San Cipriano is a tiny village located in the Choco region of Colombia, not far from the city of Buenaventura. It is best to visit San Cipriano from Cali, either as a day trip or spend 1 night. The reason San Cipriano has appeared on the “Gringo Trail” is the ingenious and slightly dangerous mode of transport that you must take to access the town – the moto brujitas.
This is what a Moto Brujitas is!
San Cipriano can’t be reached by road, so the locals created the brujitas. A moto brujita is a motorbike that is connected to a wooden platform (where there are some padded seats, enough for ~7 people) and the motorbike rides on some train tracks. The back wheel of the motorbike is on the track, while the front wheel is in the air. It really is as crazy as it sounds!
The setup, one wheel on the floor, one in the air!
How to get to San Cipriano
San Cipriano is best reached from Cali. The first thing you need to do is to get yourself to the bus terminal in Cali. You need to catch the bus to Buenaventura and there are many companies in the terminal who offer this service via bus and minibus. We got a minibus and it cost us 29,000COP each, which is pretty expensive! We just visited San Cipriano on a day trip and it is recommended that you catch this bus to Buenaventura no later than 7am. We hopped on the bus at 6.30am and arrived about 2.5 hours later. Note that you need to tell your driver where you are going. We got dropped off near the village of Zaragoza, but some people get dropped off at another village, Cordoba, it doesn’t really make a difference.
The bridge in Zaragoza
When we arrived in Zaragoza we had to buy our tickets for the infamous moto brujitas, which cost 12,000COP return ticket each. We then had to cross a long, rickety, wooden bridge. Here we waited for about 5 minutes before a brujita pulled up.
Before the mayhem began
It was just the two of us on the brujita to San Cipriano and we soon took off. It was quite exhilarating and felt like a rollercoaster that we never knew existed! You zoom through the rainforest and all you see is the green from the leaves radiating back at you. There are quite a few tunnels to go under aswell, which only adds to the atmosphere! The whole trip takes about 20 minutes and when you arrive you need to walk about 5 minutes to reach the main village. Here you need to pay a fee of 2,000COP to enter the natural reserve.
All you can see is the green of the rainforest
What to do in San Cipriano
San Cipriano is about more than just the moto brujitas, there are numerous things to do in the nature around.
Hike to the different Lagunas
Follow the road/dirt path out of San Cipriano and you will be immersed in the jungle. On the right hand side is the river where there are numerous lagoons (charcos) where you can stop off and enjoy if you like. We hiked to the last charco called Platina and had a swim. We were the only one’s there! On the way back to San Cipriano you can then stop by the other charcos and enjoy them. Charco Tortuga and Los Sabalos are nice places to enjoy some swimming also!
Aoife at Charco Tortuga
The lagunas are clean and good for relaxing in!
The majority of the lagoons are located on the right hand side of the road when leaving San Cipriano, while the waterfalls are located on the left hand side. We hiked the trail called Refugio del Amor and came across 3 different waterfalls, all of different heights. La Ventiadora is another waterfall near San Cipriano which we couldn’t find. Many people told us on the way in that you need a guide to access this waterfall so maybe that is the reason.
So quiet and peaceful
Go River Tubing
River Tubing is really cheap in San Cipriano, you can get tubes in the town for 5,000COP. We think that the best thing to do would be to hike to the furthest lagoon and then enjoy the relaxation of the water all the way back into the town again! We didn’t get a tube as we were quite short on time, but the people who did do it looked like they were having fun!
Leaving San Cipriano
We thought leaving San Cipriano would be easy and straightforward as it was so easy to get there – WRONG! The last brujita leaves at 5pm and we thought that we could just go down to the “station” at 4 and leave then. We went down and there were no brujitas around so we waited. About 10 minutes later a family of 7 came and it turned out that you needed to ring and order a brujita. We didn’t have signal so we are not sure how you would get around this but thankfully the family rang one. It took an hour for any brujita to turn up and by that point there was about 20 people waiting to leave! We all crammed on 3 brujitas and off we went in the pouring rain. The journey to San Cipriano was certainly alot more fun!
Waiting for a brujita driver to take us back
To get back to Cali you just need to stand on the opposite side of the road from where you were dropped off (there is a bus stop). The buses were going very fast but thankfully we were able to flag one down, and this time it cost 27,000COP per person. If you are staying in San Antonio ask the driver to drop you off near there as the buses will go past the area.
The surrounding landscape is amazing
- If going on a daytrip make sure you leave before 7am, its a long day but it’s worth it!
- We visited on a Monday and it was very quiet, not many restaurants were open so we had some trouble finding somewhere to eat!
The little town of San Cipriano, quiet on a weekday
- It’s quite expensive to eat in San Cipriano but the food is delicious, I got prawns and rice for 20,000COP and it was amazing!
- Expect rain, you are in the rainforest after all! It rained quite heavily from 2pm when we were there and we got saturated.
- If you can get talking to other tourists in the town try and find out if they are going to Cali and get a lift back with them!
- There are many places to stay if you want to stay over.