Traveling in El Choco is very ironic.
The poorest department in Colombia is probably the richest department in natural resources. A place where people struggle to survive is also one of the world’s few untouched rainforest areas.
There is no comparison.
El Choco is mostly inhabited by the descendants of African slaves brought to Colombia during colonization.
Today you can see it by the numbers of Afro-Colombians that live here. There are also many indigenous communities.
Breathtaking scenery from the very top of the pueblo where the military base commander allowed us to enter for a glimpse of sheer beauty!
I traveled to San Jose Del Palmar ( 4°58′N 76°14′W) in the Department of El Choco at the end of December to visit the farms owned by my boyfriend’s family.
I had two objectives: Find Orchids and go on a Jungle hike. We traveled for over 3 ½ hours to get there, half of which was just a small horse trail.
Visiting El Choco is like experiencing a large piece of paradise, thousands of species of plants and animals thrive there.
If you enjoy birds and butterflies there will be too many to count.
The people are poor but friendly and due to a strong military presence it is also the safest parts of El Choco which can be visited.
We spent our time divided between a brief stay in the village and the farm.
An Orchid growing wild in the forest
A traditional wood fired stove at the farm is used for cooking.
Our journey was a great success, we found a few orchid specimens, hiked in the jungle and ate food that had mostly been grown there on the farm.
We breathed the cleanest air in Colombia and hiked through rainforest jungles in what the locals call “el monte” or the hills (correction: super incredible mountains).
Every night we slept in our beds lulled by the music of rain, insects and birds that sing with the dawn.
We even helped with the farm chores.
My boyfriend Jaime helping with farm chores......these cows LOVE bananas!!
Everything is super-sized and otherworldly...
The day we left I was reluctant to go, we had spent the last 4 days hiking, playing with animals, breathing fresh air and eating fresh food.
This is my second visit to this region but there is so much to discover here I plan to visit again. San Jose del Palmar is a hidden gem that deserves to be visited and appreciated.
If you want to experience an authentic Colombia skip the city and find these safe but hidden nature spots where you can connect with nature and revitalize your travel perspective.
You can read more about Erin’s adventures in Colombia at: