At one end of “La Boquilla”, in the heart of “La Ciénaga de la Virgen”, a group of hard-working men dedicate their days to promote the natural wealth of this area of Cartagena through ecotourist routes which has gained more importance every day. Through traditional canoes and surrounded by a huge biodiversity and a great colorful culture, “Los Arriberos”, as they have been known for several years, when they formed an amateur softball team, guide the visitors through the incredible natural tunnels created by the mangrove forest, where we can observe different life forms in their natural environment.
The legal representative of the company, Eduardo Jiménez Carmona, told us how, for 5 years, they have been consolidating this project with great sacrifice. He also shared with us that they are not the only ones who benefit from this labor, but their whole community who can also receive the rewards obtained by these activities, so they can preserve this valuable ecosystem of Cartagena together.
Thanks to their relentless effort, they have been establishing a steady infrastructure and a coordinated logistics to be able to offer their specialized eco-tourism to different travels agencies that deal with tourists from all over the world, and which arrive in the city by plane, cruise, or by land looking for rare plans away from the hustle and the commercial oversupply.
As another “Arribero” tell us, Alejandro Valiente, it was not easy to give shape to this company at the beginning, all because they didn’t have enough budget and were lacking a concrete support from anyone. But thanks to their conviction and serious work, step by step they were becoming into a pretty attractive alternative for visitors to the city who find in these plans an amazing way to escape the stress of the cities and find a refuge to forget about their daily problems.
By conducting a well-organized and responsible project, and thanks to the passion they feel for their territory, “Los Arriberos” have made the tourists increasingly fall in love with these experiences and that is why people constantly come from different corners of the planet looking for them. Due to the many positive comments from lots of happy travelers, nowadays they receive the support of several agencies and some other allies, and they keep on working to offer a better service every time. The company has been growing so well that they even travel every year to Bogotá to the most important tourism fair of Colombia to offer their packages.
Along this tour we made in canoes around the mangrove, we were in the company of a large group of tourists from a cruise ship of the Island Princess line, which sailed from the United States. What a relaxing and comforting adventure is to cross the waters of this swamp and be able to observe closely the wonders nature offers us! Birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians wandering freely through each available spot, each one of them perfectly preserved and protected by the efforts of “Los Arriberos” and the community of “La Boquilla”.
Learning to fish as a native, by using an “atarraya” (fishing net); get to enjoy the tour through the thick and beautiful mangrove; to observe and listening a varied and large number of birds; arriving in a gorgeous paradisiacal island, where you can see replicated samples of pre-Columbian art from one of the tribes that inhabited this area. These are just some of the adventures “Los Arriberos” offer, experiences that have become into one of the plans you cannot miss when visiting Cartagena.
The best part about this tour is that the benefits that are collected by the guides are invested in this area and its community, which make it an environmental and socially responsible and sustainable project. This is the most interesting part of the experience and, perhaps, the side that tourists enjoy the most, the chance to meet an amazing place of the city while they get to discover it in the company of the local community, which welcome them with a great human warmth and they openly share the way they live and feel the world. It is not just an eco-tourism experience, but also an opportunity to know, first hand, the traditions and customs of this group of people that, even though count with just a few resources, are surrounded by a great cultural and natural richness that make of this place a true treasure of the world.
Now you know, if you want to enjoy a really enriching adventure, head to the area of “La Boquilla” in Cartagena. When you arrive at “La Ciénaga de la Virgen”, ask around for “Los Arriberos”, which are already synonymous with quality and satisfaction. In the following website you can learn a little bit more about them and the tourist services they offer: www.arriberosdelaboquilla.co
These are the most popular packages to be scheduled and visit “La Ciénaga de la Virgen” with your relatives and friends in the company of their most friendly and protective guides.
- Tour through the mangrove forest and its beautiful natural tunnels of love and reconciliation. Value $ 75,000 COP.
- Tour birds watching. Duration 2 hours. Value $ 100,000 COP.
- Fishing tour with “atarraya”. Value $ 110,000 COP.
- Tour “spend the day” (includes lunch, snack and visit to the pre-Columbian Museum in “La Ciénaga de Juan Polo”). Value 110,000 COP.
All these packages include the canoe tour through “La Ciénaga de la Virgen” and “La Ciénaga de Juan Polo” in Cartagena. You will also receive cold coconut water, a bottle of water, and an artisanal fishing exhibition. The point of departure and return is the “Muelle de Los Arriberos.”