in Colombia, is not the most accessible region to get to.
Due to the lack of roads, if you want to get to another tourist destination in Choco you have to take a private plane avioneta from the airport in El Poblado.
However, if you’re looking for the best places to visit in Colombia and want to get off the tourist trail, you’ll have a unique type of experience.
Many backpackers and travelers who I have spoken to, have yet to explore this unique area of Colombia.
This leads me to say that Capurgana is a great entry point to the region and you can get here without taking a plane.
Medellin to Capurgana Map
See the map below to acquaint yourself with the journey. If traveling by land it takes around 10 hours to get to the port town of Necocli.
On arrival to Necocli, you’ll need to take a boat which takes around one hour and it’s best that you arrive there first thing in the morning.
There is not really much to see or do in Necocli, so I wouldn’t recommend staying here, but if you time your trip right there’s no reason to stay.
The idea is to hang around for a couple of hours while you wait for your boat or the bus to get back to Medellin.
So to start your journey, you’ll need to get down to Medellin’s north bus terminal.
You can easily get here by Metro or by Taxi.
If traveling by Metro just remember you’ll need to get off at the Caribe station.
Note that there are 2-3 bus companies that offer the service to Necocli.
Where this otherwise straightforward journey can get complicated, is when the companies say they don’t release the tickets until a few days before departure.
I found this quite strange so had to go back to the station twice to guarantee my ticket.
The important thing to remember when booking your ticket to Necocli is that you go for a night bus.
Preferably one that leaves at around 9 pm.
Due to the misinformation that was given by the bus company when I returned to the station for the second time, I had no choice but to go for a slightly earlier bus.
Medellin to Necocli Ticket Advice
So the round ticket to Necocli and back Medellin cost me $140,000 COP. I recommend not buying your return ticket until you arrive in Necocli.
At the bus station, I wasn’t able to pay by credit card, unfortunately.
However, on the way back I managed to pay by card at the office in Necocli, this freed up some more cash for me to spend in Capurganá.
Don’t rely solely on this payment method if you don’t have much cash.
If the systems go down or something like that you’ll need cash to buy your return ticket.
Arriving in Necocli
After the 10-hour bus ride from Medellin, I arrived in Necocli at around 6:00 am. It was still dark and my boat ride was scheduled for 8:00 am.
You could consider Necocli as a bit of a sketchy location on arrival, but once you head down to the port area you’ll feel more at ease.
You can walk to the port in around 5-7 minutes from the bus stop in Necocli. Just ask anyone for directions.
Remember to buy your tickets back to Medellin when you arrive.
Especially so if you want to choose your time. You can purchase your return ticket at the same bus stop.
I recommend that you get the bus back at 12:30 pm to ensure you get back to Medellin before Midnight.
Necocli to Capurgana Ticket Advice
If you have not booked your boat ticket in advance, which can only be done by means of Bancolombia transfer, you’ll have to join the queue and take the next available boat to Capurgana.
Crucial information about the journey:
- Carry no-vomit tablets for the boat
- You don’t speak a work of Spanish
- Carry Sun Screen
- Be sure to carry some snacks
- Carry a bin bag or equivalent to cover you backpack
- Remember to bring extra cash/light;
Not so important Information about the journey:
- Carry money in cash – there are no ATMs in Capurgana
- Bring hiking boots
- A sick bag incase you don’t carry tablets
- A rain jacket or travel umbrella for the rain
You must queue up to get your ticket and you could be waiting a good 1-2 hours to get everything sorted and board the boat.
Once you’ve purchased your ticket, you’ll have to hang around until your ticket number is called to board the boat.
At this point, the Colombian Army official is going to ask to see your I.D.
As a foreigner, ensure you have some form of identification with you, preferably a passport.
Arriving to Capurgana from Necocli
On arrival to Capurgana, you’ll collect your ‘plastic bag’ protected backpack or suitcase off the boat.
Once on the island, the first thing you should do is book your boat back to Necocli.
Capurgana, Colombia: Travel Tips
See some quick travel tips below that will be useful for your trip.
As you may have gathered Capurgana is still pretty much off the beaten path. I believe due to its unique location many travelers who encounter Capurgana see that it doesn’t line up with their current backpacking route.
Traveling to Capurgana is definitely worth the ‘risk’ if you were weighing up whether to come here over another location on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Where to Stay in Capurgana
Accommodation can be tricky here, find a place to stay in Capurgana below if planning on traveling soon.
- ✓ Tranquil and quiet place
- ✓ Rustic and wooden decor
- ✓ Best value for money
Capurgana is one of those places where I say it is best to avoid booking any transport before you have secured your accommodation. That way you avoid any less chance of any hiccups.
Travel insurance for Colombia
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
Medellin to Capurgana
There is nothing finer than landing at Capurgana’s port and quickly get acquainted with the small community.
Do you already know how many days you’ll stay in Capurgana?
Whether it be between 2-5 nights you should be content with your surroundings.
Lastly, I hope this guide has given you a better idea of how to get to Capurgana and eliminated any doubt away from your mind. Safe travels!
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