11th March, 2017
I just left a piece of my heart in Necoclí – but don’t be fooled, I got many pieces back, wrapped in fat, chunky smiles.
I found this ever so welcoming community thanks to a recommendation of Monica Florez, my friend in Pijao, Citta’ Slow. After an 8 hour bus ride from Medellin, which turned out to be 10, I took a moto-carro (the latin tuktuk) and after a short ride out of town, the driver veered into the countryside, and dropped me off in El Carlos.
This is where, 3 of them, back in 2001, sat down and had a dream.
“What if we turn this into a touristic destination?” they said.
They all nodded. There was the volcano, the waterfall, they had some archaeological artifacts. They could see it working, but where would their guests sleep?
They didn’t let that stop them. People started coming in little by little to visit for the day. They organized meals for them, under a tree and everyone left satisfied and with a smile on their face.
After a while decided to do the ‘Fiesta de la Cascada’ – an event by the waterfall. They didn’t have the money to organize it, so they collected funds between them to bring it to life. They planted trees next to the stream of El Carlos, they had a donkey race.
All was going well, people were visiting, the event was a success – so it proved that, yes, this place had enough potential to be a tourist destination.
As the years rolled by and the dream held on, the community got the papers together and formed a cooperative between them in 2006 – COOTUCAR.
An opportunity they couldn’t miss was presented to them in 2007. The United Nations was doing a contest in their area and the best proposal would get funds for their project.
Competition was thick – people with motorboats, people who even presented videos. Through it all, they were the ones to win the contest as they were the most organized.
With the budget they were allotted from the contest, they had enough funds for 5 cabins!
Their good sense prevailed once again though – what was the use of having 5 cabins but no bathrooms? They had no funds to pay for them themselves, so they reached an agreement to build ‘only’ 3 cabins but complete with bathrooms.
That’s just how it all started. If you go today this is what you will find:
- 3 cabins with 2 rooms each
- 1 cabin with 4 rooms with a double bed each
- a reception area
- a library
- a meeting space that can take up to 70 people
- a restaurant
- a ‘kiosko’, a chill out area, at the very top of it all where you can swing in hammocks – the cherry on the cake, if you ask me
The cooperative have their own guide, Francisco who will guide you:
- Out of the village and up to the Mirador del Golfo viewpoint (on good days you can see as far as Panamá)
- To a small Volcán de Lodo where you can dip into its mud and make the most of its properties
- Visit the Archelogical Museum on premises
How to get there
- Fly into the Necoclí airport
- By bus from Medellin via Turbo – most buses leave at 11am from the Terminal but the cooperative I travelled with had trips at 5am and 7.30am as well. If you have the time, do take this option. You get a feel of how the locals travel and what’s best is that you get to feel the change in the landscape – from crazy winding mountain roads to flat, flat, flat land full of banano and platano plantations!
- If you’re coming from the North side you can catch a bus from the Montería terminal.
Once you get to Necoclí, you have 2 options:
- Motocarro – the latin tuktuk for 10,000COP
- Mototaxi – you guessed it, a motorbike that serves as a taxi for 5,000COP
Tell them to take you to El Carlos (Adentro) and to stop you near Teresa’s shop.
COOTUCAR is a not for profit cooperative – basically the way it works, they all put in their work and whoever works earns money – makes sense right?
Get in touch with this community today via:
- Whatsapp – +57 3104689141
- Colombian Phone Number – 3122317949