Updated on 02/21/2024
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 Tumaco?
San Andrés de Tumaco, popularly known as the “Pearl of the Pacific”, is a municipality in the department of Nariño, in southwestern Colombia.
The municipality borders to the north with the Pacific Ocean and the municipality of Francisco Pizarro, to the south with the Republic of Ecuador, to the west with the Pacific Ocean and to the east with the municipalities of Barbacoas and Roberto Payán.
Tumaco is an excellent tourist destination because there are places with a lot of nature that are home to many species of animals such as birds, fish, whales and others.
In addition, this place is known nationally and internationally for its exquisite gastronomy and for the cheerfulness that its residents always show.
Tumaco would really be an insider tip and is also perfectly located on the north-south route. However, it is also a narco stronghold, from where drug transport submarines also start. In the past, tourism was unthinkable in Tumaco, but this has improved significantly. However, there are still periods when foreigners are better off not visiting Tumaco.
Facts about Tumaco
- Tumaco is the second most important municipality in the department of Nariño and one of the most important ports in Latin America.
- Tumaco is located at an altitude of 3 meters above sea level.
- Tumaco has a warm climate with temperatures between 24°C and 31°C.
- Tumaco consists of 73 districts divided into 5 municipalities.
- The main industries in Tumaco are agriculture, forestry and fishing.
- Tumaco has a population of approximately 260,000 residents.
- Tumaco was founded on November 30, 1640 by the anthropologist and Catholic priest José María Garrido.
- Tumaco was the birthplace of great athletes, particularly footballers such as Carlos Darwin Quintero and Willington Ortiz.
- Tumaco’s population is largely of Indigenous and African-American descent.
- The first mayor of Tumaco was Don Juan de Molinas.
- Tumaco has the third most important seaport in the country and the second most important on the Colombian Pacific coast.
- Tumaco covers an area of 3,760 square kilometers.
- Tumaco is 300 km (186 miles) by road from Pasto, the capital of the Nariño department.
- Tumaco is the largest municipality in Colombia by area.
- Tumaco was inhabited in its early days by the Tumapaes indigenous tribe.
- The “currulao” is the predominant traditional music in Tumaco.
Tourist attractions in Tumaco
Here are some of the city’s main attractions:
The Parque Colón is one of the most visited places by tourists and locals in Tumacos.
It is located in the center of the city.
Established in 1903 by Colonel Pío Quiñones, the park today has various leisure and relaxation areas such as a small square in the shape of a circular theater, bike paths and roller-skating areas.
Parque Nariño is located in the center of the city, near the market square and La Merced Church.
Here you will find the means of transport you need to get to the different villages of the commune by land.
Sculpture of Pope John Paul II
At Carrera 6 #7d-46 is the sculpture of Pope John Paul II, inaugurated in 2011 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the saint’s visit.
The sculpture is 2.70 m high and was created by the Tumaqueño sculptor Rubén Andrade Paz.
Morro Beach offers beautiful scenery and a wide range of restaurants serving local dishes of the region.
There are also a large number of hotels and bars near the beach.
Pena El Quesillo
The Peña El Quesillo, also known as “El Morro”, is a rock that juts out into the sea and is commonly used by locals and tourists for diving into the sea.
Beaches of Bajito
Bajito beaches are a 20-minute walk or 5-minute drive from the city center.
You will also find various restaurants here, such as:
- Discotheque “Tienda Vieja”: It offers an excellent view of the sea.
- “El Bunker”: Here there is a large selection of lemonades and spirits.
- Restaurant “La Gran Parrilla”: It offers typical dishes of the region and also some dishes from other areas.
- Bar “Bacilao”: It has a good atmosphere and is built in the shape of a boat.
Sanquianga National Park
If you like fauna and flora, Sanquianga National Park will surely fascinate you.
This place is north of Tumaco in Sanquianga Bay. Covering more than 80,000 hectares, you can see babies, sloths, birds, iguanas, rodents and the endangered loggerhead sea turtles.
Established in 1977, Sanquianga National Park is home to approximately 30% of the region’s mangroves.
Bocagrande Island is 30 minutes from Tumaco.
The island is characterized by many palm trees and a long beach.
If you decide to visit this island, you can see humpback whales between the months of July and October, when the mammals come from Antarctica to mate and give birth to their young in these warm waters.
You can also learn about the magical world of the sea, because the island is mainly inhabited by fishermen and collectors of canoes, red crabs, mollusks and beans who are willing to share their knowledge with the tourists.
The Morro Bridge connects the islands of La Viciosa, El Morro and the main town of Tumaco.
This modern viaduct is 304 meters long and was built in 1951 under the direction of engineer Samuel Muñoz.
The bridge is 20 minutes from La Viciosa Island and 5 minutes by car from the city center.
The area where the bridge is located is considered the pink district because of the various restaurants and bars that are located there.
