El Almejal #1 Eco-hotel in Colombia
Concept: an ecotourism project founded in 1982, which offers nature and adventure experiences in one of the most biodiverse places on earth. El Almejal is the perfect place for nature lovers. From mid-June through mid-October migrating humpback whales can be along the ocean. Then, from mid-September to mid-January, witness the miracle of sea turtles who return home to nest on the beach.
El Almejal was recently cited as the #1 eco-lodge in Colombia for its commitment to sustainability.
Location: beachfront, on the Pacific Coast of Colombia , near the village of El Valle in the Department of Chocó, where the rainforest meets the ocean. From the Bahia Solano airport, it is a 45 minute ride through the lowlands and beach, and from Utría National Park, a half hour boat ride . Flights to Bahia Solano depart daily from Medellin. NOTE: small 20-seat aircraft permit 22 pounds (10K) checked bags and 10 pounds (5K) of carry-on. Additional luggage can be stored with your hotel in Medellin.
Accommodations: 10 cabins with a variety of bedding options from queen bed with sitting area to family cabins with multiple beds. Full bath (some with hot water), hammock, views of the Pacific, 24 hour electricity.
Dining: Meals are served in a beautiful open-air dining room. The fish is fresh and delicious. All veggies come from an amazing organic garden behind the kitchen, with many greens adapted to the hot and humid climate. Tropical fruit drinks are served with each meal along with fresh water purified by the lodge's water treatment plant.
Activities: Whale watching (mid-Jun through mid-Oct), turtle nesting and baby turtle release (mid-Sep to mid-Jan), swim in the natural pool, hike the trail in their preserve, canoe among mangroves on the Tundó River, great birdwatching (even from your hammock), visit by boat to Utría National Park for hiking and birding (Harpy Eagle seen here). Note - most tours are in Spanish; little English spoken.
Pricing: JB Journeys offers 4 packages depending on your interest and the season:
- Magic Pacific - 3 nights - from $695 per person/double
- Birding the Pacific Rainforest - 3 nights - from $965 per person/double based on two. Larger groups on request
- Whale Watching 3 nights (mid-Jun through mid-Oct) from $800 per person/double
- 80% of the lodge's land is in conservation, and all guests can take advantage of a nature hike where the four pillars of eco-tourism are explained: Conservation, Sustainability, Community, Education.
- El Almejal is a family owned business (30+ years) and one of the owners is always on-site. All employees are local. Most of the food served in the beautiful open air dining room is local too, with fresh fish, delicious veggies from their own organic garden, and local fruits for salads and drinks.
- A turtle nursery on-site has helped save thousands of the Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) and been responsible for re-educating local habit of eating and selling turtle eggs.
- No bottled water is served or sold at El Almejal. The lodge has its own water treatment plant, so that all water on the property is potable.