La Barra, Juanchaco, Bahia Malaga, and Ladrilleros are the most easily accessible villages on the Colombian Pacific coast. It is therefore also the most visited area, especially on weekends, during the holidays and during the whale season (July to mid-September), as it is only 4 hours from Cali.

Boats commute travelers between Buenaventura and Juanchaco. It takes 1 hour to get there. However, don’t sleep in Juanchaco, the town is quite dirty and messy, there is better.

Although the regions of Nuqui-Guachalito and El Valle are more attractive, the village of La Barra and the Bahia Malaga National Park are two excellent options if you decide to visit Cali and its surroundings during your stay in Colombia. You will certainly be seduced by the imposing waterfalls, the mangroves, the endless black sand beaches, and the vision that here, nature still has all its rights!

Note: there are no ATMs. Bring all the cash you need.


Getting to La Barra & Ladrilleros? (+)

From Cali to Buenaventura:

  • Bus at the main terminal. Departures every 20 min till 7 pm. Leave in the morning to catch the boat to Juanchaco. | Corredor Del Pacifico | 3 h

From Buenaventura to Juanchaco:

  1. Get a cab from the terminal to the dock (“muelle turistico”) | 10 min
  2. The best company is called Bahia Mar. You must arrive at least 30 min before departure. 4 departures per day: 8h00 am, 10h30 am, 1 pm & 4 pm. | Bahia Mar | 1 hour
  3. You can stop at the Pacifico hostel if you want.

From Juanchaco to La Barra or Ladrilleros:

Take a moto-taxi or a caro-taxi from the Juanchaco “muelle”:

  • Juanchaco – Ladrilleros: 10 min
  • Juanchaco – La Barra: 25 min

From Bahia Solano to Buenaventura: 

  • You can take a cargo that leaves from the Bahia Solano “muelle”. It can be fun during the whale season. It usually leaves on Wednesday or Saturday, but it might vary. You first need to call captain Oscar: +57 311 340 67 16 or Leonor: +57 312 267 07 49. There is an office in Bahia Solano. 3 meals and a bunk bed included. | Transportes Inversiones | 18 – 24 hours
  • There is a direct speed boat that leaves on Thursday (might vary). It can be super unpleasant if the ocean is rough. Buy your ticket in Bahia Solano. Departure depends on the tides. Usually around 4h30am. | Dos Bravo | 7 hours

Where's the port?

Buenaventura’s “muelle turistico” is only 5-10min from the bus terminal by taxi.
You could almost go there on foot but given the insecurity in this town we recommend you take a taxi.

Note: if you take the cargo ship ask Oscar for the address of the port of embarkation, because it is not at the “muelle turistico” but at the port itself.

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Where to stay in Bahia Malaga and La Barra

Surprisingly, there are not many good accommodation options there. I recommend staying in La Barra or near the National Park Bahia Malaga. It's lovelier and peaceful.

  • Casa Azul

    Hostel - $$

    Casa Azul

    Hostel basic but comfy, with an incredible view. Perfect location and excellent activities. Friendly staff. Cheap.
    Get the best price
  • AguaMarina

    Hotel - $$


    Best Hotel with pool and direct access to the beach. Excellent activities and services. Air-con is optional.
    Get the best price
  • Pacifico

    Hostel - $


    In Bahia Malaga, there is a direct boat from Buenaventura. Excellent place, delicious food. Great landscapes.
    Get the best price

Things to do around La Barra & Bahia Malaga

Whales, surfing, giant waterfalls, mangroves in kayaks, natural pools, sunsets over the ocean... The Bahia Malaga and La Barra area has no shortage of activities to organize several days in the area.

  • Whale Watching

    3 - 4 hours | $

    Whale Watching

    From July till mid-September, humpback whales come to give birth in this area. Unforgettable experience.
    Learn more
  • Beach

    All day long


    The sceneries in Bahia Malaga and the endless black sand beaches around La Barra are gorgeous. Explore them!
    Learn more
  • Surfing

    1 - 2 hours | $


    You can rent surfboards in La Barra. I recommend doing it at sunset. It's a magical and unforgettable experience.
    Learn more
  • Serpiente

    4 hours | $$


    A fun experience where you take a boat ride to different natural pools and 2 large waterfalls of 70m hight.
    Learn more
  • Natural pools


    Natural pools

    Inhabitants love to take their boat and go swimming in a hidden natural pool. There are mangroves on the way.
    Learn more
  • Sunsets



    There are some amazing sunsets on the Pacific Coast. Grab a beer and enjoy the show with your beloved one.
  • Bahia Malaga

    4 - 6 hours | $

    Bahia Malaga

    I'm not a big fan of the hotel Juan de Dios. However, there is a lovely hidden beach called Playa Dorada.
    Google Map
  • Kayaking

    4 - 6 hours | $$


    Grab a Kayak and go with a local guide to explore the mangroves in the national Park Bahia Malaga

Where to eat & drink?

For us, good restaurants and exciting nightlife are important when traveling. We gathered our favorite picks on an interactive Map. Download the APP "Mapstr" and look for "Colombia Insider"!

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