JURADÓ, CHOCÓ, COLOMBIA

WHY DID WE GO TO JURADÓ?

To be honest, we still aren’t sure why we went to Juradó. We had opened enough coconuts in El Valle and wanted to explore the area. We wanted to see something different. We wanted to know.

Surely there’s more to life than opening coconuts on the beach…

Is there?

It is an interesting question.

I will take you through our thought process in deciding to go and what to do.

Then you make up your own mind if you want to visit as well.

***NOTE*** check out the comments section at the bottom of the post after your have finished reading the article as some friendly people have provided a bit more information about Juradó and travelling from Colombia to Panama on the Pacific Coast.

Long exposure shot of sunset at Juradó

THE INITIAL CONVERSATION

This is roughly how we came to a decision to go to Juradó:

Us: Are there any nearby beach towns that we can visit?

Dario:Yes, Juradó.

Us: What’s can we do there?

Dario: You can swim, explore the town, and there are waterfalls to visit. Pretty much every thing that you are doing here in El Valle.

Us: Sounds good.

Bam, decision made.

Long exposure shot of sunset on the beach of Juradó
Long exposure shot of the sea on the Pacific Coast of Colombia - Juradó

JURADÓ, WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YA?

Juradó is the last beach town before the border of Panama and Colombia on the Pacific Coast. It is very remote and the only way to access it is by ‘lancha’. The ‘lanchas’ leave two times a week, so it is good to organize your trip in advance so you don’t get stranded.

OK, SO WE KNOW WHERE IT IS. HOW DO WE GET TO JURADÓ?

The trip from Bahía Solano takes about 2.5 hours, when the sea is calm. Even with the sea being calm it was a bumpy ride. The driver did not slow down. All I suggest is bring a cush for your tush.

The ‘lancha’ cost 70,000CLP one way. 

When we ‘arrived’ to Juradó, the lancha waited at sea behind the waves of a surf beach. Hmmm, when we asked the driver he pointed that we were going to ‘beach ourselves’ here.

Brilliant, I thought. 

The driver managed to take us in surprisingly smoothly and we carried our belongings onto shore. 

We knew we had landed somewhere remote if the only way to arrive was to beach ourselves.

Long exposure shot of the water water tide at Juradó

FIRST, THINGS FIRST. WHERE DO WE STAY IN JURADÓ?

The next point of call, with our backpacks on, we went in search for somewhere to stay. 

There are two options, both hotels. A room with two single beds cost 60,000CLP a night. That’s the cheaper option. The best word to describe it was probably ‘moist’.

We quickly learnt that Juradó is a town not yet set up for tourists.

It had a high military presence due to being the last town before the Panama border and the known FARC activity in the area.

Man walking under palm trees in the park on the beach of Juradó
Local Colombian children playing soccer under palm trees in Juradó

NEXT, LET’S EXPLORE, LET’S FIND SOMETHING TO DO…

Asking around, we got pointed in two directions, both of them being the opposite ways of the beach. 

THE BLUE PILL

You can go right down the beach until you hit an outlet (or inlet, which ever way you want to look at it). If you pass this outlet/inlet you can keep walking up the beach to some waterfalls. 

Problem is you need to cross the outlet/inlet. Hard to do with camera equipment. We at least went for a swim and within 1 minute of being in the water Pat had sliced his foot open on some jagged rocks.

 THE RED PILL

You can go left and walk down the beach for about an hour before you hit another outlet / inlet.

At this point we discovered we were on an island.

Both inlets/outlets form a river and enclose the town of Juradó from behind. So if you wanted to take a walk in the jungle, again you will need to cross the river.

The back streets in the town of Juradó
A local Colombian child walking through the back streets in the town of Juradó

WHAT ELSE?

That sums up the extent of our explorations. Next, we walked around town, climbed some trees and collected some extremely under ripe mangos, which we continued to eat because it was an activity.

We then passed time by sitting in the beachfront park and read until we heard a coconut fall from the tree. Which, we managed to open up with this knife and eat. A hard feat if you have ever tried opening a coconut.

 

We also discovered a few stalls that sell coconut ice creams, which we proceeded to eat six a day for the next three days. 

How to open a coconut with a small knife
Man mid-air heel clicking on a dirt road with palm trees on either side

SO WHAT ABOUT THE LOCALS?

Given that Juradó is so remote, I was curious to see what the locals were like and how they would react to us exploring their town.