Cathedral of San Andres
In the main park of the city is the Cathedral of San Andrés, a Catholic sacred building with a long tradition.
House of Memory of the Pacific by Nariñense
The Casa de la Memoria del Pacifico Nariñenses is a meeting place to commemorate the victims of the violence in Tumaco.
If you decide to visit this place you can see a series of photo exhibitions about the victims and also about the different actions carried out in the area to promote life and defend human rights. Various artistic and cultural activities are also offered.
The importance of this place is such that in 2013, the year of its inauguration, it received the National Center for Historical Remembrance award for historical remembrance initiatives of the armed conflict.
Morgan’s Cave is located on the beaches of El Morro.
It is an ideal place for archeology lovers as it houses anthropomorphic figures discovered in 1560.
Tourist attractions near Tumaco
Here are some interesting places near Tumaco.
Cumbal Volcano is located 137 km (85 miles) from Tumaco, in the municipality of Cumbal, very close to Ipiales.
This majestic volcano is visited by many tourists who take around 4 hours to reach the top.
Just 130 km (80 miles) from Tumaco is Guapi, a small town in the department of Cauca with around 25,000 inhabitants.
Here is the Gorgona National Park, which consists of the islands of Gorgona and Gorgonilla.
This park is ideal for diving as it has a great variety of fauna and flora.
Guapi has beautiful coastlines that are visited by giant humpback whales from July to October.
In addition, the gastronomy offers a wide and exquisite variety of fish.
Laguna Verde is located 170 km (105 miles) from Tumaco, very close to the municipality of Túquerres.
This beautiful place is located in the crater of the Azufral volcano, which is at an altitude of over 3,600 meters above sea level.
The Laguna Verde is so impressive that it is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Best time to visit Tumaco
The best time to visit Tumaco is between March and August, when the weather conditions are more favorable for visiting the various tourist attractions in the city.
Also, in March you can enjoy the city’s most important event, the Carnival of Fire.
Events in Tumaco
Here are the main events that take place in Tumaco throughout the year and not to be missed.
Carnival of Fire
The Fire Carnival is one of the most important events on the entire Pacific Coast, as it hosts various cultural events and activities, among which stand out the Murgas, float parades, traditional songs, the Queens Contest and musical performances by national and international artists .
If you decide to take part in this great festival that expresses the culture of African Americans, you should note that it is customary to throw flour at people in the streets.
This festival, created in 1959, usually takes place 4 or 5 days in March every year, a few days before Easter.
The Currulao Festival is an event that brings together the best folk groups from across the Colombian-Ecuadorian Pacific region. There will also be theater performances and a forum on Afro-Descendant culture.
This important festival usually takes place in December.
The founding of the city is celebrated on November 30 of each year. Various cultural activities take place on this day.
Nightlife in Tumaco
Tumaco has incredible places to enjoy music and dance, here are some of them.
San Remo Bar and Lounge
Viaducto al Morro.
This bar is known for its warm atmosphere and attentive staff.
Here you will find alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to accompany your meetings with friends and family.
Cafe Bar Paradise
El Progreso Bridge
Café Bar Paradise offers a wide range of music and cocktails.
Typical food in Tumaco
These are some of the typical dishes that you can find in Tumaco.
Sudao de Tollo
The Sudado de Tollo is a dish made with coconut, garlic cloves, tollo, long onions, sugar, aji dulce, oil, onions and salt.
This dish consists of mojarra (saltwater fish), patacon, coconut rice and salad.
It is usually served with panela water with lemon.
Cazuela de Mariscos is a dish made with crab meat, snail, clam, sea bass, squid, piangua, coconut, plantain, pepper and salt.
Pusandao is a dish made with lamb. It also includes other side dishes like potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, green plantains, chicken, and other ingredients.
In some cases, the lamb can also be replaced with catfish or sea bass.
Arroz con coco is basically white rice cooked in coconut milk and coconut flakes.
This tamale is made with piangua, a mollusk that lives in the mangroves.
In addition to the piangua, the tamale is prepared with plantains, coconut milk, chopped long onions, onions, oil, chiyangua, bijao leaves, salt, and pepper.
Shrimp Cocktail is an exquisite delicacy made with pre-cooked shrimp, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chili, celery, white onion, white wine, oil, salt and avocado.
Casabe is a traditional flatbread made only from yucca.
It is usually eaten as an appetizer for breakfast or dinner.
Tapado de pescado
Tapado de pescado is a dish that includes green plantains, fish fillets, potatoes, cassava, onions, salt, pepper, and cilantro.
Encocado de jaiba is a dish made with pods, plantains, potatoes, coconut milk, fried food, salt and pepper.
Lobster in coconut sauce
Lobster in Coconut Sauce is a dish made with lobster, onions, red pepper, coconut milk, white wine, garlic, salt and butter.
