The Colombian Pacific shores welcomed the first arrival of a tourist cruise ship last Thursday, with off-shore excursions in Utria and Bahia Solano; two regional gateway destinations that aim to position its attractive activities to the industry that moves more than 20 million people every year.
Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of Proexport Colombia, also confirmed that the Silver Explorer from the Italian cruise line Silversea, docked at 9:00 a.m. in Utria. The Natural National Park's flora and fauna has surely charmed the 132 passengers and 117 crewmembers on board, most of them coming from Europe.
During their 8-hour stay in Utria, nature lovers were able to enjoy some of the unique experiences and the magical landscapes of the natural reserve such as tropical rainforests, mangroves, and reefs at the department of Choco.
Colombia 57 is a tour operator specializing in luxury ships. It organizes hiking trips through the dense jungle that includes rappelling down huge waterfalls, diving and snorkeling; allowing cruise travelers to learn first-hand about the different ecosystems in one of the most bio diverse locations in the world.
Tourists will be joined by geologists and biologists that are part of the Silver Explorer's crew. The trips are expeditionary yet exciting and luxurious, visiting destinations off the beaten path where the main protagonists are the surrounding natural landscapes.
"The existing natural wealth in the Colombian Pacific, particularly in the department of Choco, was one of the factors that weighed in the most for Silversea and for them to include Bahia Solano and Utria in their 2014 schedules," said Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of Proexport Colombia.
After a year of discussions and inspections, led by Colombia 57 and Proexport Colombia, the entity in charge of promoting international tourism in the country, Silversea announced its decision to add the Colombian Pacific to its expeditions in 2013.
One Trip, Two Destinations
Visitors returned to the ship at the end of the day and set sail during the night toward Bahia Solano; a location with cultural delights such as folk dance and a concert of African music all meant to make foreigners welcome.
Culture tourism as well as nature and adventure are part of Choco's tourism products, including bird watching, whale watching, and diving, which Proexport Colombia actively promotes in Germany, Canada, The United States, France, and The United Kingdom.
Proexport Colombia started promoting the Pacific as an exploration cruise destination in 2012 working hand-in-hand with each of the cruise line representatives and by attending industry-related international tradeshows.
"This first experience in the Colombian Pacific for Silversea and its passengers will definitely open the doors to the region and position it in the international spotlight, especially within the expedition cruise industry that is increasingly interested in discovering new destinations and providing unforgettable experiences, attesting to the fact that Colombia is Magical Realism," explained Lacouture.