The predominantly Afro-Colombian town of Necocli, at the northern tip of Antioquia, provides the perfect location to experience the more untouched parts of Colombia’s Caribbean coastline.
Although Necocli is one of Colombia’s oldest towns, founded in 1509 by Spanish conquistadors, it has not made much headway in terms of tourist attractions. Instead, the town’s charm relies on its surrounding natural beauty, which provides visitors with the opportunity to relax and soak up the sun.
Sun is one attraction that Necocli provides in abundance, being one of the few places in Colombia that remains unaffected by the year’s devastating rains, a fact that my travel companion’s peeling back can attest to.
Although the town is situated right by the water’s edge, in the Gulf of Uraba, visitors are better off headquartering further down the beach, in order to maximize the tranquility that is this region’s greatest asset.
Travelers have the option of spending their sleeping hours in tents, hammocks, guest houses or even up high on an open wooden chalet, where they can be truly intoxicated by the refreshing sea breeze. That said, after drinking a few rum and coconut cocktails straight out of freshly collected coconuts, the beach itself may seem the most appealing place to rest.
Each morning, you can wake up and gorge yourself on sweet, juicy mangos before embarking on a crabbing adventure, perhaps the most rewarding experience the area has to offer, if you manage to succeed in your mission, that is. Yet with the help of some local advice, delivered in the form of a 10-year-old, you will not fail to catch crabs in abundance and take them back to cook in a delicious coconut soup.
If hunting for your dinner sounds unappealing, then the delicious sea food on offer at any number of places around Necocli will surely hit the spot — even if the local delicacies of iguana or turtle do not.
One day trip well worth the time is a visit to the volcano that rests about a 40 minute walk outside Necocli. This hidden gem is so devoid of tourism that one could be forgiven for questioning the wisdom behind jumping straight into the murky, muddy crater of the volcano.
Nevertheless, the brave (or brainless) ones who do decide to take the plunge will be richly rewarded, and not just in the supposed wonders that it can do for the skin. The feeling is truly bizarre as you half-float, half-sink in the midst of this active volcano, toying with the squelchy, infirm floor beneath you.
Anybody attempting a visit would do well to bring a spare bottle of water to wash with afterwards, as there are certainly no showers or taps provided by the local tourism authority, if one even exists.
Once safely back on the western facing beach, you can watch a spectacular sunset, before lighting up the night sky yourself with ever impressive bonfires or simply sitting back to gaze at the luminescent shooting stars that never seem to stop whizzing by.
Necocli’s location on the Gulf of Uraba also provides the perfect starting point from which to catch a boat and explore the nearby picturesque paradises of Capurgana and Sapzurro, in the department of Choco, close to the Panama border.