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South America > Colombia > Pacifica (Colombia) > Valle del Cauca > Buenaventura

Buenaventura

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Seaside park near the harbour.

Buenaventura is a city in the Valle del Cauca department of Colombia. With a population of 432,000 (2019), the most developed part of the city lies on Cascajal Island, while much of the city's land is rural with small villages scattered throughout. It is located a few miles from the western cordillera of the Andes mountain range and the major city of Cali, the department's capital. Buenaventura is one of the rainiest cities in the world with 6000-7000 mm precipitation annually.

As a seaport, Buenaventura has attracted criminal gangs seeking to export Colombian cocaine to Mexico.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

There are frequent buses to and from Cali which is a 4 hours ride away for around COP$20,000. Direct buses to Bogota leave at 7AM and 7PM. If you're heading north, avoid going through Cali and catch a bus to Buga instead (COP$16,000). The 1 bus station is close to the city center.

By boat[edit]

The docks for cargo boats are on the way in to town. There are boats to most places along the Pacific coast. Fast boats (lanchas) to Ladrilleros and close destinations leave from the Muelle Turistico in the center of town (COP$4,000 taxi ride from the terminal).

Get around[edit]

Map of Buenaventura

See[edit]

Do[edit]

You can catch a boat to nearby towns like Juanchaco and Ladrilleros in Bahia Málaga (Málaga Bay). It is humpback whale season between July and October, there you can get a boat for whale seeing.

  • Walking Tour. You'd have to be insane! See Safety section below.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

Fruit called Chontaduro.

Lenos y Mariscos and La Casa are recommended restaurants.

Drink[edit]

Agua de Coco (coconut water).

Sleep[edit]

For the most part, if you have to stay any length of time in Buenaventura then you should head to Calle 1 where there are a number of decent and safe hotels and restaurants in front of the park at reasonable prices

There are also some cheap hotels near the bus station.

Stay safe[edit]

Travel Warning WARNING: Buenaventura has had a notorious history plagued by drug trafficking, violence, and the presence of guerrilla and paramilitary groups. From 2006 to 2008, reported homicides doubled, to a murder rate 24 times that of New York City. To counter the violence, the Colombian government has set up a marine special forces unit in the worst area of the city, but violent dismemberments of civilians by criminal gangs continue.
Government travel advisories
(Information last updated Jul 2019)

Go next[edit]

One reason for passing through Buenaventura is to get to the resort areas of Juanchaco and Ladrilleros. These towns found to the north of the city are pleasant places to visit catering to package tourists and those interested in watching the annual marvel of migrating humpback whales in the months of July to late September through the waters of Bahia Malaga. Buenaventura is also the starting point for the Colombian islands Gorgona and Malpelo which are world class diving destinations.

This city travel guide to Buenaventura is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.