Colombia is the only country in South America to have a coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The 1,300-kilometre-long Pacific coast stretches from Panama in the north to Ecuador in the south, but has only recently started to open up to tourism. Sections are rocky, others hard to reach, and parts previously out of bounds due to security concerns. As such the Caribbean coast has long been the preferred option for Colombian beach holidays. Now the Pacific coast is much safer, quiet, unspoilt and waiting to be explored.
The forested Choco department has some of the most spectacular beaches and a number of excellent eco lodges that give access to the surf beaches and wildlife of the Pacific coast. The Parque Nacional Ensenada de Utria, west of Medellin, is one of the most dramatic coastal areas, with white sand beaches fringed by steep, rainforest-clad mountains. The park and the nearby fishing village of Bahia Solano are two of the best places from which to watch migrating humpback whales between July and October. Diving and sport fishing are other possible activities on Colombia's Pacific coast.