The pacific coast of Colombia get’s definitely way less visitors than the Caribbean coastline. The reason lies mainly in reachability. One of the only accessible towns at the coast is called Bahia Solano. In order to get there you will need to take a flight unless you are up for the very adventurous option: A bus-ride till Buenaventura and a very long boat trip (it took friends of us 20 hours).
The flight is a hell of an adventure too, especially if you suffer from air/height sickness, as you will have to take a tiny (10 seats max.) propeller-driven airplane from the 70s. To our knowledge you can only fly from Medellin, which is fine as the flight time is only 30 minutes. There are two local companies offering flights: ADA and Satena. Be aware that you probably will have to go directly to the offices of these airlines in order to purchase a flight ticket, we tried to buy online and they didn’t seem to accept non-columbian credit cards.
The region is one of the lesser developed parts of Colombia, it felt actually a bit abandoned to us. From the airport of Bahia Solano you will have to take a moto-taxi to reach the beach town “el Valle”, that is where all the hostels are. El Valle get’s fruits and vegetables once a week, other products are even more scarce. Therefore even if the place you are staying at has a kitchen, you’ll probably not able to cook, as the locals will be quicker than you in buying products. In short you’ll have to eat at your hostel kitchen or at restaurants (2-3€ per meal). El Valle is absolutely tiny, it doesn’t offer much in infrastructure, but it has stunning nature surrounding it. The beachfront is never ending, with a strong but beautiful sea, and directly behind the beach lies the rainforest and national parks. Nature-wise it is an absolute paradise! Make sure to also do a couple of day trips, for example visiting the national park Utria (superb nature). If you happen to be there from July to November you’ll be able to see whales from really close, as they come into the bay to give birth.
Most hostels/hotels will have to be booked on arrival, at least we didn’t find half of the places via hostelworld or booking.com. The best backpacker spot is probably the humpback turtle hostel, which is directly at the beach, it has a couple of really cool huts and a nice hangout area. We liked the place and the guests, but the owner (or the person in charge at that moment) was extremely unfriendly and the stay wasn’t cheap (privates costs over 30€ per night, dorm 15€). We stayed 3 days there and another 3 days at a hotel 2minutes away, as we managed to negotiate an unbeatable price of 20€ per night for a private bungalow.
In addition to it’s tricky accessibility the region/the rainforest area is also known to be a hide out spot for drug traffickers, which makes it obviously less popular. With that being said, we experienced the town Bahia Solano actually as a very quite, sleepy and safe place.
It’s natural beauty and the fact that it is scarcely visited made it for us one of our favorite spots in Colombia and we cannot recommend visiting the pacific coast enough, as it is very unique and not comparable to the rest of the country.