A juice made from Naidí, a fruit rich in vitamins that comes from the palm tree of the same name.
Arroz con mariscos, also known as arroz marinero, is a dish that includes rice, patacones, seafood, yucca, and lettuce.
This dish is usually served with fish broth or coconut milk.
Crab Encocado is a dish made with ripe coconut, shrimp, ripe plantains, garlic cloves, chichangua leaves, chicharan leaves, salt, white and red onions.
Accommodation in Tumaco
Here are some of the available accommodations in Tumaco, Colombia:
Colon Plaza Hotel
Street Mosquera 7A-32
The Colon Plaza Hotel is just 2.5 miles from La Florida Airport and across the street from Colon Park.
The rooms have a private bathroom, flat screen TV, desk, wardrobe and air conditioning.
The hotel also offers a meeting room, airport shuttle and laundry service.
Hotel Nabu del Pacifico
Carrera 9 # 11-111
Hotel Nabu del Pacifico features a restaurant, hot tub and terrace.
The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a desk and a private bathroom.
The hotel is 4 km (2.5 miles) from La Florida Airport, 3.5 km (2 miles) from Domingo Tumaco Gonzalez Stadium and a 5-minute drive from Caballito Garces Park and Santa Teresita Church.
Hotel La Sultana Tumaco
Calle 14 # 9b-112
Hotel La Sultana Tumaco is located 4 km (2.5 miles) from La Florida Airport and a few meters from Colon Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the city.
The rooms have a private bathroom, air conditioning, flat screen TV and desk.
The hotel also has a restaurant and a shared lounge.
How to get to Tumaco?
The city of Tumaco is located 1,132 kilometers from Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. There are several ways to get from Bogotá to Tumaco.
The quickest way to get to Tumaco is by plane. Although small, La Florida Airport is connected to Bogotá. This airport is located 4 km (2.5 miles) from the center of Tumaco.
You can fly with different airlines like Avianca or Satena. The airlines that offer connections are as follows:
Tumaco has a bus station at Carrera 12 #12-61 so you can travel with bus companies such as Continental Bus, Cootranar and Flota Magdalena.
The journey takes about 20 hours. The easiest way to buy tickets is via Pinbus.
Another option is to travel by car. However, the journey can be quite long, taking between 21 and 23 hours depending on traffic jams and speed.
Please note that you have to pay about 15 tolls on the way.
The following companies rent cars in Colombia:
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.
- Colombia Travel Guide
- Bogota Colombia Travel Guide
- Medellin Colombia Travel Guide
- Cartagena Colombia Travel Guide
- Santa Marta Colombia Travel Guide
- Cali Colombia Travel Guide
- Coffee Triangle Colombia Travel Guide
- Barranquilla Colombia Travel Guide
- La Guajira Colombia Travel Guide
- San Andres Island Colombia Travel Guide
- Providencia Island Colombia Travel Guide
- Casanare Llanos Colombia Travel Guide
- Amazonas Colombia Travel Guide
- Choco Colombia Travel Guide
- Santander Colombia Travel Guide
- Boyaca Colombia Travel Guide
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.
- Aguachica Colombia Travel Guide
- Arauca Colombia Travel Guide
- Armenia Colombia Travel Guide
- Barrancabermeja Colombia Travel Guide
- Bucaramanga Colombia Travel Guide
- Buenaventura Colombia Travel Guide
- Canyon Chicamocha Colombia Travel Guide
- El Carmen de Bolivar Colombia Travel Guide
- Caucasia Colombia Travel Guide
- Cucuta Colombia Travel Guide
- Florencia Colombia Travel Guide
- Ibagué Colombia travel guide
- Inirida Colombia Travel Guide
- Ipiales Colombia Travel Guide
- Magangue Colombia Travel Guide
- Manizales Colombia Travel Guide
- Mitu Colombia Travel Guide
- Mocoa Colombia Travel Guide
- Monteria Colombia Travel Guide
- Neiva Colombia Travel Guide
- Palmira Colombia Travel Guide
- Pasto Colombia Travel Guide
- Pereira Colombia Travel Guide
- Popayan Colombia Travel Guide
- Puerto Asis Colombia Travel Guide
- Puerto Carreno Colombia Travel Guide
- Quibdo Colombia Travel Guide
- Riohacha Colombia Travel Guide
- San José del Guaviare Colombia Travel Guide
- Sincelejo Colombia Travel Guide
- Sogamoso Colombia Travel Guide
- Tulua Colombia Travel Guide
- Tumaco Colombia Travel Guide
- Tunja Colombia Travel Guide
- Turbo Colombia Travel Guide
- Valledupar Colombia Travel Guide
- Villa de Leyva Colombia Travel Guide
- Villavicencio Colombia Travel Guide
- Yopal Colombia Travel Guide