To be honest, they didn’t really care too much. They saw us, and continued with their way of life. The locals were incredibly friendly, but other than that they didn’t really ask us any questions as to why we were there, unlike other small towns we have visited.

It wasn’t until our third day of being there, then we started getting noticed more and people started asking us questions – ‘what are we doing here?’ At this point we learnt that tourists don’t come here to ‘visit’ and ‘explore’, tourists come here only to pass by, either from or to Panama.

After they realized we were there to explore they opened up more, especially the curiosity of the kids. 

Local children of Juradó smiling and posing for the camera

WAS IT WORTH THE TRAVEL?

So now the big question, was it worth travelling from El Valle, where we were opening up coconuts, to Juradó, where we opened up more coconuts?

It was great to see and get to know, and it is a beautiful destination.

However, I still haven’t explained the journey back…

After the fourth day in Juradó, we were ready to leave yet still dreading the journey back. We had our cushions ready for the 2.5 hour high velocity boat journey.

The good news, the boat had it’s own cushions.

The bad news, it was pouring down rain.

I feel that ‘pouring’ is an understatement. The boat was full and by the time we got on we were already saturated.

From the river the overly full ‘lancha’ started the journey out to sea. When we arrived at the outlet, half the boat had to get onto another boat to reduce the weight to ensure we would make it out.

After they had finished the transfer and went out to sea, our boat engine died.

After ten minutes, the driver got the boat working and took us over the surf. I say ‘over’ because we were airborne a few times.

Boats prefer to be in the water, hence the engine died again. This happened a few more times later as we

We transferred the remaining passengers back on to the boat and waited until it got fixed.

At this point it’s worth mentioning that the sea was rough and yes it was still raining. The boat had a cover, but that didn’t protect us from the horizontal rain smacking into our face. It felt like being a target at a world championship dart competition.

The good thing about the rain was that it disguised our tears.

The lancha had to stop three times on the way back to Bahía Solano. Twice in two different inlets so we could breathe and tell the person next to us that we loved them and our final words we wanted them to pass onto our famliy. The other time was to refuel, because we had burnt too much climbing waves.

It wasn’t all bad. At one point the sun shone through and touched our faces. It’s funny how in moments like these how good something like that feels.

We also saw dolphins jumping through the waves next to us. Showing off.

Now that is my recount of the boat ride. I have asked Pat, my travel companion at the time and here is what he said:

The worst experience to which I can compare any other unpleasant experience for the rest of my life.

Summing up, Juradó is a place to pass through and not a destination. If you were heading to Panama by the Pacific Coast, sure, stop in, eat some fish empanadas, play pool, run around town and eat some coconut ice cream. Don’t leave the perfect haven of El Valle as you can do everything there and save yourself a painful journey and the money spent on it as well.

Still the best fish empanadas I have had in my life.

Local Colombian lady from Juradó making fish empanadas

Looking to travel somewhere else in Colombia?

If you found this article interesting, perhaps you would like to know more about other travel destinations in Colombia?

Check out the travel guides below.

COCUY
COCUY
COCUY
Glaciers and Snow-Capped Mountains in Colombia
RINCON DEL MAR
RINCON DEL MAR
RINCON DEL MAR
The gateway to the San Bernardo Islands
JURADO
JURADO
JURADO
The last town on the Pacific Coast before Panama
TAYRONA
TAYRONA
TAYRONA
Hiking on the northern coast of Colombia
PUNTA GALLINAS
PUNTA GALLINAS
PUNTA GALLINAS
The most northern point of Colombia
LOS NEVADOS
LOS NEVADOS
LOS NEVADOS
Cloud forests and water generating ecosystems
TINTIPÁN
TINTIPÁN
TINTIPÁN
A paradise island with crystal clear waters
PILÓN DE AZÚCAR
PILÓN DE AZÚCAR
PILÓN DE AZÚCAR
Where the orange desert meets the turquoise sea
CABO DE VELA
CABO DE VELA
CABO DE VELA
A small fishing town with excellent kite surfing
VALLE DEL COCORA
VALLE DEL COCORA
VALLE DEL COCORA
The largest palm trees in the world
JARDIN
JARDIN
JARDIN
A place to unwind, drink coffee and visit a waterfall
FILANDIA
FILANDIA
FILANDIA
The hidden gem in the Coffee Region
BARANQUILLA CARNIVAL
BARANQUILLA CARNIVAL
BARANQUILLA CARNIVAL
The second biggest Carnival in South America
EL VALLE
EL VALLE
EL VALLE
Where the rainforest meets the sea

