Boat Life Colombia Dog Lovers

Sapzurro and region:
Back in Colombia

Written by Renato Matiolli

We liked San Blas so much that we decided to stay another season before crossing to the Pacific. Therefore we had to travel out of the country and back to renew our Panamanian Visa. We took some time off and decided to come to a really cool place we had heard great things of: Sapzurro in Colombia.

The crossing to Colombia is incredible as you go to a less travelled part of San Blas. Still stunning islands, but without tons of boats around the anchorage.

As we got closer to Colombia, the Kuna villages got more traditional as less boat and tourists stop by. The scenery also changes as you get closer to mainland: rockier islands replaced the classic white sandy beaches from San Blas.


During this three-day crossing, three unexpected things happened. First our recently replaced anchor windlass broke and we could not drop or retrieve the anchor. This is one of the top 5 worst things it can break on the boat, mostly because we have a super heavy 12mm chain with a 33 kg anchor. We were in the middle of nowhere and I have no idea how I managed to fix it, but I did. I guess knowing that you are on your own, makes you a lot more resourceful.

Second, we the biggest wave so far hit our boat. We were sailing on high seas using the incredible good Bauhaus charts. He always says not to use for navigation, but after using them for months we trusted them a lot. They are by far the best ones in the region. So we were sailing for hours in a place the chart said it was over 50 meters deep and it really was 50 meters deep for a while. We had the gennekar out so we couldn’t see much in front. Well, suddenly the depth decrease to 5 meters, big waves started to break all around us and we where in the middle of it. It was a cluster fuck. A big wave hit us from the side washing away the deck. Nevertheless we managed to leave the impact zone undamaged and unhurt, just with a big scary face.

Lesson learnt. I shipwreck in Sapzurro kept reminding us that the sea accepts no mistakes like this one. I hope my mom is not reading this post.

Thirdly we saw some leather back turtles swimming really close to the boat. This is almost as cool as seeing a whale shark. They are the biggest and most rare turtles out there. They are huge and I saw them from far. I though they were pilot whales, Sarah thought they were a log. As we came closer, they did not move and we sailed just a few meters from them. It was clearly leather back turtles. So cool! We wanted to jump in the water to swim with them, but we had sails up and could not just stop the boat. (picture taken from emaze)

Well, we did our check out from Panama in Puerto Obaldia. We had heard bad things about this place, but in fact it is a nice town with friendly people.

After checking out we sailed to Sapzurro, not to far from the Colombian boarder. This is a cute little village with no road access. It reminds me of some of those villages close to Paraty in Brasil. They are also on mainland but one needs a boat to get there.


From Sapruzzo, there is a nice hike that takes you across the mountains, back to Panama again, to a beach and village called La Miel.


There is also another cool hike that takes you to a beautiful waterfall hidden in the middle of the jungle and not too far from the beach. The funny thing about this hike was that Feijão wet his paws in the waterfall. So on the way back he started slipping a lot and got scared. The chubby one got stuck like a mule and we had to carry him all the way back down.


Finally another hike in the other side of Sapzurro bay will take you to Capurgana. Where we did our immigration to enter Colombia. Capurgana is another cute slightly bigger village reached only by boat. I guess the Colombian are more similar to Brazilians and we fell right at home here.


In Capurgana Feijão found a local friends as a “dog walker”. He was clearly skeptical about his guide clear lack of experience but it worked out at the end.

This last hike was not so easy, it was steep, muddy and far, but amazing.


Feijão almost did not make it and we all decided to come back to Sapzurro on a speed boat. To be honest we were all exhausted at the end of it. At the highest point of the hike we stop to rest and take pictures from both sides (Sapzurro and Capurgana). Feijão climbed on top of this bench on the picture bellow and ever so gentle, fell from it on his back, rolling down the cliff.


He once again showed all his athleticism and clumsiness trying to turn back on his paws, just like a skillful cockroach or a turtle would do. The more he tried to turn back the more he dragged downhill. It was a hilarious scene, but Sarah almost had a heart attack. I think it will take him quite a while to engage in another hike like this.

By the way, for this trip we had a super cool friend travelling with us: Lalita. She is a Vegan chef and is teaching Sarah a lot of new stuff. For me, the highlight so far has been the pita bread. She is also a Yoga Instructor and wellness therapist. She is pampering us and we are extremely happy to have her around. Well, we are a bit jealous that Feijão likes her more than us…. regardless the fact that she is more a cat, than a dog person. Can you believe that? Who can trust someone who is a cat, more than a dog person? Well, I guess Lalita is an exception.

We wish we could stay longer, but now it is time to move on. We have waited quite a bit for the good weather and in a couple of days we are going to be navigating to Cartagena.

About the author

Renato Matiolli

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