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Colombiafrank’s Buenaventura Colombia Travel Guide

Sunset Buenaventura in Colombia

Updated on 04/02/2024

Dear readers
My name is Frank and I run a tour operator in Bogota, specializing in custom-made and Colombia luxury travel.
At the end of this guide you will find a list of many other helpful travel guides for Colombia.

Why visit Buenaventura?

Buenaventura is a port city on Colombia’s Pacific coast that offers its visitors a wide variety of tourist attractions. These include the beaches, the mangroves and wetlands that are home to a rich biodiversity, the seafood-based gastronomy and the Afro-Colombian culture expressed through music, dance and handicrafts.

Buenaventura is an ideal destination for travelers looking for direct contact with nature, adventure and cultural diversity. It is also a place with a history of resistance and social struggle that has managed to overcome difficulties and show its beauty and potential. I personally like visiting Buenaventura because I always feel welcomed by the friendly and happy people there.

Facts about Buenaventura

Buenaventura is a city on the Pacific coast of Colombia, in the Valle del Cauca department. With around 400,000 inhabitants, it is the country’s most important port city and its main economic sectors are trade and transport. Shipping, logistics and warehousing are some of the main industries in the region.

Buenaventura has a tropical rainforest climate with an average temperature of 27° C (81° F). Founded on July 14, 1540, the city has a rich cultural heritage that reflects its history as an important port city. Although Buenaventura is a relatively large city, it is not the capital of the department of Valle del Cauca, but Cali.

Besides being an important commercial center, Buenaventura is also known for its beautiful beaches and rich natural environment. The city is also home to a variety of seafood restaurants serving fresh fish and other seafood delights caught by local fishermen.

In addition to fishing and tourism, agriculture is also an important industry in the region. The Buenaventura region is known for growing a variety of crops, including bananas, rice and sugar cane. However, the city’s economy depends heavily on the port, which handles a large portion of Colombia’s exports and imports.

Tourist sights and activities in Buenaventura

Here are tourist attractions and activities not to be missed:

Uramba Bahía Málaga National Natural Park

This park protects one of the most biodiverse bays in the world where you can see humpback whales, dolphins, turtles and seabirds. It also offers spectacular landscapes of mangroves, beaches and jungle. You can take a boat tour from Buenaventura or stay at one of the eco-hotels in the area.

The island of Cascajal

This island is a historical and cultural treasure. Located in Buenaventura Bay, it is the seat of the main port and commercial activities of the municipality. The island is 3 km (1.8 miles) long and 1 km (0.6 miles) wide, with an average height of 5 m above sea level. It is connected to the mainland by the El Piñal Bridge, which crosses the estuary that separates the island.

Park Nestor Urbano Tenorio

This park is the green lung of Buenaventura and is an ideal place to relax and enjoy nature. It has ecological trails, picnic areas and children’s playgrounds.

La Bocana Beach

This beach is about 40 minutes by boat from Buenaventura. It is an ideal place to relax in the sun and enjoy the scenery. You can also visit the La Sierpe waterfall, which is located near the beach and can be reached by small boat.

Best time to visit Buenaventura

The best time to visit Buenaventura is between December and March when the weather is drier and sunnier. These months also host the region’s traditional festivals, such as the Carnaval de Negros y Blancos and the Petronio Álvarez Pacific Music Festival.

Events in Buenaventura

Buenaventura is a city that offers a multitude of cultural, gastronomic and ecological events throughout the year. Some of the most important are:

Pacific Jazz Festival, Music of the World.

A space for the encounter of old music cultures around jazz, which takes place in November in the Bulevar de Buenaventura. Various local and national bands take part in this festival.

Viche Festival in Triana

A tribute to the typical artisanal drink of the Colombian Pacific, made with sugar cane, also celebrated in November in the village of Triana. In addition to the Viche, you can also taste other variations such as the Arrechón, the Tumbacatre, the Tomaseca and the Vinete, as well as the exquisite typical dishes of the region.

Marimba and Beach Folk Festival

An event that combines folk music, dance and gastronomy on the beaches of Juanchaco and Ladrilleros. It takes place in October and is organized by Fundancestral and Caliventura.

