My first instinct was not to write about this place so nobody new would find out it exists. On the other hand, like so many of the best places, Colombia’s Chocó coast could stand to be taken notice of by the right folks from the outside. A land packed to the green brim with endemic creatures, the remote Chocó is a paradise for naturalists. From the Darien Gap up north down the Pacific coastline, massive rains have fueled an explosion of biological diversity. But Chocó is also among Colombia’s poorest departments, a victim of the conflict between armed rebel groups and the government, the drug trade, deforestation and mining. For the locals, mainly indigenous groups and Afro-Colombians, isolation has not saved them from the many threats of outside forces.
The Chocó coast has been a tourist destination for Colombians for decades and more recently seen the arrival of the foreign tourist crowd. From a small village, I embarked on many treks into the jungle and once to an indigenous village up the river by boat. On one occasion, I set out for just amphibians, led by my friend and local guide, Diego. Diego knew of an old hunting trail where we’d find some. Here is some of what we found.