  1. Libia Murillo Reply

    I am sorry you did not enjoy your time in Jurado..We are town that has gone through a lot of pain and disdain…my mum tell me tha in the past (1950’s) the town was a vibrant happy place and people from Panama use to come here to spend their holidays while the central government (in Bogota) ignored us completely and local kids used books and notebooks donated by the panamenian government . But then a civil war started and since then we have been in between the military, the guerrillas’ armed movements and the “narcos”. We had not time to plan our future or to rebuild our economy while other towns like “el Valle” or “Nuqui” have marketed themselves as ecotourism destinations -the struggle too-.
    Our youth often goes to the big urban cities and it is hard to bring them back your are right, there is nothing to do here however, at the same time there is a lot to do.
    It is interesting to see how people like you judge us …thank you for describing your experience in our remote town…we surely don’t expect tourists here we know that there is a long way for that to happen…we might even disappeared as a town…but in the mean time we have more serious problems to worry about . Perhaps some of your readers will be interested in helping us to create a future.

    1. Hi Libia,

      I sent an email in response, but just to clarify, I enjoyed my time in Jurado and did not intend to pass judgement. It is a beautiful town with lovely people, but currently not set up for tourist activities.

      I have given an honest opinion as to the activities available in Jurado as I wan’t people to have some information about the town so they can make their own mind up.

      As of yet, there is not much of a tourist scene in Jurado, but I believe that could change if some information and activities be provided on arrival, such as nearby hikes, surfing and/or fishing tours.

      As an alternate option for travellers wishing to go between Colombia and Panama, Jurado is situated as a perfect in-between destination.

      I wish you all the best.

      I still crave the fish empanadas and coconut ice-creams from Jurado. 🙂

  2. Libia Murillo Reply

    Also please forgive my bad English I just though of living you an answer! Good day.

  3. Jaime Badillo Reply

    Jejeje, Juradò es muy agradable, solo les faltò socializar mas, una vez hecho esto, de seguro la hubieran pasado genial, soy de juradò vivo ahì hace mas de 20 años, soy joven y de verdad creo que les faltò comprender mas, sin embargo ojala puedan volver.

    1. Hola Jaime, mi experiencia en Juradó fue genial.

      Si, faltó un poco conocimiento de turismo. Pero si todavía estas viviendo en Juradó hay una oportunidad para ayudar los turistas quien visitan Juradó.

      Quizas tu puedas dejar su whatsapp para otros?

      Si podría visitar Juradó otro ves, me gustaría caminar y conocer los paisajes cerca del pueblo, los cascadas, las playas, y tambien los locales.

  4. Hi Anton,

    I am planning to go to Juradó and I found your post very useful, specially when you talk about food 😉

    I understand when you talk about the fish empanadas; when we were in Nuquí, I bet I tried the best ones! Not to mention the patacones with ‘real’ tuna…heaven…

    Best wishes!

    1. Hi Anamaría, hope you are well!

      Did you end up going to Juradó? I would love to hear more about your experience as well seeing not many people get to visit. What did you do, how did you get there and did you return to Nuquí, or did you continue to Panama?

      … and tell me more about those Fish empanadas!

  5. Hey, I was glad to stumble upon this article about Jurado. I have been living near there on the Panamanian side of the Darien Gap but am planning on passing through there in a few months. I did want to leave some advice, however, for any travelers reading this article who are going to continue on to Panama. From Jurado the town you’ll come to on the Panamanian side of the border is Jaque. If for no other reason you should visit Jaque for its beaches. It is reported to have some of the best, secret surf spots in the country. The next community you’ll find following the coast is Bahia Piña. This small paradise’s claim to fame is the Tropistar Resort where world class fishing competitions are held (though I’m assuming that this place will be out of the price range of most of the travelers reading this blog).

    Now this is where things get interesting. The next big town along the coast is Garachine, but in between Garachine and Jaque is a small, remote indigenous village of the Embera People called Playa Muerto. This community is one of the most magical, welcoming places on this earth and I suggest anyone who finds themselves traveling the coast to stop in here for a few days to enjoy Embera culture and hospitality. There is a small, fledgling tourism group formed by community members who just recently launched a website. So if you’re interested, check out caminantetravels.com for travel and contact information.

    1. Thanks Samuel B! I am very grateful that you left this information for others. I will make a note for others to read the comments at the top of this post. Have you got a blog I can link to with more information?

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