How to get to Nuqui: Pacific Coast Colombia

January 24, 2019

There are two ways to get to Nuqui. The quickest easiest and more expensive option is to fly from Medellin. The more adventurous, slower, and less expensive way is the get yourself to Buenaventura and take the boat to Nuqui. To be honest the costs aren’t so different as to be the deciding factor but we would say that if you are already in Medellin then flying is the best option. If you are nearby Cali then it may make more sense to take one of the boat options from Buenaventura. Below we describe all the logistics of each.

Flying to Nuqui from Medellin, Colombia

San German Airlines

There are a few airlines that operate services out to Nuqui. We recommend San German as it is the most reliable meaning you flight is more likely to leave on time.

We can book flights for you with St German and you will pay no more than booking directly through the airline itself but we do get a free flight for every 12 that we book. This helps us travel in and out of Nuqui as is sometimes necessary for resupply of various products for the hotel. You can check the schedule of San German flights here before contacting us and letting us know which date you would prefer.

Once in Medellin you will need to get to Olaya Herrera Airport in Medellin to catch your flight.

Olaya Herrera Airport

There are two airports in Medellin. Olaya Herrera is the smaller of the two and its located in the middle of the city of Medellin. See our map below for its location.

From El Pablado (the main tourist area in Medellin) it is not more than a 10 minute taxi ride costing no more than 10, 000 COP outside of rush hour traffic.

We recommend you plan to arrive at the airport 1.5 hours before your flight. This gives you a lot of buffer time just in case you have delays getting to the airport or any other issues. There are several cafes and comfortable seats in the terminal so you will be comfortable.

Map 1: Showing the Olaya Herrera Airport and El Pablado suburb of Medellin

Check in Process for San German Airlines

The check in process is perhaps different from what you are used to so here are a few tips to make sure you get to the correct gate at the right time.

  1. The San German check in counter doesn’t necessarily have its logo above it like the rest so you may need to ask some of the other airline check in staff where their counter is.
  2. If you arrived 1.5 hours before your flight like we recommended then the staff may not be there yet. Just wait.
  3. They will weigh your bag but also you as it is a very small plane.
  4. The departure gate number may not be known at the time of you check in and hence they may ask you to wait by the check in counter or in the comfortable seats by the security area.
  5. Just before the flight is due to leave they will walk any passengers at the counter to security and call through the airport on the way for anyone else on the San German Nuqui flight.
  6. At this point they will lead to through security and tell you which gate to be at.
  7. Then it’s basically business as usual as you are escorted through your gate to your plane.

Your flight will only take about 45 minutes of actual flight time. A lot of it will be in cloud but as you approach Nuqui you will see the coast which is very beautiful from the air.

Nuqui Airport

On arrival you’ll be led to get your bags and then pay the 15, 000 COP tourist tax. After that you may be met by your guide if they are meeting you at the airport or you may want to try and get yourself a boat to your hotel. Most people don’t actually stay in Nuqui itself so you will most likely need to find the boat pier.

You can ask the airport staff where it is or there is a map below. Either way its only a short 150m walk from the airport.

Boat ride to your hotel:

A boat ride to Prana Pacifico (known as “Terco” to the local boat drivers) costs 30, 000 COP and takes about 40 minutes. The boat will leave at approximately 1 pm from the boat pier but you should be there for 1245 to be safe.

Note: Nuqui is your best bet to buy anything you have forgotten especially alcohol or food. You can buy some small items in Termales or other small towns but Nuqui has a better selection.

The boat ride is quite adventurous and the drivers will drop you directly on the beach. You will quite possibly get wet so make sure you footwear is appropriate and your electronics are in a waterproof bag.

Map 2: Nuqui, Termales and Buenaventura key transport points

Getting to Nuqui by boat from Buenaventura

Buenaventura is south of Nuqui on the coast nearby Cali and you can get two different kinds of boat to Nuqui from here.

La launcha:

  • This is a relatively small fast boat that has approximately 48 seats.
  • One of these leaves Buenaventura every Tuesday at 6 am.
  • It takes no more than 5 hours to the boat pier in Nuqui.
  • The cost is 200, 000 COP one way.
  • From Nuqui you may have your hotel staff waiting for you in which case they will organise the transport to your hotel.
  • If you’re not being picked up in Nuqui by your hotel then you will be in time for the 1pm boat from the Nuqui boat pier. See above for the location and cost of this boat.
  • Contact to book: La Launcha driver on +57 123456789 for details. Spanish language only. Ask him to direct you to the wharf where you can pick up the boat.

La Baca:

  • There is also another larger cargo style boat called La Baca.
  • It leaves Buenaventura on Thursdays.
  • The time of departure is dependent on the high tide so you will need to contact the staff to confirm when they are leaving. See below for contact details.
  • It takes 18-22 hours.
  • It costs 120, 000 COP one way.
  • This will drop you at the same pier as the La Launch in Nuqui if you follow it right to the end however there is the option to get off before this if it suits you.
  • While The Baca is too big to drop you off anywhere else but the pier in Nuqui it is possible that small boats from Termales and elsewhere are able to meet the Baca en route to the Nuqui pier. It’s possible you could ask these boat owners to take you to the shore. Unsure of costs at this time. It’s really something you need to organise while you are on The Baca and isn’t necessarily able to be done. In theory you would have to be in contact with the hotel which may or may not be the case as cell phone communication is difficult in this area.
  • The advantage of getting of early is that once you’re in Nuqui you may have to stay overnight depending on if you arrive after 1pm when the boat normally leaves.
  • Contact to book: Baca driver on +57 123456789 for details. Spanish language only. Ask the driver to direct you to the wharf where you can pick up the boat.

Getting to Buenaventura by boat from Nuqui:

You can take either a La Launcha or a Baca to Buenaventura. Same details apply as described above except that,

    • La Launcha leaves Nuqui on Thursdays at 7am from the Nuqui boat pier. Drop off at the same pier as described above. See the map below.
    • The Baca will leave from the Nuqui Pier on Mondays – the departure time is also dependent on the high tide.
    • Of you don’t want to go to Nuqui then its possible to get a boat from Termales that will meet The Baca at sea. You can organise this in Termales but your Spanish needs to be decent as you will need to find a driver and then negotiate a price (normally 250,000 COP) and then the driver will need to radio or phone La Baca or otherwise confirm that it should wait to pick you up.
  • La Baca will also drop you at the same pier in Buenaventura as the La Launcha.