Festival in honor of the patron saint of San Buenaventura

A festival in honor of the patron saint of the municipality, held in July. Activities include horseback riding, horse racing, dances, games and food. The Eucharist, the novena and the procession with the patron saint.

Whale Watching

A unique and unforgettable experience to enjoy between July and October in Bahía Málaga, one of the most privileged places to observe these majestic animals. There are various options for this tour, from one-day excursions to multi-day packages with accommodation.

Nightlife in Buenaventura

Love to party and have fun? Then you shouldn’t miss the best nightspots in Buenaventura, a city that offers you a multitude of opportunities to dance, drink and have fun.

Kristal CLub nightclub

If you want to enjoy the best crossover music, you’ve come to the right place. Here you can dance until dawn with the best DJs and guest artists. There is also a VIP area, a well stocked bar and a safe and friendly atmosphere.

Zone K

This is a bar and lounge where you can enjoy a variety of drinks, music and atmosphere. It is an ideal place to unwind after a day of work or to celebrate a special occasion with friends. Zone K Buenaventura offers quality service and a menu with options to suit all tastes.

Eat in Buenaventura

Buenaventura is a city of great gastronomic diversity, offering options for all tastes and budgets. If you want to know the best places to eat in Buenaventura, here are some recommendations:

Typical food

If you want to taste the traditional dishes of the region, you should not miss the Buenaventura market, where you will find a variety of dishes such as fish stew, crab encocado, rice atollado, cebiche and patacon.

Fast food

If you’re looking for something quick and cheap, you can opt for the hamburgers, salchipapas, empanadas and stuffed arepas sold at street stalls or at fast food joints like El Corral.

Restaurant chains

If you prefer a more formal atmosphere and more choice, you can choose from the chain restaurants that exist in Buenaventura. Some of them are Kokoriko and Wok.

Where to stay in Buenaventura?

If you’re planning a visit to Buenaventura and are looking for the ideal place to stay, consider Cascajal Island. This area is known for its vibrant malecón, which offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, you’ll be close to popular attractions like Néstor Urbano Tenorio Park and the Boulevard, where you can enjoy outdoor activities and purchase local souvenirs. Explore hotels in Buenaventura to find the perfect accommodation that complements your experience in this dynamic port city.

How to get to Buenaventura

There are several transportation options for travelers who wish to arrive from Bogotá or other major cities near Buenaventura.

By plane

One of the most convenient ways to travel to Buenaventura is by plane. The nearest airport is Buenaventura Airport (BUN), located on the outskirts of town.

However, only one airline currently offers direct flights to Buenaventura from Bogotá. Satena offers flights to Buenaventura. The flight time is usually one to two hours, with flights not departing every day.

The airlines that offer connections are as follows:

By bus

You can also take the bus from Bogotá to Buenaventura, takes about 8-9 hours.

The easiest way to buy tickets is via Pinbus.

By car

The journey by car takes about 8-10 hours.

The following companies rent cars in Colombia:

  • hertz
  • advice
  • ABC

How to get around Buenaventura?

Once in Buenaventura, you can explore the city by taxi, motorbike or city bus. Taxis are a convenient and safe option, but you should agree on the price before getting in. Motorbikes are cheaper and faster, but also riskier. City buses are the cheapest but have a limited schedule and don’t go everywhere.

If you want to visit the beaches and islands near Buenaventura, such as Juanchaco, Ladrilleros, La Bocana or Isla Palma, you should use a boat from the tourist pier. The price and duration of the trip depend on the destination and the time of year. The drive to Juanchaco, for example, takes about 40 minutes and costs about 30,000 pesos (US$6) per person (round trip). We recommend reserving your spot in advance and bringing sunscreen, a hat and life jacket.

Colombia Travel Guides

Here you will find travel guides for the most popular regions in Colombia, which we have put together during our extensive travels around the country.

Travel Guides to Colombia’s Small Towns

Here you will find travel guides for less popular destinations in Colombia. Some of these destinations are even real insider tips and not even known to the Colombians as travel destinations.


About Author



Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia. I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia. For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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